Category Archives: Typography

A photo is worth…well…lotsa words

iPHONE APPS ARE FUN. Fun to experiment with. Fun to show off. Fun to…well, they’re just fun. But occasionally, an app comes along that can used to help create a “serious” design. One of those apps popped up during a recent web-surfing session.

WordFoto is available for the iPhone. There are some indications that it also comes in Android flavor, but I haven’t been able to verify that as yet.

What WordFoto does is re-render a photograph, using whatever words you choose. And—as you can see from the examples above (created by yrs. truly)—the words can be cast in teeny-tiny letters or letters so large they almost obliterate the face. And the options are many:

• The original photo need not be a face. It can be any pic you want to use.

• The custom styles option allows you to use varied typefaces, and the developers are promising more fonts in the next version, perhaps with the option to install fonts you prefer.

• You can adjust the type size and color.

• You can crop the original photo.

• Or…you can use WordFoto’s presets.

A WordFoto’d image, such as the rightmost Lincoln image, can be used to help create a special section cover for Presidents’ Day. Another idea: WordFotoing a US flag for July 4th. Or a creche photo for Christmas. All you have to do is create the image in WordFoto, then send it to yourself as an email. I tried that left Lincoln image on a tabloid size InDesign file and it looks clean and professional.

No, this is not an ad. And, no, I’m not getting a percentage.

Here’s more on WordFoto.

And here’s the link to WordFoto in the App Store.

Have fun!

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Putting our fonts on the table

WE ALL HAVE our favorite typefaces. Well, we ought to! My favorites usually run to the serifs: Kepler, Photina, Bodoni, Baskerville, Garamond Condensed. But then, I’m also partial to some sans serifs: Akzidenz Grotesk, Antenna, Vonnes, Tasse.

And then, there are some I like…but struggle with because they are sooooo overused: Helvetica, Times, Myriad. They, of course, are on the “Periodic Table of Typefaces” created by the folks at

Which leads me to the following question (I may live to regret this!): What is your favorite typeface…and why? Don’t tell me you don’t have one! As I stated earlier…we all ought to!

My favorite? Easy: Kepler. Uhhh…with Photina running a v-e-r-y close second. Kepler is elegant, stately, classic. Photina is a bit more playful but still neat and stylish. Kepler is Faith Hill in a slinky black dress with diamonds. Photina is…well…Faith Hill again—but in cowboy boots and jeans and a rhinestone-studded tank top. Either one is a class act.

So, what typeface turns you on?


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Makin’ it better

I’M NOT REALLY SURE we can think of ourselves as news designers without having a strong respect and love for typography. After, all, type is about 80 percent of what we do!

So when I come across a little piece of fun-typography-in-motion, part of the fun is sharing it with you!


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Typography: Font design

“IT’S SO MUCH A PART of our daily life that it’s invisible—yet quite visible.”

The quote is from Steven Heller, author of more than 90 books on design and typography, talking about type design. I’d recommend any of Heller’s books to those of you interested in learning more about type and design).

Heller is just one of those interviewed for this 3+ minute piece.

I think you’ll enjoy it. I know you’ll learn from it.

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Typenovation: To get your juices flowing

FROM THE FOLKS at, some examples of innovative typographic thinking. Not the stuff you’re gonna use on the front of a weekly newspaper…or…would ya?

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Typography: a quick look

HERE’S A SHORT FILM on some of the basic elements of typography—and why good typography is important.

On a scale of one-to-ten, most newspapers are at a typographic six. And some are…four.

Too many fonts, text that’s too small, headlines that are kerned (or scaled!) too tightly—those are just three reasons why typography suffers at newspapers. Add funky fonts to the litany and we fall into typographic meltdown.

But then, you already knew all of that.

That’s OK…watch the film anyway.

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More on text fonts

LAST WEEK’S ENTRY on text fonts drew a quick question from frequent contributor Kristin Coker:

“Ed: What are your feelings on QuioscoTwo?”

I responded:

“See the blog next week.”

It’s next week.

This is QuioscoTwo, from the FontBureau (

I like the open bowls and the extremely large x-height of QuioscoTwo, but I’m not taken by the fact that the strokes become thinner where they join other strokes, as in the “h” and the “m.”

Perhaps it’s because we’ve been together for so many years, I tend to still prefer Nimrod.

This is Nimrod, from

Nimrod has a very large x-height and is more rounded than the QuioscoTwo. To me, that roundness makes it more comfortable to read as well as highly legible. It’s more traditional and has no quirks in the design of its characters, adding to its readability. There are other excellent newspaper text typefaces out there. And I often take a look at them and consider using them. But when I do a test to see how they will work in a newspaper design, they often pale when compared to…yep…Nimrod.

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