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

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.


New from MVB Fonts: MVB Solano Gothic

MVB Solano Gothic webfonts

MVB Solano Gothic was originally designed as a display face for the City of Albany, a small town on the east edge of the San Francisco Bay. Named for the city’s main street, the typeface needed to work on signage in proximity to early 20th-century buildings, as well as in contemporary settings. Mark van Bronkhorst’s design is a strong, condensed sans serif that references pre-digital letters of all sorts, from metal architectural lettering to hand-painted signs. The style is not overtly retro, however. It sits comfortably on contemporary-styled web pages, and the straight-sided forms are especially well-suited for the pixel screen where MVB Solano Gothic is recommended for use at sizes 14px and up.

Since the initial commission, issued only in Bold, Solano Gothic has been expanded to a family of five weights, all the way down to a crisp Light. The fonts are also equipped with optional simplified forms for ‘a’, ‘g’, ‘l’, ‘M’, and ‘Q’ which can be accessed through the Stylistic Sets feature in OpenType. Small caps (with matching figures), fractions, and a variety of arrows are also included.

You can use MVB Solano Gothic’s alternate glyphs, small caps, fractions, and ornaments via font-feature-settings in your CSS.

You can use MVB Solano Gothic’s alternate glyphs, small caps, fractions, and ornaments via font-feature-settings in your CSS. Read more about using OpenType features. Some ornaments (see gray labels) are accessible via HTML entities in the style of &#xUNICODE;.


Underware Is Now on Webtype

We are pleased to welcome Underware to Webtype, along with three of their most popular and expressive typefaces.

At the end of the 20th century, not long after a decade dominated by the Grunge aesthetic, a new group of young designers entered the type scene, producing accomplished, versatile families. Digital type design had reached a new maturity in which well-trained but independent boutique shops made fonts as professional as those issued by the large, established foundries.

Underware was at the head of this new class. Fresh out of grad school at KABK’s Type and Media program in The Hague, Akiem Helmling, Bas Jacobs, and Sami Kortemäki infused their typefaces with a youthfulness combined with rich influences from their backgrounds in Germany, The Netherlands, and Finland. 15 years later, Underware is still setting trends and delighting audiences with inventive and useful fonts.

Now Underware type will be available via the reliability and convenience of the Webtype service. The first batch of the foundry’s fonts to hit our collection is Bello, Auto, and Fakir.

Bello webfonts

Bello is Underware’s first hit, favored by designers for the effortless way it conveys energy and joy. While informed by traditional handwriting and brush scripts, Bello is rendered in a undeniably contemporary way. It translates the work of a traditional sign painter into the here and now. This ebullience is especially effective on the web, where we are accustomed to seeing plain and sober stuff. The inky Caps font offers a toned down companion to the script.

Here are a few of the many ligatures and swashes that give Bello a hand-lettered flow. Ligatures improve connections and reduce duplicate shapes, while Titling and Swash alts add flourishes to the beginning and ending of words. Learn how to use these OpenType features on the web.

Here are a few of the many ligatures and swashes that give Bello a hand-lettered flow. Ligatures improve connections and reduce duplicate shapes, while Titling and Swash alts add flourishes to the beginning and ending of words. Learn how to use these OpenType features on the web.

Auto webfonts

Auto is not a handwriting typeface, but it is unmistakably made by the same hand(s) that wrought Bello. Amiable and lively, yet still clean and readable, Auto is a friendly sans that can do the corporate, white-collar work usually reserved for duller types. It is armed with the extensive language support, small caps, and figure sets required for editorial and corporate uses, but what makes it unique is its three – yes three! – kinds of italics. These variants present the opportunity to choose a specific style for standard emphasis, or — for the more adventurous — use more than one italic style to distinguish content types without changing typefaces.

Auto Italics

Auto 1 Italic leans gently but the forms remain spare. Auto 2 Italic adds elements of a traditional oldstyle italic, with tails, serifs, and other turns of stroke. Auto 3 Italic is nearly upright in stance, but almost ornamental in shape — it’s as calligraphic as a modern monolinear sans serif can get.

Fakir

Fakir is another prime example of what Underware does best: add life and accessibility to a long established (and often antiquated) category of type. In this case, the target was the Textura blackletter. Fakir contemporizes the old gothic form by transforming less familiar Textura forms into romanized forms. This makes it more readable to a wider audience than most typefaces in its category. For moments that call for more flavor, Fakir Display brings back more blackletter character.

It is something of an anniversary for these three Underware families, as they were all introduced to the print world about ten years ago. Webtype is honored to introduce Bello, Auto, and Fakir to a new audience on the web, where they offer a lively alternative to more mundane and poorly designed options in each of their categories. Stay tuned — we’ll be adding more Underware fonts in the coming months!


New from Font Bureau: FB Big Caslon

FB Big Caslon on Webtype

FB Big Caslon is a significant update to Matthew Carter’s handsome headline face based on the largest sizes of William Caslon’s metal type. Released in 1994 and bundled in OS X for many years, Big Caslon is familiar to anyone with a Mac. It quickly gained favor among designers, gracing the pages of publications like Wallpaper and Boston magazines, and it even secured a place at the Museum of Modern Art in 2011. But users were limited to a single style. Now there are six: Regular, Bold, and Black weights, each with an Italic. This new variety of styles makes the family suitable for web designs that require flexibility and contrast in their headlines. That’s why Font Bureau is simultaneously releasing FB Big Caslon at Webtype along with the desktop edition.

FB_Big-Caslon_WT-specimen1

As the name implies, use FB Big Caslon big (48px+). Most default “web-safe” fonts were designed for text sizes, so one of the more exciting advantages of webfonts is the opportunity to deploy display typefaces in all their fine detail. When most of us think display type, we think brash, quirky, or ornamental, but Big Caslon is big type of another sort: striking in a classic, graceful way.

The versatility of FB Big Caslon is demonstrated by its ability to combine with a wide variety of type styles. Here it is paired with Georgia, Poynter RE, and Helsinki/Fort.

The versatility of FB Big Caslon is demonstrated by its ability to combine with a wide variety of type styles. Here it is paired with Georgia, Poynter RE, and Helsinki/Fort.

Big Caslon presents the opportunity to dress up a design without ostentation. It can be Georgia’s more delicate counterpart for grand heads, or serve as a harmonious companion for an oldstyle serif like Poynter RE. And, of course, it can bring a sense of warmth and elegance to a sans-seriffed screen that might otherwise feel too technical or cold.

While the roman styles are fairly reserved, FB Big Caslon lets loose in its italics, where web users can access a range of decorative alternates via OpenType features.

A sampling of the various alternative glyphs and ligatures available in FB Big Caslon Italic. Small caps, figure options, fractions, and other accessories are also included. See this document for a complete list of glyphs.

A sampling of the various alternative glyphs and ligatures available in FB Big Caslon Italic. Small caps, figure options, fractions, and other accessories are also included. See this document for a complete list of glyphs and features.

Along with these ornamental niceties, FB Big Caslon offers a more complete typographic arsenal than we have grown to expect from most webfonts: small caps, both lining and old style figures, fractions, and a complete set of case-sensitive punctuation (so your questions and exclamations are always in alignment). Perhaps most valuably, FB Big Caslon has an Extended Latin character set supporting languages of Central and Eastern Europe. This is more than a pretty face.

The Webtype debut of FB Big Caslon, by the way, follows on the heels of Carter’s other display serif Big Moore, which has a more antique feel.

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


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