OpenType questions

kvdl's picture

I'm curious about some things, re: OpenType. Is this format going to overtake Type 1 and eventually render it archaic? If you already own a T1 font, is it fair to be expected to pay full price for the OpenType version when it becomes available? Any thoughts?

Si_Daniels's picture

I may be biased but T1 has been archaic for ten years. What other technology are you using in your day-to-day graphic design work that's not been upgraded in 15 years?


hrant's picture

My eraser, duh.


Si_Daniels's picture

I know I left that one open. But, if you've been using the same eraser for 15 years, then you either have a very big eraser, don't use a pencil, or make very few mistakes. When it does wear out will you complain about ahving to buy a new one?

Si_Daniels's picture

Same question - when it eventually packs in will you complain to Adobe? ;-)

raph's picture

Damn, I'm going to have to buy the White Album all over again!

John Hudson's picture

Buy the White Album again? Can't you just download it from Kazaa? :-)

In asnwer to Kevin's questions:

OpenType will not render Type 1 archaic. OpenType exists because Type 1 is archaic. Eventually, operating system developers will simply stop supporting Type 1 fonts, along with all other 8-bit software.

Will you be expected to pay full price for OpenType versions of fonts that you already license in Type 1 format? That will likely depend on individual font companies. Smaller companies who tend to have a better idea who owns legitimate licenes for fonts might provide an upgrade price, but I don't see how this would be possible for a large company whose library is cross-licensed to multiple resellers.

dan_reynolds's picture

If you have a receipt of your purchase, or if you downloaded the font after purchaseing it from a vendor directly (FontShop, Monotype, Linotype, etc) I would recommend calling the company and asking them for a deal.

dan_reynolds's picture

OK, I'm ready to up to ante a bit

porky's picture

Inevitably, most new technology is used for both "good" and "bad" reasons. OpenType can be used by unscrupulous foundries to extract more cash from their buyers. Or it can be used by free font designers to provide easy support across platforms and add additional features to those fonts.

Personally, I like OpenType, and I'm not sure I can be bothered with worrying about how to produce vanilla TT or PS formats.

How many drivers out their now know how their engines work or could fix them? I'm sure it'd be far more likely they'd understand a Model T. But which would you choose?

Also, I'm not sure the reference to needing FontLab stands up to scrutiny. Many of the features that free font amateur designers would need (and I'm one of them) can be accomplished by cheaper tools. TypeTool being the obvious one here as it can export as OpenType (TT outlines only though). How much does a $99 TypeTool license really mean when spending

filip blazek's picture

why don't you go further? Isn't it limitation for type designers that they must buy and use expensive computers with very limited offer of operating systems?

Your statement on Type 1 fonts is typical ethnocentric example of a member of the Euro American culture. Why do we need complex typefaces when 256 glyphs in Type 1 was enough for many years etc. Let me argue with you.

I am from the Czech Republic. As you probably noticed in Prague, we use many accented characters (not available in Latin 1 Western encoding). Now imagine what does it mean to set multilingual text in archaic applications like QuarkXPress: you must have a particular typeface for each script or even for each language. It is possible to work this way with Type 1 fonts but the final result has a lot of problems:

- you cannot export text edited in non Unicode application (XPress) back to Unicode text editor (you can only choose one encoding for all the text)
- you cannot create correct and searchable PDF
- you cannot export the text as HTML and publish it on the web
- it is difficult or impossible to use the text in multilingual databases
- it is problematic for blind people to use such a text

Unicode and OpenType fonts are a great advantage in many aspects:
- they allow type designers to respect traditional ways of writing minor languages
- they allow type designers to respect the history of particular typeface (alternate versions of glyphs etc.)
- they allow and simplify multilingual communication (one font for several languages)
- they are platform independent and they are not stored in multiple files
- they motivate type designers to know more about diacritics, about language specific issues etc.
- they allow non Latin type designers to create compatible fonts with both major platforms from the rest of the World

The main advantage of OpenType is not technical, but cultural. It is a victory of multiculturalism and plurality over ethnocentrism and narrow mind of Western programmers.

John Hudson's picture

Some of the articles on Luc's site seems to postulate that the only pure font format is Type 1, because Type 1 is a (more or less) simple table that can be read and edited by almost anyone.

I'm one half of a very small font foundry, and I find making OpenType fonts much easier than Type 1 fonts. Yes, I had to learn a pile of stuff, but I actually think the file structure, the availability of tools for both making and testing, and the benefits of a single, cross-platform binary make OpenType simpler than Type 1. The irony of Luc's rather bizarre essay (and note that he is not a font developer, so I don't know from what perspective he makes these assertions) is that OpenType is a much more difficult proposition for large foundries with giant libraries of existing typefaces than for small foundries making new designs. Consider how long it took even Adobe to convert their library from Type 1 to OpenType: that is a major undertaking, requiring massive resources. Meanwhile, I've been happily making OpenType fonts for six years, without having to worry about the problems of library conversion. I think small foundries are in a better position to take advantage of OpenType than many larger companies. If you look at the initial OpenType offerings from e.g. Linotype vs. Jeremy Tankard, it is clear that format conversion of a large library doesn't leave much opportunity to extend functionality, add cool new glyph variants and layout features, not to mention extended language support; whereas, conversion of a small, boutique font collection or development of new designs can involve much more creativity and new features.

dan_reynolds's picture

Filip, I'm totally for OpenType!* I linked to, and paraphrased, the above articles to point out a different (and in my opinion problematic) point of view. I wanted to incite a discussion just like this one.

With all of the good arguments, like the ones you pointed out in your posts, why do you think that some designers still cling to Type 1? Adobe hasn't made a Type 1 font in over six years, but Font Shop makes Type 1 & TrueType versions of its new releases, because Quark and Freehand users want them. While some people would argue that Adobe is trying to support its own innovation and products at the expense of other companies, others would argue that they are moving the industry forward. By still making fonts in old formats, are other foundries holding technology back?

I'm for moving forward, for many reasons. Aside from greater multi-lingual support, the creation of new typefaces in OpenType format makes for good business :-)

* I hope that I didn't offend you

Miss Tiffany's picture

my brain ... :^D

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