Working round the soft hyphen bug in Webkit

Recently a Fontdeck customer asked for help regarding a problem he was having with a soft hyphen. Our chief web typography evangelist, Richard Rutter, investigated further and uncovered a peculiar bug in Mac-based Webkit browsers, including Safari and Chrome. Fortunately Richard also found a workaround.

Soft hyphens enable you to manually insert hyphenation points in words. Thus a soft hyphen is a hyphen which is only displayed when a word is split across two lines. Put another way, the character says ‘hyphenate here if you need to’.

Richard has gone into lots of detail about the bug on his blog, but in summary under some circumstances, when using webfonts (any webfonts, not just Fontdeck) Mac Webkit browsers will display a missing glyph￰ symbol where the soft hyphen is placed, for example:

To fix this, include Arial somewhere appropriate in your font stack, eg.font-family: "Apercu Light", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif.

Tagged: apercu, bug, softhyphen, .

The Heartbleed vulnerability & Your Fontdeck account

On April 7th 2014, a new security vulnerability was announced in OpenSSL, a cryptography library used to secure most of the traffic on the internet. This vulnerability is commonly known as “Heartbleed”, and this xkcd comic also explains the core idea very well and extremely concisely.

Fontdeck’s account management system uses OpenSSL to maintain the privacy of data sent between your computer and our servers. All our servers were updated quickly (last week) after the vulnerability’s announcement and we are currently replacing all SSL certificates.

We have no reason to believe that any data was actually compromised. However we recommend that you change your Fontdeck password.

To change your password, log in and go to your Account details page.

The Heartbleed vulnerability was a near-unprecedented security event and was not unique to Fontdeck. We recommend you check whether other sites and services you use were vulnerable, and consider resetting your password on all of them.

Introducing Alverata, a new typeface by Gerard Unger

Alverata is a brand new super-family from TypeTogether, designed by the legendary dutch type designer, Gerard Unger.

Alverata sample

In essence Alverata is a contemporary typeface with roots in early Europe. Standing out against the current trend of humanist sans-serifs, Alverata is a glyphic sans-serif face inspired by the shapes of romanesque capitals in inscriptions of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, without being a close imitation of them.

Alverata performs beautifully on screen, delivering excellent legibility. Its letters are open and friendly in small sizes and lively and attractive in large sizes. They are robust, and show refinement in their detail.

Alverata Regular at various sizes on Mac OS X

Alverata Regular at various sizes on Windows 7

Alverata Italic on Mac OS X

Alverata Italic on Windows 7

Alverata is an extensive type family, with six weights, real italics, and versions for both formal and informal settings. Alverata consists of three different fonts: Alverata, Alverata Informal and Alverata Irregular, that vary in form and width, but maintain the same spirit.

Alverata Informal

Alverata Irregular

Try for free

Fontdeck provides full versions of Alverata which include an array of OpenType features, Cyrillic and Greek characters, alongside leaner Latin-only subsets. As with all fonts on Fontdeck, you can try Alverata for free, for as long as you need.

Tagged: foundries, new fonts, TypeTogether, Alverata, .

In the Showcase: DuBois et fils, Etch and Glassworks Studio

Here’s another collection of beautiful sites from the Fontdeck showcase.

DuBois et fils

DuBois et fils are the oldest watch makers in Switzerland. Bourgeois is for a seriously modern, technical touch for all headings.


Etch describe themselves as makers of fine data products. They combine old-school craftsmanship with state-of-the-art techniques, and use the increasingly popular Aperçu to exemplify that perfectly.


Glassworks Studios are an online shopping destination based out of a converted glass factory in Shoreditch, London. Their site uses balances the spiky, high impact Acier BAT Text with the subtle understated Oslo.

Do you have a site using Fontdeck that you would like us to showcase? Get in touch in the comments or on twitter and tell us about it!

Tagged: showcase, Acier BAT, apercu, bourgeois, .

G-Type joins Fontdeck!

We’re delighted to announce that the G-Type foundry has partnered with Fontdeck.

Nick Cooke founded G-Type in 1999, initially specialising in logo design and custom fonts for clients including Tesco and the Mail On Sunday. G-Type now offers a great diversity of styles and aesthetics, and brings 17 fabulous font families into the library, including the best selling Chevin and Houschka super families.


Chevin Standard.

Chevin is a rounded, modern, economic sans-serif, available in 6 weights in both its Standard and Pro versions. Highly recognisable in the UK due to the Royal Mail’s adoption of it as a corporate font since 2007, Chevin’s aim of legibility paired with its condensed style makes it ideal for body text but also smooth and impactful when applied at signage and display sizes.

Chevin Pro.

The Pro version boasts both Greek and Cyrillic layouts with several sets of numerals and small caps, as well as other OpenType features.

Chevin Eco.

Chevin Eco works well as a display font, providing a bit of Las Vagas and nightlife to headlines in both its Bold and ExtraBold weights.



Houschka is an elegant, tasteful and friendly sans-serif with geometric leanings. It provides an approachable business aesthetic in its standard form and a friendlier, softer look in its rounded companion.

Houschka Rounded.

Houschka Rounded is an excellent alternative to the frequently used VAG Rounded, keeping the qualities of standard Houschka but with softer curves and terminals giving it an overall ‘cuter’ appearance.

Houschka Alternates.

Both versions of Houschka are available with Alternate variants, providing identical impacts but with straight A and W characters, for a more conventional look.


Organon Sans and Serif.

Organon provides a complimentary pairing of sans and serif that work beautifully in unison. In tandem they make an elegant combination as they share similar cap and x-heights, stem widths and ascender/descender values, allowing them to work interchangeably.

Organon OpenType features.

The OpenType features available within Organon allow for alternate A, G and Y characters as well as many other typographic options to create a professional, consistent, stylish aesthetic.

Give them a go

Chevin, Houschka, Organon and all 17 G-type typefaces are available on Fontdeck for you to test-run now for free.

Tagged: Foundries, New Fonts, G-Type, Chevin, Houschka, Organon, .

Ampersand New York Video Preview

We’re very pleased to once again be sponsoring the Ampersand web typography conference. For the first time ever, Ampersand will be held in New York. Mark your calendars for 2 November 2013, and read on for details of a massive discount for Fontdeck customers.

Ampersand will be the usual fantastic one-day, single-track event put together explicitly for knowledgable web designers and type enthusiasts. You’ll be able to immerse yourself in the nitty gritty details of all aspects of web typography, presented by world experts in typeface design, layout, typesetting, and front-end development.

Here’s just a few of the faces who will be talking at Ampersand New York this year:

Jonathan Hoefler will be ‘Putting the Fonts into Webfonts’

Mark Boulton will be discussing ‘Typography in Responsive Design’

Luc(as) de Groot will be uncovering ‘Readability Per Square Centimeter’

Jenn Lukas will be riffing ‘On Icon Fonts & Working with Designers’

You can find more details of the full schedule of speakers and get updates from @ampersandconf, including an announcement of our final, very special keynote speaker.

Check out some previous speakers

To give a you a flavour of the Ampersand experience, the conference organisers Clearleft have just published some videos from this year’s conference in Brighton. We’ve compiled them together here:

Get $100 Off!

As promised above, Fontdeck customers can get a whopping $100 discount off the standard price for Ampersand. Just use the promo code “FONTDECK” and you’ll be sorted.

Hope to see you in November!

Tagged: ampconf, ampersand, conference, new york, .

Big improvements to service in Europe

We’ve been working very hard recently to improve font delivery across Europe, including bringing up a new dedicated infrastructure in Amsterdam.

We’ve changed datacenters and locations for service in Central and Eastern Europe. I’m very pleased to say this will radically improve both performance and stability for Fontdeck font delivery not just in Europe, but globally.

Thanks to Theo, Clinton, Jon and the team for all their hard work and long weekends over the past weeks.

Virtual Seminar on Typography in Responsive Web Design

Next week, on Thursday, 18 April 2013, Fontdeck’s Richard Rutter will be presenting a 90 minute virtual seminar on Typography in Responsive Design. Registration is only $129 and you’ll be able to attend from the comfort of your own desk, sofa, or wherever suits you.

You’ll learn to:

  • Use typography as a basis for responsive design
  • Set type for readability across multiple devices
  • Choose and combine web fonts
  • Improve web font performance
  • Use advanced CSS 3 features

Richard will describe how to make web typography work across any number of different devices, and how it can and should be the basis of any responsive web design.

Clearleft device lab

He’ll tell you why good typography matters (you may be surprised) and how to perfect the typography in your own designs using OpenType and cutting-edge CSS features you can safely use right now.

Richard will take you through the how and why of choosing web fonts and pairing typefaces, and he’ll describe a range of options for optimizing the display of web fonts across different devices.

Whether you’re a front-end developer, graphic designer, or UX specialist, you’ll love to hear Richard translate cutting-edge research and tools into practical techniques you can start using today.

Throughout the seminar, you’ll be building up a fully-loaded example web page you can take away to learn from and experiment with afterwards.

To book your place, and for full details, go to the UIE seminar page.

In the Showcase: The Shard, Vans & Keane

Here’s another collection of stunning sites from the Fontdeck showcase.

The Shard

The recently opened Shard is the tallest building in Europe. FS Albert Web is used for all headings, complimenting the overall modern look and feel of the website.


Vans is a U.S based manufacturer of extreme sport shoes. A heavy Nimbus Sans is used alongside the classic Franklin Gothic, a successful pairing that reflects their diverse target group.


Keane are an English alternative rock band from East Sussex. Their site uses the geometric Futura for all headers.

Do you have a site using Fontdeck that you would like us to showcase? Get in touch in the comments or on twitter and tell us about it!

Tagged: showcase, fs albert, nimbus sans, franklin gothic, futura, .

Focus on the Northern Block

In the middle of a freezing Yorkshire winter in 2006, Jonathan Hill founded The Northern Block digital type foundry. The goal was - and has been ever since - to design & develop new and original typefaces, with a high technical value that work in the commercial market place.

Jonathan and The Northern Block’s reputation has grown ever since, along with his catalogue of distinctive and high usable typefaces. At the time of writing, there are 47 Northern Block font families available through Fontdeck - a phenomenal number for a foundry only 6 years old.



Chief among Jonathan’s prolific output includes the hugely popular NeoGram superfamily with its 27 styles plus real italics and 3 different widths. Influenced by the Haas type foundry (of Helvetica fame), Neogram is deliberately neutral sans-serif with a slightly softened clarity of form.

Neogram in use by Ellis David



Brokman was designed to be both new and relevant to today’s graphic and web designers. The process of designing Brokman was contemporary too, and entirely novel. Jonathan engaged fellow typographic professionals on forums such as Typophile to essentially provide a collective design brief and subsequent feedback on the designs.

The result is a geometric sans-serif in no fewer than 10 weights which maintains a smooth line consistency throughout the family. An applied optical balance between horizontal and vertical strokes keeps the geometric shapes feeling more natural.

Borda and Planer


Borda and Planer are particular favourites among Fontdeck users. Borda is a carefully drawn geometric typeface. Exacting angles are combined with smooth corner details to form a clean, legible font with a modern appearance. The compact nature of the letterforms allows for great use of space across text layouts.


Planer, on the other hand, is a modern rounded typeface combining humanist elements with a strong geometric grid. The result is a font that can produce striking visuals at large scale and clean line legibility at text size.



At first glance, Tadao would seem to be essentially a display and headline face, although further inspection reveals it to work just as well in body copy. This is down to the precise, rounded forms and a clean and linear appearance. The compact nature of Tadao allows for great economy of space across layouts.

Tadao in use by Rik van der Velden

Regan & Regan Slab


Regan, seemingly named after John Thaw’s character in the Sweeney, is a finely crafted yet uncomplicated sans serif. Soft curves are mixed with minimal angles to create a readable font ideally suited for online use. The 10 weights with italics provide plenty of flexibility for display work and headlines, as well as running text.

Regan Slab

The simple curves and sharp angles of Regan Slab match perfectly with Regan, and the two can be interchanged at will.

We’re really looking forward to seeing more Northern Block fonts arrive at Fontdeck - knowing Jonathan, we won’t have to wait long!

Tagged: Foundries, Northern Block, Regan, Regan Slab, Tadao, Brokman, NeoGram, Planer, Borda, .

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