Visual OpenType Layout Tool

Indices : Tools : Type Design Tools : Visual OpenType Layout Tool (VOLT)

A GUI tool from Microsoft for managing the complex set of substitutions possible in OpenType fonts. Freely licensed to developers who join the VOLT community web site. Easier to use (according to John Hudson) for some complicated substitution tasks than the Adobe FDK used by FontLab and TypeTool, such as contextual positioning and dealing with feature precedence in complex scripts.

small caps


Indices : FAQs : About TypoWiki

Getting Started
Wiki Etiquette
A Brief FAQ-style Dialog

Getting Started

In a nutshell, the TypoWiki is an encyclopedia of typography for the Typophile community. Since it is a community-driven tool that can take shape in virtually infinite ways, it’s a natural evolution of the forum in that we can now separate factual information from opinion and discourse.

Filip Blazek

Indices : Designers : Filip Blažek

Filip Blažek (1974) works as a full-time graphic designer in his studio Designiq in Prague, Czech Republic. In 2000, he finished a degree at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts at the Charles University. Apart from being a designer, he is a co-author of Praktická typografie (Typography in practice), published by ComputerPress, 2000, 2004. He is also a contributor to the professional periodicals in the field. He is a founder and a member of the editorial office of Typo Magazine, which focuses on typography, graphic design and visual communication. He is an owner of the server, dedicated to Central and Eastern European graphic design and typography. Since 1999, he gives lectures dealing with type and corporate identity. He is the Czech deputy of the international organisation ATypI.


Indices : Terminology : Ampersand

The ampersand is a punctuation character evolved from the Latin word et, meaning and. The visual evolution of the word et into a ligature and then into the common form we use today. Many contemporary typefaces offer alternate ampersands with the old form. See an article by Max Caflisch which offers some historical background and several typographic examples showing the progression of the ampersand.

Appropriate use of the Ampersand.


Indices : Typefaces : Futura

Probably the most important geometric sans typeface, often imitated but never (quite) excelled. Designed by Paul Renner for the old German Bauer foundry (today the Fundición Tipográfica Bauer in Spain) between 1927 and 1930. Strongly influenced by the Weimar-era minimalist spirit that also played a role in the Bauhaus school (Renner himself was not a member of the Bauhaus). The large Futura family comprises one of the earliest sans serif type systems, and has grown over the years to include a complementary condensed family, a wide range of weights, and obliques.

Altered Ego Fonts

Altered Ego Fonts is a division of Sooy+Co.

AEF sells their fonts through, FontShop, and

Retail library includes:
American Spirit
Eclectic Web
Eclectic Pixel Web
Lil Milton

Fonts sold through another foundry include:
ITC Coventry (ITC)
Adobe Verve (Adobe)
Arkeo (Bitstream)

Contact information:
Altered Ego Fonts
Tel 440 322 5142


Indices : Typefaces : Garamond

Garamond is the original typographic naming disaster--a source of ongoing confusion. There are many types called "Garamond", almost to the point where garamond has emerged as a category among serif text faces. What most of the Garamonds have in common is that they are more-or-less accurate revivals either of type cut by Claude Garamond in the late fifteenth century, or of type cut by Jean Jannon in the mid-16th century.


Indices : Typefaces : Bembo

Bembo was a Monotype "recutting" (in effect a revival and reworking) of type used by Aldus Manutius. It is named because it was based on a type used by Aldus in Pietro Bembo's dialogue De Aetna (1495).


Indices : Typefaces : Avenir

Adrian Frutiger designed Avenir for Linotype Library in 1988. It is a typeface based on Futura, which was designed during the 1920s by Paul Renner. Frutiger had never been bappy with the cold, modern appearance of Futura, so he "humanized" it.

Avenir has no true italic styles were made though, just oblique ones. This seems in keeping with most of Frutiger's other typefaces. Avenir also has no small caps, oldstyle figure, or condensed styles. These three features may be found in the 2004 redesign of Avenir that was produced by Frutiger and Akira Kobayashi, Avenir Next.

Avenir Next

Indicies : Typefaces : Avenir Next

Avenir Next was designed by Adrian Frutiger and Akira Kobayashi, and released by Linotype Library in 2004. The type family is a complete revision of Frutiger's Avenir (1988), and is part of Linotype Library's Platinum Collection.

Adrian Frutiger designed the original Avenir for Linotype in 1988. It is based on an amalgamation of Futura and Erbar. Frutiger had never been happy with the cold, modern appearance of Futura, so he "humanized" it.

Avenir Next has a better distribution of weight across the family than Avenir did. The fonts also have small caps and old style figures in them. Each weight also has a condensed variant. No true italic styles were made though, just oblique ones. This seems in keeping with most of Frutiger's other typefaces.

Emigre Magazine

Indices : Publications : Emigre Magazine

Publishers: Emigre/Princeton Architectural Press
Editor: Rudy Vanderlans


Published by type foundry Emigre and Princeton Architectural Press, it was art directed and edited by Rudy Vanderlans. The magazine moved to a music format in 2001 and was an outlet for the foundry to put their fonts to work in vital and interesting ways.

Back issues are highly collectable. They are in the permanent collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York and the Design Museum in London, among others.

FAQ Software

Indices : FAQs : What Type Design Software Should I Use?

When considering what software to use in putting together digital fonts, many considerations need to be taken into account. Some of these may include: what format of fonts you want to output and for what platform(s), what software you plan to do your drawings in, the importance of having a complex/simple interface, your personal work flow, which features of font production are most important to you, &c. There seems to be a font editing application for just about every need. This article will attempt to help you determine which of these programs best suits your needs.

to be continued...

For a listing of font editing software, see Font Editors.

Alexander Lawson

Indices : Writers : Alexander Lawson

Alexander S. Lawson taught typography at Rochester Institute of Technology from 1947 to 1977. His most well-known work is Anatomy of a Typeface (David R. Godine, 1990), still a much recommended book among type aficionados.

In late 2009 a blog archive was developed to honor & document his life's work.

Died: Sun City, Florida, 2002

Rochester Institute of Technology

Indices : Education : Rochester Institute of Technology

Founded in 1829, Rochester Institute of Technology is an internationally recognized leader in professional and career-oriented education enrolling more than 15,000 students in eight colleges. The College of Imaging Arts and Sciences contains the Schools of Design and Print Media. Many outstanding faculty have taught at the renowned RIT School of Print Media (formerly School of Printing) including Alexander Lawson and Hermann Zapf.


Indices : Foundries : Typeco

Typeco is the digital type foundry for the designs of James Grieshaber. Typeco puts a modern spin on familiar concepts to create bold and versatile font families. Relevant type styles with a significant nod to the past.

Nick Shinn

Indices : Designers : Nick Shinn

Nick Shinn was born in London, England, in 1952. He attended school at Leeds Polytechnic where he earned a Dip. AD in Fine Art.

In 1976 he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he worked as an art director and creative director at a number of Toronto advertising agencies from the 1970s into the 1980s. In 1989 he started ShinnDesign, his own digital studio, specializing in publication design. Nick has designed everything from books and magazines to web sites.

Since 1980 he has designed over 20 typeface families, some for respected publishers, including Walburn and Brown for the Canadian daily "The Globe and Mail." Many of Nick's early type designs were published by various foundries, most notably the FontFont library. In 1999 he launched ShinnType, which now publishes and markets his fonts worldwide. Nick is a prolific writer and often contributes to "Graphic Exchange" magazine, as well as many other publications. He has also had speaking engagements at conferences such as ATypI and TypeCon and was a member of the board for The Society of Typographic Afficionados.

Comic Sans

Indices : Typefaces : Comic Sans

Although frequently described as a typographic atrocity committed against a helpless world, Vincent Connare's Comic Sans is one of the fonts most widely used by the general public, who love its artless, jaunty feel. Users love it as much as typographers and designers hate it.


Indices : Typefaces : Zapfino

Linotype's Zapfino is a fine, elegant script typeface based on Hermann Zapf's beautiful calligraphy. What would have on its own been a graceful and beautiful font has, over the years, served as a testbed for advanced typographic technologies, to the point that the most current implementation of Zapfino as of this writing, Zapfino Extra Pro, has achieved what seems to be limited sentience. It has an extensive, pan-European character set (barring Greek and Cyrillic, and with many of the diacritical characters drawn by Akira Kobayashi in close consultation with Zapf), each character form has at least four alternates to make the script flow more naturally, and it has an exceedingly complex set of ligatures and automatic substitutions (implemented by John Hudson for the TrueType version shipped with Mac OS X, and by Adam Twardoch for the Zapfino Extra Pro (Contextual) OpenType version available from Linotype). It is a challenging typeface to set and rewards experimentation.


Indices : Type Technologies : OpenType

About OpenType
OpenType is a type format designed by Microsoft and Adobe which attempts to resolve the limitations of the two dominant outline font technologies (Adobe's Type 1 PostScript fonts, and Apple and Microsoft's TrueType fonts), as well as serving the needs of its two creators. From Microsoft it gets its focus on global language support: OpenType uses as its basis Unicode, and does away the complicated system of code pages found in older digital font formats. Something like OpenType's advanced typographic features are needed for even basic support of certain languages. From Adobe OpenType gets its emphasis on advanced typographical controls for western and East Asian languages, providing support within a font for such features as alternate character forms, discretionary ligatures, variant figures (tabular and proportional, lining and old style), and small caps.


Indices : Terminology : Kerning

Kerning involves closing up or opening out letter pairs where the letter shape results in uneven letter spacing.

See also
Kerning How-To

Spacing & Kerning Classes
Kerning Pairs
Brute Force Testing
Kerning List

Technical Discussion:
FontLab 5 font file ignores kerning values

Type Design

Indices : Terminology : Type Design

The craft of devising new versions of alphabets for use in a font.

Type designers are sometimes mistakenly called fontographers. Fontographer was the name of a popular computer program for designing type, predominantly used during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Relationship to typography.

Typography is the craft of using pre-made alphabets in designs, type design is the art of crafting new alphabets. Quite often one person occupies both roles, and specializes to a greater or lesser degree in one or the other.

See also How-To


Indices : Terminology : Lettering

The craft of drawing or otherwise creating letterforms by hand for one specific use, e.g. for signs, illustration, logos, etc. Related to type design but a separate discipline; a good letterer does not necessarily make a good designer of type, and vice versa.

Additonal Articles:
Type and Lettering Styles
Lettering Artists

How Do You Develop Hand Lettering Aesthetics?
Handlettered Sign Examples?

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