New Year’s tends to bring a few traditions you can always count on. Champagne, Auld Lang Syne—and the inevitable yearly predictions listicles. With 2017 around the corner, we’ve been anticipating these predictions and considering how to categorize and quantify what we’ve seen in the world of typography. Our conclusion for the year: track the technology and you’ll find the trends.
There are an estimated 2 billion smartphone users in the world, and the average American spends anywhere from 5 to 11 hours per day using electronic media. Unsurprisingly, typography trends have been influenced by the challenge to increase readability, aesthetic desirability, and language-accessibility across multiple media platforms. Most people in the U.S., for example, are not only using a laptop or smartphone, but a combination of many gadgets that have access to the ever-growing Internet.
Generally speaking, predictions articles fall into one of two categories: aesthetic trends and industry or functionality trends. We’ve seen technology heavily influence both. Here are five trends that we found particularly exciting to watch this year:
1. Custom Fonts
Custom fonts were a hit this year, as tech giants created custom typefaces for their latest devices. Readability was widely debated among techies, artists, and internet-users alike. Amazon created a typeface called Bookerly to decrease eyestrain for Kindle readers. Google launched Product Sans and Apple created the typeface San Francisco for the Apple Watch. Meanwhile, new tools like Prototypo and FontArk were introduced to help typographers create custom typefaces to meet the marketing, branding, and creative needs of clients who want to keep up technologically and aesthetically with these tech giants.
2. Responsive Typography
Another trend driven by increased consumer demand for readability and accessibility, responsive typography went mainstream this year—and with good reason. Not only are we spending more time online, we are doing so across numerous platforms, often simultaneously. Anyone looking to brand, market, or share anything on the Internet is now hard-pressed to ensure that their reader can do so on their desktop, laptop, smartphone, tablet, or any other tool they may be using to access information. Responsive typography has made major strides in solving for this issue, and has become more accessible to designers who must get their message across to large and diverse audiences.
3. Personable Font Selections: Watercolor, Handwriting, Script, Grunge, and Caps
So readability and accessibility are essential. But typography is still an expressive art form. Typographers have been tasked with utilizing technology to enhance the practicality of their art, while creating work that is inventive, fresh, and beautiful. 2016 saw an increased use of watercolor, script, retro fonts, grunge, hand-lettering, and titles in all caps.
Most of these trends touch on how we are consuming—and, perhaps, feeling—about the greater technological advances. As we’ve spent more time on our phones and computers, and less time with older, more traditional types and texts, a sense of nostalgia seems to have grown. Some artists have been making their mark with handmade lettering, while others have paid tribute to the bright, whimsical signs and symbols of the pre-internet-boom 80s. In a time when many of us threaten to spend increasingly more time with machines than with one another, it seems that we’ve wanted to humanize our online text and media.
4. Innovative Fonts & Accessibility
The public response to the hand-lettering craze has been significant enough to push many designers to digitize their work. These lettering trends coupled with new font technology and availability has brought the “font game” to a new level. From small foundries to larger corporations, a number of new and exciting fonts were released this year.
Even more thrilling, artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs were busy inventing and innovating in ways that were both cross-cultural and multi-lingual. A large Norwegian study was conducted on readability for the visually impaired; Comicraft artists took on the ambitious project of inventing hand-lettered fonts in Japanese, Taiwanese, and Chinese. And two Guinean brothers hit the ground running and invented a script that would make their native language available on every smartphone. As font accessibility grows, we expect this trend in font innovation to continue.
Apple, Google, and Microsoft teamed up and launched variable fonts this September. The gathering of these tech giants marks the beginning of a new age in typography. Instead of downloading separate files for every font style and width, variable fonts allow developers to place everything in one, highly optimized file. We are eager to see how and when this trend will grow, and whether it will go mainstream in 2017.
Because that, after all, is the question of the hour: What will happen in 2017? What do we anticipate? What will take us by surprise? What trends are you seeing? What have we missed? Where will the technology and our typography take us next? Let us know! And—
Happy New Year from all of us at Extensis.
Want to learn more about type trends? Check out Getting Free Fonts From Google Fonts.
When Jay Roeder didn’t know an answer to a math problem in grade school, he did what he knew best: he drew a Ninja Turtle. “I still think that this was the best possible answer to the problem,” Jay told us in an exclusive interview on his work, influences, and upcoming projects. Jay is a freelance illustrator and designer who, like many artists, couldn’t keep himself from making art as a kid. His work is filled with throwback items like boomboxes and Ninja Turtles and we got to talk with him about what drives his nostalgia. He focuses on hand-lettering and has worked with a number of notable brands, including Nike, TV Land, GAP and Monster.com. He is proud to be an obsessed letterer, and he is a big fan of Extensis, retro games, sneakers and coffee.
How would you describe your work and your overall aesthetic?
JAY: I love describing my hand-lettering style as embraced imperfection. Being a perfectionist, it was not until I learned how to accept the crooked lines, misaligned type and illegibility that my lettering took on character and interest. As odd as it seems, these imperfections can have just as much craft as perfection. If you look at any great hand lettering artist’s work, you will see these “errors” are not accidents at all.
How have your early influences and/or feelings of nostalgia influenced your work?
JAY: A lot of my art is nostalgia based, and some of that has to do with memories I have of growing up in Minnesota. Things like boomboxes, Nintendo, and Ninja Turtles were a big part of my childhood, which is why I can’t stop drawing them, even in a lot of the work I do today.
How would you describe your journey from a “childhood doodler” to a professional artist with agency and teaching experience?
JAY: While most kids wanted to be firemen or astronauts, I knew I’d pursue a career in the arts at a young age. If you looked at my homework throughout grade school, you would think that every class was an art class because I drew racecars and ninja turtles on virtually everything. I remember one such story when I didn’t know the answer to a math problem, so I simply drew a Ninja Turtle’s head in the answer space – I still think that this was the best possible answer to that problem. When I graduated from college, I worked at several agencies and did hand-lettering in my free time. I posted drawings to my website (www.jayroeder.com) and eventually clients started to reach out with larger projects. Eventually I decided to go out on my own, which has been the best decision I have ever made. I have also stayed in touch with the design department at my alma mater and have taught design classes for them, as an adjunct professor.
How do you balance the work you do with agencies and your personal work?
JAY: Balancing my agency and personal work is one of the most challenging aspects of what I do. So many people imagine the freelance lifestyle as being extremely flexible, but don’t take into account the effects of ceaseless project demands and an always on the clock mentality. Six years ago, when I first started out on my own, I quickly realized that nothing is guaranteed in the world of freelancing. I accepted every project that was presented to me, even if it meant working unhealthy hours. On the verge of burning out, it wasn’t until about 2 years in that I really gained the confidence to say “no” to certain projects and to work with my clients on building out timelines that worked for both parties when possible.
We heard that you’re an Extensis fan! How do you use the software and how has it impacted your work?
JAY: I am a huge fan of Extensis, and specifically Suitcase Fusion. It impacts my work every day, to be completely honest. As someone who prides himself on typography you can see the obvious correlation. Suitcase saves me A TON of time when I’m searching for the right typeface. I also use it as an inspirational tool when I am working on hand-lettering projects that require me to emulate a certain style of font. It’s been a great product that I have used for over ten years.
Whose work are you admiring these days?
JAY: There are so many artists that I admire, but two that stand out are Jon Contino and McBess. There are aspects of both of these artists that I find extremely inspiring, whether it be McBess’s vintage cartoon inspired worlds, or Jon Contino’s ability to combine old and new world aesthetics into his style. Please look into both artists if you haven’t and be prepared to be inspired.
Have any of your commercial projects particularly resonated with you on a personal level? Which ones?
JAY: Every once and a while a brand that I am a fan of reaches out to do a project. In one such case – Beer Advocate magazine recently had me do the cover artwork for their 10th anniversary issue, which is currently on newsstands so keep your eyes out! Aside from that, I have worked with so many amazing brands, some of which include: Nike, Ray Ban, Facebook, MTV and Urban Outfitters. I absolutely love what I do, and I hope people can see that in my work.
What advice do you have for young designers?
JAY: I few years ago I read an article on Milton Glaser, which had a very simple piece of advice, but great nonetheless. If anyone doesn’t know who Milton is, he’s an icon in the design industry; you’ve probably seen his work, he’s responsible for the “I heart NY” and Brooklyn Brewery logos. The quote was, “Do good work.” I think this simple yet fundamental advice is invaluable and can be a deadly combination when paired up with motivation. If you do good work and work hard, everything else will fall in place. Also, drink lots and lots of coffee.
You’re truly living the dream, having transformed your passion into an admirable career. What’s next for you?
JAY: I am so fortunate to have a career that is also my passion. The plan is to continue to grow my business and see where it takes me!
Check out Jay’s website: www.jayroeder.com
And follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @jayroeder
We asked the same question and that’s why we built the brand new Suitcase Fusion application for Apple iOS.
This application is free on the iTunes store, and connects your Suitcase Fusion font library to your iOS device.
So, whether you’re designing with one of the fancy new mobile design applications from Adobe, building and presenting Keynote and PowerPoint files, or just want to use your quality font collection on your iPad, you’re good to go.
It’s easy to use your font collection on iOS. To get started:
- Install Suitcase Fusion onto your Mac or PC.
- Load your fonts and sync your font library using TypeSync. Choose File > TypeSync > Enable Library Syncing.
- Install the Suitcase Fusion iOS app on your mobile device.
- Use Suitcase Fusion for iOS to activate your fonts!
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!
August 24th, 2016 by Extensis
Font management plays a key role at SANDOW, a rapidly growing global publishing and media company with brands spanning design, luxury, fashion and beauty. SANDOW’s rapid growth not only brought an ever expanding list of brands, but with each brand their own sets of fonts. This skyrocketed SANDOW’s font collection into the tens of thousands making the need for effective font management critical.
SANDOW recently joined the Extensis family. They were using a different font management solution, but when they experienced limitations in their ability to manage groups effectively, instability with other key applications and technical support that was non-existent, they made the switch to Universal Type Server.
We sat down with Michael Shavalier, Director of Creative Operations at SANDOW to get a deeper look into his experiences with font management.
To hear more of Michael’s story live along with best practices he used to prepare and implement a font management solution, sign up for our webcast on Wednesday, September 14 at 10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern.
Extensis: Can you tell us a little about your role as Director of Creative Operations?
Michael: When people ask that I tell them that I’m a former creative director, which evolved into a creative operations role. I don’t design too much anymore. In my life before SANDOW, I worked for the Village Voice’s corporate entity as their design director. I gained lot of experience there with managing art departments and production work flows across the country in 15 locations. So, I had some creative operations experience with setting things up for a lot of users, across remote locations, and adding governance and things like that.
As SANDOW evolved, they brought in a Chief Operating Officer that was looking at everything and trying to combine it into more of a universal workflow where we could gain greater efficiencies. My role at SANDOW naturally evolved as well from being involved strictly with the creative and design teams to where I now I report to our COO. I’m in charge of “creative operations,” but I have a lot of things that involve just straight up operations now.
Extensis: Why are fonts and managing them so important to SANDOW?
Michael: Being a publishing and media company with magazines and websites that span the globe, fonts are a key component to our business. Brand consistency and license compliance are at the top of the list where fonts are concerned.
Each brand has its own fonts, which they should be able to manage. Even though the brands are well separated, there’s a lot of synergy and cross-pollination between brands. There are separate design groups, but at the same time there is some overlap.
One of the biggest problems our designers had is when they were asked to do something across brands. They had to load the other brand’s version of the font, and may have conflicted with other fonts on their system. Sometimes they had to spend a good deal of time trying to work through the glitches of having font conflicts which wasn’t productive or efficient. Now, with a centralized system that manages our fonts, we’re able to identify the font right away and make sure everyone is using the same version. It’s one less thing for everyone to manage. We now know across all brands which font is needed, where it is, or where it should come from and if we’ve got enough licenses. I don’t see many emails anymore saying “this brand is using this weird font, and I don’t know where to get it from”.
Designers and art directors are half of our font users with an understanding and familiarity with font management. The other half are editors, brand leads and such. Typically, the second group is where we’d find we had issues because they had the access to install fonts on their machine without the understanding that fonts are software requiring licenses to adhere to. For about eight years, it was pretty common for an advertiser to send in a font that somehow landed on one of our servers, and no one knew whether they could use it or not. It became time to think about licensing and the legal implications of using these fonts. Now, I can have a lead in each brand, usually a design director or art director, who manages the fonts for that brand by adding or taking them away. It’s allowed the non-design teams not to worry about fonts. They’re there for them.
We’ve done a couple of redesigns here in the last year. We made sure we bought enough font licenses for the brand. The nice thing is I could say, which I wasn’t able to before- when we had that redesign, the brand spent money on these expensive new fonts for their redesign purchasing the correct number of seats, and then was able to remove anyone else from being able to see or use them to maintain license compliance.
Extensis: What were the biggest challenges that lead you to implement a font manager?
Michael: As the company grew and became a little more corporate – taking on more and more smaller companies and brands – we had to integrate everyone. One of the problems we realized pretty quickly is, like so many startup companies, we had buckets of fonts. They were either on servers or people’s desktops, or you’d find 15 copies of the same font, or 30 copies of Helvetica but they weren’t the same. I’d venture to say we had tens of thousands of fonts. That’s including things people pulled offline from free font sites, or got on discs or from the different brands. If some designer was asked to put a cowboy style ad together and they grabbed a Giddyup, it ended up on our server, along with whatever else they grabbed at that time. Any designer here, could just get what they needed and move it somewhere because it wasn’t really locked down.
It was really causing a lot of havoc with the design teams, and it was also causing concerns about compliance.
Extensis: Why did you choose Universal Type Server as your font manager?
Michael: The font manager we had been using previously fell short in critical areas, in particular control in setting up users and groups, serving out fonts to them and in addition lack of technical support. Universal Type Server has given us the control we need and has excellent technical support.
Extensis: What are some of the features that are most critical for SANDOW?
Michael: We have a lot of remote editors in different parts of the country. A big feature for us is the ability to provide remote access to our Universal Type Server so editors can synchronize and manage fonts locally lessening the traffic load to our network. The Universal Type Client synchronizes with the Server automatically so an IT person doesn’t have to remotely access each system. This makes the process extremely efficient and saves hours of valuable IT resources.
Managing users in Universal Type Server is easy. With the way the admin console is set up, and by allowing us to tie it to Active Directory; it’s easy for our users to login with the same credentials they use for everything else. While I’m not doing full group mappings, because our security groups are a little different, using Active Directory does allow me to see any new users in the system, and to pull them through.
So more efficient access overall, and less taxing on our system, because we don’t have a bunch of people logging into the VPN to get their fonts.
Extensis: Where are you today with fully implementing font management at SANDOW?
Michael: Our first phase was basically to replace the other font manager for every user that was on it. We’re replacing it all now and we’re pretty close to being done. That would be at least three of our main brand groups.
Extensis: Looking a bit into the future, what are your next steps?
Michael: The next phase is going to be adding additional groups and users that weren’t using the other font management software, they are literally using folders of fonts. Our goal is to get Universal Type Server Clients installed across all brands. I’ve actually already built out a system to support the new users.
I have a feeling the next part of the project will be doing a lot of licensing and auditing. Utilizing the reporting features in Universal Type Server will help us sort that all out.
Extensis: Any parting advice for someone who needs to solve their font management challenges?
Michael: I’d carve out time to set it up for success on both the technical level and the user adoption level. There may be pain points in figuring some things out but it can be simple. I think a lot of companies, if they thought they had to go all in at the beginning, it would be too daunting. I realized early on in the project, it doesn’t have to be all in at the beginning. It’s been an ongoing project.
Extensis: Michael, thank you for your time and sharing your story with us.
Finding fresh fonts—an endless effort
If you’re a designer and you’re reading this blog, chances are you love typography and fresh new fonts. If you’re like me, you call out fonts you like and dislike in everyday use for your loved ones (They love this, trust me… just ask my wife). You bookmark good “new free fonts” lists. You hoard way too many on your hard drive.
April 4th, 2014 by Jim Kidwell
If your team relies upon fonts, you can easily build a collection of hundreds or thousands of them. Licensing, distributing and managing all of these files across many computers and team members can turn into quite a daunting process.
To help get you up to speed, we’re putting together a free one day font management symposium of industry experts from VSA Partners, Publications International, Schawk, and Frank Martinez Esq.—the premier legal authority on fonts and intellectual property.
- Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
- 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (includes hosted lunch)
- University Center – Chicago
- Attendance and lunch are FREE.
Unfortunately space is limited, so please reserve your space today.
Want to see the new features of the Suitcase Fusion 5 font manager in action? Check out one of our upcoming webcasts.
North American Webcast
- Thursday, July 25, 2013 11:00 am Pacific / 2:00 pm Eastern
- Register for the North American webcast
- Tuesday, 30 July 2013 11:00 GMT Summer Time
- Register for the European webcast
In the webcast you will learn
- Adobe® Creative Cloud™ Support through new font auto-activation plug-ins and font panels for InDesign®, Illustrator® and Photoshop®.
- QuickComp™ gives you access to a library of prototyping templates for quickly testing fonts together in live, real-world designs. Test and match fonts before event starting your creative work.
- Windows® 8 and Mac OS X Support – Be ready for your next machine or OS upgrade with Suitcase Fusion 5.
- Upgraded QuickMatch™ – Find similar fonts even faster with the tool that defined similar font searches, QuickMatch.
- Expanded Web Fonts – explore the possibilities for your next web project with access to over 6500+ web fonts within Suitcase Fusion 5.
At the end of the presentation, we will be available for a live Q&A.
Suitcase Fusion 5 brings new font management tools to your desktop. Watch this short video to see how a font manager can help your creative workflow.
July 9th, 2013 by Jim Kidwell
We’re happy to announce that today we released a new version of our flagship font manager, Suitcase Fusion 5.
You know that every professional font manager should deliver the basics: spectacular previews, powerful search tools, and efficient font organization. Suitcase Fusion™ 5 covers the basics and goes beyond to integrate effective font management at every part of a your creative process.
What’s new in Suitcase Fusion 5?
Don’t have time to watch the video? The highlights of Suitcase Fusion 5 include:
Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite
Suitcase Fusion 5 includes brand new font auto-activation plug-ins for the newly released Adobe® Creative Cloud®. Proudly the first plug-ins on the market, the plug-ins also feature in-application font panels for instant access to your font library and sets, cross-platform feature parity. If you’re taking full advantage of the two machine license available for Creative Cloud, Suitcase Fusion 5 can now also be used on more than one machine as well.
Prototype with Fonts and Pair Typefaces
Experiment with headline & body copy pairings side-by-side without activating the entire font library. Say goodbye to switching back and forth and versioning your sample documents repeatedly. Quickly create sample mock-ups, save font selections to a set, print specimen sheets, or save as PDF proofs for sharing. That’s QuickComp. More templates will be released with future updates – all based on your feedback.
THE Tool for Designing with Web Fonts
Integrated with web font services, the in-app font panel puts more than 6500 web fonts at the your fingertips. Why would one design for the web with different fonts than they will actually USE on the web? That’s crazy talk.
Full list of What’s New
See the What’s New page for complete details about what’s included in Suitcase Fusion 5.
Post also available en français and auf Deutsch after the jump.