November 6, 2013
This article was written by my co-worker, Ernie March. Ernie has been our font QE guy for almost 20 years. After some subtle hints (no pun intended), I was finally able to talk him into writing something about all the work that goes into making sure we deliver high-quality fonts to our customers. This is Ernie’s first post on our blog, and I certainly hope it won’t be his last.
No, we don’t just throw it over the fence!
When it comes to font development, our design and production team spends a good deal of time making choices: deciding what the font should look like, what sort of language coverage it should have, what OpenType features it will contain, etc. Then they get down to the serious business of actually creating the font.
The team does a lot of testing during this process, and asks for input from experts in languages/scripts where we don’t already have expertise in-house. Rather than just throw them over the fence once they think they’re done, my co-workers send the fonts over to Quality Engineering (also known as my desk). I test the look, accuracy, and functionality of everything imaginable. This testing involves checking the validity of all the tables in the font file using Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType tools, including a separate check of the outlines, plus the language coverage and Unicode values. Once the files pass these critical tests, a set of visual proofs are created and carefully examined. Among other things, this proofing includes creating waterfalls in order to check stem hints and alignment zones at a variety of sizes—both onscreen and in print—and glyph dumps to check shapes and accent/mark placement. Continue reading…
October 13, 2013
Although now part of history—thanks to OpenType—one of the legacy PostScript font formats that has some mystique surrounding it is Type 42, mainly because of the apparent significance of that number in a particular series of books. I wrote the following on page 379 of my latest book as a description: Type 42 fonts are actually TrueType fonts with a PostScript wrapper so that they can reside within PostScript printers, and act much like PostScript fonts. A TrueType rasterizer must be present on the PostScript device in order to use Type 42 fonts.
The full specification is still available.
Due to the nature of the three books I have written, Type 42 is mentioned, and with each subsequent book, more details about its history, in terms of selecting the number 42, are able to be revealed to the reader. This article chronicles the coverage of Type 42 in these three books, and while there is clearly some humor intended, there is also value in knowing the true history of this font format. What appears in this article are footnotes from these books, shown in their entirety, preserving their format (and any typos).
October 9, 2013
Last week, we talked about the adventures of Adobe type designer Miguel Sousa as he traveled the US conducting research on his sabbatical project, a revival of a historic wood typeface. He carefully paged through gorgeously produced antique specimen books and studied the shopworn surfaces of giant wooden letters stained with the ghosts of ink from bygone eras. Miguel printed with rare alphabets hewn from nineteenth-century timber, fueling his imagination as he worked to craft a typeface that would smoothly meld historical charm with advanced typographic technology.
The result of Miguel’s summer sabbatical journey—along with many months spent on research and type design and production in San Jose—is the finishing of a face that captured his heart, released this week as HWT Gothic Round. Continue reading…
September 30, 2013
It is with great personal pride and relish that I announce the release of two new Adobe font families for Indian languages. Adobe Tamil and Adobe Gujarati were both released over the weekend, bringing the number of Indian writing systems supported by the Adobe Type Library to a total of four. Each of these families consists of two styles: a regular and a bold. The designs have been completed with print work in mind, as traditional publishing is still very much a vibrant industry within India. These new type families follow the release of two other Adobe type families for Indian languages, Adobe Devanagari and Adobe Gurmukhi, which have already been available for some time. All of these families are currently available for purchase in the Adobe Type Store.
April 3, 2013
As discussed in our March 28, 2013 article, Adobe Blank was recently released as a open source special-purpose OpenType font that helps to solve the FOUT (Flash Of Unstyled Text) problem.
The version that was initially released was approximately 80K in size, and included 257 glyphs, 256 of which were functional in the sense that they are mapped from 1,111,998 Unicode code points, though they are intentionally non-spacing and non-marking. I further analyzed the tables, and found a way to trim the size further by increasing the number of glyphs to 2,049, 2,048 of which are functional. The size is now a more modest 32K.
April 1, 2013
The Adobe Type team is often asked for more details on how we go about designing typefaces; what sort of historical elements went into the design, was there a specific approach that we took, and what problems we were trying to solve. Very often, a combination of factors like historical precedent, language coverage, stylistic trends and media target (print, web, UI, app, etc.) can be interesting to our customers.
With the typophile in mind, and others who are interested in font design, we produced our latest set of type specimens. These specimens, now available as PDFs on www.adobe.com/type, delve into the design of four recent Adobe Original typefaces – Trajan Sans, Trajan Pro 3, Myriad Arabic and Myriad Hebrew. We hope you enjoy reading this material and learning more about these typefaces.
March 28, 2013
Earlier this year, the Adobe Type Team was approached by one of our other development teams to produce a special-purpose font with two fascinating—at least to me—characteristics:
- All Unicode code points are covered.
- All code points are rendered using a non-spacing and non-marking glyph.
I decided to take on this task, because I immediately recognized that the special-purpose Adobe-Identity-0 ROS was the appropriate vehicle for developing such a font.
The font itself was developed early this year, and I finally got around to releasing it on Open@Adobe as a new open-source project named Adobe Blank OpenType Font. I will soon mirror it on GitHub for those who prefer to get their open-source material from there.
March 1, 2013
A few weeks back my co-worker Miguel Sousa blogged about the fundraising adventure our team embarked on to help raise money for the Hamilton Wood Type Museum. Now that we have all of the donations tallied and matching requests submitted, I am happy to announce that our crazy idea of selling cupcakes in-a-jar for Valentine’s Day raised $7,500 for the Hamilton Museum. As lovers of type, and supporters of the Hamilton Museum, we couldn’t be happier with how this fundraiser turned out. Continue reading…
December 3, 2012
A little over three months ago, we launched the Adobe Type Community Translation program and began engaging with community members to translate the typeface notes for the Adobe Type Library. Using the Adobe Translation Center (ATC), customers, users and fans of Adobe Type have contributed over 260 translations to this project. We’d like to take a moment to publicly thank all of these individuals for their contributions. Continue reading…
November 2, 2012
Since the launch of Source Sans Pro just over two months ago, it has been encouraging to us to see its adoption in places such as the text font on the popular social news site, Digg, and incorporated as part of Stanford University’s identity guidelines for digital media. Part of the reason that we care about adoption is that we hope that as others want to use these fonts, they will also help to develop this type family to cover an expanding range of use cases.
Logos Bible Software 5 interface featuring Source Sans Pro
In fact, we recently had our first collaborative experience to extend the functionality of Source Sans. Not long after the fonts’ release, Logos Bible Software contacted us with a list of features which they indicated interest in helping to develop. Today Logos is launching the latest version of their bible study application and they have switched to using Source Sans as the main type for the user interface. In speaking about why Logos decided to make this change to their UI design, Bob Pritchet, CEO of Logos Bible Software, remarks, “Source Sans is a beautiful and uniquely useful type family with multiple weights, a rich set of glyphs, strong OpenType feature support, and most importantly, an open source license that allows us to extend it for specific needs, like scholarly text-critical apparatuses and ancient scripts.”