Helpful Things

Swash & Fold – Get The Look!

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

~Albert Einstein

I’ve had some fantastic feedback on the site since launching last week, with heaps of kind comments about how everything looks, and loads of folks asking about the fonts. So much so that I thought it worth putting together a sort of “Get the look” post to give folks an insight into the fonts used, and the opportunity to grab a copy for themselves!

Just don’t tell Einstein, ‘kay?


Rosewood Standard Regular (Adobe / £25.00)

You’ve probably seen Rosewood around the block a few times. Mostly this is because it gets installed alongside Photoshop and Illustrator, but it still remains one of the best and most usable examples of fonts inspired by the circus and sideshow posters of 18th Century America. The current version is an OpenType font, although this is more for compatibility reasons than any of the fancy effects you’ll see in most other OpenType faces. If for some reason you don’t have this installed, you can buy it direct from Adobe.


Ribbon (The Lost Type Co-op / £pay-what-you-like)

The Lost Type Co-operative are currently host to some of the best display fonts out there, ranging from the distinctive Ribbon to more conventional faces, through to multi-layered epics like Homestead. Best of all you pay what you consider appropriate, ranging from nothing at all (freebie!) to something more worthwhile if you’re going to be using a font commercially. This particular font comes packed with a whole load of OpenType variations and alternate styles, along with a pack of vector trimmings in the same style. Note that you’ll need an OpenType-aware application to really make the most of this font, such as Illustrator or InDesign. Download Ribbon from Lost Type here.


Ostrich Sans (The League of Moveable Type / £free)

The League of Moveable Type are another collective aiming to offer professional-quality fonts for free. Ostrich Sans is one of their newer offerings, so named because of the long “neck” on many of the characters. The font is only available in capitals making it best suited for small blocks of text and there are a range of weights available, ranging from a solid-looking dual-line style right down to an ultra-light dashed outline. The Ostrich Sans family can be downloaded directly from The League of M.T.


Brioche (Jessica Hische / $79)

Inspired by the lettering style of the 19th Century, Brioche is one of only a couple of fonts from the hand of the supremely talented Jessica Hische. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this font with my usage on Swash And Fold, with the full typeface offering all kinds of swashy goodness, neat ornaments and special single characters for “in”, “to”, “the” and other conjunctions. To get the best out of this font you’ll need an application with direct access to all glyphs, such as Illustrator or InDesign. Have a look at the font in all its glory!


Cheap Pine (Hannes von Döhren / $35)

There are loads of wood-cut style fonts out there at the moment, some more distressed than others, but Cheap Pine caught my eye thanks to a nicely organic take on the style. The lines are not too straight, and there are plenty of subtle variations between upper- and lower-case versions of letters to really get that screen-printed look. This face also comes with some neat little details and OpenType fun, although as before you will need an OpenType-aware application to use some of these features. Cheap Pine also provides you with versions of the font without the shadow or even just the shadow on its own, meaning you can mix and match shadow and text colours to your heart’s content!  The full pack can be purchased from MyFonts, and is well worth the investment!


Love Potion No. 10 (Hannes von Döhren / $29)

From the same hand as Cheap Pine, Love Potion No.10 is as technically accomplished as it is cute! One of the most complex OpenType fonts here, the face is packed with all sorts of ligatures, swash options, catchwords, arrows and lots of surprises you only spot after typing a sentence, reading it back and realising the font has done something really neat with your lettering when your back was turned! The set also includes a dingbats-style ornaments  font, which is full of hand-drawn sketches, icons, banners, borders and box-outs. Again, well worth the spend, and also available from MyFonts.


Mishka (Fenotype / from $25)

And so finally to Mishka. Tricky to know where to start when describing this one, as words don’t really do justice to the swirling, sprawling set of characters in this font. With around 700 letter variations buried deep within the OpenType system, this one can be a tricky beast to tame, but once mastered it lets you create some fantastically ambitious designs with minimal effort. Also of note is how legible the text remains at all times, unlike many of the flourish-laden calligraphic script fonts out there. As with Love Potion No. 10, the font also has a partnered ornaments font packed with banners, frames, twiddly bits and fancy details, many of which you’ll see dotted around the Swash And Fold pages. Best of all the font is available from only $25, which given the amount of engineering on show is an absolute steal! If you fancy a play with it yourself, Mishka is available to buy from MyFonts.

Where next?

If that’s whetted your appetite for more fonty goodness, why not take a look at my Typography board on Pinterest? Alternatively if you’d like to know more about typography but feel a bit out of your depth with talk of glyphs, swashes and ligatures this infographic is a good primer. Or if you’re a more visual person (and lets face it, most of us are…) you could do worse than take a look at this video from Veer which does a great job of introducing some of the basics of OpenType and how to use it…

Helpful Things

Barrow & Fall – a paintbook-inspired swatch

Sometimes colour inspiration can be hard to come by…

You know the sort of tones you want, but you just can’t tease them out of the computer. If only there was some sort of ready-made collection of subtle, classy tones out there, colour-balanced to work in harmony with one another and to give your designs a touch of… y’know… class

Hopefully this swatch will go some way to filling that gap! We’ve painstakingly replicated the 2011 colour range from everyone’s favourite heritage paint manufacturer, the oh-so distinguished Farrow & Ball. Each colour has been sampled (in RGB so perfect for screen use!), labelled with the corresponding paint name, and bundled up as an ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) for you to use in the CS application of your choice.

The swatch is available to download from Gumroad for just £1…

Get the swatch!