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 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…
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.
January 22, 2013
For a second year, Adobe is proud to be one of the sponsors of the Indian Institute of Technology’s Typography Day, this year at their campus in Guwahati. In connection with this event, Paul D. Hunt of the Adobe type team will be presenting on the process of developing Adobe’s newest non-Latin font offering: Adobe Gurmukhi.
This year, Mr. Hunt will also be hosting a three-day type development workshop directly after the conference in Guwahati from 11–13 March, 2013. The workshop location is currently slated for Guwahati, however if there is not enough interest at this location or if there is more interest for a workshop in Delhi, the location is subject to change. Therefore applications are now being considered for both Guwahati and Delhi and the final workshop location will be decided by popular response. This workshop is targeted at helping to foster local type designers and engineers within Indian subcontinental region and will thus be limited to persons residing in this area.
The workshop is intended to be an in-depth review of the font development process to assist typeface designers in taking their design and font development skills to the next level. Whether you are a novice who wants to turn letter drawings into type, or you have had some experience designing and developing fonts, this workshop will present a range of topics that will help you to improve the technical quality of your font output. During this workshop series Mr. Hunt will demonstrate general type design principles using FontLab Studio 5 and the Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType (AFDKO), however these principles will also be applicable to other type design environments.
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.”
September 24, 2012
Following up on Source Sans
The public reception of the release of Source Sans Pro last month was very encouraging. My colleague, Ken Lunde, pointed out that this was not Adobe’s first open source font as Kenten Generic has been available for some time now. But I stand by my claim that it is Adobe’s first open source type family. Sorry, Ken. The blog post announcing the family’s release has been our most popular in the history of Typblography and the news was picked up by major tech media outlets such as Wired, Ars Technica, The Verge, &c. As of today, the fonts have been downloaded over 68,250 times from SourceForge.
One particularly surprising aspect of Source Sans’s release was the amount of interest generated by the teaser graphic of the monospaced version. It seemed that this generated about as much buzz as the fonts that we released. Brackets, the open source code editor created by Adobe, has just recently implemented the regular weight of Source Code into their project. Likewise, the font will be integrated into Adobe Edge Code, which was announced this morning at our Create the Web event in San Francisco. The complete family of six weights will also be available as part of our new Adobe Edge Web Fonts service, which was just announced this morning.
September 8, 2012
The Adobe Type Team’s very own Read Roberts has been hard at work preparing a new version of AFDKO (Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType), and posted the release earlier this month. It is Build 58732, dated September 4th, 2012, and is ready for public consumption. Be sure to read the detailed Release Notes for this new version. In particular, this release includes several important bug fixes for font developers who use AFDKO tools to build OpenType/TTF fonts, or fonts that include mark ‘GPOS’ lookups and/or the ‘GDEF’ table. In addition, the checkOutlines tool incorporates several important fixes for cases when it inadvertently reversed subpaths or removed the wrong subpath.
April 18, 2012
The new version of Adobe Reader (10.1.3) released last week includes new functionality that allows users to sign documents electronically. This new capability leverages three fonts that we designed and developed in record time. They emulate the real handwriting of some of our team members and are intended to serve as a proxy to anyone’s signature.