News: Tagged as Graphic design

Best Collection FontFonts for Small Text

Think of small text, and often legalese, terms of use, credits, and tiny annoying instructions spring to mind. When working with the strict number of constraints that come with small text, it’s sometimes tricky to know where to start. So to help you weave your way through the world of small text, here are some tips and tricks and a roundup of our best Collection Tier FontFonts suitable for this slight but by no means insignificant intended use.

FF Bradlo Sans & FF Bradlo Slab

FF Bradlo

FF Elementa

FF Elementa

FF Schmalhans

FF Schmalhans

FF Plus Sans

FF Plus Sans

FF Sheriff

FF Sheriff

FF Parable

FF Parable

FF Roice

FF Roice

FF Instanter

FF Instanter

When it comes to small text, it’s the size of the letters within the available space that counts. To ensure optimal legibility simpler forms help. No parts of the text should disappear. Typefaces optimized for small sizes often have reduced stroke contrast; the thinner parts of the letters are almost as heavy as the thick bits. A high x-height can help, too – plus short ascenders and even shorter descenders. Letters themselves are often somewhat wider. If your typeface doesn’t already have generous letter spacing, add more tracking to your text!

It may be true that we read best what we read most. For years, much of the tiniest text appeared in dictionaries and newspaper classified ads; these were often set in serif faces. However, sans serifs perform well in this environment if they have large counters and open apertures – think about the traits in humanist sans types. Whatever typeface you pick, it should not be too fancy: small text leaves no room for detail.

Small text rarely appears alone – who wants to read a document where everything is tiny? Go for a selection that works well small, but also includes some contrast between its family’s weights: If you set some words in the middle of a line in bold, you won’t want this to go unnoticed to the reader. Think about how your selection combines stylistically with the larger type in the document, too.

Catch up on our previous intended use posts:

About our Collection Tier

Our Collection Tier FontFonts are a selection of cost-effective typographical treasures offered as full families. All packages are available in OpenType with Standard language support (with a few key exceptions) and are all affordably priced under €/$ 100 each.

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Best Collection FontFonts for festive occasions

For the past few months, we’ve brought together our favorite FontFonts from our Collection Tier and top tips for a particular intended use. With only a few days to go until we head off on our festive break, we couldn’t help but tackle the typographical heights of FontFonts suitable for festive occasions. So grab a mulled wine and a mince pie and feast your eyes on these festive fancies.

FF Quill

FF Quill

FF Danubia and FF Danubia Script

FF Danubia and FF Danubia Script

FF Nelio

FF Nelio

FF Elegie

FF Elegie

FF Letterine

FF Letterine

FF Eddie

FF Eddie

Showings and images by Angelo Stitz,
except FF Elegie: Image by Tobias Titz/
fStop (1009056)

 

Holidays and celebrations have a steady stock of traits to fall back on. These give you excellent opportunities to explore new script fonts, fat faces, or Old English types. Really, anything that looks traditional is likely to be a nice fit. You can also run wild with pastiche or kitsch – letters that look like they are made of candy canes, leaves, ribbons or snowflakes are fair game.

 

Type for festive occasions often takes the form of text to be looked at, rather than actually read. Don’t go the safe route and pick a face that looks too much like something for a book. Go ahead and let your type call attention to itself; there is no need to be too text-y.

 

Most important of all, be sure to pick something that feels cheerful; nothing brings down an invitation like a typeface that is too dreary or formal. Your fonts won’t be the only element of an upbeat design, either. Color will surely play a role, as will illustration or other imagery. Fonts with holiday ornaments can help in a pinch, too.

 

Catch up on our previous intended use posts:

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FF ThreeSix featured in Outcast Editions’ iPad architecture monographs

Bilgola House set in FF ThreeSix

One of our newest FontFonts is featured in a brand new interactive iPad book by Outcast Editions. Founded by photographer Richard Glover, architect Virginia McLeod and graphic designer Hamish Muir, Outcast Editions is an independent publishing company, who specialize in creating interactive digital books on contemporary architecture and design. Their latest book is the third in their series Detail in Contemporary Australian Architecture and gives a comprehensive overview of Bilgola House by Tzannes Associates and includes photographs, video, floor plans, sections and construction drawings. 

The house, located near Bilgola Beach on Sydney’s Northern Peninsula, has three bedrooms, a play room, office and swimming pool in addition to shared living, dining and kitchen areas. The house is constructed from concrete, glass, steel and timber. The architects, Tzannes Associates, received the Australian Institute of Architects’ highest award for outstanding residential architecture for Bilgola House in 2010. Bilgola House Book set in FF ThreeSix

The book is set in FF ThreeSix, a typeface designed by Paul McNeil and Hamish Muir and released as part of FF 60. FF ThreeSix is an experimental optical type system consisting of six typefaces in eight weights, including four additional monospaced weights. Working within the strict rules of geometry, MuirMcNeil Design Systems set out to generate simple typographic forms which emulate traditional type design principles, where a wide range of almost invisible compensatory optical tricks are used to create the illusion of evenness in the basic fabric of text. 

Used throughout the books and on the Outcast Editions website, FF ThreeSix really complements the beautiful photography and design. Bilgola House Book set in FF ThreeSix

To hear more about the story behind FF ThreeSix have a listen to our first ever Talking Types podcast, with Erik Spiekermann interviewing McNeil and Muir about FF ThreeSix.

Win an Outcast Editions book for iPad

You can get your hands on one of Outcast Editions architecture books for iPad. All you have to do is follow them on Twitter and RT their tweet about the competition – the giveaway ends Friday the 14th of December.

FF ThreeSix

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In-use: FF Kievit helps you get where you need to go

FF Kievit in use by Hofstede Design

The Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre – located outside Melbourne, Australia – implements Mike Abbink’s FF Kievit typeface family into its wayfinding and environmental graphics. Hofstede Design began work on the project in late 2006. A symbol incorporating two interlocking ‘E’s forms the central element in their flexible and wide-ranging brand identity program. We caught up with the studio to ask them a couple of questions about the project.

FF Kievit

How did you find working with the typefaces?

The brief was to develop an identity and signage system for a shopping centre on the outskirts of Melbourne. We were commissioned by the design manager who oversaw all aspects of the centre’s redevelopment. We chose FF Kievit because we needed a versatile typeface which could work both in printed material, and also on the signage component. FF Kievit has an ‘approachable’ feel, and we felt it provided just the right mix of legibility and individuality. I think there are some default choices for signage (e.g., Frutiger, Helvetica, etc), and we wanted to do something a little different as well.

On your website, you mention that you are first and foremost graphic designers. Indeed, your portfolio reflects a very considered and real approach to design. What drives your head and hand to keep your originality and inspiration flowing?

I have been working for over twenty years now. Finding inspiration and originality gets harder and harder. As a studio, we strive for individual solutions for our clients, but the reality is that nothing is truly original. We do our best.

FF Kievit and FF Info

FF Kievit is a warm, open sans serif typeface, designed by Mike Abbink and extended by Paul van der Laan. The initial work on the typeface began in 1995. After years of development, the family was first released in 2001. The letters’ proportions make the typeface ideal for use in signage systems. Like many classic faces in this category, designers have found over the years that these forms let in enough light to allow the typeface to work in small print sizes, too.

Some aspects of the Endeavour Hills Shopping Centre design system are set in another FontFont typeface with a signage pedigree of its own: FF Info. In the image above, the pictograms and the arrows come from the family’s symbol fonts FF Info Pict. These were originally designed for use in the airport at Düsseldorf, Germany.

FF Kievit and FF Info in use by Hofstede Design

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In-use: FF Unit in action at the Aviva Stadium

FF Unit

Aviva Stadium’s signage system is set in FontFont’s FF Unit typeface, designed by Erik Spiekermann and Christian Schwartz. Aviva Stadium hosts football and rugby matches, and is also a venue for concerts and other activities. Located in Dublin, Ireland, the stadium opened in 2010 and was designed by Populous in association with Scott Tallon Walker. The signage was designed by Populous Activate. We spoke with Alex Dale, a Senior Graphic Designer in their London office, to get more details about the project.

‘Before anything else, I wanted to use something that was inherently well-crafted’, Dale told us. ‘I wanted to avoid the safe signage choices, and select something a little more unusual and characterful. A unique building deserved a unique typeface. Overall, FF Unit lends itself to alphanumeric information systems – where numerals and letters are seen in isolation – for several reasons:

FF Unit in-use

‘The medium weight is the ideal boldness to reverse out of a dark background, while having all the other weights is useful for things like maps, where you need to communicate lots of different levels of information .

 

‘The default overall fit (or letterspacing) works ‘right out of the box’, in that it's relatively loose compared to some other fonts. A pet peeve of mine is typography on signage set too tight, or not attended to at all.

FF Unit Map 

‘The capitals are recognisable in isolation, which was really useful when it came to labelling the entrances. For instance, the ‘I’ has serifs top and bottom that disambiguate it from a ‘1’ or an ‘l’. Maybe not critical to the success of the system as a whole – people will find their door, eventually – but looking after these things communicates a broader concern for clarity and unambiguity. People pick up on these things and feel looked after.

 

‘The typeface includes gorgeous numerals, with tabular versions, which are ideal for setting number-heavy information. 

FF Unit

‘The alternate glyphs, which we used on the prohibited items signage, let us set nice big, heavy, imposing titles quite tightly, like a proper newspaper headline.

 

‘FF Unit has arrows for all the weights, built right in! A godsend for directional information.

 

‘The characters are fairly tall and narrow, which suited the tall, narrow proportions of the signs. We wanted to minimise the footprint of the signs themselves, because pedestrian space is always at a premium in these kind of environments, while still being readable from a good distance.’

FF Unit

FF Unit

FF Unit is the grown-up, no-nonsense sister of Spiekermann’s FF Meta typeface. FF Unit has been extended with two companion families: FF Unit Slab and FF Unit Rounded. Spiekermann himself is no stranger to signage systems. During the early-1990s, he designed the reunified Berlin’s transit system signage, which uses the FF Transit typeface. FF Info was created for a redesign at the airport in Düsseldorf.

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In-use: ElektroBIKE, powered by FF Milo and FF Milo Serif

ElektroBIKE

Fans of e-bikes are a growing and devoted group. A publication aimed at these readers presents an opportunity to implement a typeface with a unique voice. When ElektroBIKE – a new German magazine – launched in 2011, it choose FF Milo and FF Milo Serif for its audience.

FF Milo and FF Milo Serif

FF Milo Sans

The magazine’s art directors haven’t fallen back on stock trends with their typography (like ‘sans for headlines, serif for text’). While most of the body text of the magazine’s articles are set in FF Milo Serif, the sans serif FF Milo family is used for much of the additional editorial information. Many of the magazine’s headlines – including most of the very large ones – are also seriffed. Both of the FF Milo families are really more like cousins than separate designs. They are both text faces, too, especially the FF Milo Regular and FF Milo Serif Regular fonts. 

Since ElektroBIKE keeps its headlines ‘in the family’, their pages rely on the full range of FF Milo and FF Milo Serif fonts. Including 30 weights in all, these two families make use of true italics, instead of obliques. FF Milo Serif Extra Bold Italic and Black Italic are both used in particular to set many of the magazine’s more dynamic headlines. When these heavier fonts are used, the high contrast between the letters’ thick and thin strokes creates a great effect. FF Milo in ElektroBIKE

ElektroBIKE FF Milo in close up

Just like most text faces in the FontFont library, FF Milo and FF Milo Serif include numerous figure styles. In the article pictured above, FF Milo’s oldstyle figures are used not just to add structure a list, but to give it visual power, too.

Almost all of ElektroBIKE magazine relies on FF Milo and FF Milo Serif. Flipping through the magazine, you only consciously notice other typefaces when stumbling across advertisement pages. The magazine’s nameplate is in a different typeface: Monotype's Neo Tech. This choice sets it apart from the text and headlines, and perhaps was made because of the technical – or electronic – nature of the subject matter.

Ligatures in action FF Milo

FF Milo Serif ligatures

We were pleased to see how ElektroBIKE implemented FF Milo Serif’s typographic features, too. The typefaces include several discretionary ligatures that may be accessed through OpenType. In the images above, you can see c-k and s-t ligatures in the ‘Packliste’ headline (packing list, in German), as well as a t-i ligature in ‘Südtirol’ (South Tyrol). None of these ligatures are linguistic or typographic requirements, but art directors know what sort of accent they can lend to large text.

 FF Milo and FF Milo Serif

The award-winning FF Milo and FF Milo Serif typefaces were designed by Mike Abbink and Paul van der Laan. The FF Milo family includes nine weights, ranging from Thin to Black, while FF Milo Serif is available in six weights, from Regular to Black.

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On our reading list part two: Best Graphic Design Blogs

On our reading list
Image: Sven Hagolani (ƒStop 877.004)

In the second part of our series, ‘On Our Reading List’, here’s a quick round up of the blogs and websites that we read on a regular basis to quench our thirst for design inspiration.

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On our reading list: Best Typographic Blogs

On our reading list

Whether we’re on the lookout for typographical talent, on the hunt for international type trends or simply after a bit of bedtime reading; here’s a roundup of the type blogs that we like to read in the FontFont office. You can also check out our must read blogs and type links, which are listed on the right hand side.

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Web FontFont updates

Comp Fonts now included in Web FontFonts

Once again FontFont is leading the charge in webfont technology and making the lives of designers much easier! It’s now even simpler to integrate great typefaces like FF Meta Web, FF DIN Web, or the new FF Sero Web in all phases of website creation. We know that during the design process it may be necessary to create page layouts of the proposed design using applications that don’t support WOFF/EOT fonts (e.g. Adobe Photoshop or InDesign). Therefore, Web FontFont archives now contain corresponding TrueType-flavored OpenType fonts for the offline design phase. As reflected in the amended EULA, these Comp fonts may only be used for this specific purpose.

1.300+ Web FontFonts are already available. Browse them here.

Comp fonts can be used with Adobe Photoshop for example
Comp fonts can be used with desktop publishing apps like Adobe Photoshop

Safari 5.1 Gets Support for WOFF

Not only can we celebrate the launch of our Comp fonts, but we can also cheer the current release of WOFF-supporting Safari 5.1. Safari is the latest major browser, joining Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Opera to support the common webfont format WOFF, giving Web FontFonts a browser compatibility rate of more than 95% (according to NetMarketShare), without relying on any third party service!

Improved Web FontFonts

Additionally, Web FontFonts have been improved to ensure that you end up with a smaller file size (up tp 60%), additional optimization for new versions of Microsoft Windows and improved vertical metrics for consistent baseline positions in all browsers. Most Web FontFont files even allow you to choose between proportional oldstyle figures and tabular lining figures using Subsetter. If you’ve already purchased Web FontFonts and would like to enjoy these enhancements, then please login to your account and download the upgraded files at no additional cost. If you haven’t purchased any of our webfonts yet, just try one of the fonts which are available for free for a limited time from our Goodies page.

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