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Portland, Maine

207 200 3470

Neil Patel is the designer behind Tetradtype, an independent digital type foundry that crafts custom and retail fonts for creatives. Before founding Tetradtype in 2009, Neil spent a decade working as a semiconductor process engineer specializing in sub-micron printing—an experience that compels him to balance the aesthetic with the technical. 

L.L.Bean OpenType Fractions


An assortment of Greyletter's Work


L.L.Bean OpenType Fractions

Neil Patel



Producing an array of product catalogs every quarter is a labor-intensive task that involves managing and coordinating a lot of copy and images. Spending man hours on repetitive tasks is not only inefficient but opens up the window for errors. This is just the issue that L.L.Bean was dealing with. Their catalogs are filled with dimensional information for a variety of products.Their style guide required use of fractions for describing details of product sizes and shapes. The fonts being used however, did not come with a fractions feature. The workaround was a macro that placed all the figures, sized them and shifted them into the numerator or denominator position. The drawbacks to this approach are that a fraction made this way is visually lighter and proportionally narrower than the rest of the type (because it uses scaled versions of the full-size numbers) and it requires a repetitive, error-prone manual process.


To remedy this situation, L.L.Bean asked me to implement an OpenType Arbitrary Fraction feature into their fonts. This included extending the character set to include missing numerator and denominator figures and writing the necessary code to substitute them when they occur in the presence of a slash (/). I wrote the feature such that it can be enabled all the time to simplify the implementation.

OT fraction implemented in catalog

OT fraction implemented in catalog