Category: Typography

MasterPlan screen shot showing the manifesto covers

88 mentions of Brexit. The election manifestos are published.

We are now halfway though the six-week build-up before the 2019 UK General Election and this is the week that all the major political parties have published their manifestos.

In the spirit of free speech I have rounded them all up and placed them all online here using MasterPlan, so they can be simultaneously searched and direct links to any of the good, bad or contentious promises can be easily shared in online rants or pledges of allegiance.

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Cities, Manholes and Typography

Cities, Manholes and Typography: Exploring Culture Through Letters

This is an original interview by our friends at TypeThursday. Nikki Villagomez is a self-professed type geek and urban explorer cataloging urban typography and lettering she finds in cities across America. Ulrik Hogrebe talks to her about her favourite discoveries, the taming of the urban aesthetic and of course, manhole covers. You can read the original interview here.

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Cities, Manholes and Typography

What You Need to Know About Variable Fonts

This is an Interview with Tim Brown and Bram Stein of Adobe Typekit with Ulrik Hogrebe. Ulrik designs stuff at frog design, CIID alumni and former CD for BBC News and The World Service. Also designs type, slowly. You can read the original interview here. (via our friends at at TypeThursday).

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Production Controller

Junior Designer [JOB POSTING]

Quintet Publishing, part of The Quarto Group, is looking for a Junior Designer to join our busy team based in Brighton.

The Quarto Group is the world’s leading independent publisher of illustrated books; our mission is to educate, entertain and enrich the lives of readers. Quintet creates non-fiction books across subject areas ranging from creative technology and activity, to travel and design. Our titles maintain the highest editorial, design and production standards, and we work with co-edition publishing partners worldwide.

We are looking to appoint a creative and proactive Junior Designer as part of our in-house team. The ideal candidate will be enthusiastic about illustrated publishing and possess excellent InDesign skills. Bursting with ideas, you’ll be keen to make your mark on our successful and diverse list.

Assisting the Art Director with the creation of 50 live books and 80 new presentations annually, a key part of the role is liaising with freelancers and working closely with the editorial team. This varied role could see you creating PDFs for a sales presentation in the morning, conceptualising a cover design by lunchtime and preparing print-ready files in the afternoon.

• Good organisation and time-management skills
• Strong interest in illustrated non-fiction publishing
• Meticulous attention to detail
• Excellent knowledge of InDesign, Acrobat and Photoshop is essential, Illustrator would be a benefit
• Creative and keen to learn

To apply for this position please send your CV and cover letter to:

(Deadline for applications: Friday 2nd February 2018)

The successful candidate must possess the right to work in the UK. Quarto Publishing plc. is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and treatment, ensuring an inclusive and diverse environment.

6 tips for better book design

I’m a book designer. When I introduce myself as such people often ask if I’m an illustrator. Some book designers are skilled illustrators, but, the focus in my work tends to be more concerned with type and layout.

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Publishing Services Manager

Tips & Tricks: Improving legibility of text on images

One of the fundamental things you can do either as a designer, or someone creating your own materials, is to understand how to get the best out of combining texts and images. When you overlay text onto a photo different areas of light and dark can reduce legibility. So we asked Amy, one of our Design Managers, to share her top 5 tips for improving legibility of text on images.

1) Position the text in an empty or less busy part of the photo (known as copy space)

2) Think about changing the text colour to make it more visible (known as reverse-out, white-out, knock-out)

3) Use a drop shadow

4) Apply an area of blur

5) Apply a ’scrim’

Scrims are lightweight, semi-opaque layers, used to protect overlaid text. The term ‘scrim’ was used in Google’s recent materials design environment. It’s derived from the textile and theatre industries, where a scrim is a translucent fabric used in stage lighting. Scrims are particularly common in the digital environment, where space for photos and text can be at a premium (such as on hand held devices), and where content needs to be delivered in the blink of an eye.This post was originally published on the emc design blog.

Typographic inspiration from

As a design agency always looking for new ways of being creative and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible within editorial design we’re constantly looking outside of our studio for inspiration. to us isn’t just a place we go to to buy new fonts, it’s a wonderful resource of ideas, from matching typefaces to sparking off our creative juices. And so we wanted to give a shout out to the site and point you in their direction if you’re looking for interesting new fonts and typographic approaches to design.

One of the key features of the site that we particularly love are the different options each font is showcased in. It’s a great way of being able to try before you buy. We’ve taken a few screenshots, as examples, of a new font family ‘Frontage Condensed’ by Juri Zaech to give you an idea of what you can find. Gorgeous aren’t they! Don’t just take our word for it though, go and have a look and see what you think.

Frontage Condensed by Juri Zaech

Frontage Condensed by Juri Zaech

Frontage Condensed by Juri Zaech

Frontage Condensed by Juri Zaech

This post was originally published on the emc design blog.

Best practices for managing font collections

Design and publishing professionals juggle documents all day long. Ensuring that each and every document opens quickly and renders properly is critical to getting the job done. One missing or corrupt font can easily stall a project and result in missed deadlines.

To help creative professionals keep their systems clean and running smoothly, we at Extensis have created a series of Font Management Best Practices Guides. These guides cover the specifics of managing fonts on macOS and Windows as well as server-based font management for teams.

We recently updated our macOS guide to include Sierra v10.12. If you’ve recently updated, check out this guide to find out:

  • Which fonts are essential to keep on macOS Sierra
  • How to clean up your system
  • How to best include font management in your workflow
  • How FontBook and Typekit fit into the equation
  • And much more

These guides are continually updated with feedback from our professional network, partners and internal research.

If you’ve ever had a font ruin your day, check out these guides to help prevent that from happening in the future.

As a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.

Trouble keeping your team’s fonts in sync?

You’re not alone. You can learn how to effectively distribute fonts with a font server.

Font issues can crop up in any workflow. Font problems can have real hard costs for creative agencies, publishers, media companies, manufacturers and more.

We at Extensis work with thousands of creative teams across the globe, and have seen it all. Among the host of issues that fonts can cause, the most common issue is keeping fonts in sync across everyone’s desktop. Combine that with font licensing and corruption issues, and any creative workflow can come grinding to a halt because of a font.

When used properly, a font server can help any team stay on task and productive.

In a recent webcast, I covered the following font management topics:

  • How Universal Type Server meets your team’s font management needs
  • How to install and configure Universal Type Server
  • How to manage users and fonts
  • How to track your team’s font licensing
  • Best strategies for font organization

I invite you to check out a recording of this webcast.

Don’t hesitate to tweet or email me with questions!

As a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.


Typographic trends: Discover which fonts creatives love, and hate…

“I love fonts!” We hear it all the time. It’s common for creative professionals to obsess over their tools, and fonts are critical to any project that includes text.

At Extensis, we are font nerds ourselves, and I wear mine with a badge of honor.

Having worked with creative professionals for over 14 years, I love probing and discovering what creative pros are thinking. What do they love? What do they hate? What’s currently hot and what’s not…? So I decided to do something about it and surveyed them! It’s worth a read. Trust us.

More than 1,900 people responded, 57% were graphic designers by trade and most have been in their respective careers for over 25 years. If we wanted to find out which type styles are trending right now, where designers go to find new fonts and where all of this is headed, we sure got a good sample.

Most loved and most hated fonts

If you’ve been following recent design at all, it’s not surprising to discover that Slab Serifs came out on top as one of the most loved styles (30%).

On the other hand, Art Nouveau styles don’t seem to share the same enthusiasm, listed as the least favourite font style and registering the higher overall negative feeling among respondent (52%).

font 1 font 2

Free-flowing thoughts

It’s interesting to notice that professionals can have disparate reactions to the same typeface. Some expressed their unconditional love:

“These are great, and I have a feeling they will move into the field of classic fonts.”

Comment on: Museo Slab, by Jos Buivenga of exljbris

While others, absolute feelings of hate:

“Oh PLEASE destroy all of these. I cannot wait for the chalkboard phase to be over. It’s so overused and it’s rarely done well.”

Comment on: Chalkboard typefaces

Overall, each style will work differently for everyone, and will be dependent on the project at hand. And, whether you love them, hate them, aren’t so sure or “think it might work in some situations”, fonts “are to the designer as paints to the painter” (as I like to say).

Check out the entire breadth of research by downloading the report here. Share your font love, type hate, or general design obsessions below. We’d love to hear it.

JIM_7208_5xAs a writer, speaker and general software nerd, Jim Kidwell evangelizes the effective integration of fonts and digital asset management in creative workflows. Focusing on how effective management can affect all levels of an organization – from the legal, creative and branding standpoints – Jim has shared his unique perspective with audiences at SXSW, Future of Web Design, WebVisions and more.

cover design

Keeping it simple: 5 tips for designing beautiful book covers

cover designRachel Lawston is the founder of Lawston Design, and is freelance designer and illustrator for publishing and digital media. Rachel’s worked with the likes of Penguin Random House, Walker Books and Orchard Books. Here are her 5 tips for simple and creative cover design.

1) Read the book

That way you can ensure you give an honest and true representation of the book itself. If it isn’t possible to read the manuscript before I start then I ask if I can read a detailed synopsis.

2) Research

Gather together your thoughts regarding the direction you feel would work best. The research I do is varied but can and often includes; target audience, relevant imagery, possible artists, typefaces that may work, the subject matter, author brand and successful covers in that genre.

Examining what is on trend and the direction it may take is essential. What may be fashionable at the moment could be obsolete when the book is released.

3) Stock Imagery

When using stock imagery, I try to avoid using just one single image and instead blend several together to create something new. That way I can avoid the heartache of discovering my perfect image has already been used many times before.

4) Test the cover

Often there are several stages where you will evaluate and wonder whether the current direction is the right one. Testing covers on an unbiased group of the target audience is very helpful in establishing if everything is on track.

5) Typography

Legibility is vital, especially as most people now buy online. A useful trick when determining whether the title will stand out on Amazon is to drop the file onto your desktop, if you can still read the title when it is an icon then success!

cover, type, Ryan Ashcroft

Writing on the outside: Maximising the function of cover text

While the author is best placed to write the cover content, it’s the designer’s job to maximise its effect. This collaboration works better when the author sees things from a design and marketing perspective.

As a cover designer, I understand that what I’m creating isn’t necessarily a piece of art in itself but more an advert for someone else’s art, in this case – a book. And in any effective advert, a key part of that message lies not only in the actual words but how those words are presented. So what kinds of text can we find on book covers and how can it be used to maximise a book’s marketability?

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book designs

10 tips for better book designs

This is a guest post from Thomas Bohm. Thomas studied graphic communication, and now works for book publishers and businesses, whilst running User design a graphic communication design, illustration and production service. Thomas writes, researches and occasionally publishes. He wrote Punctuation..? (2nd edition, User design, 2012) a fun and fully illustrated book on punctuation. Has won awards from the following competitions: British Book Design and Production Awards, 3×3 Magazine and European Design Awards.

Here are 10 tips for improving book designs, they come from my own practical experience and observations. There are many parts, processes and people involved in the production of a book, decisions are usually not down to one person alone, but a group of people each with their own requirements, understandings and style preferences. Subsequently a successful and open minded editorial/designer/client relationship is essential for good results.

1. Make the gutter as wide as it needs to be

Text in books is often hampered by the arch of the open book and falls into the gutter, which causes text which is hard to read and annoys readers because the text on the inner right side and inner left side bends into the gutter. One reason why this happens, is because the designer has failed to make the gutter wide enough.

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