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News and information related to Webtype, including new fonts, technology, and general observations on the state of online typography.

Introducing the American Type Founders Collection: Classic Typefaces Reinterpreted

Many of today’s most familiar typefaces had their origins in a company known as American Type Founders (ATF), the United States’ most prominent type company of the metal era. Formed in 1892 as a consolidation of 23 independent foundries, ATF dominated hand-set type in the United States by the early part of the 20th century, and was at the forefront of technical developments in designing and producing type. Given this prominence, ATF typefaces are well known and loved still today — the essence of American typography and design.

atfSince the advent of digital type, there have been many attempts to revive faces from the ATF library, but many are feeble shadows of the originals. Backed by the expertise of designers like Mark van Bronkhorst, Alan Dague-Greene, David Sudweeks, and Ben Kiel, the American Type Founders® Collection builds on the company’s legacy, introducing new interpretations of classic ATF typefaces. Fonts in the ATF Collection are developed with the needs of contemporary type users in mind. ATF designer font families build on their predecessors, offering more weights and widths, and the robust character sets and typographic features made possible by today’s font technology.

Webtype is thrilled to offer these useful and respectful interpretations, in parallel with their desktop release, bringing the same visual richness to the screen that handset type once brought to the printed page.

ATF-Alternate-Gothic
ATF Alternate Gothic is a new, significant digital expansion of Morris Fuller Benton’s classic 1903 design. Originally available in one bold weight, the typeface came in three widths for flexibility in copy-fitting layouts. ATF Alternate Gothic provides a wider range: ten weights, with four widths of each weight (40 fonts total). This extensive family can be used to pack a lot into a narrow space, and the breadth of the family makes it easy to create variations for different formats and media.

ATF-Poster-Gothic
ATF Poster Gothic is an expansion of a typeface designed in 1934 by Morris Fuller Benton. The one-weight design was a slightly condensed display companion to Benton’s popular Bank Gothic® family. This new family of aggressively rectilinear headline types features 15 fonts, greatly expanding the design’s possibilities. The all-caps design sports square corners in the counters, creating tension between angular and curved details; this feature, and the generally rectangular shape of the whole alphabet, makes ATF Poster Gothic distinctive on the page or screen, while its relationship to Bank Gothic makes it somehow familiar. Certain weights also recall the style of lettering used on athletic team jerseys, television crime dramas, action & adventure movie titles, and engraved stationery.

ATF-Garamond
The Garamond family tree has many branches. There are probably more typefaces bearing the name Garamond than the name of any other type designer. When ATF Garamond was designed in 1917, it was one of the first revivals of this classic. The new ATF Garamond expands upon a legacy of quality and craftsmanship, bringing back some of the robustness of metal type and letterpress printing often lost in digital adaptations of historic faces. Eighteen fonts comprise three optical sizes — Subhead, Text, and Micro (available by request) — and three weights, including a new Medium that did not exist in metal. ATF Garamond also includes the alternates and swash characters from the original face.

ATF-Brush
Oh, Brush … beloved script emblem of plumbers, mechanics, bodegas, lunch counters, and other low-rent concerns. Since 1942, you have given faceless apartment buildings a name, brought life to the badges and banners of otherwise tedious trade conventions, and lent excitement to the postcards of middle America’s unsung travel destinations. We have seen so much of you … but not enough! We need more weights: how about five, extending beyond humdrum Medium? We want swash alternates, too, plus lively ligatures and sporty underline tails! Give us cleaner curves and smoother connections, but stay true to your frisky self! Like a nail salon that offers cucumber water, the new ATF Brush is one step classier than the rest.

ATF-Headline-Gothic
ATF Headline Gothic cries out to be used in headlines, and that is exactly how it was used after it was first created by ATF in 1936 with newspapers in mind. The style of ATF Headline Gothic recalls the bold, condensed gothic display faces of the 19th century, but with more refinement in its details than many large types of the time (typically wood type). The digital ATF Headline Gothic, like its predecessor, comes in a single weight, all caps, but offers two styles: one crisply drawn, and a “Round” version with softer corners, to suggest a more “printed” feel, reminiscent of wood type. Of course, in either style it features a full modern character set, including necessary symbols, such as the Euro, that didn’t exist in 1936.

ATF-Wedding-Gothic
Sporting broad, unadorned caps and just a dash of flair, ATF Wedding Gothic is like an engravers gothic at a black tie affair. It comes from the same tradition as other social gothics from the turn of the twentieth century, such as Engravers Gothic and Copperplate. But where these are the faces of business cards and common announcements, ATF Wedding Gothic is a special occasion. Its swaying ‘R’ and ‘Q’, its characterful figures, and spritely-yet-sturdy insouciance make ATF Wedding Gothic well suited for tasteful engagements of all sorts. Originally offered in a single, wide weight, this version expands what was once a novelty design into a surprisingly versatile family of nine weights. An additional, narrower, standard width brings the count to 18 fonts.


Complete Benton Sans, Now on Webtype

Benton-Sans-complete-family

Today we add all the weights and widths to Webtype’s arsenal of Benton Sans. This brings our range of the expansive family in parity with the desktop version. The 80 styles include five widths (Extra Compressed, Compressed, Condensed, normal, Wide) and eight weights (Thin, Extra Light, Light, Book, Regular, Medium, Bold, Black), each with an italic.

Taking it to the Extreme

Eighty is a lot of styles. We don’t expect many customers to license and use the entire Benton Sans range. What makes a mega-family valuable is the versatility it provides for fine-tuning hierarchies, getting just the right dimensions, or achieving maximum contrast. For example, the extremes in Benton Sans’ weight spectrum give web designers new flexibility, especially when it comes to display type. As letters get larger, bolds can be bolder and lights can be lighter — and sometimes they need to be that way to get the same impact that less extreme weights would have at smaller sizes. Benton Sans Thin and Extra Light offer an elegant counterpart to the steadfast text of the standard weights. And the Black packs a heavy punch without straying from the no-nonsense character at the design’s core.

Benton-Sans-thin

Benton Sans Thin with Benton Sans RE. The Thin and Extra Light weights let you maintain a hairline appearance, even when the type is large. They also provide opportunities for optically echoing the stroke weight of much smaller type, like the text shown here.

benton-sans-black

Benton Sans Condensed Black and Thin with Benton Sans Black and Benton Modern. Big differences in font weight allow for overlapping headline effects, eye-grabbing contrast, and strong emphasis within text.

As always, the Webtype free trial applies: you can put all these new weights to the test at no charge for up to 30 days.


Buendia from Bold Monday

buendia

Simultaneously with our friends at Bold Monday, we are proud to release César Puertas’ Buendia family.

When typographers — and particularly web designers — seek to bring emphasis, contrast, and hierarchy to a page they usually look for variation in weight and width. This approach makes sense, as most font families have compatible styles designed specifically to be used together. Yet, sometimes, using the same class of typeface (sans or serif or slab) for everything on a website can result in a monotonous tone.

Buendia is an exploration into what a type family can be beyond the traditional suite of progressive weights and widths. Puertas structured his unique series into six styles with distinct but matching flavors: grotesque sans, rounded sans, slab serif, and transitional — all based on the same skeleton but with different finishing. The weights range from a thin and medium sans, via the elegant roman and italic serifs, a cosy bold slab, to the extra beefy rounded sans.

buendia-styles

As its designer puts it, “In Buendia, each member of the family is a different person, not just the same one who gained or lost weight.” The series tries to provide as many different design variants as possible within a single concept to give designers a compact but flexible set of options. Nevertheless, all styles have certain features in common, for instance the closed apertures, swashy tails and curls, and the slightly curved diagonals. These contribute to a warmth that makes Buendia especially suited for contemporary advertising and editorial design, approachable web apps, and corporate identities with a playful personality.

All styles of Buendia come with extended Latin character set, as well as OpenType features such as small caps, ligatures, and different sets of numerals.

Give Buendia a try for free — all fonts on Webtype can be tested on your own sites at no charge for 30 days.


Dolly and Sauna from Underware

Underware joined Webtype last November with three families. Now we offer another shipment of fonts from the European prodigies. These modern classics helped Underware make their mark, and they are still as relevant and useful as the day they were first released.

dolly-webfonts

Dolly is one of those uncommon book serifs that is not based on old type, but is instead a completely modern invention. Her low-contrast strokes — gently modulating, perhaps even brushy — follow a Dutch calligraphic tradition, but Dolly has a contemporary personality of her own. Designed specifically for books and optimized for the screen, Dolly is a text face ideal for longform content: essays, articles, any writing that needs a subtle air of authority — dependable but not stuffy.

Like any classic book family, the palette is a simple trio of Roman, Italic, and Bold, all designed to be used harmoniously within the same line for applying emphasis or distinguishing content. With support for over 200 Latin-based languages, Dolly is also fit to tell stories in any part of the Western world, from the Americas to Central/Eastern Europe.

sauna-webfonts

While some sans serifs strive for neutrality or austerity, Sauna is warm and unrestrained. Where some are stiff and harsh, Sauna is relaxed and welcoming. In that way its name is quite fitting. Its soft contours and its playful strokes that curve off the stems expose Sauna’s obvious nature: this is type for taking it easy.

Yet unlike many informal typefaces, Sauna need not be relegated to big headlines or the occasional bit of copy; this is a legitimate text face too. The shapes are clear, counters are open, and the three weights, each with italics, offer a toolkit for all types of tasks. Plus, Sauna has the same extensive language support as Dolly. Small caps and swash fonts for both Sauna and Dolly are available upon request.

sauna-mono-webfonts

In the same way that Sauna bucks the sober sans trend, Sauna Mono is a monospaced typeface with an unusually easygoing personality. Four styles — Regular, Italic, Bold, and Bold Italic — are at the ready for content that needs to be tabular but not tiresome. This face would also be an unexpected stylistic choice even when there is no such monospaced requirement.

These Underware families offer plenty of pairing opportunities. With their similarly relaxed personalities Dolly and Sauna naturally play well together, but they can also serve as casual counterparts for typefaces that are more straight-laced. Consider contrasting Dolly with Interstate, Helsinki, or Nitti Grotesk; Sauna with Proforma, Heron Serif, or Brando. From a harmonic approach, either Freight Micro or Shift have a wide stance and low stroke contrast which could be a compatible with Sauna.

As with every font on Webtype, the Dolly, Sauna, and Sauna Mono families can be tested free of charge for 30 days.


Antenna Serif from Font Bureau

antenna-serif

The seven weights and italics of Antenna Serif in its main width. See the other three widths below.

Today is Font Bureau’s simultaneous public release of Antenna Serif, for desktop use, and for web use here on Webtype. Designed by Cyrus Highsmith with David Jonathan Ross, the typeface is Highsmith’s counterpart to Antenna, adding clear-cut slabs to the original’s squared-off curves. The design was initiated in 2010 when its athletic build played a starring role in Sports Illustrated’s print and digital formats. Various other publications later put it to use, including RISD XYZ, the alumni magazine for Rhode Island School of Design where Highsmith teaches.

antenna-serif-styles

Few webfont families offer as many variations as Antenna Serif — four widths, seven weights each.

Antenna Serif brings two uncommon and useful aspects to web design. The first is a very large palette of weights and widths. With 56 styles — seven weights in four widths, each with italics — the family has enough variations to offer exactly what a multilayered website needs, and plenty of choices for the level of contrast between hierarchical levels. One doesn’t need to license all the Antenna Serif styles to benefit from this huge family; the finely graduating range of options is powerful on its own.

antenna-serif-re

Antenna Serif’s small-sized relative Antenna Serif RE, comes in four styles for text as small as 9px.

The other welcome benefit to screen typography is the sans/serif pair, Antenna and Antenna Serif. This adds yet another tool for building the complex hierarchies of digital publication and user interface design. Both families also offer Reading Edge versions designed specifically for legibility on all displays and platforms. Antenna Serif RE emphasizes the design’s broad, square shoulders and large lowercase, enabling clear text all the way down to 9 pixels.

Give Antenna Serif a try — all fonts on Webtype can be tested on your own sites at no charge for 30 days.


Benton Modern brochure site

Benton_Modern-formal

To celebrate the availability of Font Bureau’s complete Benton Modern series on Webtype, we’ve put together a custom-designed brochure site exploring how Benton Modern, Benton Modern Display, and Benton Modern RE can be used together, covering a broad spectrum of sizes and functionality.

Benton_Modern-expressive

The site, built by Marko Dugonjic´, includes a special feature to completely reconfigure the layout and aesthetic of the page by simply changing the site’s CSS file, leaving the HTML exactly the same. Designers and developers familiar with the classic CSS Zen Garden demonstrations will appreciate the design flexibility that is available when form and content are separated in their implementation.

Check out the Benton Modern brochure page now, and see how the fonts responsively change width and size depending on your viewing environment: bentonmodern.webtype.com


Condor from Font Bureau

Condor webfonts

One of the atypical typeface styles we don’t commonly associate with web design is the thick-thin sans serif — type with strong contrast between its thick and thin strokes. The genre, historically associated with commercial lettering, architectural landmarks, or automobile nameplates of the 1920s–50s, was rarely seen in any contemporary design, until recently. Condor lands at Webtype just in time for this debonair style to come back in vogue. David Jonathan Ross fused the high-contrast sans with a rationalized structure of flattened curves and wide-open apertures which gives it an elegance while still remaining usable in a variety of contexts.

condor-webfonts

The Condor family has an unusually broad range of weights and widths: from taut, compact weights to bright, airy styles. The face is particularly well suited for all-caps settings which have their own distinctive atmosphere, lending a monumental or distinguished air to headlines or logos.

condor-features

Condor offers three stylistic alternates accessible via OpenType features: a single-story ‘a’, a spurless ‘u’ with unconventional contrast, and a tailed ‘l’. There’s also a ‘www’ discretionary ligature in there as further proof that despite its Art Deco roots, this is a child of the digital era.

Further enhancing its flexibility, Condor can be paired with type that embraces its historical influences (e.g. Parkinson, Big Moore, Harriet, Serge, Tilda) or clean, contemporary designs that emphasize its crisp contrast and open forms (e.g. Brando, Riga Screen, MVB Calliope).

Take Condor for a test flight — like all fonts on Webtype, you can try this family on your own sites at no charge for 30 days.


Introducing S&P and Blesk

Blesk

We’re happy to welcome the new S&P type foundry to Webtype with their first release, Blesk. S&P is the design studio of Ksenya Samarskaya, based in Brooklyn, New York. Samarskaya has worked on custom type for clients from Apple to Tiffany’s and the Wall Street Journal, but Blesk is the first retail typeface available under her name.

Blesk layer combos

Blesk is offered as a set of 4 separate layer fonts that are designed to be overlapped for multi-color chromatic effects. The all-caps design, inspired by vintage book covers, contrasts plump curves with sharp serifs and lighting-bolt inlines. It adapts surprisingly well in both contemporary and retro-inspired design contexts. The standard Solid style works well for headings and display type, but when more dramatic stylization is in order, the Left, Right, or Inline styles can be overlaid for maximum affect.

Blesk alternate glyphs

As a bonus feature, Blesk features stylistic alternates for U, Y, and &, accessible via OpenType stylistic sets 01, 02, and 03, respectively. Read more about using OpenType features here.

Don’t miss the Blesk promo site, demonstrating how it can be used on the web. As with every font on Webtype, Blesk can be tested free of charge for 30 days. For more info, see the Blesk family page.


Display Typefaces from Bold Monday

Last year we introduced two multifunctional text families from our Dutch friends, Bold Monday: Nitti Grotesk and Brando. Now we’re ringing in 2015 by going back to the foundry’s roots and bringing all Bold Monday’s display typefaces to Webtype.

macula-webfonts
When Jacques Le Bailly’s Macula hit the design scene it was greeted with a universal chorus of oohs and ahhs. Not only does it deftly explore with the Escheresque concept of “impossible” construction, but it does it in two different directions for every character, while offering shading and chromatic effects through the use of stackable layer fonts. Macula is still the ultimate “Penrose triangle” typeface. There are many imitators but nothing comes close. Accept no substitutes.

Stanley
Stanley is a bold, broad-shouldered poster Grotesque. Its roots are in the first sans-serifs of the 19th century, but Pieter van Rosmalen gave his design a contemporary, affable air. Stanley comes with standard, Stencil, and Rough Stencil attire and speaks virtually all Latin-based languages along with Greek and Russian.

oskar-webfonts
Oskar is Paul van der Laan’s family inspired by early 20th-century architectural lettering, particularly that of his native Netherlands. Oscar One has sharp, pointed apexes and open curves (see ‘C G S’) that flatten at their terminals. Oscar Two has flat apexes and circular curves. Both subfamilies come in three weights, each with solid and open inline styles.

Nitti_Typewriter
Nitti Typewriter is a gritty variation on Nitti, Bold Monday’s popular monospaced family. In a playful nod to the impressions of various imperfect typing machines, styles include one with a dashed underline, one “corrected” with octothorps, one with filled counters, and a cameo version reminiscent of tape labelers. This is no half-hearted novelty fonts: like Nitti, Nitti Typewriter supports Cyrillic, Greek, and Hebrew and offers various alternates including a double-story ‘g’, flat-topped ‘3’. Fractions and a set of circled index numerals are also included.

Pinup
Pieter van Rosmalen’s plump Pinup is a soft, weighty charmer. The lowercase conveys a casual, almost playful attitude, while all-caps settings are capable of a more sober tone. A variety of stylistic alternates — such as a round-topped ‘A’, v-shaped ‘y’, and curve-tailed ‘K R k’ — are on hand to give Pinup a more individual voice.

aniek-webfonts
Aniek is a warm, informal script with the monolinear contrast and soft endings of a felt tip pen. Where most handwriting fonts slant right, Aniek leans to the left, further distinguishing it from other typographic content on the page. Aniek captures the charm of handwriting but doesn’t mimic all the irregularity and imperfection of the human hand. Its unconnected letters with harmonized proportions and spacing allow Aniek to be surprisingly readable in longer chunks of text.


Service Improvements and Status Page

Here’s some good news to close out 2014. We recently rolled out a new content delivery architecture that improves both the speed and reliability of webfonts for our customers. The new EdgeCast CDN platform increases the number of server locations around the world, which will improve load times globally. This platform also allows us to serve static CSS files in many cases where the files were previously generated dynamically, a further boost to performance.

status.webtype.com

Additionally, we made a Webtype status page at status.webtype.com to report the current state of our webfont service. In the unlikely event that there is an interruption in service, the page allows us to be as transparent as possible about the situation. Other than helping customers pinpoint the source of issues they may encounter, the status page also serves as a public sign of our dedication to keep Webtype running smoothly.

Webtype aims at providing the best type to our customers, as well as the best service for delivering that type to the world. In that spirit, we will continue improving the technology to provide better fonts for better websites.


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