Which font for your ePub?

Finding fonts for Digital Publications is not very difficult — mostly you’ll be searching for fonts that are display well on screens.

The more difficult task can be licensing, as every font vendor has different licensing schemes, and some do not even allow you to embed their fonts in a PDF…

When creating native apps or other “encapsulated” file formats, where it is hard for the average user to get to the embedded fonts, I would recommend contacting your font vendor of choice and ask about licensing. Of course you could always rasterize a font, but that’s not really a good choice in regards to accessibility, readability and searchability, especially when using a Digital Publishing solution like App Studio, which by default keeps text as text (HTML5).

But what about ePubs? ePubs are basically a ZIP archive that contain the font file in a reusable format once you unzipped it. And I could understand that font vendors might be hesitant to license fonts for ePubs.

My recommendation: Use an OpenSource font for your reflowable ePub.

As ePubs typically are not displaying as designed, but reflow where line breaks do not matter anyhow, you are probably not so much concerned about CI. Otherwise you shouldn’t really create an ePub, a native app would be the better format.

And remember that in most Readers (hardware and software readers) your customer can switch font, so even if you carefully chose one, they might display everything in Times or Helvetica anyway.

So, if you decide for an OpenSource font that reads well on screen, my recommendation is Droid:

DroidFontAtFontSquirrel

You can find Droid here (and other fonts that are free for commerical use): http://www.fontsquirrel.com/foundry/Google-Android

 

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

App Studio Training for InDesign Users

Quark just announced this event for tomorrow… Hooray for Quark supporting InDesign users!

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App Studio Training for InDesign Users

November 29 Event: Learn How to Create Engaging Apps with InDesign and App Studio

App Studio is the cloud-based digital publishing solution for InDesign users interested in creating compelling, interactive digital apps for iOS, Kindle Fire, and Android devices. On Thursday, November 29 at 11:00 am EST/ 4:00 pm GMT/ 5:00 pm CET, InDesign users can learn how to get started with instruction from App Studio experts. The online event will cover:

  • How to set up an account in the App Studio portal
  • How to create engaging, interactive content in digital publishing layouts using InDesign
  • How to preview interactive content in a browser
  • How the advantages of HTML5 take digital publishing to the next level

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Time: 8:00 am PST | 9:00 am MST | 11:00 am EST | 4:00 pm GMT | 5:00 pm CET
Register: http://content.quark.com/AppStudio-eSeminar-Nov29.html

For more information about App Studio please visit: www.AppStudio.net.

About App Studio
App Studio is the next generation digital publishing solution that uses HTML5 to push the bounds of user experience without the high cost and effort associated with custom app development. By combining the market-leading HTML5 technology from the recent acquisition of PressRun with Quark’s existing digital publishing technology, App Studio is the only digital publishing solution that allows users to create branded content apps using QuarkXPress®, InDesign, HTML5, and XML. Through a managed cloud environment, designers, authors, and extended teams are able to collaborate to create rich, interactive content that can be delivered across multiple platforms and devices. Get started for free at www.AppStudio.net.

Jay Nelson is the editorial director of PlanetQuark.com, and the editor and publisher of Design Tools Monthly. He’s also the author of the QuarkXPress 8 and QuarkXPress 7 training titles at Lynda.com, as well as the training videos Quark includes in the box with QuarkXPress 7 . In addition, Jay writes regularly for Macworld and Photoshop User magazines and speaks at industry events.

A Vision for the Future from the Past

It is always interesting to read educated predictions of the future (and not just populist statements  like “Print is Dead”).

Often we chuckle about these predictions a few years later, but not because they didn’t come true, more that they either appeared faster than predicted. And not only that, often they even had a larger magnitude than predicted. Remember Bill Gate’s reportedly “640KB ought to be enough for everyone”, Huxley’s “Brace New World” or the visions in Star Trek (communicator).

Interestingly we do not even need to go back a decade or two, a bit over two years ago I remember most people and analysts thinking Steve Jobs was over-optimizing the adoption of tablets when he presented the iPad (“just a large iPhone”).

The truly amazing predictions though are the ones that were made a long time ago and came true.

Mark Potts article “A Vision for the Future of Newspapers—20 Years Ago” summarizes a great prediction by Robert G. Kaiser, which I didn’t know before. It’s a great read, I can warmly recommend it:

http://recoveringjournalist.typepad.com/recovering_journalist/

And thanks to Mark for the great article.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.

Retro Post: Maintain your brand

I just came across an old blog entry I wrote in 2009 and thought how true this is still though I didn’t think about apps back then.

Maintain your brand

February, 11th 2009 posted by ilovedesign

When talking about brands, most people will understand that Nike or Porsche is a brand. Brands influence our buying decisions.

In my opinion “brand” goes further: You, I, we are all brands.

Why do I think that?

Look at how we consume information, being a consumer. You might read the print edition of the Wall Street Journal or Time Magazine or some of these entertaining Yellow Press/Tabloid newspapers. By just hearing the name or by seeing the layout of these publications you immediately have a perception about the article. You assume whether the story will be credible, what perspective they are taking, whether it is a conservative or sensational approach and so on. Furthermore you also associate a certain level of credibility based on the brand, you assume that some sources check the truth of information more than others. Often you do not even need to see the name of the source, like the Nike wave or the NIVEA colours and type face: You immediately know the associated brand. The Porsche logo and shape of their cars is immediately recognised, even if they suddenly offer an SUV.

In the internet brand perception and recognition is also there, but the “everybody’s a publisher” makes it more difficult. The amount of sources suddenly increased dramatically. Though I might read the same news on time.com and www.peternextdoorpublishesnews.com/, the level of trust is different.

In this example it is obvious who to trust, but what about social networks? When the plane watered on the Hudson River, the news coverage was just incredible. Twitter even beat traditional media with being first for news and pictures. And Twitter was closer – somebody on a ferry was writing about it.

Still, how do you know how to trust them? Is it an opinion? Facts? Assumptions? The author might be the most brilliant observer or being careless. He or she might be a lobbyist having vested interest to spread such “information”. Hard to know. Twitter is a nice addition to the traditional source mix, faster, more local, whereas the established media like the New York Times probably has official channels like the spokesperson of the mayor to add to the information mix. Which, again, I am assuming, based on their brand.

So we rely on brands to form our opinions.

Brand is investment, carries emotions; brand gives me more customers, more business, and more credibility on what we do. Whether it is a screen name in forums or a product or service I recognise and learned to trust, we rely on brands.

Beside the name, design and type is a carrier and messenger of brand. In Germany there was a Print Ad campaign about how brand works. By just using colours, typefaces and CI of well-known brands, without any words or pictures revealing it, you immediately knew who this was.

And what does that have to do with you, being a publisher, an advertiser or a graphic designer creating media?

A lot, as you should make your brand (or the brand of your customer) recognisable, unique, noticeable. With Print you know how to do it. And what about electronic media? HTML is the classical way, though it has its limitations. Either you go huge (using pictures instead of type) or you scarify your brand by allowing other fonts. (Unless you are willing to limit your CI to Arial and Times New Roman ;-)

The good news: There are online formats that are vector based and allow laying out pages to keep design. Typically these are vector-based formats like Silverlight, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) or SWF (Flash). They allow you to create rich layouts with all the precision you know from print. And consistent appearance maintains your brand. And Silverlight, SVG and SWF (Flash) allow linear storytelling, but that’s a topic for another time.

Great, so you are done, right?

Unfortunately not, as the issue with these formats is their creation, as most authoring applications fall into one of two categories:

  • Either they are capable of creating rich designs but are hard to use, as they force you to programme or code or think in new metaphors like time lines in order to create rich designs.
  • Or they are easy to use but compromise on layout possibilities or only offer pre-canned designs.

Either way, no matter which one you choose to use, using a different tool means you have to invest time to learn it. And the frustration level is high, as using a different tool than you use for print will let you discover limitations which your print layout app might now have (and vice versa). Plus creation time doubles.

One option would be to leave electronic publishing (web, Interactive, mobile) to the coders.

I hope you don’t. Being able to create good designs is a gift. So please start designing for electronic media, I am looking forward to seeing great designs you hopefully share.

And it is not difficult.

The solution is called Design Across Media or Multi-Channel-Publishing: A tool like QuarkXPress 8 (edit: or QuarkXPress 9 – now allowing you to create eBooks and native apps too) that allows you to not only convert your existing designs to another media but is one authoring application, which allows you to design all media with the same tools, possibilities and precision and even ensures the consistency (design and content) between the output channels. To create, maintain and strengthen our brands.

This way we are ready to move to what appears to be the future of publishing: Information that is local and relevant, is tailored towards the individual and still is recognizable as a brand. I found an interesting and maybe extreme prediction about where in the future brand might be going at http://blog.outer-court.com/videos/epic-2015.html.

Both an engineer and a layout artist, Matthias bridges the gap between technology and people.

Before joining Quark, Matthias pioneered print, Web, and multimedia products for multiple German publishing companies. Since 1997 he has played a central role in shaping Quark’s desktop and enterprise software.
Starting 2003 Matthias has focused on Quark’s interactive and digital publishing solutions. He is an active participant in design and publishing communities and represents Quark in the Ghent PDF Workgroup.

Since February 2014 Matthias heads Quark’s Desktop Publishing business unit and is therefore responsible for QuarkXPress.