Tag Archives: sale

The Comicraft Font Sale

Happy New Year to all. Take some time to make a list of every good, healthy, positive, and/or admirable thing you did today. And then take some time to reflect on the fact that you’ve maintained an unbroken streak of doing all of those things every day all year so far. Good for you!

I’ve posted to my blog every day this year!

I’ve taken and posted a photo every day!

I’ve washed a dish!

But I haven’t shaved yet. I’ve given it some thought and concluded that doing so would set up some unreasonable expectations for Wednesday.

Today is Comicraft’s annual New Year’s Day Font Sale. It’s not accurately named. As usual, they cut the price of each of their fonts down (to $20.19) early last night, and if they keep to form, the sale will continue well into January 2.

That doesn’t mean you should dilly-dally! If you put it off and miss it, that’ll be a damned shame for you and for anybody who sees your presentations or labels or business cards or your passive-aggressive signs in the office common breakroom about “the right way” to put the carafe back on the coffee maker.


  • Check to see if the font you’re about to buy has both upper- and lower-case letters. Some are upper-case only. They’re still fab, but the font might not suit your purpose.
  • Also check to see if a font comes in several thicknesses and not just Bold and Italic. These are hugely useful, particularly when you combine several thicknesses on one page.
  • Each of these fonts is the same price. You might as well buy the “International” version (with bonus characters & symbols), which usually costs ten bucks more.
  • Don’t use the “guest” mode when checking out and paying. If you create an account, you can re-download any of your purchases at any time. Last night I looked for Comicraft fonts that were missing from my MacBook and retrieved ones that I’d bought almost ten years ago.

Which fonts should you start with?

Beats me. I mean, why are you buying these things? The Comicraft sale pays off most bigly when you’ve identified a specific need. I bought one or two this year with a website redesign and a new business card in mind, for instance.

If this is your first crack at a font catalogue — specifically this one — some broad categories might help you find useful stuff:

  • Comicraft made its reputation on its professional handlettered-style comic book fonts. It seems a shame not to add one to your library. Comicrazy is my favorite, but they’ve got loads of styles and each one has its unique strength. Monologous emulates the lettering of classic comics from the Sixties through the Eighties. And yes, I’ve spent way more time writing new and frequently inappropriate dialogue for old Fantastic Four comics than I care to admit.
  • Get a font explicitly for making signs. Sign Language is an obvious pick. Dash Decent is one of the all-stars in my Fonts menu. It’s my go-to when I need a sign for a bulletin board or a label for a utility drawer.
  • Get a font for that kind of lettering that just plain can’t be faked. When you want dramatic, swoopy letters, you need either Spills or you need to come up with another idea. Invitations for a Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings or Game Of Thrones-themed party require Spellcaster. And: your heart was in the right place when you used Helvetica Bold for the sound effect overlays in your kid’s hockey team’s season-recap video, but it looked totally lame. For Batman-style text, go straight to Biff Bam Boom.

But each of these fonts is just twenty dollars (and some change). You can afford to buy fonts just because you like them. It’s a great opportunity. You’re going to install these fonts and play with them for a day or two and then forget all about them by January 4. Until you’re making Halloween goodie bags for a classroom of kids. And then you remember that Altogether Ooky has been patiently waiting for this exact moment…

You Done It

I thought I’d handed out change-of-address cards to just about everybody after my move. But it wasn’t until last week that I realized that I’d missed someone: I haven’t received my annual You-Do-It Electronics Store Presidents’ Day Sale Flyer!

The Sale is a big day on the New England nerd’s calendar. And YDI is a special kind of electronics store. Put it this way: I needed to get my hands on a few 5V relays, LEDs, 555 timer ICs, power transistors, resistors and capacitors, terminal blocks, and a few project boards just a couple of days before I was to leave for Macworld Expo. In most areas of the country, this involves an Internet order and a two week wait. In eastern Massachusetts, it’s not even worth an atom of concern, old bean: you just swing by You-Do-It, right off of Route 128 in Needham.

And the Sale is the stuff of legends. Normally it features three big attractions:

1) The Doorbuster Deals. YDI was doing “We have only 3 of these at this price, so get there three days before and camp out” deals wayyy before the concept signed with a major label and started appearing in Wal•Marts and Best Buys. You-Do-It’s deals were often incredible enough that I’d be there 10 hours before the store opened to make sure I was first in line.

My best deal ever? “50% off your entire purchase, up to…” I want to say $2000, but it might have been $1000. Well, who cares? Half-off of everything in the store! We’re not just talking about a $2.29 spool of red hookup wire, either. See, the top floor of the store is full of name-brand consumer electronics. Suffice to say that I completed a reconnaissance mission on the very day the sale flyer arrived in the mail, and ultimately bagged my limit.

2) The Bag Sale. Head for the parts department and fill a shopping bag full of components: everything you get in the sack is 25% off. Which is why my house generally smells like solder during the second half of February.

And the cherry on top:

3) The Surplus Room. You-Do-It does all kinds of business and they acquire things that they just can’t sell in the store. Stuff that’s broken, stuff that’s out of date, some stuff that’s so odd and out-of-place that (I’m guessing) they had to take this thing as part of the deal when they bought out another store’s inventory.

You never know what you’ll find in there until you start digging. Camcorders missing their lenses; police scanners; DJ equipment; polybags stuffed with wires; police emergency lights; A Mysterious Large Plastic Dome; UPS systems; one of those “spinning colored ball” DJ light thingies, tuners and amps…the list of stuff I’ve seen in that room is long and bizarre.

And you never know if the thing’s going to work or not. I once bought three laserdisc players — this was back when laserdisc was still popular — hoping that maybe one of them would work. I scored two out of three, gave one to a friend, and harvested the motors and components from the third for future robotics projects. I could afford to be generous with the extra one; I’d paid just ten bucks apiece.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen anything stickered above $25. They seem to have rolls of $5, $10, and $25 stickers. And though there’s no stated rhyme or reason to how they price these things I’ve come to associate those prices with the statements “this don’t work,” “we have no idea if this works or not,” and “this is actually a useful thing,” respectively.

And there’s also “We can’t possibly charge less than $25 for this.” My last visit was two years ago, and a huge LCD TV the size of a child’s bed was visible through through the window all night long. A zoom photo revealed a $25 price tag. There’s no way the thing could have been functional. C’mon.

But for $25…gee, even as an Object D’art it was worth that price.

Actually, I reckoned it was probably worth far more than that as a prop in a staged YouTube video.

Luckily, before I could contemplate buying it, someone else already did.

(Don’t judge me.)

But a big part of the fun is the knowledge that you’re hanging out for several hours with the sort of people who are eager to show up at an electronic parts store at 4 AM in the dead of a New England winter. Again, in recent years this basic concept of freezing your butt off to be first in line for a holiday sale has been associated with pre-Christmas gunplay over game consoles. In Needham, it takes the festive tone of a Gathering of the Geek Tribe. I see lots of people at the Sale whom I see all the time at the MIT Flea Market.

I think I’m staying home this year. No doorbuster deals of any kind are listed in the ad, and to get a shot at the good stuff in the Surplus Room you need to be there well before 6 AM. To be first in line, I’ve found that 11 PM is the latest safe choice.

I have a full night’s work ahead of me, y’see. It’s bad enough to be driving to Needham at 4 in the morning on no sleep. Driving home again at 10 in that condition would be medically contraindicated to myself and others, particularly with a cracked, obsolete previous-generation TARDIS carelessly roped to the roof of my car.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t out and have some fun. At 7 AM the store usually springs for a catering truck to roll in and serve free breakfast, if that’s an enticement.

(I’m a freelancer. The prospect of a free hot meal is always an enticement.)

Check out my Flickr photo essay to see pictures and color commentary from my last visit. Think of it as your own reconnaissance. It contains all of the event’s particulars and also shows you that even if you do show up at 11 PM the night before, you’ll still get to spend most of the evening dozing in your nice, warm car without losing your spot in line.