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May 2015 — issue I May 2015 — issue I


Tracking Type Through History.

type casting grooming the font back to basics +/- Positively Negative

type casting grooming the font back to basics Positively Negative

TABLE OF CONTENTS 04-09 10-15 16-19 cover story:


+/- Positively Negative by Melissa Zeise


/ Schrift Magazine

How Good is Good? by Stefan Sagmeister

Grooming the Font by Robert Bringhurst

Taking Your Fonts to the Market by Stephan Coles

20-25 26-27 28-31 32-39 40-43

Back to Basics by John D. Berry

Velo Serif by Indra Kupferschmid

Abandon Five Obsolete Habits by Matthew Butterick

Casting Type by Steven Brower

Typography in Ten Minutes by Stephan Coles


a greeting from the editor

“Schrift” is the German word for “typeface” so naturally; Schrift Magazine is devoted to bringing new and exciting knowledge about typography and design to the public. With every issue we will explore elements of typography focusing on the development of the science and art through history and the way it has and continues to change the world. Typography is such a complicated and amazing element of design that is uniquely vital to modern civilization, so we are absolutely stoked to bring you fresh information and insight on this intricate and dynamic subject. - Melissa Zeise Editor

schrift magazine

editorial staff Paul Rand- Managing Editor

112 West Adams Street

Jacksonville, Florida


Erik Spiekermann- Creative



Dieter Rams- Executive Director

Milton Glaser- Editor

Join us as we Track Type Through History.


HOW GOOD IS GOOD? By Stefan Sagmeister

The state of current design, ethics, advertising and aesthetics In September design felt impotent and frivolous. There is nothing inherent in our profession that forces us to support worthy causes, to promote good things, to avoid visual pollution. There might be such a responsibility in us as people. In August, when thinking about my reasons for being alive, for getting out of bed in the morning, I would have written the following down: 1. Strive for happiness 2. Don’t hurt anybody 3. Help, others achieve the same Now I would change that priority: 1. Help others 2. Don’t hurt anybody 3. Strive for happiness My studio was engaged in cool projects, things designers like to do, like designing a cover for David Byrne. We had a good time designing them, and since the products and events these pieces promoted were fine, I don’t think we hurt anybody who bought them.

The 80s in graphic design were dominated by questions about the layout, by life style magazines, with Neville Brody’s Face seen as the big event. The 90s were dominated by questions about typography, readability, layering, with David Carson emerging as the dominant figure. With prominent figures like Peter Saville recently talking about the crisis of the unnecessary and lamenting about the fact that our contemporary culture is monthly, there

/ Schrift Magazine

The first sentence on page 1 of Victor Papanek’s “Design for the Real World” reads: “There are professions more harmful than industrial design, but only very few of them. And possibly only one profession is phonier: Advertising design. In persuading people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, in order to impress others that don’t care, it is probably the phoniest field in existence today.” I do know that bad design can harm our lives. From the problems this little piece of bad typography caused in Florida to unnecessary junk mail and overproduced packaging, bad design makes the world a more difficult place to live in.

“strong design for bad causes or products can hurt us even more.”

One of the many things I learned in my year without clients, a year I had put aside for experiments only, was that I’d like a part of my studio to move from creating cool things to significant things.


might now finally be room for content, for questions about what we do and for whom we are doing it. The incredible impact the First Things First manifesto had on my profession would certainly point in that direction.

At the same time, strong design for bad causes or products can hurt us even more.

Good design + bad cause = bad

Just consider this age old and powerful symbol symbol and its transformation into a very successful identity program by the Nazis. Context is all-important: The Christian cross had one meaning in 16th century Europe and another one in 20th century India.

Bad design + good cause = good? On the other hand, bad design for a good cause can still be a good thing.


We designed the logo for The Concert for New York, a huge charity event for the fire and policeman in Madison Square Garden, involving among others Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, The Who.

their careers. Now I am somewhat less cynical. It is conceivable that many simply came to realize the pursuit of money/fame/success does not hold the contentment it promised and are on the lookout for more significance.

From a design point of view, the statue of liberty playing a guitar is a trite cliché. I am not suggesting that the logo had much to do with the over $ 20 million raised for the Robin Hood Foundation, well, actually, a tiny portion was raised through the logo in the from of merchandize sales.

Poor Sting practically ruined his career with all his do gooding, transforming himself from the cool leader of the Police to just another sappy rain forest bard.

How to be good? Well, does help by definition have to be selfless? Am I allowed to get something out of myself? If I do help, am I permitted to have fun while doing so?

“If I do help, am I permitted to have fun while doing so?”

I read an interview with an art director in England discussing his award winning campaign ad campaign for an association for the blind, featuring a striking image of a guide dog with human eyes stripped in. He mentioned that he knew that a picture of a cute puppy would have raised more donations for the association, but was more interested in winning awards. He had no problems with this attitude.

When GE gives 10 million to the WTC victim families, is it ok for them to look good for doing so? Or, a more extreme case: Is it ok for Philip Morris to go and give 60 million to help out various charities and then spend another 108 million promoting this good deed in magazine ads? If you are homeless and you just got a hot meal from St. Johns in Brooklyn, one of the organizations the money went to, you don’t really give a shit if the people who gave it to you tout their own horn afterwards. Even though it really is a ridiculous case, isn’t it still preferable to blowing the entire 168 million on a regular ad budget? And: Why are so many celebrities involved in charities? Five years ago, my feeling was they just wanted to promote


/ Schrift Magazine

Where do the critics come in? If I make fun of Sting, do I keep other celebrities from following his lead and therefore somehow contribute to the destruction of the rainforest? If I do criticize Sting, do I have to have a better idea to help the world? When philosopher Edward DeBono talks about values, he puts them into four equally important sections:

Me-values: ego and pleasure Mates-values: belonging to a group, not letting it down Moral-values: religious values, general law, general values of a particular culture Mankind-values: human rights, ecology I often make the mistake of concentrating on just a couple of these values in my life. We all have heard of the philanthropist who gave away millions to charity and was a genuine asshole to all his friends. Or the guy who is totally devoted to his family and friends but hates himself, drives a Suburban and works for a Nuclear Missile Plant. Or Mr. Bin Laden himself: I am sure he is totally devoted to his religious values as well as to the values of his own culture, but does not really care about human rights much. For a full life I would have to be involved in all four. I do think there is a role for everyone. It does not really matter if I am the Mayor of New York, or if I design the tourist brochures for New York or if I sweep the streets in New York.

After the food has been consumed, the empty packaging can be filled with sand or dirt and used as an interlocking brick to build a shelter. In the ad I explained the idea and asked other designers, packaging manufacturers and aid organizations to contribute. Responses came into my laptop immediately. Many from students who just wanted to help, some from Austrian packaging companies interested in participating and many from designers and architects offering ideas. Also, it was an opportunity to feel and look good myself: The caring designer. Among all the positive responses was also a violently negative one; the writer stating that this is the absolute worst idea he ever saw in this context, that it’s a case of designing poverty, just plain ignorant and stupid. I got really nervous. I am just not used to having my work hated that much. Maybe I should have stuck to CD covers.

There is always room to be nice to a co-worker, to send a sweet letter to Mom, to love Anni. Of course there are different degrees of separation. The rescue worker down at Ground Zero is directly involved, when I design a pin to raise money to help the rescue worker, I’m a couple of degrees further removed. But I might just function twice as effective as a designer than I would as a rescue worker. Well, while pondering those questions half a year ago, I got invited to participate in a media design exhibition in Vienna, Austria. One of the perks that came with the exhibit was a free, full-page ad in Austria’s best newspaper, space I was free to fill with whatever I liked. It’s an idea for a packaging that might be applied in zones of large catastrophes, earthquakes and such. At the time I was naively thinking of far away locations, India or Africa, not for a second conceiving that my hometown New York itself might be turned into the largest catastrophe zone. It is basically a large, hollow Lego like block containing basic foods like milk powder, water, dried fish, rice.

The e-mail did prompt me to get quickly in contact with aid organizations and I had subsequently a discussion with the Director of Emergency Preparedness at CARE, the largest of them all. It turns out that in emergency cases, Care tends to buy food whenever possible locally in bulk: That way they don’t have to package, there is less garbage, they avoid shipping problems and the food will be compatible with local tastes. And similar thinking applies for shelter: It’s to everybody’s advantage to use as much local building material as possible. Care just supplies some additional resource materials like rolls of plastic or corrugated metal sheets and utilizes the ingenuity of the population. This results in sturdier, better-built shelter. It turns out, my e-mail writer was right: This is a stupid idea. So I have to be part of an organization, part of a problem to be able to come up with a solution. Dogooding from afar, as a tourist, won’t do. In the meantime in New York I was also at the center of a disaster, I was not tourist anymore. One of the tasks at hand was the creation of a symbol that could also work as a fundraiser for various charities hit hard by current events.



/ Schrift Magazine

“Do-gooding from afar, as a tourist, won’t do.” Our idea was a pin, made of the rubble of the World trade Center, a piece of metal that refused to be destroyed. After the WTC disaster over 1,000,000 tons of rubble was removed from the site and brought by truck and barge to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island. The plan here is to make this into a large-scale project. We can raise $ 1.5 million per 100 000 pins sold.

Good Design + Good Cause = Good

Design can make us more tolerant Russian designer Andrey Logvin simple poster called Troika speaks for itself. Winter Sorbeck, design teacher and fictional main character in Chip Kidd’s new novel The Cheese Monkeys, says at one point: Uncle Sam is Commercial Art, the American Flag is graphic design. Commercial Art makes you BUY things, graphic Design GIVES you ideas. If I’m able to do that, to give ideas, that WOULD be a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.

Most of current graphic design done by professional design companies is used to promote or sell, which is fine, but design can also do so much more.

Design can raise money As a stand in for all the promotions and ads that raised money for Non-Profit organizations I am showing here the Breast Cancer symbol which made a an impressive amount of money for cancer research.

About the author Stefan Sagmeister is known for upsetting norms, tricking the senses through design, typography, environmental art, conceptual exhibitions and video. His diverse client list includes the Rolling Stones, HBO and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Sagmeister’s work has earned him accolades from all realms of art and design, including the American Institute of Graphic Arts Medal, the National Design Award from the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, as well as two Grammy Awards for package designs for albums by the Talking Heads and Brian Eno and David Byrne.

Solo shows with Sagmeister’s work have been exhibited throughout the U.S. and around the world, including shows in Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Prague and Seoul, among others. He is the author of “Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far,” an eclectic mix of visual audacity and sound advice that blends Sagmeister’s personal revelations, art and design. A native of Austria, he received his M.F.A. from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and earned a master’s degree from Pratt Institute, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He resides in New York City where his firm, Sagmesiter & Walsh, is based.


GROOMING T H E By Robert Bringhurst

Careful grooming is always important. Especially when you type.


Writing begins with the making of meaningful marks.

That is to say, leaving the traces of meaningful gestures. Typography begins with arranging meaningful marks that are already made. In that respect, the practice of typography is like playing the piano – an instrument quite different from the human voice. On the piano, the notes are already fixed, although their order, duration and amplitude are not. The notes are fixed but they can be endlessly rearranged, into meaningful music or meaningless noise. Pianos, however, need to be tuned. The same is true of fonts. To put this in more literary terms, fonts need to be edited just as carefully as texts do – and may need to be re-edited, like texts, when their circumstances change. The editing of fonts, like the editing of texts, begins before their birth and never ends. You may prefer to entrust the editing of your fonts, like the tuning of your piano, to a professional.

If you are the editor of a magazine or the manager of a publishing house, that is probably the best way to proceed. But devoted typographers, like lutenists and guitarists, often feel that they themselves must tune the instruments they play.

Legal Considerations A font license grants the owner the right to use a typeface in a specific manner as outlined in the license. (Note that in this article we are going to use the terms “font” and “typeface” rather interchangeably.) Every typeface comes with a license of some sort – even those free online typefaces. The big caveat about font licenses is that every type house or designer has the right to create a license of any type. So it is imperative that as a designer you check the specific license for any typeface you use commercially before you use it.


/ Schrift Magazine

You can find these rules in the End-User License Agreement that is “attached” to every font you download or buy. (And if you don’t have one, you can find it with a quick online search.) Digital fonts are usually licensed to the user, not sold outright, and the license terms may vary. Some manufacturers claim to believe that improving a font produced by them is an infringement of their rights. No one believes that tuning a piano or pumping up the tires of a car infringes on the rights of the manufacturer – and this is true no matter whether the car or the piano has been rented, leased or purchased. Printing type was treated the same way from Bi Sheng’s time until the 1980s. Generally speaking, metal type and phototype are treated that way still. In the digital realm, where the font is wholly intangible, those older notions of ownership are under pressure to change. The Linotype Library’s standard font license says that “You may modify the Font’ Software to satisfy your design requirements.” FontShop’s standard license has a similar provision: “You do have the right to modify and alter Font Software for your customary personal and business use, but not for resale or further distribution.” Adobe’s and Agfa Monotype’s licenses contain no such provision. Monotype’s says instead that “You my not alter Font Software for the purpose of adding any functionality.... You agree not to adapt, modify, alter, translate, convert, or otherwise change the Font Software….” If your license forbids improving the font itself, the only legal way to tune it is through a software override. For example, you can use an external kerning editor to override the kerning table built into the font. This is the least elegant way to do it, but a multitude of errors in fitting and kerning can be masked, if need be, by this means.

Keep on fixing: Check every text you set to see where improvements can be made. Then return to the font and make them. Little by little, you and the instrument – the font, that is – will fuse, and the type you set will start to sing. Remember, though, this process never ends. There is no such thing as a perfect font. If there are defective glyphs, mend them: If the basic lettershapes of your font are poorly drawn, it is probably better to abandon it rather than edit it. But many fonts combine superb basic letterforms with alien or sloppy supplementary characters. Where this is the case, you can usually rest assured that the basic letterforms are the work of a real designer, whose craftsmanship merits respect, and that the supplementary characters were added by an inattentive foundry employee. The latter’s errors should be remedied at once.

Ethical and Aesthetic Considerations If it ain’t broke…

Any part of the font can be tuned – lettershapes, character set, character encoding, fitting and sidebearings, kerning table, hinting, and, in an OpenType font, the rules governing character sub-situation. What doesn’t need tuning or fixing shouldn’t be touched. If you want to revise the font just for the sake of revising it, you might do better to design your own instead. And if you hack up someone else’s font for practice, like a biology student cutting up a frog, you might cremate or bury the results. If the font is out of tune, fix it once and for all: One way to refine the typography of a text is to work your way through it like by line, putting space in here, removing it there, and repositioning errant characters one by one. But if these refinements are made to the font itself, you will never need to make them again. They are done for good. Respect the text first of all, the letterforms second, the type designer third, the foundry fourth: The needs of the text should take precedence over the layout of the font, the integrity of the letterforms over the ego of the designer, the artistic sensibility of the designer over the foundry’s desire for profit, and the founder’s craft over a good deal else.

You may find for example that analphabetic characters such as @ + ± × =• - − © are too big or too small, too light or too dark, too high, or too low, or are otherwise out of tune with the basic alphabet. You may also find that diacritics in glyphs such as å çé ñ ô ü are poorly drawn, poorly positioned, or out of scale with the letterforms. If text figures, ligatures or other glyphs you need on a regular basis don’t reside on the base font, move them: For readable text, you almost always need figures, but most digital fonts are sold with titling figures instead. Most digital fonts also include the ligatures fi and fl but not ff, ffi, ffl, fj or ffj. You may find at least some of the missing glyphs on a supplementary font (an ‘expert font’), but that is not enough. Put all the basic glyphs together on the base font. If, like a good Renaissance typographer, you use only upright parentheses and bracketscopy the upright forms from the roman to the italic font. Only then can they be kerned and spaced correctly without fuss. If glyphs you need are missing altogether, make them: Standard ISO digital text fonts (PostScript or TrueType) have 256 slots and carry a basic set of Western European characters. Eastern European characters such as ãçåèg hñî Örstü are usually missing. So are the Welsh sorts w and y, and a host of characters needed for African, Asian and Native American languages. The components required to make these characters may be present on the font, and assembling the pieces is not hard, but you need a place to put whatever character you make.



/ Schrift Magazine

If you need only a few and do not care about system compatibility, you can place them in wasted slots – e.g., the ^ < > \ | ~ ` positions, which are accessible directly from the keyboard, or slots such as ¢ ÷ 123 ™◊0/100 l, which can be reached through insertion utilities or by typing character codes or by customizing the keyboard. If you need to add many such characters, you will need to make a supplementary font or, better yet, an enlarged font (TrueType or OpenType). If these are for your own use only the extra characters can be placed wherever you wish. If the fonts are too be shared, every new glyph should be labeled with its PostScript name and Unicode number. Check and correct the sidebearings: The spacing of letters is part of the essence of their design. A well-made font should need little adjustment, except for refining the kerning. Remember, however, that kerning tables exist for the sake of problematical sequences such as ƒ*, gy, “A, To, Va and 74. If you find that simple pairs such as oo or oe require kerning, this is a sign that the letters are poorly fitted. It is better to correct the sidebearings than to write a bloated kerning table. The spacing of many analphabetics, however, has as much to do with editorial style as with typographic design. Unless your fonts are custom made, neither the type designer nor the founder can know what you need or prefer.

I habitually increase the left sidebearing of semicolon, colon, question and exclamation marks, and the inner bearings of guillemets and parentheses, in search of a kind of Channel Island compromise: neither the tight fitting preferred by most anglophone editors nor the wide-open spacing customary in France. If I worked in French all the time, I might increase these sidebearings further. Three options for spacing of basic analphabets in Monotype digital Centaur: foundry issue(top); French spacing(bottom); and something in between. Making such adjustments one by one by the insertion of fixed spaces can be tedious. It is easier by far, if you know what you want and you want it consistently, to incorporate your preferences into the font.

“Typography is to literature as musical performance is to composition: an essential act of interpretation, full of endless opportunities for insight or obtuseness.”

About the author Robert Bringhurst is a Canadian poet, typographer and author. Bringhurst’s book The Elements of Typographic Style (1992) is considered one of the most influential reference books on typography and book design. The work has been translated into ten languages, and is now in its third edition.



To Foundry, Reseller, or Go Solo? When people ask about selling their fonts, the conversation almost always begins with the ol’ bottom line: “I wanna make some bank! Who offers the best royalty rate?”

Advantages: • No business knowledge required, the foundry will handle all customer support (big!), marketing, and reseller relationships • Some foundries offer technical and design assistance to complete font production • Foundries are an advocate for your work, monitoring piracy and misuse • Spend less time administrating, more time drawing type

But the question of commission or discount percentage should be only one of many: What else is in the contract? What services do they guarantee? Do I respect their brand? What kind of audience do they speak to? Is their library a good fit for my typeface design? Is signing with a retailer even the right thing to do? It’s also important to understand the difference between a foundry (AKA vendor or publisher) and a reseller (AKA distributor or retailer). Here’s a rundown of your options.

Signing with a Foundry

“I wanna make some bank!”

A foundry can be considered a font manufacturer. Examples are Linotype, Monotype, P22, and FontFont. Foundry type can be distributed through multiple channels, such as their own web shop and the shops of their resellers. When you submit a typeface to a foundry for release it is usually an exclusive deal. They will maintain the right to sell the font according to their contract. Royalties range from 20%-50% but there is also an important distinction: most foundries pay a percentage of the wholesale price of the font. In this model, as the font goes further down the distribution chain, the designer is getting less of the retail price. Other foundries, like FontFont, give a percentage of the suggested retail price — no matter where or how the font is sold, the designer gets the same cut.


/ Schrift Magazine

Disadvantages: • Very little control of where and how fonts are sold • Receive a portion of each sale

Questions to ask yourself about a foundry: • Is the library a good fit for my style of type? • What production assistance do they offer? • Where are the foundry’s fonts sold and how are they marketed? • What is the length of the contract agreement?

Signing with a Reseller A reseller offers fonts from multiple foundries. The major type resellers are, FontShop, MyFonts, and Veer. Resellers sign a contract with a foundry/ publisher and offer the fonts in that foundry’s library. The foundry usually receives between 40–65% of the retail price of the font.


Each reseller has a different customer base and produces different kinds and quantities of promotional materials. Examine them thoroughly and ask about their marketing strategies. Some independent foundries (like ShinnType and Mark Simonson) have found success in reaching a wide audience by offering their fonts through many different resellers. Others go for a more exclusive strategy (like Porchez Typofonderie at FontShop, Jukebox at Veer) benefiting from a boost in promotion that comes when a retailer can claim they are the exclusive reseller.

Advantages: • Reach more customers and diverse markets • Maintain some control of brand, pricing, and the ability to sign with multiple resellers

Disadvantages: • Must be somewhat business savvy • Receive a portion of each sale

Questions to ask yourself about a reseller: • Who is their clientele? • How is their customer service? • What marketing materials and other tools do they use to draw customers? • How many fonts and foundries are already in their shop? Do I risk getting lost among similar offerings? • What do they offer if I sell my fonts exclusively through them?

Going it Alone Building a foundry and selling fonts exclusively on your own web shop brings you 100% of sales, of course. Exclusivity has its benefits, as Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Jeremy Tankard, and Lineto will attest. It can give your brand a certain boost in value. But unless you are already well known, it can be a lot of very hard work to get customers to your shopfront, while lesser fonts are benefitting from broader exposure and marketing. There is also that nagging feeling that you don’t know how much more you could be selling were your fonts available elsewhere.


/ Schrift Magazine

Advantages: • Full control of brand and pricing • Receive 100% of sales revenue • Maintain a relationship with every customer

Disadvantages: • Must be business savvy • Spend more time administrating, less time drawing type • Potential for substantial overhead (marketing, website, e-commerce costs) • Responsible for customer support • Maintain a relationship with every customer

Charting a Course to the Market So the first decision to be made with each of your fonts is whether you want to go the foundry or reseller route. If you decide to submit your fonts to a foundry, find the outfit and agreement that is right for you. If you choose to build your own foundry, decide whether you want to sell the fonts exclusively on your own, or through one or more resellers

Success can be wrought from any of these models. Much depends on what’s important to you, the fonts you’re selling, and what kind of work you’re willing to put into distributing them. I almost certainly neglected something in this summary and I welcome any rebuttals or filling of holes from those who are actually making a buck from drawing type. There are hundreds of you out there and many lessons to glean from your experience.

About the author Stephen Coles is an editor and typographer living in Oakland and Berlin.  He publishes  Fonts In Use  and Typographica,writes for type foundries, and consults with various organizations on typeface selection. Stephen is author of the book The Anatomy of Type (The Geometry of Type in the UK), and serves on the board of the Letterform Archive. He was formerly a creative director at FontShop and a member of theFontFont TypeBoard.


By John D. Berry

Stopping sloppy typography


There’s a billboard along the freeway in San Francisco

that’s entirely typo- graphic, and very simple. Against a bright blue background, white letters spell out a single short line, set in quotation marks: “Are you lookin’ at me?” The style of the letters is traditional, with serifs; it looks like a line of dialogue, which is exactly what it’s supposed to look like. Since this is a billboard, and the text is the entire message of the billboard, it’s a witty comment on the fact that you are looking at “me”—that is, the message on the billboard—as you drive past. But, as my partner and I drove past and spotted this billboard for the first time, we both simultaneously voiced the same response: “No, I’m looking at your apostrophe!” The quotation marks around the sentence are real quotation marks, which blend in with the style of the lettering— “typographers’ quotes,” as they’re sometimes called—but the apostrophe at the end of “lookin’” is, disconcertingly, a single “typewriter quote,” a straight up-and-down line with a rounded top and a teardrop tail at the bottom.

To anyone with any sensitivity to the shapes of letters, whether they know the terms of typesetting or not, this straight apostrophe is like a fart in a symphony—boorish, crude, out of place, and distracting. The normal quotation marks at the beginning and end of the sentence just serve to make the loud “blat!” of the apostrophe stand out. If that had been the purpose of the billboard, it would have been very effective. But unless the billboards along Highway 101 have become the scene of an exercise in typographic irony, it’s just a big ol’ mistake. Really big, and right out there in plain sight.

The Devil Is in the Details This may be a particularly large-scale example, but it’s not unusual. Too much of the signage and printed matter that we read—and that we, if we’re designers or typographers, create—is riddled with mistakes like this.


/ Schrift Magazine

It seems that an amazing number of people responsible for creating graphic matter are incapable of noticing when they get the type wrong. This should not be so. These fine points ought to be covered in every basic class in typography, and basic typography ought to be part of the education of every graphic designer. But clearly, this isn’t the case—or else a lot of designers skipped that part of the class, or have simply for- gotten what they once learned about type. Or, they naively believe the software they use will do the job for them. Maybe it’s time for a nationwide—no, worldwide— program of remedial courses in using type.

Automated Errors As my own small gesture toward improvement, I’ll point out a couple of the more obvious problems—in the hope that maybe, maybe, they’ll become slightly less commonplace, at least for awhile. Typewriter quotes and straight apostrophes are actually on the wane, thanks to wordprocessing programs and page-layout programs that offer the option of automatically changing them to typographers’ quotes on the fly. (I’m not sure what has made the phenomenon I spotted on that billboard so common, but I’ve noticed a lot of examples recently of text where the double quotation marks are correct but the apostrophes are straight.) But those same automatic typesetting routines have created another almost universal mistake: where an apostrophe at the beginning of a word appears backwards, as a single open quotation mark. You see this in abbreviated dates (‘99, ‘01) and in colloquial spellings, like ‘em for them.


The program can turn straight quotes into typographers’ quotes automatically, making any quotation mark at the start of a word into an open quote, and any quotation mark at the end of a word into a closed quote, but it has no way of telling that the apostrophe at the beginning of ‘em isn’t supposed to be a single open quote, so it changes it into one.

Make sure you’re using a typeface that has true small caps, if you want small caps. Letterspace them a little, and set them slightly loose, the same way you would (or at least should) with a word in all caps; it makes the word much more readable.

The only way to catch this is to make the correction by hand— every time.

There are plenty of other bits of remedial typesetting that we ought to study, but those will do for now. The obvious corollary to all this is, to pro- duce well-typeset words, whether in a single phrase on a billboard or several pages of text, you have to pay attention. Proofread. Proofread again. Don’t trust the defaults of any program you use. Look at good typesetting and figure out how it was done, then do it yourself. Don’t be sloppy. Aim for the best.

Anemic Type The other rude noise that has become common in the symphony hall is fake small caps. Small caps are a wonderful thing, very useful and some- times elegant; fake small caps are a distraction and an abomination. Fake caps are what you get when you use a program’s “small caps” command. The software just shrinks the full-size capital letters down by a predetermined percentage—which gives you a bunch of small, spindlylooking caps all huddled together in the middle of the text. If the design calls for caps and small caps—that is, small caps for the word but a full cap for the first letter— it’s even worse, since the full-size caps draw attention to themselves because they look so much heavier than the smaller caps next to them. (If you’re using caps and small caps to spell out an acronym, this might make sense; in that case, you might want the initial caps to stand out. Otherwise, it’s silly. (And—here comes that word again— distracting.) If it weren’t for a single exception, I’d advise everyone to just forget about the “small caps” command—forget it ever existed, and never, ever, touch it again. (The exception is Adobe InDesign, which is smart enough to find the real small caps in an OpenType font that includes them, and use them when the “small caps” command is invoked. Unfortunately, InDesign isn’t smart enough, or independent enough, to say, “No, thanks,” when you invoke “small caps” in a font that doesn’t actually have any. It just goes ahead and makes those familiar old fake small caps.) You don’t really need small caps at all, in most typesetting situations; small caps are a typo- graphic refinement, not a crutch. If you’re going to use them, use real small caps: properly designed letters with the form of caps, but usually a little wider, only as tall as the x-height or a little taller, and with stroke weights that match the weight of the lowercase and the full caps of the same type- face.


/ Schrift Magazine

Pay Attention, Now

Words to live by, I suppose. And, certainly, words to set type by.

"It seems that an amazing number of people responsible for creating graphic matter are incapable of noticing when they get the type wrong."

About the author John Berry usually describes himself as an editor & typographer â&#x20AC;&#x201D; reflecting his care for both the meaning of words and how they are presented. He is Honorary President of ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) and the former editor and publisher of U&lc (Upper & lower case). He writes, speaks, and consults extensively on typography, and he has won numerous awards for his book designs. He has written and edited several books, including Language culture type: international type design in the age of Unicode

(ATypI/Graphis, 2002), Contemporary newspaper design: shaping the news in the digital age (Mark Batty Publisher, 2004), and U&lc: influencing design & typography (Batty, 2005). He has been a program manager on the Fonts team at Microsoft, where he established improved typographic standards for Windows and other Microsoft products. He is Director of the Scripta Typographic Institute. He teaches typography and design at Cornish College of the Arts. He lives in Seattle with the writer Eileen Gunn.


VELO SERIF By Indra Kupferschmid

Indra Kupferschmid reviews House Industries beautiful contemporary serif. Velo Serif won my heart four seconds after hitting my inbox with seductive gifs and a big ‘ä’. No one was surprised. I have a super-soft spot for squarish serifs. I love Zapf Book, not Palatino, I collect Old Hamcherry, have researched Corvini, and stare at Antikva Margaret in awe. Velo Serif brings several of these loves together in one contemporary retro type family, but avoids becoming too gimmicky 1970s (e.g., by resisting the obvious temptation for ball terminals). The first features that spring to your eye are the ridiculously large x-height and the wide super-elliptic forms of the lowercase. They are capital without being majuscule. Where other display serifs go for delicacy and long extenders, Velo rides the opposite way. The bolder styles get so wide that they feel more at home in packaging and advertising than headlines.

In short: Attack design doldrums with stylistic souplesse. Fashionable figures break away from the populist peloton. Comprehensive characters for culturally correct creations. Sturdy serifs nimbly negotiate any typographic terrain. Not only have the House team and Ben Kiel, Mitja ˇ ˇ and Christian Schwartz won “Best Super Miklavcic, Elliptical Squarish Serif of 2014” in my book, they’ve also scooped “Most Eloquently Worded Typeface Descriptions and Promo Blurbs of the Decade”.

Alongside the main act, the twelve display styles, there are four text styles available, which — contrary to the classic display/text-relationship — have a lower x-height and narrower shapes. This makes them less obtrusive in running text and easier to read (a generous x-height doesn’t improve legibility infinitely). However, the boxy shapes and large counters still make the glyphs rather uniform and monotonous, especially in the Regular Italic. The bold weight of the text styles with its higher stroke contrast is the most readable one to me. But Velo Serif is not charted for long novels anyway. The overexcited display styles prompt big splendid uses (the text styles may assist here and there): sparkling large words in the almost monoline* Thin Italic, cigarette packages in Regular, and please, please, please, a tearoff calendar in the Black style that uses the lovely curvy alternate figures.


/ Schrift Magazine

* I hesitate to call Velo Serif a slab serif. The Thin styles become almost monoline, yes, but the bracketed serifs are notably thinner than the stems. I admit that Ye Olde Classification System has no good drawer for these kinds of squarish serifs (and even that term is inadequate; I only use it because I don’t know a better one, yet).

About the author & Velo Serif Obsessed with topics such as the history of sansserifs, font rendering, and the classification of typefaces, Indra Kupferschmid is a German typographer, teacher, and traveling activist for the good cause of good type.



Ben Kiel,


Christian Schwartz,

Slab Serif

Mitja Miklavcic

Featured in


Typefaces of 2014

House Industries

Elsewhere Velo in use



Leave behind lazy design and revolutionize your work. If Leo Tolstoy were alive and working in San Francisco as a web developer, he might tell us that poorly designed websites are all alike; each well-designed website is well-designed in its own way. And, having watched the web evolve over its first 20 years, I would agree. We’ve seen how typewriter habits have maintained a peculiar influence on the typography of today’s documents (e.g., research papers). These habits arose from the mechanical limitations of the typewriter. When the typewriter disappeared, so did the limitations. But the habits remained. Detached from their original justification, they’ve become pointless obstructions. Likewise, the web-design habits of the mid-’90s continue to influence today’s web. These habits also arose from the technological limitations of a previous era. The limitations are obsolete. But the habits are still with us. Five have been especially tenacious:

1. Tiny point sizes for body text. This practice was made necessary by small displays, which otherwise couldn’t fit much text. But today’s displays are large. 2. Huge point sizes for headings. These arose from the elephantine default styling of HTML heading tags in old browsers. But today’s CSS allows finer control. 3. Reliance on a small handful of system fonts, like Arial, Georgia, and Verdana. This arose from a lack of technology for downloadable fonts. But today, we have webfonts. 4. Page edges crammed with inscrutable wads of navigational links. These emerged on the early web


/ Schrift Magazine

because content was so sparse. Links gave readers something else to do—click and move. (Hence the idiom became surfing the web, not reading the web.) But today, getting content onto the web is relatively easy, and navigational confusion tends to be a greater risk than boredom. 5. Layouts built with large blocks of color. These were made necessary by the bandwidth limitations of the early web. (They also filled space on those content-deprived web pages.) But today, high-speed connections are common, even on mobile devices. Having outlived their original rationale, these habits are no more justifiable for today’s web than typewriter habits like underlining are for today’s printed documents. Yet not only are these habits still with us, they’ve hardened into entrenched web-design idioms. Don’t take my word for it. Go to any major website with this checklist. You’ll count at least four. These habits are everywhere. But bad habits don’t become good habits through repetition. We know this to be true of spelling, grammar, and usage in American English. Sure, our language changes. But slowly. Not by popular vote. Certainly not by popular error. So it is with typography.

Web design: neither here nor there And that’s the odd wrinkle we have to overcome when we talk about the web. Because to convince you to abandon the typewriter habits in printed documents, I’m able to cite a persuasive body of evidence: namely, the professional typographic practices of the last 500 years, as reflected in the books, newspapers, and magazines we read daily.



/ Schrift Magazine

The web, however, has no equivalent tradition. We can’t fill this gap merely by holding the web to print traditions. That would be limiting and illogical. But it’s equally illogical to refuse to compare the web to any benchmark on the grounds that it’s sui generis (because it’s not—the web is primarily a typographic medium), or that it’s new technology (because it’s not—the web is 20 years old), or that it’s still evolving (because that’s true of every technology, including print). Nevertheless, we’ve kept web design hovering in an odd state of neither here nor there. How? Like the poor worker of proverb—by blaming the tools. If you ask a web designer “why aren’t we doing better with web typography?” you’re likely to hear either “we can’t, because such-and-such won’t work in the old browsers” or “we can’t, until suchand-such works in the new browsers.” The culture of web design encourages us to rely on the past and the future as excuses for why we can’t take accountability for the present. These excuses keep today’s web design in a bubble, conveniently impervious to criticism. For more about web-design inertia, see my talk “The Bomb in the Garden.” But impervious to criticism also means impervious to progress. When expectations are held artificially low, there’s no incentive to do better. Thus next year’s websites end up looking much like last year’s. And the inertia sustains itself indefinitely. Again, don’t take my word for it—the ongoing ubiquity of obsolete web-design habits is the proof. Therefore, my typographic advice for websites is more a principle than a prescription.

We can disagree about what design excellence will eventually mean on the web. In fact, we should disagree, because that’s what stimulates experimentation and discovery. Doing it wrong is a prerequisite to doing it right. But with the web, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t accept the benefits of web technology without raising the bar for ourselves. We can’t use the web for 20 years as a design medium yet exempt it from design criticism. We can’t blame the tools for our failure to overcome our own inertia. And we can’t expect the web to grow up while we cling to juvenile and obsolete habits. We must set these habits aside. Especially the five listed above. Anyone who is still relying on those habits is either lazy or careless. You are neither.

“The culture of web design encourages us to rely on the past and the future as excuses for why we can’t take accountability for the present.”

About the author Matthew Butterick is a writer, ty­pog­ra­pher, and lawyer in Los Angeles.Af­ ter get­ ting his de­ gree in vi­ sual & environmen­ tal stud­ ies from Har­ vard Uni­ versity, he worked as a type de­ signer for the Font Bu­ reau and Matthew Carter. At the be­ gin­ ning of the web era, Butterick moved to San Fran­cisco and founded Atomic Vi­sion, a web­site de­sign and en­gi­neer­ing stu­dio, which later be­came part of Red Hat, the open-source soft­ware company.

Later, he went to UCLA law school, and be­ came a member of the Cal­i­for­nia bar in 2007. Butterick wrote the web­site and book Ty­pog­ra­phy for Lawyers, for which he was awarded the Le­gal Writ­ing In­sti­tute’s 2012 Golden Pen Award.





er row B n ve Ste

hyp a gr can o p g ty so you ter. n i t as ules em la c e Typ the r eak th w br kno By

My first job in book design was at New American Library,

a publisher of mass-market books. I was thrilled to be hired. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I love the written word, and viewed this as my entrance into a world I wanted to participate in. Little did I suspect at the time that massmarket books, also known as “pocket” books (they measure approximately 4" · 7", although I have yet to wear a pocket they fit comfortably into), were viewed in the design world as the tawdry stepchild of true literature and design, gaudy and unsophisticated. I came to understand that this was due to the fact that mass-market books, sold extensively in super- markets and convenience stores, had more in common with soap detergent and cereal boxes than with their much more dignified older brother, the hardcover first edition book. Indeed, the level of design of paperbacks was as slow to evolve as a box of Cheerios.

On the other hand, hardcover books, as if dressed in evening attire, wore elegant and sophisticated jackets. Next in line in terms of standing, in both the literary and design worlds, was the trade paper edition, a misnomer that does not refer to a specific audience within an area of work, but, rather, to the second edition of the hardcover, or first edition, that sports a paperbound cover. Trade paperbacks usually utilize the same interior printing as the hardcover, and are roughly the same size (generally, 6"·9"). Mass-market books were not so lucky. The interior pages of the original edition were shrunk down, with no regard for the final type size or the eyes of the viewer. The interiors tended to be printed on cheap paper stock, prone to yellowing over time. The edges were often dyed to mask the different grades of paper used. The covers were usually quite loud, treated with a myriad of special effects (i.e., gold or silver foil, embossing and de-bossing, spot lamination, die cuts, metallic and Day-Glo pantone colors, thermography, and even holography), all designed to jump out at you and into your shopping cart as you walk down the aisle. The tradition of mass-market covers had more in common with, and, perhaps, for the most part is the descendant of, pulp magazine covers of earlier decades, with their colorful titles and over-the-top illustrations, than that of its more stylish, larger, and more expensive cousins.


/ Schrift Magazine

What I Learned So, when I made my entry into the elite world of literature, I began in the “bullpen” of a mass-market house. I believed I would be afforded a good opportunity to learn something about type and image. Indeed, in my short tenure there, I employed more display typefaces in a year and a half than I will in the rest of my lifetime. And, I abused type more than I ever dreamed possible. There, type was always condensed or stretched so the height would be greater in a small format. The problem was that the face itself became distorted, as if it was put on the inquisitionist rack, with the horizontals remaining “thick” and the verticals thinning out. Back then, when type was “spec’d” and sent out to a typesetter, there was a standing order at the type house to condense all type for our company 20 percent. Sometimes, we would cut the type and extend it by hand, which created less distortion but still odd-looking faces. Once, I was instructed by the art director to cut the serifs off a face, to suit his whim. It’s a good thing there is no criminal prosecution for type abuse. The art director usually commissioned the art for these titles. Therefore, the job of the designers was to find the “appropriate” type solution that worked with these illustrations to create the package. It was here that I learned my earliest lessons in the clichés of typography. Massmarket paperbacks are divided into different genres, distinct categories that define their audience and subject matter. Though they were unspoken rules, handed down from generation to generation, here is what I learned about type during my employ. And so it went. Every month, we were given five to six titles we were responsible for, and every month, new variations on old themes hung up on the wall.


For a brief period I was assigned all the romance titles, which, themselves, were divided into subgenres (historical, regency, contemporary, etc). I made the conscious decision to create the very best romance covers around. Sure, I would use script and cursive type, but I would use better script and cursive type, so distinctive, elegant, and beautiful that I, or anyone else, would recognize the difference immediately. (When, six months after I left the job, I went to view my achievements at the local K-Mart, I could not pick out any of my designs from all the rest on the bookracks.)



Square serif


Script and cursive


LED faces

Science Fiction


African (in spite of the fact that the typeface is of German origin)



Fat, round serif faces


Sans serif


Hand scrawl


1950’s bouncy type

Human/Teen titles

Soon after, I graduated to art director of a small publishing house. The problem was, I still knew little of and had little confidence in, typography. However, by this time, I knew I knew little about typography. My solution, therefore, was to create images that contained the type as an integral part of the image, in a play on vernacular design, thereby avoiding the issue entirely. Thus began a series of collaborations with talented illustrators and photographers, in which the typography of the jacket was incorporated as part of the illustration. Mystery books especially lent themselves well to this endeavor. A nice thing about this approach is that it has a certain informality and familiarity with the audience. It also made my job easier, because I did not have to paste up much type for the cover (as one had to do back in the days of t-squares and wax), since it was, for the most part, selfcontained within the illustration. This may seem like laziness on my part, but hey, I was busy.


/ Schrift Magazine

Eventually, my eye began to develop, and my awareness and appreciation of good typography increased. I soon learned the pitfalls that most novice designers fall into, like utilizing a quirky novelty face does not equal creativity and usually calls attention to the wrong aspects of the solution. The importance of good letterspacing became paramount. Finding the right combination of a serif and sans serif face to evoke the mood of the material within was now my primary concern. The beauty of a classically rendered letterform now moved me, to quote Eric Gill, as much “as any sculpture or painted picture.” I developed an appreciation for the rules of typography.

The Rules As I’ve said, it is a common mistake among young designers to think a quirky novelty face equals creativity. Of course, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. If anything, for the viewer, it has the opposite of the intended effect. Rather than being the total sum of individual expression, it simply calls attention to itself, detracting from, rather than adding to, the content of the piece. It is no substitute for a well-reasoned conceptual solu- tion to the design problem at hand. As a general rule, no more than two faces should be utilized in any given design, usually the combination of a serif face and a sans serif face. There are thousands to choose from, but I find I have reduced the list
to five or six in each category that I have used as body text throughout my career:

Serif Sans Serif Bodoni Franklin Gothic Caslon Futura Cheltenham Gill Sans Garamond You should never condense or extend type. As I stated, this leads to unwanted distortions. Much care and consideration went into the design of these faces, and they should be treated with respect. There are thousands of condensed faces to choose from without resorting to the horizontal and vertical scale functions.

Thus, the wholesale usage of soft drop shadows has become the typographic equivalent of clip art. Viewers know they have seen it before. Rather than being evocative, it mainly evokes the program it was created in. The handed-down wisdom is: If you need a drop shadow to make it read, the piece isn’t working. These solid drop shadows always look artificial, since, in reality, there is no such thing as a solid drop shadow. There should be a better solution to readability. Perhaps the background or the color of the type can be adjusted. Perhaps the type should be paneled or outlined. There are an infinite number of possible variations.

Do not use text type as display. Even though the computer will enlarge the top beyond the type designer’s intention, this may result in distortions.

Do not use display type as text. Often, display type that looks great large can be difficult to read when small.

Do not stack type. The result is odd-looking spacing that looks as if it is about to tumble on top of itself. The thinness of the letter I is no match for the heft of an O sitting on top of it. As always, there are ways to achieve stacking successfully, but this requires care. Also, as I noted, much care should be given to letterspacing the characters of each word. This is not as simple as it seems. The computer settings for type are rife with inconsistencies that need to be corrected optically. Certain combinations of letterforms are more difficult to adjust than others. It is paramount that even optical (as opposed to actual) spacing is achieved, regardless of the openness or closeness of the kerning. It helps if you view the setting upside down, or backwards on a light box or sun-filled window, or squint at the copy to achieve satisfactory spacing.

If you must use a solid drop shadow, it should never be a color. Have you ever seen a shadow in life that is blue, yellow, or green? It should certainly never be white. Why would a shadow be 100 percent lighter than what is, in theory, casting the shadow? White shadows create a hole in the background, and draw the eye to the shadow, and not where you want it to go: the text.

Justified text looks more formal than flush left, rag right. Most books are set justified, while magazines are often flush left, rag right. Centered copy will appear more relaxed than asymmetrical copy. Large blocks of centered type can create odd-looking shapes that detract from the copy contained within.

Column width. It is also common today to see very wide columns of text, with the copy set at a small point size. The problem is that a very wide column is hard to read because it forces the eye to move back and forth, tiring the reader. On the other hand, a very narrow measure also is objectionable, because the phrases and words are too cut up, with the eye jumping from line to line. We, as readers, do not read letter by letter, or even word by word, but, rather, phrase by phrase. A consensus favors an average of ten to twelve words per line.

Be careful with drop shadows.

Don’t forget to adjust leading.

I would caution you in the judicious use of drop shadows. Shadows these days can be rendered easily in programs such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator, and convincingly, too. The problem is, it is so easily done that it is overdone.

Lastly, too much leading between lines also makes the reader work too hard jumping from line to line, while too little leading makes it hard for the reader to discern where one line ends and another begins.



/ Schrift Magazine

The audience should always be paramount in the designer’s approach, and it is the audience—not the whim of the designer, or even the client—that defines the level of difficulty and ease with which a piece is read. As Eric Gill said in 1931, “A book is primarily a thing to be read.”

Type size. A final consideration is the size of the type. As a rule of thumb, mass-market books tend to be 8 point for reasons of space. A clothbound book, magazine, or newspaper usually falls into the 9.5 point to 12 point range. Oversized art books employ larger sizes—generally, 14 point to 18 point or more.

Use the right type. Choosing the right typeface for your design can be time-consuming. There are thousands to choose from. Questions abound.

Breaking the Rules Of course, there are always exceptions to the rules. An infinite number of faces can be used within one design, particularly when you employ a broadside-style type solution, a style that developed with the woodtype settings of the nineteenth century. Another style, utilizing a myriad of faces, is that influenced by the Futurist and Dada movements of the early twentieth century. As Robert N. Jones stated in an article in the May 1960 issue of Print magazine: “It is my belief that there has never been a type- face that is so badly designed that it could not be handsomely and effectively used in the hands of the right . . . designer.” Of course, this was before the novelty type explosion that took place later that decade, and, again, after the advent of the Macintosh computer. Still, Jeffery Keedy, a contemporary type designer whose work appears regularly in Emigre, concurs: “Good designers can make use of almost anything. The typeface is the point of departure, not the destination.” Note the caveat “almost.” Still, bad use of good type is much less desirable than good use of bad type.
When I first began in publishing, a coworker decided to let me in on the “secrets” of picking the appropriate face. “If you get a book on Lincoln to design,” he advised, “look up an appropriate typeface in the index of the type specimen book.” He proceeded to do so. “Ah, here we go—‘Log Cabin!’” While, on the extremely rare occasion, I have found this to be a useful method, it’s a good general rule of what not to do.

About the author Steven Brower is an award-winning former Creative Director for PRINT, a former art director at the New York Times and currently for The Nation, co-author and designer of Woody Guthrie Artworks (Rizzoli, 2005), and author and designer of Satchmo: The Wonderful Art and World of Louis Armstrong (Abrams, 2009). In addition his

writings on design and pop culture have appeared in several publications. He is the director of the "Get Your Masters with the Masters" MFA program for working professionals and educators at Marywood University in Scranton, PA.



Five typography rules to make you a better typographer and designer. This is a bold claim, but I stand behind it: if you learn and follow these five typography rules, you will be a better typographer than 95% of professional writers and 70% of professional designers. (The rest of this book will raise you to the 99th percentile in both categories.) All it takes is ten minutes five minutes to read these rules once, then five minutes to read them again. Ready? Go.


The typographic quality of your document is determined largely by how the body text looks. Why? Because there’s more body text than anything else. So start every project by making the body text look good, then worry about the rest. In turn, the appearance of the body text is determined primarily by these four typographic choices:


Point size is the size of the let¬ters. In print, the most comfortable range for body text is 10–12 point. On the web, the range is 15–25 pixels. Not every font appears equally large at a given point size, so be prepared to adjust as necessary. 3. Line spacing is the vertical distance between lines. It should be 120–145% of the point size. In word processors, use the “Exact” line-spacing option to achieve this. The default single-line option is too tight; the 1½-line op¬tion is too loose. In CSS, use line-height. 4. Line length is the horizontal width of the text block. Line length should be an average of 45–90 characters per line (use your word-count function) or 2–3 lowercase alphabets, like so:


/ Schrift Magazine

In a printed document, this usually means page margins larger than the traditional one inch. On a web page, it usually means not allowing the text to flow to the edges of the browser window.

“...those fonts are favored only by the apathetic and sloppy. Not by typographers. Not by you.” 5. And

finally, font choice. The fastest, easiest, and most visible improvement you can make to your typography is to ignore the fonts that came free with your computer (known as system fonts) and buy a professional font (like my fonts Equity and Concourse, or others found in font recommendations). A professional font gives you the benefit of a professional designer’s skills without having to hire one. If that’s impossible, you can still make good typography with system fonts. But choose wisely. And never choose Times New Roman or Arial, as those fonts are favored only by the apathetic and sloppy. Not by typographers. Not by you. That’s it. As you put these five rules to work, you’ll notice your documents starting to look more like professionally published material. If you’re ready for a little more, try the summary of key rules:



/ Schrift Magazine

Summary of key rules 1.

The four most important typographic choices you make in any document are point size, line spacing, line length, and font (passim), because those choices determine how thebody text looks.


Point size should be 10–12 points in printed documents, 15-25 pixels on the web.

3. Line spacing should be 120–145% of the point size. 4. The average line length should be 45–90 characters (including spaces).


The easiest and most visible improvement you can make to your typography is to use a professional font, like those found in font recommendations.

6. Avoid goofy fonts, monospaced fonts, and system fonts, especially times new roman and Arial.

7. Use curly quotation marks, not straight ones (see straight and curly quotes).

8. Put only one space between sentences. 9. Don’t use multiple word spaces or other whitespace characters in a row.

10. Never use underlining, unless it’s a hyperlink. 11. Use centered text sparingly. 12. Use bold or italic as little as possible. 13. All caps are fine for less than one line of text. 14. If you don’t have real small caps, don’t use them

15. Use 5–12% extra letterspacing with all caps and small caps.

16. kerning should always be turned on. 17. Use first-line indents that are one to four times the point size of the text, or use 4–10 points of space between paragraphs. But don’t use both.

18. If you use justified text, also turn on hyphenation. 19. Don’t confuse hyphens and dashes, and don’t use multiple hyphens as a dash.

20. Use ampersands sparingly, unless included in a proper name.


In a document longer than three pages, one exclamation point is plenty (see question marks and exclamation points).

22. Use proper trademark and copyright symbols— not alphabetic approximations.

23. Put a nonbreaking space after paragraph and section marks.


Make ellipses using the proper character, not periods andspaces.

25. Make sure apostrophes point downward. 26. Make sure foot and inch marks are straight, not curly.

at all.

About the author Stephen Coles is an editor and typographer living in Oakland and Berlin.  He publishes  Fonts In Use  and Typographica,writes for type foundries, and consults with various organizations on typeface selection. Stephen is author of the book The Anatomy of Type (The Geometry of Type in the UK), and serves on the board of the Letterform Archive. He was formerly a creative director at FontShop and a member of theFontFont TypeBoard.



Positively By Melissa Zeise

Exploring the polarity of relationships in three dimensions


Everyone knows and can clearly tell that society is

changing. The values of most people today are very different than those 20 or even 10 years ago. However, this is not an unusual occurrence; the values of one generation always differ dramatically from the one preceding it. Because of the drastic difference between priorities of one generation to the next, parent-child relationships are often stressed when these differences begin to expose themselves during the transitional period of child to adult. When young people begin forming their own opinions and defending them with stubborn commitment in defiance towards their parents, conflicts arise and relationships are stressed. This frequently leads to actions of bitterness and spite, with both parties working to “get back” at the other with purposely-rebellious actions. This cycle can sometimes be detrimental to the parent-child relationship, as well as other relationships entered after the conflict. This “difference of values” is often a product of the cycle of disagreement-rebellion-regret and in hopes of preventing similar mistakes in their children’s lives they develop an overbearing desire to control the decisions of their child. And history repeats itself.

THE DEVELOPMENT To separate this relatable phenomenon from reality and present it in an original way, the principle was applied to magnets. A short story exploring this concept was written with the characters actually personifying physical magnets that frequently hang out at “THE FRIDGE” and lose their polarity when they experience menopause. This unexpected personification makes this commonly recognized issue fresh, arresting, and humorous to the reader, separating them from this human reality and allowing them to experience this issue in a totally new way, allowing them to confront their own lives through the magnetic characters portrayed in the story.


/ Schrift Magazine



/ Schrift Magazine

THE DESIGN The purpose of this story was to reach many people in an unexpected way that would further the bizarre nature of the concept and story. To achieve this, the designer created a design for a 10x10 foot cube that would be displayed suspended in a museum with the story laid out in interesting ways on every side of the cube. Typography is the most important aspect of this piece because each panel was designed specifically to represent the portion of the story displayed on that side in a way that would help to illustrate the feeling and general concept of every individual portion. Every panel utilizes a different typographic layout structure to enforce the story and set the tone for the viewer:

SIDE 1: Modular SIDE 2: Grid SIDE 3: Dilatational SIDE 4: Axial SIDE 5: Radial SIDE 6: Transitional

At a glance you can tell when everything begins to fall apart in the story and when the stress in both the motherdaughter and boyfriend- girlfriend relationship reach their climax. As the viewer walks through the exhibit, they will have the chance to experience this anxious story of anger, rebellion and regret in a new way that both welcomes them into a foreign world as well as immerses them in a very real and relatable story of relational struggle.

THE LOCATION The cube is displayed along with Gregory Crewdson’s photography in the Guggenheim museum. The works compliment one another in their striking visual and conceptual content and in their unique methods of communication. While Crewdson produces photographs that are quite theatrical with an abundance of details and powerful colors and figures, the cube displays massive black and white, flat text on a 3 dimensional plane. This juxtaposition of form creates an extraordinary experience for the viewer where they can walk around the cube and read about a relationship with the story displayed straightforward through text, but in a way that is not necessarily “straightforward.” While the viewer can also go to Crewdon’s work to see relationships displayed straightforward visually, but again in bizarre and somewhat fantastical ways.

About the author Melissa Zeise is a graphic design student attending Flagler College and is very interested in designing for a purpose. In all of her work she focuses on infusing meaning in her decisions and hopes to make a difference through those choices. She was very excited by this piece as it gave her the opportunity to collaborate with a local writer, Derek Fleming, and explore the seriousness of relationships and the dysfunctions that are developed and passed down from generation to generation.


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