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CONTENTS #160

Featured New Font - Orpheus
Main Page & Newsletter Redesign
New Offer for Webmasters
Too Much of a Good Thing
Edmund Dulac Package Update
Art Nouveau Package Update
Summer Specials
Special Offers on Ebay
Projects in Development



The new format for the newsletter seems to have been well received. We're sticking with it and will continue to increase the emphasis on original content and articles, as well as info on specials and new products. This issue we have news on a major new font release, plus a nice article on font overexposure and all the usual stuff. Read on!

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We recently received a number of emails from different people who were looking for a source where they could get the Morpheus font or something like it. We'd heard of Morpheus before - it's one of the most overexposed fonts around - but had never had much interest in it. In an effort to help these customers out we looked for a source where they could purchase it, and though we were able to get some info on the font and find samples, none of the major font resellers had it in their catalogs. We wanted to be able to get people the font, but we didn't want to make a clone of Morpheus. The font is too overexposed, rather poorly rendered, and frankly too unattractive for us to add to our collection. Then an idea errupted. Why not make a font that looked a bit like Morpheus, but which had more attractive, more consistent character forms, was rendered cleanly and properly spaced and kerned? We took a look at Morpheus and decided to redo the concept from the ground up, replacing some of the amateurish characters, adding a bit of a Celtic look and feel, developing a set of alternate characters and making sure that the design elements were consistent from letter to letter. The result is Orpheus, a font which has the general look and feel of Morpheus, but is a much more complete and fully realized design. Morpheus has been very popular despite its shortcomings, but it's been so overexposed designers should really avoid it. Orpheus offers the option of using a new and different font while still getting the general king of mystical, magical look while not actually using Morpheus. In addition, Orpheus is a fully developed font set, with not only regular and bold versions, but with a special customized italic style and a really neat looking heavy weight rough-outlined variant. CLICK HERE To download the demo version of Orpheus. The full Orpheus family set is available on our ordering site: CLICK HERE





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Main Page & Newsletter Redesign

As I'm sure you've noticed by now we're in the process of a major redesign of our newsletter and main page. The idea is to create a look and feel which was more structured and more concrete, with - at least for now - a quasi-medieval theme. We wanted to create an impression of substance and solidity by clearly defining the vertical columns and the live link areas in the header while adding some decorative elements at the same time. We're working on implementing this new design throughout the website on as many pages as we can, but there are still some kinks being worked out, mainly to make the design compatible with some of the more obscure browsers like Operaa. We're also considering major changes in the content of our home page. We've been thinking about basically making this newsletter the home page and updating it more frequently with new articles and features to make the site more interractive. Your feeback and suggestions would be much appreciated. Any comments or ideas can be sent to: suggestions@fontcraft.com

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Free T-Shirt Offer for Webmasters

We know a lot of you run websites - who doesn't these days - and like everyone else we're eager to get people to put links to our site on theirs. Unlike others who come begging, we're coming with gifts, or you might prefer to think of them as bribes. We've done something similar to this once before, but this time we've thought of a new and perhaps more fun incentive - designer t-shirts. If you put a link to our main page on your website in a relatively easy to find position or on a links page, we'll send you a unique and stylish all-cotton item of Scriptorium fashion wear. Assuming supplies last you even get your choice of size and design. The only restriction is that linking websites must be findable on Google. The link should go to our main page or a major sub-page appropriate to the theme of your website. We've even got graphic banners if you want to use one. You can find them at BANNERS. Once you've added the link, just email us about it and we'll send a t-shirt. You get to choose from two basic designs, the Boneyardfonts.com t-shirt featuring art by Harry Clarke (see image to the right) and the Scriptorium Fonts logo shirt (see image below). If you want to take us up on this offer, just put the link on your site and send us an email with your address, t-shirt size and design preference. We have a limited supply of shirts, so we can't guarantee the shirt you want in the size you want, but we'll do our best for you. We'll even cover the shipping within the US. Once you've got the link up and running, just send us an email with this link or from any of our pages - offers@fontcraft.com

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Too Much of a Good Thing - Font Overexposure

Have you ever noticed that there are some fonts that get used over and over and over again until you start to wonder why anyone would use that font you just saw on 3 software boxes, 4 book covers and 2 movie titles in the last week on yet another product or ad? I'm not talking about relatively generic text fonts which get used again and again and don't really register as being repetitive. That's not really a problem. The problem is with very unusual title or display fonts with a specialized look which you can't help remembering when you see them. These are usually fonts which appeal to a particular audience or fit a particular theme. A designer sees them and says "hey, this font is just what I need". He ought to be hearing an echo, because a dozen other designers are saying the same thing at the same moment. The phenomenon even feeds on itself, because a designer may have seen the font in question on some similar product in the past and forgotten about it, but the look lodged in the back of his mind somewhere, so when he is put to work on something with a related theme that look and that font match his expectations even if only subconsciously and pop right to the front of his brain when it's time to pick a font for his project.

Morpheus is the classic example of an overused font. It and the many similar or clone fonts which are out there appear everywhere. I was in a bookstore today and saw Morpheus or an equivalent font on the covers of more than a dozen books, several DVDs, two calendars, a poster and a couple of CDs. It was hard to turn around without seeing it. It has a combination of unique peculiar looking elements which seem to create an impression of mysticism and magic, hence everyone latches onto it for any supernatural or magical design from fantasy novels to horror movies. One of our fonts is similarly overexposed. Abaddon has become the favorite of the heavy metal rock,, gothic and horror markets. If you go into a Hot Topic store in the mall Abaddon assails your eyes from every angle, with its most prominent exposure as the logo font for the band Godsmack. While this is gratifying to us as designers and font publishers, just as I'm sure the success of Morpheus is pleasing to its designer, the level of overexposure of these fonts is also frustrating. Once a font reaches the level of overexposure you begin to see other, better and more appropriate fonts being passed over because designers have an unconscious impetus towards the look which has become established for the genre they work in, or they are just lazy and say "hey, this is a horror movie, let's just use the font that was used on The Craft" or "Our goth-metal band's CD cover should use that cool font on my Godsmack T-Shirt". That's not a terribly creative process when there are so many other great fonts which could be used instead of the obvious choices. Good fonts get neglected and fonts of questionable quality get entrenched and become tediously overused.

As a designer you ought to be conscious not just of fitting in with an established genre but also of the value of creating a unique original look for your product. It doesn't take that much effort to go out and find a font which produces the same kind of impression as an overused font, but which has its own personality. We font designers are working all the time to produce new fonts which meet the same needs as other popular fonts but have their own unique look. Take advantage of our efforts and put these alternative fonts to work. In many cases newer fonts designed to fill the same niche as popular fonts are really better designs. Morpheus has a number of technical flaws and aesthetic inconsistencies which may be fixed in an alternative font like our Orpheus. Even Abaddon has shortcomings. It's one of our early designs and rather crude, with small caps instead of lower case characters and other shortcomings. Someone out there took advantage of this to produce a clone font with a rather nice lower case character set, and we've even made several similar fonts which are more interesting in several ways like Gehenna and Gehenna Extreme. By looking a little further afield you can come up with intriguing alternatives to the obvious font choices and the result is that you may get a better made, more attractive font, plus people will be less likely to pigeonhole or make assumptions about your product because of the association with the products which made an overexposed font famous. Using Abaddon for your band logo says "we're a Godsmack clone". Using Gehenna says "we're sort of like Godsmack, but cool and original too".

There are an awful lot of fonts out there - something for every taste and whim. When designing a logo or the cover for a product try not to be seduced by obvious choices and overexposed fonts. Do a bit more work and explore your options. You're likely to find an even better font which you can make your own. Then when your design or your product becomes a huge hit, you can start the process of overxposing that new font and see everyone else using it in imitation of you, trying to grab onto a little of your success.

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Edmund Dulac Package Update

As you know, we're always working to expand and improve our collections of both fonts and art. Among our recent acquisitions werer several books of illustration by Edmund Dulac which we had not previously had access to, or even been aware of. Most notably, a customer pointed out to us that our collection of Dulac's illustrations fo The Tempest was not complete. It turned out our copy was a second edition which had fewer than half the illustrations found in the original printing. Embarassed by this oversight we went looking for a copy of that first printing and found one languishing in Australia. It, along with a seto illustrations from Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm make up the main additions to a new version of our Dulac art collection. The Tempest illustrations are particularly nice, but for those who haven't yet seen this package, my favorites remain the exceptional illustrations from Edgar Allen Poe's The Bells. The illustration by the table of contents at the head of this page is from The Tempest and the illustration immediately to the right of this section is from The Bells. You can check out the Dulac package with a full set of samples of all the illos at fontcraft.com/scriptorium/images/dulac

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Art Nouveau Package Updated

We've just updated our popular Art Nouveau font colleciton with the addition of several new fonts - Boetia, Belgravia and Jugenstil Kinsthand - plus the inclusion of a selection of nice Art Nouveau style frames and borders. The info page for the package has been redesigned to go with the new additions. And of course, there's a special offer to upgrade to the new version if you have the earlier release of the package. You can check the page out and see all the details at ART NOUVEAU

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Summer Specials

We've just updated our specials section on our ordering site with new offers for the Summer. The emphasis this time is on multiple CD combo packages including a special offer for our new Colonial/MapMaker package. A few other neat items are thrown in there as well. This is a great chance to get some of our best packages at extraordinary prices since these combos are normally already discounted, but we've marked them down even lower for the Summer. You can find out what's on special by going to SPECIALS

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Discounted Packages on Ebay

Our offerings of selected packages through ebay has had a lot of value as a method of advertising our larger product line and bringing people to the website. As a result we've added some more items to the listings and are rotating the selection from week to week. The benefit of this for you and for some of those who discover us on Ebay get some of our best packages at substantial discounts. Plus the competition of bidding for a good product is kind of fun. To see what we currently have up for auction on Ebay take a look at: EBAY AUCTIONS

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Projects in Development

We have two main projects in development right now, both nearing completion. The first is our compilation of the new edition of our Complete Fonts Collection, which features over 30 new fonts, over 80 substantially revised fonts and a format change which we hope will make it easier to work with. When the collection is released we'll also be offering discounted updates to those who have earlier editions, as well as a special collection of all the new fonts from the last year. You can pre-order the new release of the complete fonts or an update from an earlier version from: COMPLETE FONTS.

Our major new package for the summer is going to be a collection of art and fonts based on the work of Walter Crane. This package will be heavy on art and borders, but there will also be a small set of fonts based on interesting samples of hand lettering. The centerpiece of the collection will be his three classic childrens books The Baby's Opera, and The Baby's Aesop. These are the main source for an enormous collection of frames, borders and decorations, plus some nice illustrations. They will also be included in the package in their complete, original printed format as PDF format e-books for reference and for your enjoyment. The Crane material has a wonderful Arts and Crafts look and is a lot of fun both visually and for the text content. Our next newsletter ought to feature a link to download a free PDF copy of one of Crane's books.

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Hope you are enjoying the newsletter in the new format. Look for another issue soon with a new font and an article on Desktop Publishing software and how to tell it from MS Word. If you have any ideas or suggestions, don't hesitate to let me know.

---- Dave Nalle, The Scriptorium

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