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Re: Font formats

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  • 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 1 of 10 , May 4, 2005
      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 2 of 10 , May 5, 2005
        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 3 of 10 , May 5, 2005
          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]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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          [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 4 of 10 , May 5, 2005
            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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