FIFTY|1: The New FontFont Release Magazine, Double Issue 50/51

Do you remember the original Beowolf, a font whose characters constantly changed their appearance due to a random function in PostScript? Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum created this “living” font as early as 1989, and a little later FF Beowolf laid the foundation for the FontFont Typeface Library, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.


Actually, the legendary FF Beowolf already represented the most important elements of the FontFont philosophy: aesthetic quality, technical finesse, esprit, and bold experimentation. Almost all the typefaces published subsequently – such as FF Scala, FF Meta and FF Hands – adhered to these principles, yet there neither was a mission statement nor a strict typographic concept for the young venture at that time. So why did all the fonts from the first years seem to be cut from the same cloth?


Quite simply – because the FontFont Library was one of the first exclusively digital type collections. The designers submitted their designs directly in digitised form. This was a novel approach at the time and turned FontFont into a quickly growing type library, currently numbering more than 600 type families. Our type designers also have been type users, which explains the FontFont slogan “For designers by designers”. Most typefaces were originally designed for private use, in order to solve a specific design problem, or to fill a gap in the existing font offerings. Is there a better incentive for designing useful typefaces?


No doubt, FontFonts became known for their design standards, but nowadays fonts are not only used by designers anymore. To meet the requirements of users working with typical Office applications we developed state-of-the-art Office FontFonts. 30 of our most important type families are now available as Office versions; the complete library is currently reworked and converted into the Office format – explore the details of this new format on the following pages.

The two new FF Releases 50 and 51 of course bring several new originals as well – our creative tradition is not giving way to technology but rather interacting with it better than ever. So you will find a lot of practical information as well as inspiring type specimens in the second edition of our FF Release magazine FIFTY|1 (No.1 ⇒ FORTY9).

You can download the FIFTY|1 Release Mag PDF here (18MB), or browse it on Issuu. Enjoy.

TTF vs. CFF – Everything is OpenType

Graphic designers rely on OpenType FontFonts for their typographic features and operability with professional apps like Adobe CS® and QuarkXPress®. But software like Microsoft® Office isn’t capable of accessing all the features and glyphs of these PostScript-flavoured (CFF) OpenType fonts. FSI is answering the call with a special kind of OpenType fonts: Office FontFonts. One of the most significant differences is their outline format – instead of PostScript they have TTF outlines, so we just call them TrueType-flavoured (TTF) OpenTypes.


Since screen-optimization is an important issue in this environment we improved the hinting of our fonts once again, following the most current standards. Office FontFonts are optimized for the use with ClearType that is available from Microsoft Windows XP and the standard way of type smoothing since Windows Vista.

Both OpenType formats are based on Unicode and contain all the glyphs within one single font file. The difference is that Office FontFonts are style-linked, grouped together under a single item in the font menu. When working with Office apps you can access the familiar and easy-to-use key commands and toolbars to switch to bold, italic or bold italic. Tabular lining figures, which are more common for Office users, are the default figure set. Small caps with proportional oldstyle figures are also available, but as separate fonts.

Just like their ‘OT’ companions, ‘Offc’ fonts cover 50 Western languages such as English, French, Spanish and German. ‘Offc Pro’ fonts offer support of many more Latin-based languages (e.g. Czech, Turkish, Hungarian, Latvian). Many Office Pro fonts also speak Cyrillic and/or Greek. Because of the style-linking you can get them in a Basic Set (Regular, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic) or as pairs of upright fonts with their italic companion when available.

Although Office FontFonts are the best choice for all who work with the widely-used Office apps like Word®, Excel® and PowerPoint®, they are compatible with nearly every kind of software. If the software can handle a .ttf, it can handle an Office FontFont. Finally, everyone can benefit from the cross-platform compatibility and ease of use the OpenType format provides.

You can find all of the Offc FontFonts here or in the FIFTY|1 PDF.

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  1. Please check the download link. Somethings off.

    Posted by Srikrishna on Feb. 15, 2010
  2. Hi Srikrishna, I just tested the link at the bottom of the article and the PDF downloaded fine. It took about two minutes. What went wrong when you tried to download it?

    Posted by Yves Peters on Feb. 16, 2010
  3. Worked for me…18-meg file…may take a moment or two.

    GREAT book; where are “back issues”?

    Posted by Scott Tilden on Feb. 16, 2010
  4. This pdf caught my interest – so I downloaded it and printed it out. Now I have a pile of 60 single color laser-printed pages (already not in the right order). My bookracks are full of these piles. The whole thing doesn’t look very attractive and it is almost impossible to find anything. My bookracks were more functional and better looking in the times before it was possible to download and print pdfs.
    It would be nice to get specimens of high quality typefaces printed on high quality paper in high quality offset print and bound to a high quality brochure. For a decent price. Impossible ?

    Posted by Jyrki Lautanen on Feb. 17, 2010
  5. For a decent price. Impossible ?

    Last thing I heard that was indeed the problem. I fear we’ve got to move with the times.

    Posted by Yves Peters on Feb. 17, 2010

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