FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: I have one of your fonts which is a shareware version. How do I register it?
A: Some of our fonts have been distributed as shareware through a variety of online services and websites. If you have one of these fonts and wish to use it you should register it. Registering a font is essentially the same thing as buying the font. You use our online system or call us, or send in a payment for the appropriate font or the package it is part of and that gets you the current version which will have characters and features missing from the shareware version. At that point your obligation is discharged.
Q: What’s the difference between TrueType and Postscript fonts?
A: Postscript fonts consist of two files, a screen font and a printer font. As it is used today it is a format developed by Adobe and adopted by other font foundries. It is used primarily by high-end imagesetters who prefer it because the relationship between screen image and printed output is more reliable. In most cases you need Adobe Type Manager to use Postscript fonts effectively. TrueType fonts consist of a single file which contains both the screen and printer versions of the font. It is a format developed jointly by Apple and Microsoft as an alternative to Postscript. TrueType is easier to use, and modern TrueType fonts are usually equal in quality of output to Postscript fonts, but by tradition some conservative service bureaus and printers are reluctant to work with TrueType fonts.
Q: How do I access characters which aren’t part of the standard keyboard?
A: On the Mac you may be able to access many of these special characters by combining the option key with the regular keys. To find out how to do this use the Keycaps Desk Accessory. In Windows you will probably access these characters with the Alt key and a numerical sequence. To see a listing of alternate characters and get the codes, use the Character Map accessory in the Program Manager.
Q: Why do some of the characters in my font print as boxes?
A: First check to make sure that all the characters are printing as boxes. Some fonts only have upper or lower case characters because they are based on historic calligraphy which only had one form for each letter. This is not a defect, but a traditional characteristic of those types of alphabets. If it’s not one of these obvious things and the problem persists, it is an indication that the font is too complex for the memory configuration which you are currently using. This is most likely to happen when using the Postscript versions under system 6.X on a 68000 Macintosh, or on a system with less than 4 megabytes of system memory. However, with more complex fonts it can occur with more powerful systems. It can also be the result of programs which have poor memory management. In some cases assigning additional memory to the application you are using can solve this problem, but the more complex the font is, the more memory it demands. We have never encountered any problems on any systems which have a 68030 or better processor and at least 8 megabytes of memory, but some of the newer Macintoshes, although nominally equivalent to an SE/30 or better, have inexplicably poor memory management. In the worst case scenario your system just may not be able to run some of the most complex fonts without some sort of hardware or software upgrade.
Q: Why do characters in my font vanish at larger point sizes?
A: This is essentially the same problem as the one noted above on the Macintosh. It means that your system is not powerful enough to handle the number of points in the font you’re trying to use. This problem is particularly troublesome with PCs running Windows 3.X, but is more or less fixed in Windows95. This generally occurs with art and decorative initials fonts, but the limitations on the PC are even more severe than on the Macintosh, so on older systems it may occur with less complex fonts as well. It is less likely to happen with TrueType fonts than with Postscript, and can only be fixed by upgrading to Windows95 and possibly getting more memory as well. You may find that you can still use the more complex fonts in a limited context. Generally you should be able to use smaller point sizes with multiple characters, or print one or two individual characters in larger point sizes, even if they don’t appear on the screen.
Q: Sometimes Font Smoothing makes my fonts look strange. Should I use it?
A: Windows 95 offers a feature for printing called Font Smoothing, which may lead you to wonder if your fonts aren’t smoothe enough. With any well designed font font smoothing adds no benefit for printing and may result in a variety of problems. In some cases it does improve the appearance of fonts on screen, but as a general rule it creates more problems than it solves. We recommend turning it off.
Q: Why are there no apostrophes or quotation marks in my font?
A: Some programs use a feature called ‘smart quotes’ which looks for alternative versions of these symbols. Many of our fonts have smart quotes, but a few do not. This is often because these ‘curly’ quotes are not historically accurate for the style of type or lettering on which the font is based. If you run into this problem consult your manual to reconfigure your software to turn off smart quotes, or for the key combination necessary to access the correct apostrophe. For Microsoft Word you turn off this feature bu going to the Tools menu, selecting AutoCorrect and then selecting Auto Format as You Type. Under this heading there is a check box to turn ‘smart quotes’ off.
Q: I downloaded a shareware font and it doesn’t have numbers and punctuation. Does the registered version?
A: Of course. We take out a few characters in the shareware and demo versions of our fonts, but they are in the registered version. This lets you try the font out and get an idea how it looks and works, but leaves an incentive for you to register and get the full version.
Q: I can’t believe that you’re selling fonts that are available all over the internet for free!
A: Where do you think all those free fonts come from? They’re mostly demo or shareware versions of fonts that we and others have designed which have been stripped of their documentation. We let those fonts go out there for free as advertising for our fonts and to encourage people to try them out. Designing a good font takes hundreds of man-hours. When you spend that much time working on something, it’s not entirely unreasonable to hope to get paid a small amount for your work. Does your boss come to you on payday and say “someone else is already doing a job like yours as a volunteer at a church, so I’m not going to pay you either”. Our fonts are among the most unusual and most reasonably priced on the market. On average they sell for less than half what most commercial fonts do. Larger font producers like Adobe and Microsoft have single fonts that sell for over $200. The average commercial font sells for about $30-$40. In comparison, most of ours are $24 or less. If you want a good, original design in a font with all the features you need, sometimes it is worth paying a little bit of money.
Q: Can I use your fonts in my web page? Can I use your fonts in a book I’m publishing?
A: That’s what fonts are designed for. When you purchase one of our fonts you are purchasing a license to use that font in a printed form. This does not mean you can redistribute the font itself, but you can use it for no additional charge to typeset a book, design web graphics, create a logo, or whatever else you want to do with it which doesn’t involve selling or giving away the font file itself. The one exception is that you may not print, reproduce or distribute a complete alphabet sample without obtaining permission first. It is possible to get a license to redistribute a font for a special fee. For complete details see our standard license at: LICENSE.
Q: What is the copyright status of your images? Can I use them in my web or publication design?
A: All of our images are copyrighted, but they are licensed to you to use within some limitations. You can use them as illustrations or decorations in any project, so long as what you are selling or redistributing is not primarily just reproductions of the artwork. For example, they can be used as illustrations in a book or for decroation on a website. There are some more specific restrictions as to the size at which images may be used on the web and the number of images you may use in any publication. As with fonts, if you want to use them for other purposes this is possible, but requires an additional fee for a special license. For complete details see our standard license at: LICENSE.
Q: I’m releasing a CD of shareware gathered from the net and/or setting up a shareware website. Can I include some of your fonts?
A: If the fonts you are distributing are the shareware versions of fonts found on our website this is not a problem and you don’t need to ask for special permission. All you need to do is make sure that they are in the original archive with all of the documentation included. If you wish to distribute older shareware versions that are floating around the net, or distribute other fonts from our collection as shareware, you must contact us first for permission. As a general rule we would prefer not to see further distribution of our older shareware fonts because they are out of date and have bene overexposed.
Q: How do I use fonts on my web page?
A: It is only possible to make a visitor’s page show the fonts you want for your text if he has those same fonts installed. This is done using the command ‘font face=”fontname,fontname2″‘ in your html code. This will cause his browser to look for the fonts listed in order and use the first one it finds to display the text on the page. The only way to make sure a visitor will have the right fonts is to give them the fonts. The easiest way to do this is to provide them with a link to our webfonts package at http://www.ragnarokpress.com/scriptorium/webfonts.html and then use one of them on your page. If this is too much bother, the only alternative is to present those parts of your page you want in a special font in GIF format. This means making a special graphic with the text in the font you want and inserting it in your page. This should be done sparingly and should not be done with large areas of text. It generally works best for titles and stuff you really want to highlight. You can find utilities which are well suited to making custom GIF files on our utilities page at http://www.ragnarokpress.com/utilities.
Q: Why do the GIF images on my web page look jaggy and rough, while yours look sharp?
A: This is actually because ours are technically less sharp around the edges, which ironically makes them appear smoother. They have gone through a process called ‘antialiasing’. The easiest way to do this is to start with your image in a higher resolution format, like 300dpi RGB color and then reduce it in size and ‘flatten’ it for the final version by redu�ing it to 72dpi and then stripping it down to 256 colors so it can be made into a GIF. This can be done with several of the utilities on our page at http://www.ragnarokpress.com/utilities.
Q: What is kerning and how does it work?
A: Kerning is the system by which the variable space between letters in a font is defined. A good font will have built into it a table of pairs of characters which have been specially adjusted or kerned so that they look better when used together. Take a look at A and V next to each other in a monospaced font and then look at them in a kerned font. You will see that they are moved closer together to get rid of the unsightly gap in the kerned font. Some programs have automatic kerning features and some fonts don’t really need kerning because their characters are very square and uniform in shape. Other fonts require a great deal of kerning, and if you turn kerning off in the program in which you are using them they will look awful. For example, fonts like our Folkard font which have characters with parts which extend beneath or above other characters have to be thoroughly kerned or they will have huge gaps between the characters in many words.
Q: What are Minuscule and Majuscule letters?
A: These are calligraphic terms referring to the two main styles of character. They literally mean small and large, but in modern usage minuscule means lower case characters and majuscule means upper case characters. However, in some calligraphy, particularly Uncial styles, the minuscule may only be a smaller, simpler variation of the majuscule form.
Q: What is the difference between Cursive, Script and Italic?
A: Cursive means refers to a ‘running’ hand in calligraphic lettering, where all of the characters are connected and flow together. Traditionally this differentiates it from Uncial lettering which consists of distinct characters. Script means any type which is designed to resemble handwriting. Italic refers to the slanted style of type introduced by Aldus Manutius in the 17th century and in general to any slanted or skewed font. So, if a font is slanted it’s italic, if the characters are connected it’s cursive, and if it does so in a way which simulates handwriting, it is script.
Q: What is the difference between Black Letter, Gothic and Old English?
A: There really isn’t any. All of the terms refer to early type styles based on the calligraphic style generally referred to as Quadrata. Black Letter is a general term for these styles. Gothic refers specifically to modern type used as the standard for text in Germany before World War I. Old English is an Anglo-American term for these same styles developed to divorce them from the German associations.
Q: What does it mean when a font is called Antiqua, Old Style or Archaic?
A: All of these terms basically indicate that the font was designed to have the characteristics of early printed type. These characteristics usually include capital letters which are considerably larger and bolder in relation to the lower case letters than is the case with more modern type, and some unusual letter forms, such as the long ‘s’.
Q: A font I bought doesn’t have a ‘j’, ‘u’, ‘y’ or ‘w’, or these characters look funny. Why?
A: A lot of our fonts are based on historical calligraphy or antique type designs. In the many historical periods and regions there were no letters for ‘j’, ‘u’, or ‘w’. These letters are variations of ‘i’ and ‘v’ respectively and were developed in the last few hundred years. ‘Y’ as we have it in English is related to ‘g’. The current form is modern in origin, derived from the Greek upsilon to differentiate it from the ‘g’. In cases where a font is based on historical lettering we may substitute the appropriate character for those which weren’t used at that time, so you get ‘i’ for ‘j’ and ‘v’ for ‘u’ or ‘w’. With very complex fonts like decorative intiials we may leave those characters out alltogether. In some cases we include transitional forms, such as the older style of ‘w’ which looks like a ‘n’ and a ‘u’ or ‘v’ joined together. In some cases where it seems appropriate we will create compatible versions of these modern characters and add them.
Q: How do I access foreign-language characters in my font?
A: On the Macintosh you can use the Keycaps from the Apple Menu item to locate the special characters. Most are accessed through the use of the option key and various standard keys. On the PC these characters are accessed through the use of the alt key and a sequence of numerical codes. You press the numlock key and hold down alt while entering a numeric sequence on the number pad. For example, ‘e’ with an accent is 0233. In MS Word you can get a full list of codes if you look under International in the help file. The results from these codes may vary depending on which language set you selected when setting up Windows 95 and your word processor.
Q: Whien I try to install my fonts under Windows my file menu in the Fonts Control Panel doesn’t have an Install option.
A: This is a bug generally found in Windows 2000 and Windows ME, but possibly in other releases as well. Settings in your system attributes have become damaged or misassigned. To fix it go to the MS-DOS prompt, go to the Windows directory (cd/windows) and type in the command string “attrib +s +r fonts”. Shut down and restart your computer in Windows. This should fix your Fonts Control panels attributes and restore the menu to proper function.
No FAQ is ever truly complete. If you have questions, please email them to us using the button to the left.