Tag Archives: Toolbox

Typography – background thoughts

What do I find interesting???  Hmmn…

  • Lettering when I can’t read it – abstracts it, shape and form and flow
  • Stone carved letters – Heptonstall churchyard  (See later post)
  • Stencilled lettering  and textures
  • Canal boat lettering etc. Notices and formality/pomposity of bureaucratic language (Sowerby Bridge canal ramble – see later post)
  • Printing – John Bull kids printing kits
  • Those 1970’s drum printing machines, with 3-part typed stencils and the pink sniffy-floaty correction fluid
  • Typewriters > ribbons and letter keys
  •  Carved wooden printing blocks

Letterpress provided the technical language – that got translated into digital – this is what usually happens when technologies go digital.

Print and web production are pretty much the same till begin to diverge according to the technical needs of the output media.

Providers and type libraries – need to look into this more.

‘Monotype Imaging technologies are combined with access to more than 9,000 typefaces from the Monotype®, Linotype® and ITC® typeface libraries – home to some of the world’s most widely used designs, including the Times New Roman®, Helvetica® and ITC Franklin Gothic™ typefaces.’  See Fonts.com which is a good source for background info too.

Favourite fonts for day-to-day use:

  • Verdana
  • Arial
  • Segoe print/script
  • fonts with interesting g’s

Practicality and accessibility means sticking with the mainstream.

Web and fonts

Fonts live in browsers, browsers can access most fonts on the machine, and websites can pick them up via the browser.  Therefore it’s machine dependent, so non-web fonts need to be held on the server or linked from somewhere else.  Other good sources – Squirrel fonts,  Font shop

Font types

  • Postscript was mac, Adobe
  • Truetype .ttf was Microsoft
  • Opentype is a merging of the two with more space for more characters, glyphs, twiddly bits etc.


  • Google now developing a set – but currently not much cop and consumerish.
  • @fontface – css3 – getting fonts locally into websites – Squirrelfonts has a converter.
  • Alternatively linking to fonts in cloud font libraries (avoid)

Note that there’s a quality issue with free fonts sometimes.  And developing technologies > keep a watching eye on CSS3 and Html5 development font-wise.

Meanwhile, links in no particular order…

The cheapskate toolbox

Photos / graphics / dtp software – what have I got? What do I want?
Firstly, I’m professionally interested in keeping pace with all the low-cost and free software that’s out there, and where possible, prefer to use it. Aspirationally I can’t wait to get my hands on a shiny new copy of CS5 with student discount, but, before I do that, I want to see how far I can get with the less glamorous alternatives:

  • Industry standard: Photoshop / Illustrator / InDesign
  • Free software alternative: Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus

This is what I’m using…


First pass, Picasa for viewing individual photos, quick adjustments and cropping. I have Canon software that does the same thing, but Picasa is much more functional on and offline, as I use Google apps a lot.
Gimp and Photoshop 6 as main photo manipulation software. I use Gimp more because it’s on the machine I use mostly now, I’m used to it’s quirks, and I made a conscious decision to start using it so I would get to know it better. Photoshop 6 is about 10 years old but it’s better than Gimp for handling text, and I still use the ‘optimise for web’ magic button which was a big feature when it came out.
Easy Thumbnails for batch resizing of photos and thumbnail creation.


I haven’t used graphics software much to date, so I’m having a look for something. I’m currently learning Inkscape.   A couple of web apps I quite like the look of are  Aviary tools and Sumo Paint


I have used Quark Express a little in the past. I’m currently learning to use Scribus, it’s also the best thing I’ve got for creating pdfs.

Palettes and colour charts

This is what I actually use, very basic and quick > Visibone , and these are what I think I use:


Wordmark.it is a tool that lets you check a phrase against all the fonts on your machine

File conversion

Zamzar is an online file conversion tool