The Extensis Community Blog
Donald Partyka is the Creative Director of the Latin American policy and culture journal Americas Quarterly, and teaches typography at City College. A graduate of RISD and Cooper Union, he has worked on numerous magazines, including American Heritage, Time magazine, Poets & Writers, and Perspectiva, and he designed the monograph Typography, Referenced. Donald has taught graphic design and typography at Parson’s and Pratt, and lectured on typography at NYU. His art direction, typography, and graphic design have been recognized widely, and is featured in the book Typography Essentials by Ina Saltz. Thanks to Donald for participating in our mini-interview series 4 Questions 4!
1. How did you originally get interested in typography and design?
Drawing was my first love, and I thought I would be a fine artist, but I majored in Graphic Design because it seemed more practical. It wasn’t until my senior year at RISD that I fell in love with typography. I had to cram a lot of type requirements into that year because I had taken the previous year off to study abroad. It was like type boot camp. My teachers—Jan Baker, Doug Scott, the late Malcolm Grear—really opened up my eyes to good type and the history of typography.
2. What typography trends are you loving most these days?
I still love the renewed interest in hand-lettering. Especially lettering that doesn’t look vectorized. Also, reviving classic fonts and expanding them for open type. I was excited to see Monotype’s Gill Sans Nova and Joanna Nova. Although some beautiful stencil fonts have been recently designed, I’m getting a little tired of that trend. There’s also a lot of impressive type design being done in Latin America.
3. Which of your projects are you most proud of thus far in your career, and why?
The typeface I drew when I was a student at CooperType. I love Czech type, and my typeface is a revival of a specimen by Jaroslav Benda.
I’ve done a lot of magazine work that I’m proud of, but the typeface was a lot of hard work which took me out of my comfort zone as an editorial designer, so there was a great sense of accomplishment when I finished. I also take great pride in teaching, especially seeing how my students respond and then do their own terrific work.
4. Describe your dream project.
Often in magazines (and in design in general), you inherit systems and styles to work with. So when the opportunity comes to design from the ground up, it’s especially satisfying. I recently got to redesign the Latin American policy journal Americas Quarterly and its new supplement Cultura, and had a lot of fun picking out the new fonts: Espinosa Nova, Chaco, and Azote.
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September 8th, 2016 by Joscelyn Zell
One of our core mission’s with Portfolio is to extend the value of digital asset management to companies of all sizes. With the explosion of digital content in the past two decades, the need for DAM no longer just resides within large scale enterprises.
Companies and workgroups of all sizes need effective management solutions if they want to effectively manage their operational expenses, maximize the value of digital content, streamline workflows, ensure compliance, and improve productivity.
Portfolio 2016 packs the powerful features companies need for effective digital asset management, while simple to set up, easy to use, and requires little to no ongoing maintenance.
It is a great honor to have Portfolio 2016 receive this recognition from KMWorld as we continue to stay focused on bringing the value of DAM to
To learn more about Portfolio 2016 and activate a free 45-day trial, visit www.extensis.com/portfolio.
In this installment of 4 Questions 4, we’re featuring Jackson Cavanaugh, a young freelance graphic designer, independent type designer, and the founder of OkayType, a type design studio in Chicago.
1. How did you get into the business of type design?
I started out as a graphic designer who really only cared about the type. Every project I worked on became totally focused on the typography. Sometimes I was able to convince my bosses to let me draw new letters. Eventually I decided to make a real typeface. It took three years to design Alright Sans, which immediately made me a full time type designer.
2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
Graphic designers seem to be moving past the super-clean, corporate sans-serifs. You know trends have expired when the low end catches up with the high end, and everything looks the same. Instead, I’m seeing an increase in more interesting designs. Typefaces that are still able to put in a full days work, but are slightly off-kilter and interesting. Designers are looking for more expression and authenticity, and this is opening the door for some people doing really interesting (and great) work.
Some of my current favorites:
3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
I’d have to say Harriet. I think the design is pretty good, but mostly it is because I’m constantly amazed by the work being done with it. Websites, magazines, books, brands, just lots of good work. The second most rewarding thing to a type designer is seeing customers use a font really well. The first most rewarding thing is being able to pay rent.
4. Describe your dream project.
It’s a little cheesy but I dream about working with my favorite hockey team, the Detroit Red Wings. They have a historic brand, one of the most timeless in sports. They’re also building a fancy new arena in a city making a big turnaround. I couldn’t think of a more perfect time to look at the typographic atmosphere surrounding that team. I actually have nightmares about going to a game at the arena and seeing all the signage set in a boring hockey cliche like Agency Gothic, or something lazy like Clarendon. Hey, Red Wings people, send me an email and let’s do something worthy of the team!
September 6th, 2016 by Extensis
There are number of common challenges all teams face when it comes to sharing and managing fonts. Suitcase TeamSync allows you to curate and distribute your font library automatically across your entire team.
This new cloud-based font server makes professional font management easy so you can focus your time and energy on doing great work.
An on demand version of our latest webcast introducing TeamSync is available to watch. Check it out:
International versions of this webcast will be hosted in September, join us on the time zone and language that are most convenient for you, or register to get the recording sent to your email:
- Date: September 8th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. BST – British Summer Time / British Daylight Time
- Presented by: Chris Stevens
- Register here.
- Date: September 14th, 2016
- Time: 2 p.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Jean-Michel Laurent
- Register here.
- Date: September 15th, 2016
- Time: 11:00 a.m. CEST – Central European Summer Time
- Presented by: Torsten Koebel
- Register here.
Hope you can join us!
September 2nd, 2016 by Jim Kidwell
Sometimes teaching people a new technical skill is a more difficult task than required.
Case in point, telling your boss how to install a font on their computer. Not a fun task.
Why not just shoot her a quick PNG of the font in question and call it a day? It’s easy to do with Suitcase Fusion 7. Check it out.
Want to try it yourself? It’s easy to do.
Small caps are capital letterforms that are shorter than full-sized caps. They are usually the height of the lowercase or slightly taller when part of a text font, and can be even taller – sometimes slightly shorter than the full caps – when designed for a display design. Small caps have many uses.
They can be used for titles, subtitles and title pages in publishing, headlines and subheads, text lead-ins, page headings and footers, column headings, as well as a substitute for full-sized caps in acronyms and abbreviations.
The most important thing to know about small caps is to only use the true-drawn variety as opposed to the fake, computer-generated ones.
True-drawn small caps are designed by the type designer to match the weight, width and spacing of the lowercase (or caps if designed for an all-cap typestyle). The fake, computer-generated ones look too light, too tight, and in some cases, too narrow.
For these reasons, they are considered a “type crime” by type-sensitive designers. Unfortunately, the use of these “fakers” is an all too common occurrence. Here is how this amateurish and unprofessional typographic practice can be avoided: if one knows ahead of time that small caps would be a useful feature in any particular job, only use font(s) that contain the true-drawn variety.
If small caps are such a useful typographic tool, why don’t more fonts have them?
Prior to the OpenType font format that can accommodate thousands of characters, the older Type1 and TrueType formats could only accommodate 256 characters, and therefore did not have room to include small caps – even if they were originally designed and available in older font technology such as phototypesetting and hot metal.
In order to work around this limitation, typeface designers and foundries wanting to include small caps had to put them in a second font – either an additional font designated with a SC in the name, or an Expert Set. This made it more expensive for the foundry, and more time-consuming and tedious for the type user, who had to access them from a separate font for each and every usage.
But with OpenType’s expanded character capacity, there is more than enough room for small caps, as well as many other characters desirable to graphic designers.
Identifying and Setting True-drawn Small Caps
So how does one know if a font has true drawn small caps? And if it does, how does one access them?
When using Adobe InDesign, the industry standard for page layout and typesetting, the user interface can be a bit confusing. One can always view the Glyphs panel to see if the font contains small caps, but there is a better way that combines identifying the availability of small caps and applying them.
Here are the steps:
– First, select the font in question in the font dropdown menu in the Character panel or Control panel.
– Next, open the OpenType panel. If the All Small Caps option is not bracketed, there are true-drawn small caps in that particular font. If it is bracketed, that font does not contain them. (Note that some typeface families have small caps for just some of the versions.)
Once you determine that a font does have small caps, you can apply them in one of two ways:
– If you want to convert both caps and lowercase to small caps, select the All Small Caps option in the OpenType panel.
– If you want to convert just the lowercase so that you have a blended cap/small cap setting, select the Small Caps option in the Character panel.
Note that if a font does not have true-drawn small caps, InDesign will create the fake version by reducing the full caps to the default 70% of the cap height.
If you want to eliminate the possibility of fake small caps from ever appearing in your work, you can change the default Small Cap Size from 70% to 100% via Preferences > Advanced Type > Character Settings.
This will not affect true-drawn small caps from appearing when available in a font.
August 31st, 2016 by Extensis
Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations joins us on September 14th for a live webcast to share SANDOW’s font management success story.
During a recent interview Michael talked about the critical role font management plays at SANDOW, and how finding the right font management solution has helped him and his team improve their efficiency and productivity.
Join us live on Wednesday, September 14th, 10:00 a.m. Pacific; 1:00 p.m. Eastern, where he delves deeper and shares best practices he used from planning to implementation.
Michael will talk about
- the importance of brand consistency and font license compliance
- challenges that led to the need for a font management solution
- the most critical components to SANDOW in a font management solution
- learnings in preparing for and implementing a font manager
- SANDOW’s continuing journey with font management
Michael will be available for a live Q&A session after the webcast. After the webcast a recording will be emailed to everyone that registers.
To register, please follow this link.
Hope you can join us!
It wasn’t just any typical sunny Friday at Extensis.
The end of the week always elicits some excitement around here, but something seemed different. There was a sense of anticipation in the air. Maybe it was the new Belizean restaurant located steps away along the Portland State University park blocks that everyone has been raving about? Or, perhaps it was the fresh batch of donuts and bagels that arrive every Friday. Maybe the competitive game of darts happening in the common area?
All of a sudden at two in the afternoon, everyone was gone. Vanished!
Where is everyone? The Extensis crew couldn’t take it any longer. Looking out their windows down onto Naito Parkway they could see swarms of people flocking to Tom McCall park. So, they took an early reprieve to escape to 29th annual Oregon Brewers Festival – the largest craft brew festival in North America!
It’s no secret. We like to have a good time.
Especially during summer months when the city of Portland comes to life. Again just a suggestion…And this year was no different…Brew Fest is a staple of Extensis culture. It wouldn’t be the last week of July if we weren’t handing out mugs and tokens and taking off early to make sure we are able to taste unique brews such as pFriem’s Mango Sour and New Holland – Dragons Milk Reserver’s Mexican Spice Cake (it really does taste like cake!). From sours to IPAs, team Extensis along with almost 80,000 other patrons and 2,000 volunteers were able to taste and enjoy over 80 craft brews at the festival.
With a healthy heaping of enjoyable food to choose from, a superb local music line-up, and refreshing misters to help relieve the pain of standing in long lines during 90 degree heat, this five day extravaganza is well worth it.
The next brew festival will take place July 26th – 30th, 2017 and we will definitely be there!
Here, at Extensis, we develop font management and digital asset management software and we have a blast doing it. To learn more about what we do and our company culture, follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Interested in joining our team? Check out our careers page.
The next installment in our Font Founders series is Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813), an Italian type designer who is responsible for many of the typefaces we still use today. You may not think often about Bodoni, but he was looking ahead to you. As he said:
No other art is more justified than typography in looking ahead to future centuries; for the creations of typography benefit coming generations as much as present ones.
Tags: font founders