Updating and re-releasing fonts

RachelR's picture

Not really a build topic, but what are peoples opinons on updating and re-releasing fonts. I produced some fonts a while back that were released with some sales. I'm considering updating them to the opentype format, but while doing this I've realised that I could improve them with better outlines (redrawing some glyphs) and fuller character sets.

Basically I think the fonts have merit but could be better drawen.


hrant's picture

If it's to add OT features (or in general to accomodate a new technology) it's often a
good idea. But if not, spend your time on an update only if there's a strong demand
for it; otherwise just make new, better fonts.

And don't follow the Mrs Eaves model: arrogantly refusing to fix an obvious
and serious flaw (in that case horrible spacing) during an upgrade to OT.


RachelR's picture

But updating to the opentype format with outlines that I know could improve with little effort seems like half doing the job. I think part of my question should be, If I was going to update a font should I rename it accordingly, if the font was "Myfont", should the update be Myfont 2 or Myfont new.


paul d hunt's picture

if you think the work is worth doing, do it. i don't think you need to name the font something different, if it's not a major overhaul. maybe send out an email to past licensees of the font letting them know that it's been updated and change the version string in the font would be sufficient, i would think.

marcox's picture

Apex Sans/Apex New is an example of what you're talking about. The designer made substantial improvements/refinements and released the face under a different name. Don't know whether licensees of the original got a break on the upgrade. And Apex Sans continues to be sold.


hrant's picture

Yes, as long as you're doing an upgrade for OT anyway, and the improvement for the time spent would be very high, go ahead. But do add a suffix, otherwise you'll just confuse people (and probably yourself too).


canderson's picture

I agree with the above comments. If it has new features, give it a new name. Appending "New", "Neue", "Next", "Pro" are all good ideas. It's also useful from a practical standpoint to make sure the font has a unique PostScript and menu name. I don't use "Helvetica", I use "HelveticaLT-Std". That's a bad example though, because I don't actually ever use Helvetica.

This really is a build topic, because different fonts with the same PostScript name cause end-users a lot of confusion and grief.

.00's picture

Face it, fonts are software and software needs to be updated from time to time. Make sure you change the version string in the font header to reflect that it is a new font. I agree that you should also change the family name slightly to avoid confusion. We just released major upgrades to our Giacomo and Rawlinson families, and we renamed them using a 2.0 suffix. Personally I think the suffix Pro should either be abandoned or made to stand for a very specific set of features. As it is now it is pretty useless.

Nick Shinn's picture

I'm {slowly} updating my back catalog of PostScript Type1/TrueType fonts to OpenType.

I've made the decision to add the suffix "Pro", to distinguish them, as I have made some changes, hopefully improvements. Tweaking a character here and there isn't a big deal, but messing with the metrics is definitely a no-no if you keep the same name, as it could cause documents to re-flow. So "Pro" goes a way to avoiding that kind of "version conflict" problem.

Another decision I've made is to not release what Adobe would term "Standard" Opentype versions, but to make my "Pro" fonts include OT features such as small caps and alternate figures. It's not possible for the Pro designation to have much uniform meaning from one foundry to another, as James notes, but I think it's OK for one foundry to use it to designate a (more or less) consistent feature set within its own catalog.

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