Posts tagged “Elena”

elena-blog5

Elena, designed by Nicole Dotin, has doubled in size with two new weights. Adding to the Regular and Bold, a Light and Medium bring a twist of variability to this modern serif typeface. The new styles form a trio of text weights – rather than follow a traditional linear weight model – and serve as lighter and heavier gradations of the Regular. These new fonts are designed to offer finer control over page color, hierarchy, and type pairings.

Originally released in 2011, Elena was made for extended reading. It has since found its way into every medium, from books to blogs, and even the popular reading app Instapaper. This release expands on that mission, reaffirming its commitment to text that’s meant to be read.

As before, the fonts are offered in Full and Basic versions. The Basic has a smaller character set — and price so it’s a good way to test the family before you dive into all of its features. And if you’ve previously licensed Elena, you can upgrade without paying for what you already bought, whether that was a single style or family.

13 Dec 2016

Designing Elena

The design of a new serif typeface for extended reading is an exercise in subtlety and restraint. The type designer traveling this path is faced with a limited and abstract palette with which to build unique character – stem widths, counter shapes, proportions, terminations and so on. Elena is a manipulation of these subtleties in a direct and unaffected way, creating a modern serif typeface that quietly balances warmth with a crisp, tailored tone.

Elena regular and bold italic.

Central to this typographic balancing act is a rejection of extremes. Serif typefaces meant for continuous reading quickly turn bookish and old-fashioned when rote historicism is the singular influence. On the other hand, a designer attempting to capture a contemporary voice may strip or exaggerate details only to find that grace and ease went with them. Elena merges these two ideological opposites by heeding the lessons of the past while taking advantage of formal possibilities no matter their origin.

The result is a low contrast typeface of economical proportions, moderate x-height and spare details. The influence of the broad-nibbed pen is conspicuous but tempered by a discreet reinterpretation of its shapes. Soft, brush-like terminations in the lowercase lend an organic note while a strong horizontal movement and tense curves create a structured counterpoint.

The three text weights of Elena — light, regular and medium.

Elena debuted in two weights, Regular and Bold, and was later expanded to include two more, Light and Medium. Rather than follow a traditional linear model though, the additional weights operate as lighter and heavier gradations of the Regular. This creates a range of three text weights, allowing typographers a choice of page color or the ability to apply subtle weight changes across a design. Additionally, it’s easier to combine Elena with another typeface. Having more weights means you can control a page’s hierarchy with increased precision and avoid instances where Elena is too light or too heavy compared to its mate.

Elena small caps.

As with all of our typefaces intended for complex typographic tasks, a suite of related parts naturally follows. Small caps, lining figures, tabular lining figures, small cap figures, tabular figures and arrows are all included in the full version of the design. If this sounds excessive for your job, we’ve also designed a basic version with – you guessed it – just the basics for simple tasks and web use with the CSS @font-face rule.

Scandia on Fontstand

There’s a new way to test our typefaces, and not just that – you can rent them too. Fontstand, a desktop Mac application, lets you try fonts for free for one hour as well as rent them on a monthly basis at 10% of the normal license cost. Whether you rent or trial, the chosen fonts work right away in your design apps without you having to install them. At launch, Fontstand offers hundreds of typefaces from over twenty independent foundries.

Clicking a ‘buy’ button isn’t always easy. Maybe you need to test the fonts before committing, maybe you want to make sure the client approves, or maybe you’re a design student on a tight budget. We get that – we’ve been there – and we think Fontstand can help. This new approach to licensing is a great way to get your hands on high-quality typefaces and ensure that you’re using the right font for the job. You can think of renting as an extensive test or as a way to use fonts for a limited time – you can always rent the fonts again when you revisit a project – and once you rent for twelve total months, the fonts are yours to download.

To get started with Fontstand, visit fontstand.com. And the links below will take you directly to the fonts we currently offer. If there are any typefaces you’d love to see on Fontstand, send us an email or tweet.

Process on Fontstand:

A magnified comparison of Elena Web that was auto-hinted and manually-hinted.

More good news on the rendering front. As we promised last May when we improved Colfax Web, Klavika Web, and Klavika Condensed Web, we had other webfonts to refine. And in September we updated several other families with new, manually-hinted versions.

Elena, each Bryant family, and Stratum 1 & 2 have all been significantly improved for screen rendering. These new fonts eliminate many of the irregularities that stem from a browser and operating system’s translation of a font’s design to screen. Now, the design of these typefaces is upheld more consistently when viewed in a browser and readability — a paramount concern — is enhanced.


Elena Web, Before & After

Elena Web, auto-hinted and manually-hinted

The auto-hinted (top) and manually-hinted (bottom) versions of Elena Web rendered at 24, 20, and 16 pixels by IE 11 in Windows 8.1. A few noticeable improvements: at 24px, the contrast of the ‘a’ is fixed; at 20px, the ‘g’ is truer to the original design; and at 16px, the loopy ‘e’ is straightened.


If you licensed or downloaded any of these webfonts after September, you don’t have to do anything — you’re using the new fonts. Otherwise, log in to your Account and re-download the fonts. Those of you using Typekit, republish your kits that contain these webfonts and the latest versions will be served.

In the spring of 2012, eight students at North Carolina State University’s College of Design participated in a new course to curate, edit, design and publish The Student Publication, a journal that reports on important issues in the field of design. While they had the support of Dean Marvin Malecha, FAIA and were guided by the expertise of Assistant Professor Tania Allen, the students (Michael Carbaugh, Dwight Davis, Eric Flood, Anna Gonzales, Craig Maxwell, Rebekah Zabarsky, and Leigh Anne Zeitouni) managed every aspect of the project including selecting and inviting contributors, authoring content, designing the publication and managing its promotion. The result, Volume 35: Transformation: New perspectives on design methods and processes, was printed and released this fall.

The Student Publication, Volume 35

Volume 35 of The Student Publication was designed by Michael Carbaugh, North Carolina State University Master of Graphic Design ’12.

Assistant Professor Allen was asked how building a course around the well-established publication enhanced the students’ learning experience. She explained that a dedicated course provided time and space for students to sit, think and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a potential topic and whether it merited an entire issue.

The Student Publication provides a forum for students to develop a comfort with writing and articulating an idea that might be more theoretical in nature,’ said Allen. ‘I have been trying to develop projects that give structure to creating an argument, introduce students to prominent (or not so prominent) thinkers and writers in the field and experiment with the writing process itself.’

Process 13, Casey Reas

Anchor and Elena are used exclusively throughout the publication.

While the Publication Course was new in 2012, The Student Publication has a sixty-year history. The College of Design published the first volume in 1951. Its purpose then was to act as a collection of voices, focusing on timely and important issues in the design field. Past contributors have included Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe and Buckminster Fuller. Then in 2006, a group of faculty and students in the College, including Denise Gonzales Crisp, Tony Brock and Bob Burns, proposed creating the Publication Course to formalize the project’s learning objectives and student experience. Allen’s Spring 2012 class was inspired by that initial proposal.

Allen commended her students for their ability to create a framework on which future classes can build on and expand. ‘The students really rose to the challenge. They developed a fundamental appreciation for this publication as part of a larger system that not only will, but must, evolve and change in future semesters.’

Walk Raleigh, Matt Tomasulo

In addition to providing a more holistic view of editing, designing and publishing a journal, the Publication Course has expanded students’ understanding of writing’s role in design both as content creation and critical practice. Rather than marginalizing writing at the edges of the design process – either as project brief at the start or explanation at the end – Allen wanted students to experience integrating writing into the whole process: to practice writing as a method to talk about how ideas develop through various stages and to enhance those ideas through the course of a project. To further clarify the connection between design and writing, Allen built visualization and making components into the students’ writing assignments. For example, they developed concept maps to find connections among contributed content and designed interactive pieces about the publication’s topic.

Elena, up close.

A detail – Elena up close.

For Volume 35, the students approached Nicole Dotin for an interview following the public lecture she gave at NC State the previous fall. Nicole presented on type design practice and the development of her typeface Elena (used throughout the publication for text alongside Anchor for headlines). The interview appears among contributions from educators, theorists and practitioners from various design disciplines: Eve Edelstein, Deb Littlejohn, Juhani Pallasmaa, Fernando Magallanes, Casey Reas, Matt Tomasulo and Erin White. Each of the eight contributors offers his or her perspective on how design methods and processes transform and adapt to new cultural and technological contexts. The student editors wrote that they hope The Student Publication creates a dialogue about how the field currently approaches design as well as how it might evolve in the future.

‘Today, I would argue that the incredible shifts in the field have precipitated an increasing need for us as designers to reflect not just on what we are creating, but how and why we are creating and what it is adding to material culture at large,’ Allen advocated. ‘The Student Publication is an opportunity to do that.’

This fall, a new set of students began working on Volume 36: Form + Fiction to be published spring of 2013. Find out more about The Student Publication.

— Guest blogger Erin Hauber is a graphic designer, educator and Master in Graphic Design degree candidate at North Carolina State University.

If you happened by the FontFeed recently, you’ll find an interview with Process Type Foundry partners Eric Olson and Nicole Dotin by Yves Peters. Go ahead, read the words. Sometimes, though, we just want to ogle the pictures. Here are photos from the interview along with extended annotations, outtakes and some extras.

Eric and Nicole
Eric and Nicole standing in the doorway of the Process Type Foundry studio.

Eric, Nicole and Erik
At some point, our photo shoot started to sour after taking shot after shot. There was nothing left to do but lighten the mood. Obviously, Eric grabbed a house number designed by Erik Spiekermann and placed it where it belonged.


This is Charlie, the silent third partner of Process, in the studio along with Bob Dylan, an old Mac Cube, our record player and various drawings by 3-year-olds.

What will he think of the work?
After posing for his photo, Charlie popped by Nicole’s desk to see what she was working on and offer insight. Or, he might have been looking for a treat.

Designed and published by Ryan and Tina Essmaker, The Great Discontent features various weights of Stratum 1 alongside body text set in FontFont’s Meta Serif. More importantly, it features interviews with the makers of today.

The Great Discontent, Olga Bell.
“Do you guys know that thing that Ira Glass talks about? Where you start out and you know your taste is really good, but your ability needs to catch up to that taste?” An interview with Olga Bell on The Great Discontent.

This is a creative space.
Bryant and yellow belong together. This bag was one part of a larger rebrand of Raffles, a design school based in Sydney, Australia. Find more of the identity using Bryant on the Naughtyfish website, the firm that handled the redesign.

Elena Italic test print.
A test print for Elena Italic. Most of Nicole’s test prints are marked up in colored pen. Red, pink, blue and green are favorite colors for making messy, almost indecipherable notes for later decryption and then correction. The arm of the k needs … finesse.

Marco Arment's app Instapaper.
Elena found its way into Instapaper, a popular app by Marco Arment for collecting and saving content to read later. If you happen to click on the link above for Marco, notice his personal site is set in Elena too (at the time of posting).

Seattle Met cover featuring both Capucine and Anchor.
It’s no secret we love seeing our fonts in use and used well. It is a secret however, that we hope to one day see every font in our library used in a single magazine. As far as we know, Seattle Met is the front-runner in our imagined competition. Capucine, Anchor, Bryant, Bryant Compressed and Colfax have all graced the magazine since design director André Mora took the helm. Only 13 more fonts to go, Mr. Mora.

Anchor in Seattle Met.

Colfax on the cover of Seattle Met.

Limited edition poster for Anchor.
During the summer of 2010, we jumped into the seemingly rarefied world of print and made a limited-edition poster celebrating Anchor (long since sold out). Designed by Abi Chase, it was a three-color screenprint featuring an unusually pastel palette when compared to our typical propensity towards CMYK.

Wants for Sale.
And last but not least, a random bonus. >Wants for Sale was started in July of 2007 by Christine and Justin Gignac. A couple of months later, they took the same basic concept and started Needs for Sale. The concept? The couple paints pictures of needs, anything from basic necessities like food or shelter to research for curing diseases. The paintings are offered for purchase and 100% of the sale is donated to a charity whose mission it is to meet that need.

Wants for Sale's companion – Needs for Sale.
Anchor is used for all headlines and titling.

Needed: a good meal.
A nice way to end, right?