Posts in Category "Making Fonts"

April 22, 2010

Fonts for the CS5 file type icons

Now that CS5 has been announced I can finally talk about one of the things that kept me busy. Over on Inspire, Shawn Cheris talks about the new Creative Suite branding system: the grid, the colors, the influences, and… the fonts. Well, he actually didn’t say a lot about the latter which gives me a good opportunity to do so.
CS5 SWF file icon at different sizes
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4:28 PM Permalink
February 8, 2010

AFDKO Workshops

Next month I will be in Europe for two weeks, first in Reading, England, and then in The Hague, Netherlands. I will be giving a workshop that covers the various font development and testing tools we provide in the AFDKO*, to both the students of the MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading, and the students of the Type & Media MA from The Royal Academy of Arts.

2008 workshop in progress in the Type & Media classroom (photo by Erik van Blokland)

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11:26 PM Permalink
January 2, 2010

Kazuraki is now available!

Our groundbreaking new OpenType Japanese font, Kazuraki (かづらき), is now available for sale on our Type Showroom, including those for Japan, France, and Germany. Click here to be taken to the ordering page, which also includes links to its Specimen Book and Glyph Complement PDFs.

Kazuraki was designed by Adobe Systems’ Senior Typeface Designer, Ryoko Nishizuka (西塚涼子), which began as a typeface called Teika that won the Silver Prize in the Kanji Category at Morisawa’s 2002 International Typeface Competition.

Although Kazuraki is branded as a kana font, and includes a full complement of glyphs for hiragana and katakana, it also includes glyphs for 1,082 kanji, symbols, and punctuation, along with fifty vertical two-, three-, and four-character hiragana ligatures. A defining characteristic of Kazuraki is that is fully-proportional in both writing directions. Some glyphs are wider than they are tall, and vice versa, and this is reflected in the glyph metrics. Below is an example:


For those who wish to read about the production details, Adobe Tech Note #5901 is available, and a Japanese translation is provided.

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6:05 AM Permalink
January 27, 2009

Say Hi to the type team

I want to offer my sincere thanks to Thomas Phinney for all the work he put into this blog. But despite his absence, “the blog must go on.” Everyone on the Adobe Type Development team will be contributing interesting bits about fonts and type technology. Some of them may be unfamiliar to some of you, so I’ll take this opportunity to offer a brief introduction.

Robert Slimbach has been designing typefaces for 25 years. He’s responsible for the design quality of the type library in general and the Adobe Originals series in particular. Robert’s designs have won numerous awards, including the Prix Charles Peignot and six TDC2 awards. He was instrumental in moving Adobe’s fonts toward broader language coverage, and was an early promoter for contextual layout and support for optical sizes in text families. designer profile

Ken Lunde is an authority on East Asian text handling and font technologies. His book “CJKV Information Processing“, now in its second edition, is a standard reference in the industry (catalog). Among many other accomplishments, Ken helped to define Unicode’s first Ideographic Variation Sequence registry.

Read Roberts develops and maintains the tools we use to make our fonts, including the AFDKO (Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType) that we offer for free download (AFDKO site).

Nicole Minoza is our program manager, moving various projects along when she’s not running marathons or doing programming herself. She was a Political Science major (with a side in Computer Science) and is now working on her MBA.

Ernie March has worked on fonts for 25 years, many of them at Adobe. He handles most of our font testing, doubles as our release engineer, and occasionally finds time to help with font development.

Gu Hua is a recent addition to the team. She has worked on East Asian fonts for more than 12 years. Now she tests our East Asian fonts and related technologies.

Christopher Slye is the team lead for font development. He’s both a typeface designer and font technician. He maintains the databases we use to build our fonts, and was responsible for overhauling all our fonts to bring them up to current best practices. designer profile

Miguel Sousa got his MA in Typeface Design in 2005 from the University of Reading, where his Calouste design won a TDC2 award. He helps develop our newer font families, and is our in-house expert on Flash & Flex. Miguel serves as the main “answer guy” for font technical questions both inside and outside the company in forums like Typophile.

Paul D. Hunt became fascinated with languages and cultures early in life. This eventually led to a BA in International Studies. Paul’s affinity for languages and design then converged in typeface design. He landed an internship with P22, which turned into a multi-year job. Paul went on to hone his type craft at the University of Reading, where he graduated with merit from the Masters program in Typeface Design in 2008, then joined the Adobe team in January 2009. In addition to basic Latin, Paul has designed typefaces for Cyrillic, Greek, Devanagari and typefaces with extended Latin coverage to support African and American Indian languages. He is a frequent contributor to (and moderator for) Typophile, and helps maintain its wiki.

And of course I’m here too. I fell in love with letterforms in the 1970s, which led to a degree in graphic design. After working in the publishing industry I joined the Adobe type team in 1986, and have been involved with our font development, tools and technologies ever since. I originally hoped to design type, but found I could make more of a difference managing the team and doing things like helping to define the behavior of OpenType layout features.

Adobe also has a Type Development team in Tokyo, led by Taro Yamamoto with font technologist Masataka Hattori and typeface designer Ryoko Nishizuka. designer profile We’ll have more about their work in another post.

We’re all looking forward to more communication with each of you as our work here continues to evolve.

– David Lemon

6:03 PM Permalink
September 10, 2008

Syntax for OpenType mark attachment?

We’re looking for some feedback from the font developer community on how you want the AFDKO/FontLab/FontMaster code syntax to work for mark attachment. Please comment! Comments received by Friday September 29th will be most likely to influence our implementation.

In OpenType fonts, mark attachment is the GPOS (glyph positioning) rule which dynamically positions diacritical marks (accents and the like) relative to base characters or other marks.

The currently available version of Adobe’s Font Development Kit for OpenType (AFDKO) does not support OpenType mark attachment. Hence, other tools based on the AFDKO, such as FontLab or DTL FontMaster, do not support it either. We’re currently implementing such support, which will in turn determine the underlying code used by such third party tools. This also means extending the syntax of the AFDKO language to represent mark attachment. However, mark attachment is complicated, and gets even more so when one makes it contextual. The best way to represent it in the same style as other AFDKO code is not entirely clear. Here’s what we’d like your feedback on.

(Special thanks to Read Roberts, AFDKO engineer, for the remainder of this post!)

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4:31 PM Permalink
December 9, 2007

Combining accents in future fonts

The main reason for having combining accents in a font is if you also have mark attachment information in the same font, so as to actually support positioning the diacritic relative to a base letter.

Currently none of Adobe’s western fonts support this functionality. There are several reasons for this:

1) Prior to InDesign CS3, none of Adobe’s flagship creative graphics/publishing applications supported mark attachment in the regular western version.

2) Adobe’s FDK (and thus FontLab) don’t yet support mark attachment, so it was not easy for us to do in OpenType CFF fonts.

3) it’s more challenging to do the contextual kerning required to kern these dynamically combined accented letters.

So, with InDesign CS3 out, we now have an Adobe app that can use this functionality.

Moving forwards, for most of the language support we have done before, we will continue to use prcomposed accents. But for more extended language support, which we are starting to work on now, we will use OpenType mark attachment (‘mark’, ‘mkmk’ and ‘mlig’ features as appropriate).

As you might guess from that, we’ll be enabling this by adding support for mark attachment to our own Adobe FDK for OpenType, which also yields source code for FontLab and DTL FontMaster. I can’t give you a clear timeline, but I’ll say that the fact we want to use the functionality ourselves increases the priority of getting it into our tools.

8:44 PM Permalink
June 8, 2007

Adobe Arabic – sample VOLT code

Very quietly a couple of years ago, with Acrobat 7.05, Adobe shipped Adobe Arabic, an original OpenType typeface commissioned by Adobe with production by Tiro Typeworks, created by type designer Tim Holloway with Fiona Ross and John Hudson. The typeface won recognition from the TDC and has generally been well received.

Tiro recently had inquiries about showing the VOLT source code for Adobe Arabic to a third-party font developer. We’re fine with that, but we thought that to be fair to all developers I should simply post the code here for any interested party. So here you are (73K Zip file).

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10:15 AM Permalink
May 6, 2007

Greek type design

Every couple of years in June there’s this cool typography conference in Thessaloniki, Greece. Well, maybe more tropically warm, but you get the idea. This year, besides the conference and other events June 18-24, there’s a Greek type design contest. Luckily, you don’t even have to do a full typeface, just these words: ένα αναμφισβήτητα ξεχωριστό γεγονός.

The contest has a bunch of categories (text, display, pixel, experiemental) and you’re free to do anything from a traditional font to photography, video, animation or CGI. The deadline is May 31st, and there are valuable prizes. Details here (note the links at the top for all the different sections). Thanks to Eirini Vlachou for the tip!

In related news, the Type Directors Club in NYC is holding the second in a series of “Non-Latin Weekend” type design seminars, Oct 5-7. This time it’s Gerry Leonidas, on Greek type design. This is the same guy who consults for companies such as Adobe and Microsoft to help us get our Greek typefaces looking good. I’m hoping we can send two or three people, because this is sure to be worthwhile for anybody who would like to design Greek typefaces (or typefaces that include Greek, as most of ours do these days).

2:57 PM Permalink
May 12, 2006

Eliminate Private Use Encoding in Revised Fonts?

I’m cross-posting this with the OpenType mailing list to try to get a wider cross-section of views.

As has been mentioned here and elsewhere, in new fonts Adobe is moving away from using Unicode Private Use Area (PUA) encodings for glyphs that are alternates or variants of another glyph that is encoded as the default form for a character. About the only thing we’d use PUA for in new fonts would be ornaments or dingbats that really don’t have their own codepoints.

We’re working on a general tune-up of our whole type library, and one of the questions which arose is, should we make such a change in revising already shipping fonts?

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4:52 PM Permalink
January 2, 2006

"Weights" doesn't mean what it used to?

I’ve been noting an interesting trend in recent years for type foundries and vendors referring to a typeface coming in a certain number of “weights” to mean what I would call fonts or perhaps faces. Folks doing this on their web sites include vendors both large and small.

I’d be tempted to just accept this as a change in terminology, but we already have words to express this distinction, and if we change “weights” to mean fonts, then what the heck to we call real weights? By “real weights” I of course mean that a typeface that has light, regular, bold and black weights has four weights – and it still only has four weights even if there are italic and condensed versions of each of those.

I’m not just pointing the finger at other folks here – a departed type marketing manager here at Adobe (who I generally have both respect and affection for, I might add) sometimes used the term “weights” in that fashion, and I suspect it made it into some of our public materials on occasion. But I think we need to reclaim the word for its previous typographic meaning, or else we have just increased ambiguity with no gain in communication. Or am I crazy?

8:46 PM Permalink