Posts in Category "Type"

Source Han Sans vs. Source Sans Pro & Source Code Pro

For those familiar with typeface design, there is no doubt that the Latin and Latin-like glyphs—to include those for Greek and Cyrillic—in Source Han Sans are based on Source Sans Pro. One may also wonder about the half-width Latin glyphs in Source Han Sans and how they compare to those in Source Code Pro. The purpose of this short article is to make these relationships and differences clear, or at least clearer.
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Source Han Sans Development: Archaic Hangul

One of the reasons why Source Han Sans—and obviously the Google-branded Noto Sans CJK—can be considered the world’s first Pan-CJK typeface family is due to its support for Korean hangul. While it is common to support modern hangul in Korean fonts, supporting archaic hangul is relatively uncommon. One of the more challenging aspects of developing Source Han Sans was implementing support for archaic hangul, which also included handling 500 high-frequency archaic hangul syllables. This article will thus detail what went into supporting archaic hangul in Source Han Sans. I’d like to once again thank our talented friends at Sandoll Communication for designing the glyphs for these characters.
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East Asia Tour 2014

For the first time in my life, I visited three East Asian countries in a single trip: China, South Korea, and Japan. I have had trips that involved two countries—South Korea & Japan, China & South Korea—but never three. This particular one was also done in the span of only one week.

The purpose of this trip was to visit the three type foundries who were involved in the Source Han Sans/Noto Sans CJK project: Changzhou SinoType (常州华文) in Changzhou, China; Iwata (イワタ) in Tōkyō, Japan; and Sandoll Communication (산돌커뮤니케이션) in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to thanking each company in person, we also used the opportunity to discuss particulars of the project, in terms of what worked well and what didn’t, and I also demonstrated the processes that I used to take their raw glyph data and turn it into the final fonts. All three companies gave us a warm welcome, and were very gracious hosts. We had excellent lunches and dinners with all three companies, which allowed for greater social interaction.

Masataka HATTORI (服部正貴) from our Tōkyō office traveled with me to China and South Korea, and Jinho KANG from our Seoul office participated in the meeting with Sandoll Communication. In addition to Masataka, Taro YAMAMOTO (山本太郎) participated in the meeting with Iwata.
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Source Han Slate

In the spirit of team-building and developing new skills, my manager, David Lemon, invited Chris Stinehour of Christopher Stinehour Design to give the Adobe Type Team a two-day workshop on letter cutting in stone. The workshop took place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The result of my efforts, which most definitely involved learning a new skill, is shown below:

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The Three Musketeers (三銃士)

Our most recent project, Source Han Sans, led me to much closer collaboration with our three-person typeface design and development team in our Tokyo office, which is managed by the Taro YAMAMOTO (山本太郎), with Ryoko NISHIZUKA (西塚涼子) as the primary typeface designer, and Masataka HATTORI (服部正貴) serving multiple roles, but mainly typeface design and production. The purpose of this article is to describe this team, with which I have worked for over 20 years on various projects, and its accomplishments from my perspective.
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Pan-CJK Font Development Details

Unless you have been living in a cave or under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of Source Han Sans or Noto Sans CJK through the initial announcements from Adobe or Google who jointly developed them, or elsewhere. These two Pan-CJK typeface families, which are joined at the hip because they differ only in name, were released to the world at large, as open source fonts, on the afternoon of July 15, 2014 in the US, which was the morning of July 16, 2014 in East Asia, their target audience. Click on the preview below to view a single-page PDF that shows all 65,535 glyphs from one of these fonts:

Over the next several months I plan to publish a series of articles on this blog that will detail various aspects of the development process that I employed for building these two typeface families. Although the subsequent articles will mention only Source Han Sans by name, they also pertain to its twin, Noto Sans CJK.
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Follow @CJKType on Twitter!

For readers of this blog who engage in social media, please consider following @CJKType on Twitter. Of course, one of the purposes of @CJKType will be to announce new CJK Type Blog articles, but it is also meant to engage the user and developer community with regard to CJK- and font-related issues, and will also announce or retweet other items of interest to these groups.

Font Development Via Unicode

Unicode has become the de facto way in which to represent text in digital form, and for good reason: its character set covers the vast majority of the world’s scripts. Other benefits of Unicode include the following:

  • That it is under active and continuous development, meaning that with each new version, more scripts are being supported, and additional characters for existing scripts are being standardized.
  • That it is aligned and kept in sync with ISO/IEC 10646 (available at no charge), which is quite a feat.

With regard to font development, Unicode is considered the default encoding for OpenType, which refers to the ‘cmap‘ table. The most common ‘cmap’ subtables are Formats 4 (BMP-only UTF-16) and 12 (UTF-32). The latter is used only when mappings outside of the BMP (Basic Multilingual Plane), meaning from one or more of the 16 Supplementary Planes, are used.
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NHK World: Design Talks

[I’d like to preface this article by stating that it was written and contributed by our esteemed colleague, Taro YAMAMOTO (山本太郎), who manages our Japanese typeface design efforts in our Tokyo office. — KL]

NHKワールドでは、ロンドン時間で6月13日(木)1:30–2:00の番組『Design Talks』で、日本語タイポグラフィを取り上げる。ひらがな、カタカナ、漢字、ローマ字など種々の異なる種類の文字が用いられる現代の日本語タイポグラフィは、手書きの時代に築かれた、多彩な芸術的な成果とも深く関係している。この番組では、書体デザイナーに取材することで、日本語タイポグラフィの特質を明らかにする。


NHK World’s TV program, Design Talks, to be broadcast from 1:30 to 2AM on Thursday, June 13th (UTC, London Time), will feature Japanese typography and typeface design. Various kinds of characters, such as Chinese ideographs, Japanese hiragana and katakana syllables, as well as Latin alphabet characters are used in Japanese typography, and it has a deep relationship with the tradition of Japanese calligraphy and handwriting, which were artistically made, and represent a culmination from the past. This program tries to shed light on the unique characteristics of Japanese typography by interviewing talented type designers of today, one of whom is Adobe’s own Ryoko NISHIZUKA (西塚涼子).

Ryoko Nishizuka



For more information about the TV Program: Design Talks (please refer to the links on that page to find out the program schedule and how to watch the program).

[For those in the US, you can check the schedule to find out when this program will be broadcasted. The easiest way to watch the program is by using the “NOW ON AIR” pod in the upper-right corner of the main page. For those in the PDT time zone, such as California, it will be broadcasted at 6:30PM and 10:30PM on Wednesday, June 12th, and at 2:30AM, 6:30AM, 10:30AM, and 2:30PM on Thursday, June 13th. — KL]

Gothic/Myungjo or Dotum/Batang?

The prototypical Serif and Sans Serif typeface style distinction in Korean has traditionally used the names Myeongjo (명조체/明朝體 myeongjoche) and Gothic (고딕체/고딕體 godikche), respectively. But, in 1993, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) Ministry of Culture, in an attempt to standardize typographic terms, recommended the use of Batang (바탕 batang) and Dotum (돋움 dotum) as the proper names for these two typeface styles.

At the time the Ministry of Culture recommendation was made, which was a period when printing was the most common use of fonts, Batang was meant for body text, and Dotum was for display or emphasis purposes. Mobile devices have provided a new use for Dotum, because its lack of serifs provided superior readability on mobile devices with smaller screens that necessitated smaller point sizes, and the original rationale for these new names seems to no longer apply.

From what I can tell, Korean type foundries have not embraced the Batang and Dotum names, and have actually resisted their use. What probably didn’t help was the fact that Microsoft released TrueType fonts with these exact names, with no additional qualifiers: Batang and Dotum. In other words, it seems that Microsoft’s use of these names polluted their chance at more widespread use, because they were treated as typeface names, not typeface style names.

In closing this brief article, I am curious about what our blog readership thinks about this particular issue. I welcome any and all comments.

Heisei “StdN” Fonts

We recently released alternate versions of two Heisei (平成) fonts, specifically Heisei Mincho StdN W3 (平成明朝 StdN W3) and Heisei Kaku Gothic StdN W5 (平成角ゴシック StdN W5). As the “StdN” designator suggests, JIS2004 glyphs are the default for these two fonts (the Heisei “Std” fonts use JIS90 glyphs by default).

These two fonts also differ from the Heisei “Std” fonts in that they include significantly more glyphs. The Heisei fonts were developed by a consortium of companies, and Adobe is one of the member companies. Interestingly, JIS X 0213:2004 glyph data was developed only for Heisei Mincho W3 and Heisei Kaku Gothic W5, and JIS X 0212-1990 glyph data was developed only for the former font. So, one of my projects last year was to map as many of these glyphs as possible to Adobe-Japan1-6 CIDs.
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Adobe Blank: Another Adobe-Identity-0 Implementation

As I wrote nearly a year ago, the Adobe-Identity-0 ROS is useful for building special-purpose fonts, especially CJK ones whose glyph coverage does not match one of our public ROSes. Our latest Adobe-Identity-0 ROS font is the open-source Adobe Blank, whose purposes and implementation details are described on our sister blog, Typblography.

Announcing Source Code Pro

Following again in the tradition of Adobe’s first open source font, Kenten Generic, the Adobe Type team announced today the release of their second open source typeface family, Source Code Pro. This monospaced typeface family was designed by our team’s own type designer Paul Hunt, who based the work on Source Sans Pro, Adobe’s first open source typeface family, released just last month. Six weights of Source Code Pro, along with its source files, can be download from the Open@Adobe portal on SourceForge, and for those who want to clone and fork the project, please refer to the GitHub location. The fonts are also available for Web use through Typekit, WebINK, and Google Web Fonts.

To learn more about the inspiration behind Source Code Pro, and how its design was adapted from Source Sans Pro, please refer to Paul Hunt’s Typblography article.

Adobe Type Community Translation

Today the Adobe Type team launched a new pilot program for Community Translation. This program is aimed at getting translations for Adobe’s typeface notes and will reward contributors with free fonts. The team will be using an internal Adobe tool, the Adobe Translator application, to get translations for their 400+ typeface notes (also referred to as typeface histories). These typeface notes provide users additional information about the typeface and often include information about the history of the typeface. On average, these typeface notes are about 100 words in length. Continue reading…

Adobe’s First Open Source Font: Kenten Generic

Hoping not to detract from the attention that Paul Hunt‘s Source Sans Pro, Adobe’s first open source typeface family, deserves, I’d like to use this opportunity to point out that another font, a single typeface design with a very small number of glyphs, was Adobe’s first entry in the open source world, in terms of font offerings. Kenten Generic was released on November 4th, 2010 at the Open @ Adobe portal. It includes only thirteen glyphs—ten of which are functional—that are intended for use in typesetting emphasis marks, which are referred to as kenten (圏点) in Japanese, hence the font’s name. The easiest way to view its glyphs is to download its Unicode-based glyph synopsis.
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Hong Kong or Bust!

I just received good news, in the form of confirmation that both of my ATypI Hong Kong 2012 presentation abstracts were accepted, which means that I will definitely be attending this conference. I alluded to this in the March 30th, 2012 CJK Type Blog article. One of the abstracts is for a 30-minute presentation entitled Kazuraki: Under The Hood, which will immediately follow a 30-minute presentation entitled Kazuraki: Its Art & Design, that will be presented by my colleagues Taro Yamamoto (山本太郎) and Ryoko Nishizuka (西塚涼子). For those who are not aware, Ryoko is the typeface designer of Kazuraki (かづらき), which is the centerpiece of both 30-minute presentations. The other is for a three-hour workshop entitled Manipulating CID-keyed Fonts Using AFDKO Tools, which will be co-presented by my colleague Masataka Hattori (服部正貴).

I am very much looking forward to attending an ATypI conference for the first time, and meeting many people. If you are planning to attend ATypI Hong Kong 2012, please be sure to introduce yourself to me, in case I don’t introduce myself to you first.

Making “Character Codes” Look Better

In my work, I need to deal with character codes on a regular basis, such as Unicode scalar values and hexadecimal values for legacy encodings. This includes writing documents that include them. For most purposes, especially when used in tables, tabular figures work best because they are monospaced. Of course, one could simply choose to use a monospaced font. But, unless a different font is actually desired for character codes, using the same typeface design is usually preferred, because it better matches the surrounding text. The issue is that very few, if any, fonts include tabular glyphs that support hexadecimal notation, specifically referring to ‘A’ through ‘F’ (or ‘a’ through ‘f’ for lowercase). Luckily, I was able to solve this particular dilemma.
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Kazuraki Poster Redux

Almost three years ago, in a September 2009 article on the sister blog, Typblography, we showed a poster for our Kazuraki (かづらき) typeface, which was designed by Ryoko Nishizuka (西塚涼子), who was also its typeface designer. A request came in today for a PDF version of the poster, and instead of posting it into that relatively old (and now buried) article where it would not likely be noticed, I figured that it’d be best to post it here, today.

Click ☞ here ☜ to get the PDF version of the Kazuraki poster.

Enjoy! And for those in Japan, have a safe and enjoyable Golden Week!

Morisawa Type Design Competition 2012

[I’d like to preface this article by stating that it was written and contributed by our esteemed colleague, Taro Yamamoto (山本太郎), who manages our Japanese typeface design efforts in our Tokyo office. — KL]

We were very pleased to hear the news that Morisawa announced the Morisawa Type Design Competition 2012 to be held this year. This triennial competition was held from 1984 to 2002, and this announcement means that they have reintroduced it. The type design categories for entries are Kanji and Latin.
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       前文介绍了字库名称的重要性,如何真正命名字库,还需要字库开发者在制作字库时仔细按照OpenType specification的说明设置name table,每个参数设置的正确与否直接关系到字库是否能正确工作于各个平台。概括来说,name table主要包含的信息有:用于不同平台不同语言的字体家族名称、字体风格、PostScript 名字、字体版本、版权信息以及自定义的样本文字等等,可以说在该表中定义了字库的“身份”信息,是非常重要的一个表。 Continue reading…