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RE: [PPLetterpress] Font formats

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  • Ludwig M. Solzen
    Mark Sure a lot of books on the topic can be suggested. I d be pleased too if someone could offer an exhaustive, yet comprehensive bibliography on different
    Message 1 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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      Mark

      Sure a lot of books on the topic can be suggested. I'd be pleased too if
      someone could offer an exhaustive, yet comprehensive bibliography on
      different (digital) font technologies available and in use today.

      As an introduction, however, I can highly recommend the 10 page article of
      Thomas W. Phinney (Adobe): "TrueType, PostScript Type 1, & OpenType: What's
      the Difference?" (Version 2.22, December 5, 2002) You can download the pdf
      at http://www.font.to/downloads/TT_PS_OT.pdf.

      I recognize Gerald's concerns about backward compatibility and usability
      regarding the high-speed evolution of computer technology. But holding too
      much to outdated technologies hinders progress. As for fonts, I'm not afraid
      this progress could ever be too speedy. Exchanging layout files with service
      bureaus or printers *was* indeed a painstaking undertaking, because of using
      other hardware, programs and font libraries. (I'm still horrified thinking
      of the experiences I had with several printers: my PC GoudyOS PostScript
      font suddenly lost it's ligatures, the text fitting no longer &c.) But those
      days are gladly over, thanks to Adobe's Portable Document File format.
      Whatever program you are used working with, whatever font format: simply
      (hm) export your layout into a pdf (doing it the right way) and it will be
      processed as you set it. If compatibility of formats is thus no longer an
      issue, what keeps you from using yourself the best (i.c. fairly the latest)
      technologies available? Why using PS1 fonts, going over and over your text
      lines until all the ligatures and small caps are consequently implemented
      from an overcomplicated expert font? Why not using OpenType features to
      change default lining into old style figures, by one simple mouse click? And
      what about opticals &c if you stick with PS1? If using OT, GX or MM requires
      adequate software, update your system; if your customer or service bureau
      doesn't want to invest in newer technologies, at least they can download
      Acrobat Reader for free. If in the old days a printing studio wanted to
      achieve the best quality, a Monotype or Linotype was the right investment.
      As for that, not much is changed in the digital age. Only with this great
      advantage that a newer version of your hardware, os or layout software is
      not as big an investment as the acquisition of a Linotype was in the 1930s.
      And buying the matrices for a the fount one was used to set by hand, sure
      was more expensive than downloading the newest OT version of your favourite
      Bembo.

      http://www.font.to/downloads/TT_PS_OT.pdfLudwig
    • Regis Graden
      Fritz, I can t even imagine the termoil and frustration they must have felt! Regis Fritz Klinke wrote: I wonder if the printers of the
      Message 2 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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        Fritz,
        I can't even imagine the termoil and frustration they must have felt!

        Regis
        Fritz Klinke <nagraph@...> wrote:
        I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount of anguish
        when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering thousands of
        fonts of bastard sizes incompatible with the new standardized system adopted by
        all the American type companies? My sincere sympathies to our electronically
        challenged brethren.

        F.

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Gerald Lange" <bieler@...>
        To: <PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 1:25 AM
        Subject: [PPLetterpress] Font formats


        > There is a current discussion going on over at T-D
        >
        > http://type-design.p90.net/
        >
        > among type designers over what has happened or will happen to
        > Fontographer now that Adobe has absorbed Macromedia. And how could FOG
        > possibly remain viable unless it was re-built from the ground up?
        >
        > It occurred to me, in reviewing the discussion, that most type
        > designers must have the latest hardware and software because they sure
        > seem to think the general public has the latest system version whether
        > it be PC or Mac, that we are all running Adobe CS apps, that we are
        > all using OT fonts. That we all have our ears intently to the ground
        > and are attuned to the newer than the newest. Problem is, we aren't.
        >
        > Quite frankly, I don't think the general public or even most of the
        > computer savy folks out there know the difference between a TT, PS1,
        > or OT font format, or have ever even heard of the more advanced MM or
        > GX technologies. I know everytime I have to send something out to a
        > service bureau they require PS1, everytime I have to send something to
        > a book manufacturer they require PS1. And even though many new type
        > designs are being offered in OT, it still is not a viable format as
        > most currently used apps don't recognize it.
        >
        > I also know that most people don't buy fonts, they use what the
        > operating system gives them as part of the purchase, or what various
        > apps give them as part of the purchase or . . .
        >
        > Because of this, to a great extant, we are completely at the mercy of
        > the major software suppliers. If we all begin to use OT fonts, for the
        > most part it will be because there are no other options, not because
        > we made the choice. But on T-D there seems to be little awareness of
        > how long this transition takes. Someone mentioned somewhere that
        > computer hardware/software stabilizations have the lifespan of more
        > than a rat and less than a cat. PS1 is over a decade and a half old,
        > TT is over a decade, and OT about half a decade. And the latter is
        > establishing itself painfully slow.
        >
        > Over the years I've accumulated a huge library of PS1 fonts and was
        > greatly concerned as to how I would be able to convert these to OT to
        > remain viable. I even have the conversion software. But I'm still
        > waiting for a reason to do so.
        >
        > Gerald
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >



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      • Gerald Lange
        Mark I doubt you d want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly light reading matter. Ludwig s reference should be enough I d think. My concerns
        Message 3 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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          Mark

          I doubt you'd want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly
          light reading matter. Ludwig's reference should be enough I'd think.

          My concerns here are in relation to letterpress application.

          PostScript Type 1 (PS1) has been the font format standard since it was
          unlicensed by Adobe in the late 1980s. It has long been the high-end
          format that you would use for print production and, in our case, for
          generating film negatives. Fonts in this format can be edited for
          letterpress configuration in both Fontographer and FontLab.

          TrueType (TT) was developed by Apple for Microsoft and was released in
          the early 1990s. It is largely all purpose but is not often used for
          high end applications. Its longevity has been quite assured by web-
          based applications.

          Multiple Masters (MM) are a variant of PS1 that allowed for user
          interpolation. A user could creat innumerable variations of these
          fonts between the "parent" fonts provided. I use these quite a bit but
          Adobe discontinued the format when it switched from PS1 to OT. Not
          many MM designs were produced as they were hardly applicable to the
          general user. MM fonts only work well in the classic Mac system not
          OSX. Several type designers still use the format as a tool. I recently
          received a beta of a very nice Didot that is still in MM format. And,
          there is some rumor that Linotype is apparently introducing several
          new MM designs for the Tiger version of the Mac OSX.

          Quick Draw GX (GX) was a highly advanced format that supported a
          number of typographic niceties and was developed by Apple in the early
          to mid 1990s and though several foundries produced GX fonts, including
          Apple, Linotype, and Adobe (though none by the latter were released),
          the format failed when Apple could not convince developers to support
          it in their applications (primarily Adobe). GX was recognized by
          Fontographer as TT (it was based on the TT format) so you could
          actually configure them.

          OpenType (OT) was jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft and the
          first fonts in this format started appearing a few years ago. OT is
          unicode based as well as a cross-platform format. That is its
          significant difference. Both PS1 and TT types can be implemented as OT
          but would need to be "wrapped" in an OT shell. In other words, you can
          use them in OT aware applications (for the time being). OT can be
          configured in FontLab. But OpenType is experiencing the same problems
          that faced Apple's GX. Other than Adobe and Microsoft there has been
          insignificant application support by third party developers (only the
          most recent versions of Acrobat recognize it.) One of the reasons for
          that is that OT is still not a completely standardized format. And,
          except for new font designs, there is also significant resistance on
          the part of the font buying public as switching from older formats to
          OT will eventually require conversion (as soon as Microsoft gets sick
          and tired of supporting TT; Adobe has already abandoned new offerings
          in PS1).

          At some point you will find that the older formats are no longer
          supported. In other words, you are going to have to buy all your
          favorite fonts all over again, unless you can satisfactorily convert
          them. At this point the only commercially available application that
          can do that is FontLab's TransType Pro. I haven't yet tested it so I
          don't know how reliable it is.

          Gerald

          i--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
          > Gerald--
          > I'm fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25 odd
          > years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing
          for some time)
          > that I am completely lost to the jargon/abbreviations. I don't know
          my OTs
          > from my P1S (or whatever it was). Is there a book that covers this
          stuff in a
          > readable/understandable way?
          > I'm not being critical, just trying to expand my horizons.
          >
          > Mark Olson
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gerald Lange
          Actually, changes in type technologies have been devastating to the type industry ever since the introduction of the point system. I can easily think of more
          Message 4 of 10 , May 4, 2005
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            Actually, changes in type technologies have been devastating to the
            type industry ever since the introduction of the point system. I can
            easily think of more that followed.

            The pantograph matrix cutter and machine composition machines did a
            bit of damage to previous metal foundry type designs (the turn of the
            century had to be a complete mess to the average printer yet filled
            with such promise).

            Ultimately photo-film wiped out all efforts at metal type designs on
            both the part of the foundries and machine composition (and from what
            I have read this was hardly unwelcomed by printers or even type
            designers, notoriously, Goudy for one).

            And then there was proprietary analog. . .

            Digital type technologies cleaned the slate completely and turned the
            industry on its head. Very few established typography firms survived
            this transition.

            The "font wars" in digital began right from the get go. But
            collectively (and my point in posting), the long run of the PostScript
            Type 1 format allowed for the accumulation of large font libraries and
            for the resurrection of historical designs. This is actually of some
            significant consideration. And the new kid on the block is a bit of a
            high-roller.

            OpenType fonts are not easy to produce, and because of them we will
            see far fewer new foundries, more foundries dropping by the wayside,
            and consolidation of assets between foundries. Nor are there
            established standards for OT's varieties, and more and more despite
            the early praise of its cross-platform capabilites, the major
            operating system providers, Microsoft and Apple, are not playing ball
            in this regard. Conversion of previous formats or compatability is
            hardly a consideration for these folks, or any of the other
            manufacturers of font technology, as there is no profit in it for
            them. They would just as soon sell new software and hardware and
            provide the fonts to go with them, and they would just as soon not
            have to deal with backward compatibility (when have they?).

            And, of course, there is yet another font format headed down that
            night road.

            The access to affordable quality type that we "all" have recently
            enjoyed and benefited from over the last decade and a half, is slowly
            going to ebb away. Note that I am not opposed to this, it is simply
            the direction the industry is headed.

            And, as that changes, so will this little activity of ours. I don't
            doubt for a minute that the scrapings of immutable metal type
            technology will survive the photopolymer plate process but there will
            be far far fewer folks "practicing" letterpress when that day comes.

            Gerald


            --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, "Fritz Klinke" <nagraph@f...> wrote:
            > I wonder if the printers of the 1880s went through this same amount
            of anguish
            > when the type foundries changed to the point system, rendering
            thousands of
            > fonts of bastard sizes incompatible with the new standardized system
            adopted by
            > all the American type companies? My sincere sympathies to our
            electronically
            > challenged brethren.
            >
            > F.
            >
          • innererklang@aol.com
            Gerald-- Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should back up a bit and ask a simpler question. I m not looking to alter fonts (in the near
            Message 5 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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              Gerald--
              Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should back up a
              bit and ask a simpler question. I'm not looking to alter fonts (in the near
              future anyway). It is just that in this computer age more and more customers come
              in with a font available on their computer that they want me to duplicate. I
              have Illustrator, so I can set type in a reasonable fashion. But if I want to
              expand my repetoir, offer new types--what format should I be looking at to
              purchase? (I use an imac).

              Thanks so much for the time you are willing to spend on this list.

              Mark Olson
              Innerer Klang Letterpress


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • alex brooks
              Here is my point of view - as a young graphic designer and letterpress printer- the main difference (to me) between TT and PostScript fonts is that TT fonts
              Message 6 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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                Here is my point of view - as a young graphic designer and letterpress
                printer-

                the main difference (to me) between TT and PostScript fonts is that TT
                fonts are bitmap based and PS are vector based. So postscripts are
                infinitely scalable and will always look smooth.

                the real benefit of OT, on the other hand, is ease of use. Especially
                in book design. I am used to setting type by hand, making everything
                perfect. The computer is supposed to simplify, but if you want
                everything to be perfect you have to go through and change figures to
                another font, change ligatures to another font, etc. All of this done
                by manually takes a long time and is tedious. With OT this should be
                done automatically. Additionally, with PS fonts, you can have a list of
                12 or so fonts in your font browser (all the different variants) while
                the OT font will be listed as one font with 12 variants. If you are
                dealing with a lot of fonts this is extremely valuable as you don't
                have to scroll through a hundred fonts.

                I've found that with InDesign it is very easy to implement these
                features, however I haven't used older programs wit OT fonts.
                i have no problem with buying a few OT faces if they are indeed an
                improvement (it's a lot cheaper than metal type anyway)

                -alex
                press eight seventeen
                lexington, ky


                On May 4, 2005, at 6:02 PM, Gerald Lange wrote:

                > Mark
                >
                > I doubt you'd want to read a book on the subject as it is not exactly
                > light reading matter. Ludwig's reference should be enough I'd think.
                >
                > My concerns here are in relation to letterpress application.
                >
                > PostScript Type 1 (PS1) has been the font format standard since it was
                > unlicensed by Adobe in the late 1980s. It has long been the high-end
                > format that you would use for print production and, in our case, for
                > generating film negatives. Fonts in this format can be edited for
                > letterpress configuration in both Fontographer and FontLab.
                >
                > TrueType (TT) was developed by Apple for Microsoft and was released in
                > the early 1990s. It is largely all purpose but is not often used for
                > high end applications. Its longevity has been quite assured by web-
                > based applications.
                >
                > Multiple Masters (MM) are a variant of PS1 that allowed for user
                > interpolation. A user could creat innumerable variations of these
                > fonts between the "parent" fonts provided. I use these quite a bit but
                > Adobe discontinued the format when it switched from PS1 to OT. Not
                > many MM designs were produced as they were hardly applicable to the
                > general user. MM fonts only work well in the classic Mac system not
                > OSX. Several type designers still use the format as a tool. I recently
                > received a beta of a very nice Didot that is still in MM format. And,
                > there is some rumor that Linotype is apparently introducing several
                > new MM designs for the Tiger version of the Mac OSX.
                >
                > Quick Draw GX (GX) was a highly advanced format that supported a
                > number of typographic niceties and was developed by Apple in the early
                > to mid 1990s and though several foundries produced GX fonts, including
                > Apple, Linotype, and Adobe (though none by the latter were released),
                > the format failed when Apple could not convince developers to support
                > it in their applications (primarily Adobe). GX was recognized by
                > Fontographer as TT (it was based on the TT format) so you could
                > actually configure them.
                >
                > OpenType (OT) was jointly developed by Adobe and Microsoft and the
                > first fonts in this format started appearing a few years ago. OT is
                > unicode based as well as a cross-platform format. That is its
                > significant difference. Both PS1 and TT types can be implemented as OT
                > but would need to be "wrapped" in an OT shell. In other words, you can
                > use them in OT aware applications (for the time being). OT can be
                > configured in FontLab. But OpenType is experiencing the same problems
                > that faced Apple's GX. Other than Adobe and Microsoft there has been
                > insignificant application support by third party developers (only the
                > most recent versions of Acrobat recognize it.) One of the reasons for
                > that is that OT is still not a completely standardized format. And,
                > except for new font designs, there is also significant resistance on
                > the part of the font buying public as switching from older formats to
                > OT will eventually require conversion (as soon as Microsoft gets sick
                > and tired of supporting TT; Adobe has already abandoned new offerings
                > in PS1).
                >
                > At some point you will find that the older formats are no longer
                > supported. In other words, you are going to have to buy all your
                > favorite fonts all over again, unless you can satisfactorily convert
                > them. At this point the only commercially available application that
                > can do that is FontLab's TransType Pro. I haven't yet tested it so I
                > don't know how reliable it is.
                >
                > Gerald
                >
                > i--- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
                > > Gerald--
                > > I'm fairly new to computers (and fairly old to letterpress, some 25
                > odd
                > > years). Reading your last post I realized (and have been realizing
                > for some time)
                > > that I am completely lost to the jargon/abbreviations. I don't know
                > � my OTs
                > > from my P1S (or whatever it was). Is there a book that covers this
                > stuff in a
                > > readable/understandable way?
                > > I'm not being critical, just trying to expand my horizons.
                > >
                > > Mark Olson
                > >
                > >
                > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                > � To visit your group on the web, go to:
                > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/
                > �
                > � To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                > �
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                > Service.
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Gerald Lange
                Mark Given what you have, an imac and Illustrator, I would buy similar fonts to what your clients have a need for. If you are using a pre-CS version of
                Message 7 of 10 , May 5, 2005
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                  Mark

                  Given what you have, an imac and Illustrator, I would buy similar
                  fonts to what your clients have a need for. If you are using a pre-CS
                  version of Illustrator (CS apps don't work in the old Mac classic
                  system) then you would need either PS1 or TT. I only recommend TT
                  because I'm assuming these might be part of what your clients have.

                  If you are running in OSX and have one of the later versions of
                  Illustrator (CS) go with OT. But again, it depends on, in this case,
                  what your clients have. CS apps will recognize any of these formats.

                  Don't know if this is of interest but if you still have a pre-OSX
                  system (I'm not sure it works in OSX, never tried it), you can easily
                  change TT to PS1 (and convert from platform to platform) in
                  Fontographer which sells for about $120. With the merger between Adobe
                  and Macromedia I'm not sure how long Fontographer will be available
                  though. Likely it will disappear quite soon. If you do go that route I
                  have some very quick and assured "sequences" for conversion that I can
                  send you. If you have only a OSX system, a convertor, TransType, is
                  available from FontLab.

                  Because of licensing restrictions, your client can supply you with
                  their fonts, but you are required to remove them from your drive upon
                  completion of the project (just like a service bureau would do). One
                  user/one drive; in theory.

                  Gerald

                  --- In PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com, innererklang@a... wrote:
                  > Gerald--
                  > Thank you for the short course in Font Formats. I guess I should
                  back up a
                  > bit and ask a simpler question. I'm not looking to alter fonts (in
                  the near
                  > future anyway). It is just that in this computer age more and more
                  customers come
                  > in with a font available on their computer that they want me to
                  duplicate. I
                  > have Illustrator, so I can set type in a reasonable fashion. But if
                  I want to
                  > expand my repetoir, offer new types--what format should I be looking
                  at to
                  > purchase? (I use an imac).
                  >
                  > Thanks so much for the time you are willing to spend on this list.
                  >
                  > Mark Olson
                  > Innerer Klang Letterpress
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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