Ivo Gabrowitsch: App Fonts, The New Web Fonts

Ivo Gabrowitsch is a self-confessed ‘typoholic’. As the Managing Director of FSI Fontshop International, he eats, sleeps and breathes typography. His latest obsession and project being Mobile FontFonts, fonts specifically formatted for embedding into IOS apps and a concept he champions and conquers.

Photo: Gerhard Kassner

Under basic licensing, it is impossible to use professional fonts on mobile apps and Ivo’s mission of the day was to offer the audience new possibilities and alternatives when choosing fonts for mobile platforms.

Firstly, we were treated to a price comparison of mobile fonts from the FontFont library and a variety of unnamed foundries, highlighting the various packages and costs involved. Next up was the legal bit. When considering fonts for mobile, Ivo encouraged the audience to check the Eula claiming that while ‘EULA is not sexy it can become your friend too’!

Doubtful that a future industry standard is on the horizon for mobile fonts, Ivo is optimistic about the alternatives available. However, the road of free fonts is one he believes to be taken with caution, insisting that while most free fonts are free for personal usage they do require licensing for commercial projects. He believes that when used commercially, free fonts can end up costing the same and that the compromise on quality is not worth the risk. To iterate this point, Ivo showed the audience case studies of typefaces that were converted to professional fonts, jumping from 203 characters to 747 and from 4 styles to 10. The facts spoke for themselves.

Through Mobile FontFonts, it allows designers to specify fonts outside the standard ones available and gives designers more choice when striving to project a cohesive brand ensuring fresh fonts that are not over used. To hammer this point home, Ivo presented the audience with a type ‘Face-Off’, comparing Mobile FontFonts to popular workhorse that Ivo feels are over-used and inappropriate for mobile devices. First up was Palatino versus FF Daxline Mobile Pro, an alternative that has no spurs and is a fresh, modern alternative to Palatino. Ivo also presented FF Good Condensed Mobile Pro as an alternative to Verdana, which he feels is too wide and extended. A comical moment was looking at alternatives to Chalkboard which he stated was ‘a bad comic sans, and for those of you who thought it couldn’t get worse, Apple proved you wrong’. Ouch!


Ivo Gabrowitsch

Ivo Gabrowitsch is an eCommerce Marketing Director at Monotype and is responsible for FontShop, Linotype, and FontExplorerX.com. He also directed marketing activities for FontFont and FontShop before FontShop International was acquired. After having worked for several years as a media designer on different print and non-print projects, he attended the Beuth University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, where he was awarded a Graduate Degree in Print and Media Engineering. In 2006, he founded “Typostammtisch”, the regular typography meet-up in Berlin. Photo: Norman Posselt
Just when the we thought it was all over Ivo treated us to his ‘bonus track’, a quick look at the current state of webfonts encouraging us to check out www.subsetter.com, a way to create lighter webfonts for websites making them 80% smaller. Apparently saving bandwidth saves money, you learn something new every day! Well, I did anyway!

Deirdre Breen, Graphic Birdwatching