6 new typography tools for 2016

Want help with your typography? These handy new tools might be just what you’re looking for.

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Whether you’re a web or graphic designer, typography is an essential part of your work and a vital skill to master. But nobody ever said it was easy.

Whether it’s learning and mastering all the terminology, tracking down the perfect typeface, or finding the right font pairing, getting your typography right is one of the biggest challenges you can face as a designer. 

In this post we’ve gathered together six tools, all new for 2016, that aim to help you out. If you’ve spotted one that we’ve missed off the list, please let us know about it in the comments below! 

01. Try.typography.com

Type in the text you want and try out different fonts to see what they look like

His break-up with Frere-Jones' a couple of years back sent the world of typography reeling. But Jonathan Hoefler, now trading as Hoefler&Co, has soldiered on. And this year he’s released a cool new tool to let you experiment with his fonts for free. The aptly-named Try.typography.com essentially allows you to ‘try before you buy’, right in your web browser. And it’s extremely simple to use. 

On the left-hand side of the screen, you can type in any text you want, or just stick to the placeholder copy. On the right-hand side, pick any font from the H&C catalogue and try it out at different sizes, with different line spacings and in a range of styles.

02. Type Nugget

Type text into the left-hand side, adjust the properties on the right and automatically generate CSS

Type Nugget is a new web tool that helps you achieve precise online typesetting without having to manually write your CSS styles. 

The app lets you try out different web font combinations and preview them in the browser in real time. Similar to try.typography.com above, you can type in any text you like, configure the properties in the right-hand panel, and preview your text live in the browser. 

You can adjust for font size, weight and style; colour, line height, letter spacing, text-align, text-decoration and text-transform. Then when you’re happy, click the ‘Generate Code’ button on the top right to generate a tidy, accessible CSS style sheet that’s easy to implement into your web project.

03. The Taxonomy of Typography

This handy wall chart is a great way to learn (or relearn) all those typographical terms

You may think you know your typography, but have you really mastered all the terminology and what it all means? Or maybe you did so some years ago, but much of it has now seeped to the back of your memory and become stubbornly difficult to retrieve?

This printed cheat sheet covers everything you need to know, including terms for measurement and spacing (ascender line, x-height, monospaced), type varieties (gothic, serif, sans serif), letter anatomy (bilateral serifs, ball terminal, diaxcritc ), in a visual, easy-to-follow way. 

With a vintage letterpress feel and beautifully printed on 100lb archival stock certified by The Forest Stewardship Council, this would be a great addition to any design office wall, and would be a great gift for a fellow creative too. You can check out the full design on the website.

04. Font Flame

Font Flame describes itself as ‘Tinder for font pairing’

Do you always find yourself reverting to the same, boring old font pairings? Want to come up with more exciting combos but don’t know where to start? Font Flame is a web app that basically works like Tinder, by presenting you with a succession of randomly generated pairings and asking if you ‘love’ or ‘hate’ them. 

You can later revisit the ones you liked by clicking ‘My Type’ in the top nav, while there are also lists of ‘Trending’ and ‘Curated’ pairs, so you check out what other people have gone for too.

05. Photoshop’s Font Match tool

Match Font lets you identify fonts from images within Photoshop

Match Font is a new feature in Photoshop CC that enables you to identify fonts in photos and other images. 

First, you select the area of the image that contains the font. (If there are multiple fonts within the image you need to select each separately). Then just click Type > Match Font, and Photoshop will suggests licensed fonts on your computer, or from Typekit, that are similar.

You can find a full explanation of the Font Match tool and what you can do with it here.

06. Adobe Typekit Marketplace

Typekit Marketplace lets you buy fonts from Typekit without having a subscription

For many years, Typekit has carved out a reputation as the Netflix of typography. It’s a subscription service that enables you to use any of its thousands of fonts in exchange for a monthly fee or, since its acquisition by Adobe in 2011, as part of the Creative Cloud subscription plan. 

Announced at this month’s Adobe MAX event, Typekit Marketplace represents the latest evolution of the service, and it basically involves two big changes. The first is that more than 6,000 of Typekit’s fonts are now available for individual purchase, with a perpetual license, without the need for a subscription. And the second is that Adobe has struck deals with two new foundries, including Frere-Jones Type and Type Network, to double the number of available fonts. 

If you’re already happy with the subscription service then don’t worry: that won’t change. The introduction of the Typekit Marketplace, which Adobe says it’s been planning for a very long time, is purely aimed at offering more choice to designers about how they license their fonts. You can find more details of the new service here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.

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