FF Scala vs. FF Yoga (serif)

_Palatine_'s picture

Good day, everyone.

I've always been quite impressed by Scala Serif. It's dead-easy to make a paragraph hang together nicely with this typeface. Even colour, not too dark and not too light. Extremely readable.

Xavier Dupré's FF Yoga Serif seems to be Fontshop's "successor" type system to Scala. This is not to suggest that Yoga is somehow a replacement for Scala, but my takeaway from the marketing is the impression that Yoga is the "Scala for our time."

What I'm also noticing is how similar the two fonts are. There *are* some differences, certainly. However I find that I could substitute Yoga for Scala, at least at sizes between 9-12 point, and still conform to my original reasons for using Scala.

By "similarity" I'm not implying that Yoga is a slightly modified facsimile of Scala, but rather, that both Majoor and Dupré seemed to have pulled ideas from the same sources, and to remarkable effect.

I invite your comments.

hrant's picture

A lot of insight as well as idiocy can be found in the comments here:


_Palatine_'s picture

Hi hrant, nice to see you again!

I read that already. And hope to avoid getting into a similar discussion (at least with respect to the idiotic bits.) ;)

oldnick's picture

I suppose shooting the breeze discussing conceptual approaches to typeface design may have some benefit as a pleasant diversion, but rather little practical consequence. On the other hand, perhaps being impractical is what makes some experiences pleasant, since they serve no purpose other than amusement, which is an excellent—if useless—exercise in itself.

In other words, a simple appreciation that something works is often preferable to knowing why something works. The article Hrant cited provides a lot of rationalizations, intended primarily to convince us to buying the font makes sense—and who doesn’t want to think of themselves as eminently practical and world-wise?

Bottom line: Yoga shows a strong Eric Gill influence, and the typefaces are similar in that the designers appear to have habitual ways of rendering certain characters. In other words, siblings sometimes look alike, no matter who’s their daddy.

rs_donsata's picture

Scala is very light, I got tired faster of it than of futura. As long as you are under 20 pages it's a safe choice.

charles ellertson's picture

Scala is very light

Martin Majoor drew Scala when the typesetting-printing workflow was repro-negative-plate. If you look at a book printed using that workflow (circa 1995) and compare it to a later book printed using a direct to plate workflow, you see that the DTP printed type has lost about 2/1000 of weight.

So, embolding using 1 unit in FontLab (2 in Fontographer) restores what Majoor "saw" when he cut the font. Worth doing. I think the man is a genius. For me, the fonts are not dated, it is simply that the printing workflow changed. Personal taste, I suppose, but I much prefer Scala to Yoga

Of course, without permission from FontFont, such embolding is not allowed under the license. Luckily for me, due to a sort of historical accident, I have permission. There is another way in an applications program like InDesign that lets you get at the stroke weight of characters. I've not tried increasing the stroke in InDesign for Scala but if you can get a value that works, it would of course be legal.

It is a shame the publisher didn't re-issue the fonts when the technology changed -- or issue a new book weight...

_Palatine_'s picture

charles and rs:

I find Scala's colour to be very even (that is, not too dark), and I think this is something of an advantage. I understand that there is (or was) a problem with spindly, anemic type. A lot of designers addressed this problem quite well, notably from Underware and OurType.

The problem with all this rich, dark type, is that it can look somewhat jarring on paper. The type can appear too strong, at least in true 1200x1200 dpi, for example. I find that Scala (and Yoga as well) are a little more sedate on the page without losing their meatiness. Now Luc Devroye of Textism has opined that digital Dante has survived the translation to digital from metal. If this is true, then by comparison Scala is not only designed *for* the digital age, but is a fine example of the characteristics of form that this kind of type is expected to exhibit in this context. Dante is noticeably lighter than Scala at true 1200 dpi.

Now I understand that a lot of this is a matter of opinion and personal taste, and that these judgments also depend on the medium being used, but a complaint I have with some of that highly-regarded conspicuously dark type in the market (to be used for long tracts of text) is that they tend to scream at the reader. Some of them are just too dark.

hrant's picture

Black is the new screaming.


charles ellertson's picture

Skipping over personal taste, and before saying anything further, I get suspicious when you say "1200 dpi." Are you talking about an offset press (usually the plate is imaged at 2400 dpi) using wet ink? Or are you talking about fused toner particles?

_Palatine_'s picture



_Palatine_'s picture


Clever. ;)

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Using Black for books is simply said a boring and not very considerate choice. Use very dark browns, grays, etc that work with the tint of the paper stock — that’s about providing a good reading experience.

Not an option with a black and white laser…

charles ellertson's picture

Mr. Szabo:

I took what I though enough pains to indicate I was talking about printing with an offset press. To say the typeface is too dark, based on an *unmentioned* viewing of toner-based printing, is more than a bit misleading.

I'd note that as of 2012, when more than 500 copies of a book are to be printed, using an offset press is still the cheaper method. That's a fact.

Not fact but personal opinion, whenever I see anything printed with xerography, high praise from me would be "not bad, considering." In other words, I've never seen type well represented by toner.

Another thing you need to investigate is resolution The 1200 dpi resolution you tout is likely the capability of the laser to image the belt. It is an advertising number, that is, it's true, but not terrible meaningful in terms of a final printed piece of work.

System (total) resolution is what counts to to a viewer/user. Mathematically, System resolution is 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R 3 + ... + 1/Rn = 1/Rt. For your own understanding, plug in some numbers and see how quickly total resolution drops when just one or two items have low resolution -- such as the paper that takes the ink.

As far as 1200 dip lasers go, when I initially fit the letters of a typeface, including kerning, I use both the screen and a laser printout. But I am aware that when I have a couple books printed, I'll have to go back and make adjustments, because (1200 dpi) laser output does not give an accurate enough rendering. This for text use, by the way.

So if laser (toner) output is your thing, have at it. But please make sure that point is clear in your posts, there are some of us who discount laser printouts entirely.


I should have mentioned that the weight of a font as seen on laser output is quite different than from offset printing. So too the contrast (fine versus thin strokes). As has already been pointed out, so too is the color ...

_Palatine_'s picture


Thank you for such a detailed response. That bit of education makes all the difference to me. So what we're talking about is really the limitation of the medium.

"So if laser (toner) output is your thing, have at it. But please make sure that point is clear in your posts, there are some of us who discount laser printouts entirely."

I will certainly keep this in mind. In retrospect I'm surprised I didn't mention it. It seems the obvious thing to have done, on my part. In any case, having thought about your remarks, I should only render judgments within the parameters of the medium being discussed - in this case, laser/toner - and even then, my judgments should be tempered by the actual reality of using that medium, since laser/toner might not be the best way to do justice to a typeface.

Thank you again.


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