Category Archives: Typography

REVIEW: Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

The Overlay Creator

The Overlay Creator panel is the DPS component that InDesign designers will spend most of their time in. The Overlay Creator panel, a plugin that works with InDesign CS5 and later, is the interface for adding multimedia and interaction to InDesign files for inclusion in digital publications. You can add a variety of interactive features to InDesign documents, not all of which are new to InDesign:

  • Image Sequences display multiple images, which has a variety of applications including time-lapse sequences, animated clips and 360-degree views. Image Sequences can auto-play or respond to user “scrubbing.”
  • Audio & Video insert audio and video assets into InDesign documents. Thanks to the multimedia features that have been added to InDesign in the past few years, adding audio and video is easy to do and the media controls generated by InDesign are good.
  • Hyperlink overlays will add links to your digital publications that link to online content, articles within the publication and more. Quick tip: Apple provides a method to write hyperlinks that send SMS text messages. Apple has a URL Scheme Reference that explains how to build these links.
  • Like the Image Sequence, the Slideshow overlay displays a slideshow in digital publications. Think of Slideshow as a traditional slideshow, incorporating InDesign elements including text and graphics, while Image Sequence is more of a “flip book” slideshow format with only images.
  • Pan & Zoom is one of my favorites, allowing users to pinch and expand images in digital publications. The designer has to think ahead when using Pan & Zoom and insert large images in their graphic frames. These can be scaled down to the desired default view, but the digital publication will retain the full-resolution image so it can be blown up when the user enlarges it. The DPS does not enlarge images on its own.
  • Panorama will combine multiple images into a panorama. This can be tricky because the user needs to load six photographs into InDesign with the right angle and order so it can be stitched together automatically. There are also some esoteric settings in the Overlay Creator including field of view and limit vertical pan. Reading through the instructions and a little playing around with the controls will help users grasp the Panorama overlay, and there are tutorials online for shooting images to be stitched into panoramas.
  • Web Content, which used to be called “Web View,” will embed online webpages or an HTML file within digital publications. It’s really surprising and very cool to see a webpage loaded in an InDesign publication, but it works and users can even interact with the webpage. The process is actually fairly easy to implement.

Creating interactivity with the Overlay Creator does a good job of condensing extensive interaction into a panel with a few settings, but I think Adobe’s development team can make the process more intuitive, particularly with bringing multimedia onto the page. The current InDesign has a lot of panels to sift through and the Overlay Creator adds quite a bit more chrome to the package. Keeping track of all the user interface elements involved with Overlay Creator was my biggest challenge, not bugs or a lack of interactive features.

The Folio Builder

The other component of DPS that resides in InDesign is the Folio Builder panel, where users combine articles into .folio files for publication and also finalize the document’s orientation. Working with articles and folios can be a mundane task but this part of the process is where designers can see their work on a tablet for the first time through the Content Viewer, an Adobe app available on the desktop or on the Apple App Store, Android Market, BlackBerry App World and for webOS.

Articles can be pulled from multiple documents, so you can build a horizontal and vertical version of a publication and combine it into one app in the Folio Builder. Creating two versions of a publication is not ideal, but it’s necessary if you want a publication that changes orientation properly. Adobe seems to be at least on the right track in creating “liquid layouts” in InDesign that will re-orient themselves depending on the orientation, which would be a wonderful new feature. Here’s a demo of the technology at Adobe MAX.

Adding articles and pushing folios up to the Content Viewer is most of what the Folio Builder does, but there are also some sharing features which I think is very important in a production environment. The Folio Builder panel’s menu has a Share option which will let users share a publication with other users who have an Adobe ID. You can also append a subject and message to the share notice. This is very useful but I would also like an interface in the DPS website where you can set up groups of multiple users so you can grant rights and share folios with groups of people at once. This is what I do when developing Facebook applications. Even though you can share to multiple individuals at once in Folio Builder, groups and shared rights make collaboration easier.

Day 1 Announcements From Adobe MAX: TypeKit, PhoneGap, WoodWing and DPS Single Edition

Adobe Acquires TypeKit and PhoneGap

Adobe has bought TypeKit and made the web font service a part of their Adobe Creative Cloud’s services. Jeffrey Veen came on stage and talked about the challenges of fonts on the web but showed how some websites are achieving very professional typography now through Adobe technology. I’ll agree to that—I use TypeKit on my own websites, and it’s easy to deploy and works across all browsers.

Jeffrey also said almost 60 foundries contribute to TypeKit. This includes Adobe, but they don’t offer the entire 2,300-font Adobe Type Library. Maybe that will come later. Jeffrey demoed some new features of the TypeKit website, such as rendering previews to show how fonts will look in different browsers and easier search tools.

I wonder what will happen to current TypeKit customers. Will they have to buy the Adobe Creative Cloud to maintain their websites’ fonts? I hope not, and I don’t think that would be practical for TypeKit’s users.

Adobe also announced the acquisition of Nitobi Software, which produces the popular PhoneGap platform for building mobile apps for multiple platforms including Android and iOS. PhoneGap leverages HTML5 and JavaScript, so I expect this would be rolled into Dreamweaver, Adobe’s HTML-editing software.

WoodWing Moves Users to Adobe Digital Publishing Suite

This announcement might have surprised me the most today. WoodWing Software, whose editorial workflow products allow for digital publishing to tablets and devices, has entered an agreement with Adobe to incorporate their Digital Publishing Suite with WoodWing’s Enterprise Publishing System. The Digital Publishing Suite will now be the only option for WoodWing customers to publish to tablets.

It sounds like WoodWing’s editorial and designer workflow will remain pretty much the same: users will use their Content Station and InDesign plugin to build the digital editions. At that point, .folio files will be created and uploaded to Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite platform for packaging, distribution, monetization and analytics. WoodWing’s Reader Application and Content Delivery Service are ended effective immediately. Customers will transition to the Digital Publishing Suite by November 2012.

Digital Publishing Suite Now Available In Single Editions

If you’ve wanted to publish a one-shot digital publication or a book, you’ll be happy to know Adobe today announced the Single Edition in the Digital Publishing Suite. The service, which takes interactive InDesign documents to the iPad, has until now been an enterprise-priced service for large companies and big periodical publications. Now companies can pay for just a single publication and get all of the Digital Publishing Suite’s features, including distribution through the Apple App Store, monetization and analytics.

It will cost $395 per publication, which immediately establishes it as a business product. Single Edition is not for people wanting to publish a family memento or maybe a church cookbook—but niche publications could very well benefit from its features.

99 Free Valentine’s Day Fonts

99 Ways to Type I Love You

Download fonts individually below, or download all 99 in a single 2.75MB Zip archive.

NOTE: Fonts are all TrueType format, compatible with Windows and Mac OS X. To convert them for Mac OS 9 and below, download this free utility: TTConverter15.hqx.


101HangYourHeart (90,864 bytes)


101HeartCatcher (89,400 bytes)


101HeartFramed (181,972 bytes)


101HeartStringZ (33,972 bytes)


101LoveGarden (32,668 bytes)


101LovePoP (52,912 bytes)


101SWAK (140,480 bytes)


101WalkinHeart (29,504 bytes)


4MyLover (36,072 bytes)


ALLHEART (48,992 bytes)


Angel (33,648 bytes)


Aosval_2 (16,692 bytes)


Apheart (8,436 bytes)


BeMyValentine (85,812 bytes)


CandyHeart (80,448 bytes)


CandyKiss (43,968 bytes)


CLBValentine (49,824 bytes)


CoffeeTalk1 (34,488 bytes)


CountryHearts (51,888 bytes)


CraftopiaLove (26,884 bytes)


Cupid (45,460 bytes)


Cupids (109,132 bytes)


DeepLove1 (138,688 bytes)


DJLove (42,536 bytes)


FancyHeartScript (68,436 bytes)


FiolexGirls (78,228 bytes)


FLHeartDark (100,696 bytes)


FlowerHeart (77,140 bytes)


fts12 (51,068 bytes)


GabrielsAngels (195,720 bytes)


HAfont (217,084 bytes)


hamlake (87,876 bytes)


HamLakeRegular (37,396 bytes)

Adobe MAX: Digital Publishing Suite

The unveiling of the Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) at Adobe MAX interested me more than any other news, since I am a developer who’s also a print designer and I’ve worked heavily with print publications in the past. Unfortunately, we’ve known about the DPS for some time—having had a sneak peek of Condé Nast’s WIRED Reader and The New Yorker months ago—and we still need to wait for the DPS to actually be available to buy next spring (you can use it now through the prerelease program though). However, Adobe revealed a lot and I’ve been looking at the material from both the designer and developer perspective.

InDesign has changed little

I had expected more tools or changes to the publication designer’s workflow, but this isn’t really the case. Everyone should note the Digital Publishing Suite is a set of new services and AIR applications, and there’s just one plugin to add to InDesign CS5, which is required. The best demo of the DPS/InDesign workflow I’ve seen is this one from Terry White, and there is really no changes to InDesign itself. The main points to remember are:

  • Design for the iPad’s 1024×768 screen. This is already available when a document’s Intent is set for Web in the New Document dialog box.
  • Build one InDesign file per article, and horizontal and vertical versions for each if you want it to change with the iPad’s orientation.
  • InDesign’s interactive features are supported, such as hyperlinks and rollovers, but not its rich media features such as video. An AIR app, Adobe Interactive Overlay Creator, can be used to generate this media and the resulting SWF files can be placed in InDesign. These SWFs are converted to iPad-friendly media when the document is bundled.

Creating horizontal and vertical version of your publications is a mild nuisance but it is optional—the Adobe Content Viewer allows for single-orientation publications. Having to create a document for every article and ad seems very cumbersome. I think segmenting one document into sections—already an InDesign feature—would be a great way to keep everything in one file and still separate articles and ads for use on the iPad.

After a document is bundled and prepared for iPad, it will be viewed on iPad with the Adobe Content Viewer. It should be noted this is designed to work with several tablets, including Android tablets and the upcoming RIM Playbook (shown in the MAX Day 1 keynote) as well as the desktop via an AIR app.

The rest of the suite

The meat of the Digital Publishing Suite is in its various services:

  • Production Service takes the InDesign document and makes the final assembly, including the addition of metadata and export to a variety of formats including HTML5. This includes the Adobe Digital Content Bundler app, which Adobe plans to integrate into the hosted service.
  • Distribution Service stores documents in the cloud and distributes the content to the Adobe Content Viewer. This includes a dashboard for library content and reader notifications.
  • E-Commerce Service monetizes the enterprise on retailer platforms or mobile marketplaces such as the Apple App Store or the new Adobe InMarket (also announced at MAX).
  • Analytics Service, supported by Adobe SiteCatalyst/Omniture, provides an impressive analytics dashboard including not only general page views and trends but also the way readers view and read the publication.

A full list can be found in this PDF.

The price

The big news should be the large price tag associated with the Digital Publishing Suite. The cheaper Professional Edition is US$699 per month on top of a per-issue fee that is based on volume. The Enterprise is a totally customized solution that gives publishers total access to the API and integration with back-end services like subscription management, but it’s a negotiated cost with Adobe and constitutes a multi-year agreement.

I think a lot of people hoped to build iPad publications with InDesign when they saw the WIRED Reader hit the Intenet a few months ago—imagine using File > Export > iPad just as easily as exporting to PDF! It would have probably been that easy if Apple allowed Flash on the iPad. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and along with the iPad conversion there’s also the leveraging of Adobe’s purchase of Omniture and the inclusion of its analytics in the DPS. All this makes the suite far removed from the cheap and simple export some people might have hoped for. Instead, it’s priced for serious publishers and its focus on analytics, distribution and e-commerce shows it’s been developed for the business side of publishing.

Adobe tells me they expect to put a reseller program in place so DPS customers can resell the service to smaller publishers and independents at a cheaper price. There’s no details on this yet but it’s good to see Adobe at least thinking about how to penetrate the small and mid-sized publisher market. I know there’s a lot of potential there, as the publishing business in general is full of small publishers and self-publishers.

Participate now

If you want to try the Digital Publishing Suite now, visit Adobe Labs and download the package. You can also learn more by visiting the Digital Publishing page on

Free Thanksgiving Fonts

Free Thanksgiving Fonts from Designorati

In addition to all the wonderful things in our lives to be thankful for this season—loved ones, health, happiness, and Designorati—we thought you might also like to give thanks for some free* Thansgiving fonts.

Note: Fonts are Windows TrueType format. To convert for Mac OS X and below, download this free utility: TTConverter15.hqx.


101! Punkin Pie 96,364 bytes


4YEOT 160,980 bytes


Chef Turkey 125,624 bytes


Edbindia 72,700 bytes


KR Turkey Time 33,120 bytes


LMS Post-Thanksgiving Shopping 105,528 bytes


LMS Puritan Party Hats 30,032 bytes


Pf_pumpkin-2 37,832 bytes


Pf_turkey_thanksgiving 151,860 bytes


Pf_turkey-2 399,992 bytes


Pilgrim Hats 25,428 bytes


THANKS1 10,584 bytes


Thanksgiving 56,208 bytes

*   All fonts were found on the Internet on websites or newsgroups identifying them as “freeware” and/or “public domain”. Any documentation or “read me”-type files that accompanied the fonts from their sources have been preserved. All files are packaged exactly as they were found. If a font presented here may not be legally distributed via this collection, the author and/or trademark holder is requested to contact us here prepared to establish his/her identity, legal ownership of the material in question, and to request removal of the material from this collection.

And don’t miss the 300+ free Halloween fonts!

REVIEW: InDesign CS4 and InCopy CS4

InDesign CS4 box

Some of the CS4 applications I’ve reviewed have been somewhat disappointing (Photoshop) while others have turned out to be radical upgrades with varying degrees of success (Dreamweaver, Flash). InDesign CS4 is, in my opinion, one of the best upgrades in CS4 suite: none of its new features really miss the mark, and most of them are quite useful (and a few are excellent advances in InDesign’s evolution). In my daily work I use InDesign CS4 more than probably any other Adobe application, and it has been a treat to use.

The new preflight paradigm

I have to begin my review with Live Preflight, InDesign CS4’s new method for preflighting documents. For twenty years, designers have put together their print layouts only to preflight at the very end, looking for RGB images, missing fonts and other errors that would ruin the final output. We used to use a third-party program like Markzware’s Flightcheck to preflight files before output, and then a few years ago InDesign incorporated native preflight technology. However, both these preflight options were manually run by the designer after the work was done.

InDesign CS4 Preflight panel

Live Preflight alone makes InDesign CS4 an upgrade worth considering—catching one printing error can practically pay for itself.

Live Preflight checks documents for output problems constantly, while the designer is laying out pages. There’s a simple display at the bottom of the document window listing the number of errors (unfortunately, InDesign CS4 does not highlight the actual page element causing the error) and from here one can also set or revise the profile InDesign CS4 uses to analyze the document. It’s an easy process to revise profiles with the Preflight Profiles dialog box—just check what InDesign needs to look for, and set the numbers accordingly. I use preflight profiles to check my layouts going to the web, newsprint or magazines. Live Preflighting has changed the way I work and all I can think is, “Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?”

Advances in the user interface

InDesign CS4 Links panel

The Links panel has seen major changes in InDesign CS4. Some new features haven’t been too useful for me, but on average it is a welcome improvement.

Adobe made news with the major revisions in the CS4 interface, but InDesign CS4 went quite a bit further with its own additions to its user interface:

  • A Smart Cursor heads-up display shows your X-Y coordinates as you move and transform items with the selection tools.
  • Smart Guides appear when dragging elements around and allow for extremely simple alignment, spacing and resizing moves in relation to other elements. Smart Guides will show you when objects are evenly spaced, aligned or other attributes usually controlled by the Align panel. I hardly use the Align panel anymore, thanks to Smart Guides. However, I’ve found that in layouts with many elements Smart Guides will snap you to align with things you don’t want to align to. The workaround to this is to zoom in so all you see on screen are the elements that need to be aligned: Smart Guides only pay attention to elements in the current view. However, sometimes I am aligning objects across a large cross-section of the layout and other elements hamper my efforts—in this case I just turn off Smart Guides and use the Align panel to make it work.
  • The Links panel has been redesigned to show a lot more information, such as the page where the link instances resides, attributes (scale, resolution, layer and others), metadata and more. Link thumbnails are particularly effective, as is the ability to show only one instances of the link in the Links panel—if you have 50 instances of a logo, listing it once rather than 50 times saves a lot of space. The new Links panel, by default, has more detail than I usually need, but it’s customizable through the panel’s flyout menu (look for Panel Options) so it’s a good improvement overall.

InDesign CS4 Smart Guides align

Smart Guides can align elements…

InDesign CS4 Smart Guides spacing

…and space them uniformly. Check out the green arrows.

I really like these UI improvements—the InDesign development team was really thinking when they put this batch of features together.

Conditional text and cross-references

The conditional text and cross-referencing features are all about streamlining multiple elements and versioning of InDesign documents, and though my clients and I have not yet found a need for this I do think it’s a good duo of features for the right designers.

InDesign CS4 conditional text

The Conditional Text panel allows designers to make different document versions in one file.

Conditional text in InDesign CS4 allows designers to tag text so it appears if a certain condition is met. This replaces the common practice of placing text blocks on different layers and showing/hiding them to create different versions on the fly. The new Conditional Text panel looks similar to the Layers panel, and it’s from here that you apply a condition (or conditions) to selected text. This is a wonderful feature for those creating multiple versions of the same document, whether for release in multiple countries and states or for multiple audiences.

Cross-referencing basically makes selected text into a symbol (to borrow Flash lingo) that can be applied as instances elsewhere in the document—change the original symbol and all the instances change along with it. I get more use out of cross-referencing because publication design almost always uses multiple instances of titles, headings, chapter titles and so on. However, I find that cross-references (and hyperlinks, which share the same panel) are difficult to use. One can’t simply select text and make it a cross-reference: it has to be a text anchor (created in the Hyperlinks panel) or styled with a particular paragraph style, and even then it’s a difficult process to master. If you revise all the text in a cross-reference, for example, the cross-reference will not update automatically—but the cross-reference itself is maintained. This is actually by design—cross-referenced text can be formatted and edited, and still retain its cross-reference—but it is a complex function that requires some study.

Got A Browser Open? You Can Make A Font!

A mention in Slate can really make a rising star.

Recently debuted, FontStruct, from FontShop International, is a free web-based application that allows even the tyro to make fonts, download them to their system, and share them. It is a very basic tool that nonetheless allows for a great number of variations in style and look. It has its limits, but those who just like playing with fonts, regardless of the level of aptitude, will probably have a great time creating with it.

The author of the Slate article wrote so eloquently about it that the site went down with a non-Slashdot Slashdot. It’s back up now and … it’s pretty nifty.


The author plays with FontStruct’s FontStructor web application

How does it work? The word for the day is “blocks”.

Playing With Building Blocks

The FontStructor (where one constructs their fonts, or, in the argot of the interfact, “FontStructions”) is a very simple thing; a large grid paper, with the left margin and the baseline clearly marked and with the lower-left origin marked with a red dot.

The left sidebar contains a scrollable box of blocks. These blocks, combined with the simple toolbox, are scattered about on the graph paper, much as one would fill in blocks on a piece of graph paper with a pencil. The toolbox and zoom control appear on floating palettes within the interface, giving the whole thing a rather familiar and comforting feel; anyone who’s used just about any bit of graphics software developed in the last decade or so will find the whole thing very wonderfully intuitive and figure it out pretty quickly

Toolbox and Interface: Just What You Need

The toolbox only contains some basic tools that are nonetheless appropriate for working within the paradigm: the pencil fills individual blocks, the line draws a line of them (holding down the mouse button whilst dragging gives a ‘ghost’ image that allows for more precise placement); the rectangle tools allows you to drag a rectangle which will then fill with the selected blocks, the hand tool allows for dragging the view about, and the eraser tool … well, it erases.

Zooming is also controlled by a simple slider on a floating control palette. Advanced controls are another palette, which allows you to control scaling of the blocks for creating different effects.

The blocks sidebar, previously mentioned, not only holds all the blocks available for contstruction as well as another window that shows only the blocks used int he current character, which assists in consistent construction. Also another advanced feature that helps in this wise is the ability to turn on ghost images of adjacent glyphs.

Just as notable as what it does do is what it doesn’t do; you don’t set hints, or kerning pairs, or any real professional-level attributes and features. The fonts you download are TrueType which, these days, seems to be much less of a design deal-breaker than it once was. But the limitations are perfectly reasonable within the offerings of the web app, which allows the user to pretty much design whatever they want to within the limits of the block canon (our tour included font sets that were Mexian wrestler (luchadore) masks, which were quite cool indeed. We imagine that funky character and symbol sets may exist there; the library is quite large!

Free For the People

The FontStruct website is available at no cost to register and use; the only requirement is that you have a capable browser. Once there, you can create, save, and share at will; part of the allure of the site is community, where you can have your font voted on.

FontShop, of course, has an angle into its own creation, offering fonts that you just can’t get the modular way. But the ads are restrained and though not obtrusive, easy to find.

Even the most sophisticated designer will sometime get out a basic tool to see where creativity happens. FontStruct is cool in this way. We can see where one might prototype on it during a slack time and download the result for work in a more advanced program. Amateur font enthusiasts will find a big fun playground that doesn’t require intensive knowledge and is easy to learn; more advanced amateurs will find a tool which they might have fun pushing the boundaries of and a group of people to share and get inspired by.

We think FontStruct is a great deal of fun. Find it here.

Are You Down With Adobe Font Installation? Thomas Phinney Wants To Know.

Is the way Adobe Creative Suite installs new versions of fonts your cup of coffee? Thomas Phinney wants to hear from you on this.

What we’re concerned about is overwrite behavior. Up to and including the CS3 applications, we have always blindly overwritten any identically-named font files with the versions in the installer. Usually this results in newer fonts being installed over older ones. On some occasions, this could have some kind of compatibility impact. We expect noticeable document reflow to be very rare, but doubtless it will happen in some cases.

His post on his blog, Typblography, is here. It’s a concern of ours as well, because we’ve experienced the problem he cites down the article a bit from there.

The survey is short and won’t take much time, and there is ample opportunity for comment. You can find the link at the end of the post linked above, or if you just love surveys and want to get to it, go here. Adobe is famously attentive to user concerns, and whenever Adobe asks us our opinion, we give it, and so should you.

Type is Tres Chic

Lucky magazine ( is an upmarket lifestyle monthly, one that styles itself The Magazine of Shopping and Style. In glorious color and replete with beautiful people modeling the latest fashions, one would think that it would appeal to, if anyone, more a layout artist than a typographer. But there is a treat this month of the typophile.

Lucky magazine type couture Article Illo

Type as style: Lucky Magazine, March 2008, page 74

On page 74 of the March 2008 issue, illustrated on the cover by a photo of a vibrant Rachel Bilson, is a single-page article naming a trend in the making – typography.

Page 74 gives us six high-style examples of how type is breaking into high fashion; A dress by the Vena Cava house; a jewelry designer’s ring, made completely from letterforms; a Hera silk dress, whose mosaic-like patter is made up the negative space between glyphs; a John Derian decoupage tray whose design is made of eighteen of the twenty-six essential Roman glyphs (which “looks like it was taken from the turn-of-the-century print shop”); a pillow based on an Alexander Girard typographic wallpaper; and a “drapey” women’s top with a yoke sprinkled with miniscules.

The article itself is a simple and rather insightful paragraph:

Letters and number are perhaps the most iconic graphic elements of all, which means they can project any kind of mood; Depending on the design, they can call to mind the kidlike charm of a classroom or the bold heraldry of old-school signage …

We might have some gentle quarrel with some of the high-flying language but not the meaning; Lucky‘s editor “gets” what those of us who love type have known for a very long time now: mere type is more than marks on a page. It projects a mood, has emotional resonance, and most of all, has interest.

The fashions are not for the budget-minded; the pillow alone will run you $79, and the Vena Cava dress and jacket (at $610 and #495 respectively) could kit the aspirant purchaser out with a mid-level Wintel laptop. But we think the entry of type onto the radar screens of at least one trendspotter is the indication of a possible trend that is, in and of itself, worth spotting.