Slate™ font family

Designed by  Rod McDonald in 2006
The Slate typeface family melds superb functionality and aesthetic elegance into a remarkable communications tool. Few typefaces possess the beauty and power of this design.Slate is the work of Rod McDonald, an award-winning typeface designer and lettering artist. At one point in his forty-year career, McDonald participated in a typeface legibility and readability research project conducted by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). There, McDonald learned which design traits were best suited to maximizing character legibility and text readability.

Shortly after his work with CNIB, McDonald was commissioned to design a large sans serif typeface family for Toronto Life magazine. Although not meant to be a legibility face," the design gave McDonald an opportunity to test several of the theories he formed during the CNIB project. Around the same time, McDonald also developed a sans serif family for Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax. This typeface was primarily intended for use on the college's web site.

McDonald was pleased with both designs, he says, but craved further exploration. "I felt that I had only scratched the surface of what I wanted in a sans," he says. "I liked the soft, quiet look of the magazine face but was also encouraged by my success in drawing a good legibility design for on-screen use."

"One of the things I wanted was a type that could function as well in print as on-screen," McDonald recalls. To help achieve his goal, McDonald worked with the Microsoft Typography Team to learn about ClearType technology. ClearType was developed by Microsoft to improve the readability of on-screen text, especially on liquid crystal displays (such as laptop screens), flat panel monitors and mobile device displays.

McDonald's technological savvy and prior work on sans serifs for print and on-screen use have paid off magnificently in the Slate family of typefaces. Slate blends features of McDonald's earlier sans serifs into a humanistic sans with extraordinary levels of legibility."Although it's far too early to know if what I wanted works across the board," says McDonald, "initial testing in both print and on the web are quite positive."

In purely aesthetic terms, Slate is a beautiful design. "I didn't want a face with an 'engineered' look, or with any noticeable design gimmicks or devices, says McDonald. "I wanted a pure design. I confess that I was ruthless with any character that wanted to stand out from the rest.""

Slate Light Italic

Desktop fonts are designed to be installed on a computer for use with applications. Licensed per computer.
Web fonts are used with the CSS @font-face rule. They are licensed for a set number of page views with no time limitation.
Web fonts are used with the CSS rule @font-face used. The license has no time limit.
Mobile App Fonts can be embedded in your mobile application. Each app requires a separate license. The license is based on the number of app installations.
Electronic Publication Fonts can be embedded in an eBook, eMagazine or eNewspaper. Fonts are licensed per issue.
Server fonts can be installed on a server and e.g. used by automated processes to create items. A license is per server core CPU per year.
You can use this type of license to embed web fonts in digital ads, such as ads created in HTML5. The licenses are valid for a specific number of ad impressions without time limit.

world-map map

Std / OT CFF

supports at least

21 languages.

Technical details
Digital data from:
OpenType outline flavour:
CFF - PostScript-Outlines
Technical font names:
File name: SlateStd-LightItalic.otf
Windows menu name: Slate Std Light
PostScript name: SlateStd-LightItalic
PostScript full name: Slate Std Light Italic
Catalog number:
US$ 65
Add to cart



Case-Sensitive Forms

Tag: case

Function: Shifts various punctuation marks up to a position that works better with all-capital sequences or sets of lining figures; also changes oldstyle figures to lining figures. By default, glyphs in a text face are designed to work with lowercase characters. Some characters should be shifted vertically to fit the higher visual center of all-capital or lining text. Also, lining figures are the same height (or close to it) as capitals, and fit much better with all-capital text. The user selects a block of text and applies this feature. The dashes, bracketing characters, guillemet quotes and the like shift up to match the capitals, and oldstyle figures change to lining figures.


Tag: frac

Function: Replaces figures separated by a slash with 'common' (diagonal) fractions. The user enters 3/4 in a recipe and gets the threequarters fraction.

Standard Ligatures

Tag: liga

Function: Replaces a sequence of glyphs with a single glyph which is preferred for typographic purposes. This feature covers the ligatures which the designer/manufacturer judges should be used in normal conditions. The glyph for ffl replaces the sequence of glyphs f f l.

Lining Figures

Tag: lnum

Function: This feature changes selected figures from oldstyle to the default lining form. The user invokes this feature in order to get lining figures, which fit better with all-capital text. Various characters designed to be used with figures may also be covered by this feature. In cases where lining figures are the default form, this feature would undo previous substitutions.

Old Style Figures

Tag: onum

Function: This feature changes selected figures from the default lining style to oldstyle form. The user invokes this feature to get oldstyle figures, which fit better into the flow of normal upper- and lowercase text. Various characters designed to be used with figures may also have oldstyle versions.


Tag: ordn

Function: Replaces default alphabetic glyphs with the corresponding ordinal forms for use after figures. One exception to the follows-a-figure rule is the numero character (U+2116), which is actually a ligature substitution, but is best accessed through this feature. The user applies this feature to turn 2.o into 2.o (abbreviation for secundo).

Proportional Figures

Tag: pnum

Function: Replaces figure glyphs set on uniform (tabular) widths with corresponding glyphs set on glyph-specific (proportional) widths. Tabular widths will generally be the default, but this cannot be safely assumed. Of course this feature would not be present in monospaced designs. The user may apply this feature to get even spacing for lining figures used as dates in an all-cap headline.


Tag: sups

Function: Replaces lining or oldstyle figures with superior figures (primarily for footnote indication), and replaces lowercase letters with superior letters (primarily for abbreviated French titles). The application can use this feature to automatically access the superior figures (more legible than scaled figures) for footnotes, or the user can apply it to Mssr to get the classic form.

These fonts support the Basic Latin character set. Each font is Unicode™ encoded, and available in d

Tag: Basic Latin

Function: These fonts support the Basic Latin character set. Each font is Unicode™ encoded, and available in different formats. Please review the product information for each font to ensure it will meet your requirements.