News: Tagged as FF Dingbats 2.0

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?

Type is typically one-color. Of course, after it’s set, a user can manipulate letters with a texture or a gradient; but out of the box, a font is usually capable of a single color. This is where layer fonts change the game. With glyphs that are designed to be overlaid on top of each other, layer fonts make it easy to apply multiple colors and other effects without extra steps or leaving the comfort of your typesetting or layout app.


Layer_Hero_FF_Identification

 

Multi-layered type is not a new concept. “Chromatic” wood fonts for printing large headlines in two or more colors were common way back in the mid-1800s. Polychromatic type continued to be readily available in the photocompositing era when graphic designers sent their text to specialized typesetters to do the precision work required to line up the layers. When digital type took over, there was a noticeable lull in layered type. There were few chromatic fonts available, and making them work was now the complicated and tedious task of the designer who was suddenly given the additional role of typesetter.

But now, thanks to new typefaces (and rediscovering some old ones), better software, and time-saving tricks made possible by OpenType, chromatic type is back! Just a casual glance at graphic design blogs or Pinterest boards is enough to see that layer fonts are in fashion again.

There are plenty of interesting and useful multi-layer typefaces in the FontFont library — it may surprise you to learn we have more than 50 families with layering capabilities (even some Free FontFonts like FF Pullman and FF Koko) — but they are often overlooked because online samplers are optimized for standard, single-layer type. So let’s take a closer, multicolor look at a few and see what they can do.

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Make things pretty.

The most obvious use of type layers is to add decorative elements in multiple hues. A variety of FontFonts take advantage of layers to enhance their display qualities, from playful to grungy. Here are a few:

Layer FontFonts 
FF Beadmap, FF Minimum, FF Letterine, and FF Flava demonstrate the coloring possibilities of FontFonts with layers.

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Add depth and dimension.

FF Profile Layers 

One of the more powerful benefits of layers is transforming type from an element that simply sits on a surface to one that has a three-dimensional shape of its own. A single layer font with built-in shadows or faceting can only go so far in simulating depth. With a layer FontFont like FF Primary you can use color to give each surface an appropriate shade, making the type pop off the page or recede into stone. Over at the FontShop blog, David Sudweeks wrote a good tutorial on using FF Primary (and most other layer fonts).

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Add realism. 

FF Kipp Layers

FF Kipp, inspired by a worn set of wood type, is one of the most popular typefaces with a rough, weathered contour. Still, users often overlook its layer variations which can make it an even more convincing emulation of imperfectly printed or painted letters. The extra fonts in the set offer a variety of degradation when overlaid over the base fonts. These extras can also be colored slightly different than the bottom layer resulting in an uneven, painterly effect.

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Give text meaning.

FF MisterK Features

Layers aren’t only useful for visual appeal. Among the many smart tricks in FF Mister K are scribble, strikeout, and underline features that can enhance the meaning of text all while staying true to the informal handwritten aesthetic of the typeface. The OpenType-powered annotations are easy to apply, work with words of various lengths, and of course offer the ability to easily adjust coloring. Read more about how to use FF Mister K’s special effects in this info guide.

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Clarify text.

FF Jigger Overlays

One of the graphic designer’s often encountered but seldom discussed challenges is overlaying readable type on a photograph or video. This is particularly tricky when the background has varying values of light and dark. Common hacks include drop shadows and strips of color, but it’s often more engaging when the element backing the type is in harmony with the typeface. This is where FF Jigger shines. Because there are separate fonts for front and back, each can be colored independently. And because it’s type, changes to content or color are easy to make.

What Can Layer FontFonts Do?
Simplify iconography. 

FF Dingbats2 layering

Maps, infographics, UI design, and wayfinding systems ask a lot of iconography. To get the work done efficiently, icons must be easy to apply, easy to edit, and easy to change. That’s why working with symbol fonts makes so much sense. FF Netto Icons and FF Dingbats 2.0 offer frames and backgrounds to enable icon customization. Because these icon and border elements are separate characters they can each be colored separately. In FF Netto, key in the desired frame, apply its color, then key in an icon to align it perfectly inside the frame. FF Dingbats 2.0 uses an OpenType-powered layering feature to allow coloring of multiple elements in each pictogram without switching fonts (see above). Read more about this and the packages other features at the official FF Dingbats 2.0 site.

Using Layer FontFonts on the Web

You don’t need to limit your layer typography to print and images. Our friends at Typekit have written a simple CSS tutorial on using layer fonts in web design. For his article, Tim Brown demonstrates a chromatic typeface revived from the wood type era, but the technique will work with Web FontFonts like FF Prater Block, FF Advert Rough and parts of FF ThreeSix too.

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Goodbye 70s: Free Erler Dingbats Unicode font released

The first Dingbats collection all writers and social media typists waited for is finally introduced, with contemporary symbols that follow a common graphical language: Erler Dingbats. The best of all, it’s free.

Erler Dingbats  is a complete, contemporary quality font that covers the full encoding range for dingbats (U+2700—U+27BF) for the first time in the entire history of standard Unicode.

Erler Dingbats vs Standard Dingbats
Outdated and often mismatched symbols in the standard dingbats font (blue) compared to their up-to-date contemporary and style-consistent versions in Erler Dingbats (red).

To help support and encourage the use of the unicode standard, publisher FontShop International is giving away the Erler Dingbats completely free of charge. Erler Dingbats were created for everyday communication purposes, including a wide range of popular symbols and pictograms such as arrows, pens, phones, stars, crosses and checkmarks, plus 3 sets of cameo figures on round backgrounds. Unlike other dingbats fonts which often contain a ragtag bunch of symbols in mismatched styles, the Erler Dingbats harmonize elegantly because the drawings all adhere to a common visual language which makes them the perfect choice as the new standard for communication symbols.

Erler Dingbats is a spin-off of the distinguished FF Dingbats 2.0 family, and was designed as a special collaboration between designers Johannes Erler and Henning Skibbe. “For years I’ve been bored by the ubiquitous OS-Dingbats fonts and so I decided to design my own, based on my FF Dingbats. I’ve been using a beta version for several months and all my friends want them, too. So, I had the idea to give them away for free”, says Johannes Erler.

As more and more social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) are rapidly surging towards the use of Unicode, now is exactly the right time to provide this elegant, versatile set of modern communication symbols for use in tweets and status messages. FontShop International invites not only private users, but also OS developers, to include the Erler Dingbats in their font collection.

Erler Dingbats can be viewed and downloaded on http://www.ffdingbatsfont.com/

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New release: FF48

BERLIN, GERMANY, April 2009 — FSI FontShop International announced the latest additions to its award-winning FontFont® typeface library.

The new FontFonts

FF Dingbats 2.0 OT — The original FF Dingbats font package was designed in 1993 when there was no other symbol font available except Zapf Dingbats. The FF Dingbats package was the first with some 800 symbols and icons from the world of modern communication: faxes, ISDN, disks, keyboards … all absolutely usable. But over the following years times have been changing and quite a lot of pictograms for office communication are no longer needed – no-one uses floppy disks nowadays – or simply changed their appearance, so Johannes Erler and Henning Skibbe started a complete redesign two years ago.

FF Dingbats 2.0 OT

All pictograms have now been revised and adjusted according to the current stylistic vocabulary. Arrow and number fonts have been reworked and extended as well. All symbols have been sorted into clear categories, and the font “Strong Forms” includes the most needed symbols in a bolder version. Besides this, many symbols can be layered and coloured via an easy-to-use layering feature (see FF Dingbats 2.0 info guide PDF). All this makes FF Dingbats 2.0 a state-of-the-art font package again and probably the largest collection of contemporary symbols and icons for office communication.

FF Milo® was started in 2000 with the goal of a compact typeface with very low ascenders and descenders. Because of its compact design FF Milo is a workhorse typeface suitable for magazine and newspaper typography. It has modern bones with a touch of detail for distinction (especially in the italics). The name Milo is from a resilient grain and that's why the designer chose this name for the typeface. He wanted it to be a basic usable font like corn or grain is to any culture.

FF Milo Serif OT

With the help of Paul van der Laan for kerning, spacing and production, Michael Abbink developed FF Milo Serif as a companion to the Sans, but it is also perfectly suitable as a stand alone typeface or used together with any other sans serif typeface. Like FF Milo, FF Milo Serif is a text face with the utmost legibility, perfect for setting newspapers and magazine copy. Although rooted with historical attributes it is truly a contemporary face. FF Milo Serif comes with SC, TF, OSF, LF as well as a wealth of ligatures. Like the Sans, FF Milo Serif is also a resilient grain!

FF Seria Arabic

FF Seria® Arabic, originally called Sada, by designer Pascal Zoghbi, is an Arabic type companion to FF Seria, designed in the nineties by Martin Majoor. The Arabic type family was part of the Typographic Matchmaking 01 project organised by the Khatt Foundation. Echo, which means “Sada” in Arabic, is the repetition of a sound caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface. Accordingly, Sada/Seria Arabic is the echo of FF Seria. FF Seria Arabic is a young crispy type based on the Arabic Nasekh style. The Regular and Bold are text typefaces, the Light is both display and text type, while the Black is purely a display typeface.

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