The Extensis Community Blog
David Berlow entered the type industry in 1978. As a co-founder (with Roger Black) of The Font Bureau, David has developed more than 300 new and revised type designs for The Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and many companies. He is a member of the Type Directors Club, and of the Association Typographique International. We’re so glad he agreed to participate in an especially short but sweet installment of our mini-interview series, 4 Questions 4.
1. How did you get into the business of type design?
I graduated college as a commercial artist in 1977 with a bachelor of science in art from a school that only taught fine arts. I moved to NYC and looked for a job in advertising and magazines. That lifestyle didn’t seem to fit, but when offered a job “drawing letters” at the Mergenthaler Linotype Company, that fit.
2. What fonts or type design trends are you loving these days?
All, and none. I’m not a picker. As a tool maker, I love what I’m making for others to use, and when I let it go, I love the next one. Loving the ones in the field (fonts), or what people do with them, (design trends), are for others to hash out while I look for the next ones.
3. Which of your designs are you most proud of, and why?
All… and none, following the last answer.
4. Describe your dream project.
Pride comes to my work when a user employs one of my fonts in the recommended range of sizes for that font, with other styles of that and other font families properly used for other sizes, weights, and widths, to form good typography. When the font is both apt for the purpose and adeptly used in reading, navigation or identity, I swell, quietly.
Want to learn more about the newest type trends? Download our Type Trends Survey Report and get in the know. You’ll learn the latest and greatest typographic trends that other creative professionals are using to design their masterpieces:
Top Three Ways to Build Your Team’s Font Collection
Earlier this year, I wrote an article titled “Top Places to Build Out Your Font Collection.” The article is relevant for graphic designers, as well as IT professionals, creative directors, and others in various organizations who want secure ways to build a font collection. Some fonts are marketed as “free fonts” or “open source fonts.” Do you know if these fonts are OK to use within your organization? Is purchasing fonts from a type foundry the only secure path to take? Find out in this way-back, blog reprise. Enjoy!
Typography experts estimate that there are more than 300,000 fonts in existence, and more emerging from designer’s workshops every day.
We explored MyFonts to get one example and a bit of a perspective on this number. The results blew us away. On that one site alone, you can find:
31,000 font families
4,000 individual type designers
2,000 professional font foundries*
*Numbers procured from this page.
…that’s quite a bit more than a drop down menu can hold. How many fonts are in your organization’s font collection? Is your team getting the most out of your library?
As the number of free fonts and type options ever-inflates, so does the time invested in curating your team’s collection. “Every good designer doesn’t use more than a few typefaces.” Have you heard this conviction from celebrated designer Massimo Vignelli? So, we suggest that before you skim through our list of hunting grounds for new, fun fonts, get a hold of your unruly tangle of fonts by exploring the Top Three Ways to Manage Your Team’s Font Collection including managing free fonts.
1. Free Fonts: Behance, Creative Market, Dribble & Google Fonts (Free Fonts? Wha?)
Some organizations might be apprehensive to use free fronts. However, these are some great places to see what creative people are experimenting with. You probably won’t find full-fledged font families, but you will find some fun display type. These free font sites could give your organization some new, fun, creative ideas and your designer a creative boost.
There is an extensive list of curated free font collections on Behance, each with juicy creations, new and old. With discoverable gems from an array of designers of all levels and geography, it’s an excellent place to find new ideas in type. Creative Market features over 7,000 fonts from independent creators and handpicks fonts for you based on your tastes. That’s a win-win. Also, if free is more of your price point, check out this Curated Collection of the 30 Best Google Fonts.
2. Type Libraries
One way to build your collection quickly is to license an entire library. There are many to choose from: Adobe, Ascender, Linotype.com, Bitstream, Monotype ITC, and many more offer up the option to license full libraries.
While it might not be a readily known fact, Monotype has steadily been purchasing many of the historical font libraries from around the globe. Monotype now owns Fonts.com, FontShop.com, Linotype.com, Monotype.com, MyFonts.com and more.
3. Independent Foundries
Independent type foundries, often operated by the type designers themselves, offer some real typographic gems. Typewolf brushed together a list of his 24 favorite independent type foundries after the Monotype-FontShop merger. It’s still highly relevant.
Some of the highlights include:
• The Midwesterner Mark Simonson that gifted the type world with Proxima Nova
• exljbris Font Foundry that bequeathed upon us the highly appealing, highly practical Museo Slab.
• Grilli Type, the Swiss foundry whose GT Walsheim booms at us with impressive authority
• Dalton Maag, the foundry from the early 90s whose international savviness easily translates to sleek versatility
• Renound type designer Tobias Frere-Jones is also now selling fonts directly as well.
Skim though the image below for more shoutouts to greats like Lineto, Type Together, Type Trust, Hoefler & Co. and more.
Admit it: after simply scrolling through this list, you’re ready to download a wave of new fonts to onto your computer. Before doing so, read our free Font Management Best Practices Guide. You’ll learn effective ways to manage your organization’s font collection, avoid font copyright lawsuits, and enable your team’s creativity.
Where are your favorite places to build and maintain your font collection? Tell us on Twitter @extensis.
Part Four of Creating a Brand Style Guide
The Creating a Brand Style Guide Series is written by Pariah Burke, consultant and trainer for creative, publishing, and editorial professionals.
- Part One: “Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide.”
- Part Two: “Defining and Creating Your Logo Uses”
- Part Three: Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media
Design is how you look. Type is how you sound. The tone of voice used by your type is your brand’s fonts. They need to be carefully selected, faithfully synchronized, and rigorously protected as the licensed intellectual property they are.
In the previous installment, Part 3: “Establishing Consistent Brand Colors Across Media,” we discussed the importance of color as a brand asset and identifier. You learned how to start off selecting brand colors for matching rendering in all media, using print colors as the foundation. With print-ready colors in hand, you then converted them to screen-ready RGB and ultimately hex color codes for Web- and mobile-applications. Your brand colors defined, you then learned to communicate the values and formulas of those colors, and their roles within the brand, via your organization’s brand style guide.
Fonts Give Your Brand a Tone of Voice
I’ve been quoted as having said: “People respond more to how you look and sound than to what you actually say. Design is how you look; type is how you sound.” The last statement is an axiom to keep in mind as you consider the typefaces—fonts—that represent your brand. Another aphorism I’m found of is “a typeface is the tone of voice in which the mind’s ear hears your written message.” Printed text is how your brand is represented when you aren’t there to speak for it. The fonts you use to set that text provide the tone and emotional context for your printed words. As the brand manager, you should be as meticulous in choosing and controlling the fonts used to represent your brand as the colors and imagery.
Commission a Custom Font
To truly make your brand unique you can commission a custom font. A bespoke typeface would be yours and yours alone, giving your brand a unique voice. If the idea sounds far-fetched, it isn’t; it’s quite common. Adobe, British Airways, Buccellati, Domino’s, Dwell Magazine, General Electric, HarperCollins, News Corp., Sony, Southwest Airlines, and Zazzle are just a few companies who wanted signature fonts that were genuinely signature—unique and designed to the brand. Even humble Times New Roman, the ubiquitous typeface pre-installed on every computer since 1992, was a custom font commissioned in 1931 to give its purchaser, the London newspaper, The Times, an exclusive and highly readable typeface.
Extensis Volunteers at the Oregon Food Bank
Hold on to your hair nets – 26 employees from Extensis gathered today for to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank, and we couldn’t be more honored to be sending out 9,445 meals into our community!
Extensis is a huge proponent of community service, offering employees paid time off for volunteering. Each year, Extensis gathers a team to work together at the Oregon Food Bank and this year was our biggest crew yet (including our entire management team!)
How Do You Like Them Apples?
Today’s mission involved sorting the good from the bad, ensuring only the best apples were packaged up to send off to families across Oregon. We took several 1,000 pound crates of apples and bundled them into individual mesh bags. At the end of the shift the scales reported we’d sorted 11,334 pounds… that’s a lot of apples!
Thank you to the Oregon Food Bank for having us and thank you to those unheralded volunteers who help make Oregon special. Let’s all remember how blessed we are and be sure to give back more often.
For more information on the Oregon Food Bank, please visit www.oregonfoodbank.org
Last year, after we published this article, we learned that “finding the right cursive font” is a popular topic. So, we decided to publish this post again. Enjoy!
The Perfect Cursive for Your Perfect Project
Say you’ve got a project that calls for a font that’s elegant and fancy (wedding invitation, perhaps) but you can’t find any exciting, new options in your Microsoft Word library (apologies to overused workhorses like Brush Script and Monotype Corsiva).
No need to panic—as Agent Mulder might say, “The truth is out there.”
Pictured: Helvetica Neue Condensed Light, definitely NOT a cursive typeface. But I digress…
Cursive fonts (also known as script, calligraphy, or handwritten fonts) are readily available online for download. Here are some useful resources to help you find the right font for your design (and bolster your tired collection of Word options):
Kerry Hughes at Creative Bloq lists the 20 Best Free Cursive Fonts that are “free to use commercially, not just on personal projects.”
Pictured: Debby typeface, “works well for greeting cards” according to Hughes
Font Squirrel provides some Help Installing Fonts for Windows and Mac with instructions and video tutorials for desktop and web fonts.
Microsoft has some tips on how to Troubleshoot Font Problems in Microsoft Word and also created a quick and easy way to find out which fonts come installed with various Windows products that lets you sort by product or font name.
Nicole Martinez of eHow presents Common Cursive Fonts for Mac and PC.
Pictured: Edwardian Script, available on every version of Word
You might be interested in a previous blog post we did about how to choose the right cursive font that discusses the history of cursive fonts and why they’re so effective as a storytelling device.
Creative Bloq also did a comprehensive list of best places to find open source fonts that’s pretty useful but not specifically for Word so you might need to do some parsing.
Hopefully this helps you discover some exciting new typeface options for your special event. Or at the very least, gives you some alternatives to the ubiquitous options you see every day.
Happy hunting, type nerds! Enjoy your tour of the world’s finest pangrams, including my personal favorite, “Turgid saxophones blew over Mick’s jazzy quaff.”
Want to know more about cursive? Check out our post about vintage typography in classic automobiles.
For more information on the latest font trends, take a look at our Type Trends Survey Report:
Quark recently released QuarkXPress 2017. We know that many of Extensis customers rely upon QuarkXPress for your publishing needs.
The following is the Extensis support plan for QuarkXPress 2017.
The current version of Suitcase Fusion 7 is now compatible with with QuarkXPress 2017.
Download the new installer from the Suitcase Fusion 7 Support Page.
Run the installer and then use the Plug-in Manager to enable the new XTension. On macOS choose Suitcase Fusion > Manage Plug-ins, or on Windows choose Tools > Manage Plug-ins.
The current version of Universal Type Client 6 is now compatible with QuarkXPress 2017.
Download the Type Client installer from the Universal Type Server 6 Support Page.
Run the installer on the client machines to install the new XTension.
It was recently reported that free font site DaFont.com was hacked.
Hackers gained access to almost 700,000 usernames, passwords, forum posts and private messages.
The site hosts a very large collection of free fonts. While some of these are original creations, there are some fonts where an unscrupulous person has slightly modified, renamed, or outright pirated professional, paid fonts and uploaded as their own creation.
Using fonts that have unknown origins like the second case poses a real risk to any professional designer. If discovered in use, the type foundry who created the original work can go after the designer for use of unlicensed fonts. This can cause embarrassment for you, your clients, and even lead to legal entanglements.
Extensis recommends only working with legitimate type foundries and retailers who are creating and distributing fonts for sale.
If you choose to work with “free” fonts, be sure that your fonts are coming from a reputable distributor, such as Google Fonts, or directly download fonts from the type foundry itself. For example, many foundries like FontFabric give away some weights of their font collection for free use.
Of course, you will always want to consult the End User License Agreement (EULA) to ensure that your intended use is covered. For example, many “free” fonts are free for personal use only, and if the intended use is commercial, you will be required to purchase a separate license. If you’re in doubt about usage restrictions, contact the foundry to clarify.
When you are managing your font collection, we highly recommend that you track your purchases, and ensure that the right number of licenses are purchased for your intended use.
Extensis font managers can help you track your collection, usage and ensure that fonts are properly distributed to your entire team. Take one of our font managers out for a spin and see for yourself with a free trial:
- Universal Type Server – for teams that want efficient font distribution, synchronization and complete font license management compliance and control, provided by an on-premise server.
- Suitcase TeamSync – for small teams that need fast font distribution through a cloud-based font server.
- Suitcase Fusion – font single users who want to manage fonts on up to two machines.
Why You Need a Media-Comprehensive Brand Style Guide
Today we introduce a new topic and new guest author to the Extensis blog. We’ve invited Pariah Burke (http://iampariah.com Twitter: @iampariah) to speak about the creation of Branding Style Guides. Pariah is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and the author of numerous books, video courses, and articles covering InDesign, InCopy, Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, typography, asset management, epublishing, and the business of design. He is an Adobe Community Professional, an Evernote Certified Consultant, and an advisor to Adobe and other companies. We’re happy to have him join us, and now on to the good stuff!
Who Should Read This
Creating a Brand Style Guide is a 6-part series of articles that speaks directly to business owners, brand managers, and graphic designers, in-house or external, who create and work with brands, whether their own or clients’. This series is about understanding the importance of various brand communication elements, solidifying the desired uses of those elements and all interactions the brand will have with any entity, and learning strategies to set down clear, concise rules to ensure control and consistency of brand element usage and every visual representation of the brand across all media. For entrepreneurs, freelancers, and brand managers, the utility of such a series is in understanding what makes up the brands they own and manage, and in establishing their control over brand usage for consistent communications and interactions with the brand that are always on-message. Designers, advertising personnel, and intellectual property workers often create brand elements, and define rules for the usage of those elements, on behalf of their clients. For these individuals, the Creating a Brand Style Guide series provides help in building fuller, richer brand style guides, establishing brand asset distribution systems, and strategies—and a template—to fix brand usage rules and guidelines in a clear, easily distributable form.
What Does Brand Actually Mean?
Before we talk about anything else, let’s define the word “brand.”
There are many conflicting laymen’s definitions you’ll find for the word “brand,” many seeking to limit the idea of branding to specific representative elements. Some people define brand as rancher’s do, as the logo seared onto their business card, website, Twitter avatar, and the remainder of their herd of assets. But that’s not your brand; that’s your logo. Even if you are a livestock rancher, the business definition of your brand is far more than merely your logo, whether that logo is on the end of an iron pole or printed on the side of pens you give away at conventions. Your brand is also the iron pole itself, and the arm and cowboy wielding it; it’s the manner, place, and time in which your livestock is seen—on your ranch, where you control the interactions with your brand, and out in the wild, when a rider comes upon a steer bearing your logo when you aren’t around to put that logo or even the cow into context. Your brand is everything about your company, everything visual and visceral. It’s the look and feel of your company to other people.
Let that last sentence sink in. Your brand is “the look and feel of your company to other people.”
Continue Reading »
May 11th, 2017 by Jim Kidwell
Font expert, Jim Kidwell, rolls the dice along the famous Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas!
Last week I was fortunate enough to attend a new conference for Extensis, IAITAM ACE. This conference covered everything from managing the hardware of workstations in worldwide organizations to the license compliance management of fonts across teams.
The session that I presented covered the risks that fonts introduce into organizations who aren’t properly managing and tracking their font licenses. If you weren’t able to attend, or missed the session, you are welcome to check out the slides from the presentation.
While I was in the Las Vegas area, I would have been very sad if I didn’t make a trek to the Neon Museum and most importantly, the Neon Boneyard. As a typography nerd and sign enthusiast, it’s been on my list ever since it opened.
If you are able to make it to Vegas, I highly recommend scheduling a visit. In the meantime, I’m happy to share a few of my pictures as a bit of enticement. Definitely worth a visit, don’t you think?
Do you want some more font entertainment? Check out our interview with type designer Mark Simonson. He discusses his type design expertise and why he loves what he does.
Tags: font compliance
Comic Sans: The Problem, The Solution, The Alternatives
Vincent Connare was trying to fix a communication problem: He was working on a computer program called Microsoft Bob that was intended to appeal to children—but the Times New Roman typeface being used in the word balloons felt too serious for the unsophisticated, cartoony artwork. He needed something more whimsical and silly to make the design feel coherent.
Connare created a brand new typeface (based on the lettering style of his favorite comic books) that he felt would be more appropriate for the target demographic.
And that’s how Comic Sans was born! To achieve visual unity, to properly convey the right feeling to the right audience. (Oh, the irony…)
Comic Sans quickly became popular with educators and parents as the go-to typeface for everything kid-friendly.
That was 1994. Fast-forward to 2016 and no typeface has been used more frequently to convey the wrong message to the wrong audience than Comic Sans.
Learn more about the latest trends in typography. Check out our Type Trends Survey Report. You’ll learn all about what’s hot and what’s not straight from graphic designers and art directors from around the globe.
You’re probably heard of the EPIC DESIGN FAILS. Comic Sans at the Dutch war memorial. Comic Sans on printed materials giving advice to rape victims. The salty Comic Sans letter that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote when LeBron James decided to leave Cleveland in 2010.
TragiComic Sans, indeed.
The internet went meme crazy with snarky delight. Artists everywhere created intentionally crappy designs with Comic Sans as the centerpiece. The much-maligned typeface (“most hated” by countless surveys) became such a punchline that eventually designers banded together to speak out against it, some even (semi-seriously) calling for its demise.
Here’s a witty excerpt from the BanComicSans Manifesto:
“Like the tone of a spoken voice, the characteristics of a typeface convey meaning. The design of the typeface is, in itself, its voice. Often this voice speaks louder than the text itself. Thus when designing a “Do Not Enter” sign the use of a heavy-stroked, attention-commanding font such as Impact or Arial Black is appropriate. Typesetting such a message in Comic Sans would be ludicrous. Though this is sort of misuse is frequent, it is unjustified. Clearly, Comic Sans as a voice conveys silliness, childish naivete, irreverence, and is far too casual for such a purpose. It is analogous to showing up for a black tie event in a clown costume.”
So naturally there was a rebuttal from “defenders of Comic Sans” who imagined an entire Comic Sans world because “Helvetica is so 2011.”
It’s really fun to ridicule Comic Sans. We’ve all done it. But if you’re designing some artwork for a very casual event—a kid’s birthday party, school function, or lemonade stand—you might be considering Comic Sans. Or wondering where to find alternatives to Comic Sans that won’t incur the wrath of your judgmental designer buddies. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our friends at Identifont, Fontspring, Typewolf, and MyFonts recommended several similar typefaces to help you broaden your design palette:
Lexia (or Lexie) Readable
Lexia was designed by Ron Carpenter in 2007 as an alternative to Comic Sans that had maximum legibility and clarity but without the comic book associations. The non-symmetrical letter forms are widely believed to assist dyslexic readers, though no official proof of this exists.
Designed by James Greishaber in 2011, this “low contrast, semi-geometric typeface” is a suitable Comic Sans replacement that works well for medium-large text sizes.
Craig Rozynski designed Comic Neue in 2014 specifically to be a modern, more refined version of Comic Sans.
“Comic Neue aspires to be the casual script choice for everyone, including the typographically savvy. The squashed, wonky, and weird glyphs of CS have been beaten into shape while mantaining the honesty that made CS so popular.” -from ComicNeue.com
I hope these suggestions are useful in making your design elements feel more connected and complete. There’s a time and a place to be silly…and you need to be armed with the right typefaces to make sure that nobody takes those moments too seriously.
Vincent Connare didn’t create Comic Sans to be the laughingstock of the industry. He was simply ensuring that the message of his work wasn’t being lost because of a disconnect between visual and text. FWIW he also designed Trebuchet and Magpie and has a reputation as an excellent graphic communicator.
Looking for alternatives to Helvetica next? Check out my previous post here.
Want to learn more about Type Trends? Check out what’s hot and what’s not in our Type Trends Survey Report. You’ll learn all about the latest trends in typography.
Tags: Comic Sans