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PT Serif from Paratype (part two)

This review of PT Serif is part two of our PT Sans review. After the successful release of PT Sans in 2009 Paratype published an additional companion Serif typeface in January 2011. The credits go to the professional type designers Alexan­dra Korolkova, Olga Umpel­eva and Vladimir Yefi­movand. PT Serif matches PT Sans in metrics and contrast (mostly), expanding and evolve the usage range of both font families.The technical quality and the language support matches the very well done PT Sans fonts. So at this review, this package of Sans and Serif fonts is the lonely free font flagship at the free font galaxy. Maybe we will see an upcoming commercial extension like PT Sans Pro.

Paratype again gives us six additional Serif fonts with Latin and Cyril­lic lan­guage sup­port. Since PT Sans is not the super-sexy typeface PT Serif isn’t it as well. It’s legible of good nature and a welcome replacement for Times New Roman. This article uses PT Serif as web­font and I think the fonts per­form­ing very well.

PT Serif comes with four style linked mem­bers Reg­u­lar, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic includ­ing a wider ver­sion called Cap­tion. Cap­tion is very nice for small body text.

compare it with PT Sans - body text sample -
This review of PT Serif is part two of our PT Sans review. After the successful release of PT Sans in 2009 Paratype published an additional companion Serif typeface in January 2011. The credits go to the professional type designers Alexan­dra Korolkova, Olga Umpel­eva and Vladimir Yefi­movand. PT Serif matches PT Sans in metrics and contrast (mostly), expanding and evolve the usage range of both font families.The technical quality and the language support matches the very well done PT Sans fonts. So at this review, this package of Sans and Serif fonts is the lonely free font flagship at the free font galaxy. Maybe we will see an upcoming commercial extension like PT Sans Pro.

Paratype again gives us six additional Serif fonts with Latin and Cyril­lic lan­guage sup­port. If PT Sans is not the super-sexy typeface PT Serif isn’t it as well. It’s leg­i­ble of good nature and a welcome replacement for Time New Roman. This article uses PT Serif as web­font and I think the fonts per­form­ing very well.

PT Serif Caption - body text sample -
This is a sample text of the PT Serif Caption font. You can see it’s notable wider. That looks good on screen too!
80% If I go further and decrease the onscreen font size, PT Serif Captions stays quite legible.

70% The hinter have more space to render wider font designs, so they look mostly superior onscreen compared to more condensed fonts.

PT Sans Caption - body text sample -
This is a sample text of the PT Sans Caption font. You can see it’s notable wider. That looks good on screen too!
80% If I go further and decrease the onscreen font size, PT Sans Captions stays quite legible.

70% The hinter have more space to render wider font designs, so they look mostly superior onscreen compared to more condensed fonts.

PT Serif and PT Serif Caption

PT Sans versus PT Serif

If we compare the performance of PT Sans Regular and PT Serif Regular we will see both play well together even onscreen. The Serif is wider and has more tracking that’s totally common. The same is true for the Italics. But the Bold weights of PT Serif are notable wider compared with PT Sans Bold. I think there is a little mismatch in contrast in most situations this is of lower importance. The PT Serif Caption looks notable darker and sometimes like a Slab Serif design. Some details of Serif Caption are quite unsexy. For example have a closer look to the letter g. OK, that’s related with it’s optimization for better onscreen performance – use it with caution at bigger font sizes.

PT Serif involves all the notable details of PT Sans. It’s a good replacement font for Times New Roman – but nothing more. PT Serifs true power comes into play in combination with PT Sans.

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

PT Serif, Italic

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

PT Serif, Bold

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

PT Serif, Bold Italic

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

PT Serif Caption, Regular

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

PT Serif Caption, Italic

abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789 €$£¢ ¼½¾
H&H ¿n? ¡n! ““”„«».:,; ©®™
Hh xyvy gygj fllfkfttffifjfì
iāäåģćžłlīlїlōõśżçąęįųßńŗķļņ
ѓйїќўё
абвгдежзийлнпрстухцч
шщъыьэюя
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQR
STUVWXYZ
АБВГДЕЖЗИЙКЛМНОПР
СТУФХЦЧШЩЪЬЭЮЯ

details of PT Sans versus PT Serif

details of PT Serif versus PT Serif Caption


Free Font Score Rating: 72%

technical quality: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
on screen performance: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
usage range: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
fun factor: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
free license factor: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
overall: ♦ ♦ ♦

PT Serif font package


Resources:
PT Sans and PT Serif at Paratype – web fonts already included but very big files
PT Sans at Google font directory
PT Sans Pro at Paratype
PT Sans Pro at MyFonts
PT Sans at Wikipedia
 

For this review I used the files from the Paratype site and converted the fonts with the Fontsquirrel @font-face generator (new hinting, new vertical metrics, no sub-setting, all opentype features included). The files are a lot smaller compared to the original web font files from Paratype, tracking may differ.

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Webfont Converter/Generator Ware

To use @font-face linking you need of course the fonts. You can register on some of the webfont online services like Kernest, Typekit, FontDeck and have easy access to a bunch of free and commercial fonts. You get an css or javascript code snippet, include it in your website and you are done. If you want host the fonts by yourself you must provide all the needed font formats and the proper css code.

Some browsers accept the plain desktop font formats TrueType .ttf or OpenType .otf, but most font foundries denying the linking of desktop font formats. Of course they don’t want their fonts spreading around the net without proper paid licenses. You have to respect that.

Some free fonts coming  with an Open Source like license and can be linked this way. But this has several bad consequences. Not all browsers support these font formats. The formats are meant for desktop usage, the fonts are big. Sometimes you need only a portion of the font data, so it would be wise to use the parts you need only to spare bandwidth.

Besides the desktop font formats there are the online font formats called web fonts or webfonts. I prefer and use webfonts like the term website.

.eot for Mircosoft Internet Explorer browsers
.woff the preferred and featured format by Mozilla, supported by Firefox 3.6 and Google Chrome 8
.svg/.svgz supported by iPad and IPhone browsers
.ttf (.otf) the plain desktop format supported by all current versions of Safari, Opera, Firefox and Chrome

But how to generate or convert these optimized webfont formats?


Online Software

Fontsquirrell @fone-face generator

The Fontsquirrel converter is one of the best converters on the net. It’s also an generator, because it can rescale, re-hint and subsets the font data, optimizes the metrics, generates sample html files and converts to all needed webfont formats like .eot .woff .ttf .svgz .svg and Cufón.

Fontsqirrel can analyse the OpenType font feature code and can replace for example the lower case letters with their corresponding small caps in the final webfonts and many more. Of course this works on fonts only with have these feature code on board. A free sample you can try is Charis SIL.  The Fontsquirrel generator can drastically reduce the file size by subsetting the fonts so only parts needed will be in the final webfonts.


Offline Software

sfnt2woff (.woff)

sfnt2woff was the first converter for the .woff format. It’s available including source code. Not user-friendly!

Weft (.eot)

Weft is the Microsoft .eot Generator. It has some unique features like URL binding and additional compression. Not user-friendly! Windows only!

eot-fast (.eot)

Eot-fast is like its name a quick and painless .ttf to .eot converter. Windows only!

Till today there is no user-friendly offline webfont converter or generator available covering all webfont formats.

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Octin Spraypaint A by Typodermic

Ray Larbie, known for many freeware fonts, publishes under his commercial type label Typodermic many crazy headline fonts. A big series is the Octin font clan. An very eye catching version of Octin is Spraypaint A with three font weights Regular, Bold and Black.

Octin Spraypaint is a commercial font family, but you can license the Regular weight for free. On many font outlets even this free style will cost some money. If you like it you should support Ray and license some of his many other fonts. I’m not quite sure about the how “free” the license of this font is. It depends on the source you will get it. On FontSpring it ships with an  generic Typodermic font license. This license is like a common commercial license, denying modifications. So it’s not a free like open source font. But you can use it for print and web for all kinds of projects including commercial ones.

I don’t have much sympathy for pre-made grunge or distressed type. If you need distressed type, you can take any common font, print it out on paper, crunch the paper, copy and rescan it. This will give you uniqueness. But in a hurry or to make mock-ups or in cases you depend on the functionality of dynamic type you need just a font. So, you need some fine dirty industrial touch – try Octin Spraypaint.

Octin Spraypaint A Regular - body text sample -
This is a sample text of the Octin Spraypaint A Regular. It looks very clumsy. But the main problem is the design is not an common Regular weight it’s more like a Light weight. To be useful for buttons and navigation the typeface needed more weight.
140% We need to increase the font size!

180% I think at this size its acceptable for headlines.
240% Yes, this is bedder and the ugliness
300% is shining!

Octin is a caps only headliner, based on a Din like stencil typeface. It covers Latin and most of Latin Extended A & B, that’s not common for such a font. The overall design concept is nothing outstanding, the technical fines is very limited, but it’s the distressed spray feeling that gives live to this ugly beast. It would be nice if Ray had done some more variations – upper- and lower case letters are exactly the same. If you need additional bolder weights or the slab serif version you have to buy a common commercial license.

abcdefghijklmn
opqrstuvwxyz
H0123456789
€$£¢ H&H !?
““”„«».:,;©®™

Powder Dust Weak Earth* 24 Fallen Angel Dead Men™

Free Font Score Rating: 36%

technical quality: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
on screen performance: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
usage range: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
fun factor: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
free license factor: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
overall: ♦ ♦ ♦

Octin Spraypaint A – Regular


Resources:
free Octin Spraypaint A at FontSpring
free Octin Spraypaint A at Typekit
Typodermic Blog
Typodermic fonts at Myfonts

For bandwidth reduction I used a subsetted font version. Distressed font data is big.

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