Another Glyphs vs. FontLab thread

50pointtype's picture

The previous Glyphs/Fontlab topic was informative but I'd like to ask a question pertinent to my situation.

I've been toiling away with TypeTool for a while and want to upgrade to a more comprehensive tool. I had always thought that FontLab was the obvious next step, but seeing the demo for Glyphs, I really like the interface and to be honest, the price. Should I just hold out for FontLab? Will Glyphs be a satisfactory move up?

blank's picture

Just jump to Glyphs. Unless you want to hint your own fonts (which you can do without Fontlab) or need access to existing Fontlab macros, there really is not reason to stick with Fontlab at this point.

dezcom's picture

It is always difficult to predict when the cows will come home. I don't think it is a case of predicting "the winner" among the choices out there and on the way. I do think the honest competition is very healthy. FontLab has enjoyed being the only show in town long enough that they have been too slow to update with the needs of their users. When Glyphs and RoboFont came along, they gave FontLab a much needed kick in the tail to get serious about improvement. All practitioners in any field do not confine themselves to only one tool, neither should you. My hope for all developers is that they adopt the very adaptable UFO format as standard, at least as an import and export seamless function. This would allow anyone to work with any set of tools they choose and not have to be saddled waiting for that long-promised version update to finally arrive (and pray that it is bug free). We all know the arguments about type designers and beginners being financially strapped but so are fledgling software developers (who are also type designers, btw). As much as I have moaned about how font prices are too low, I cannot fairly expect the developers of the tools I need to bear the bourdon for me. I know I have to bite the bullet and borrow money in meager times to pay them enough to survive as well.
None of us can predict which tool or combination will end up best for you and which will BE AVAILABLE in a reasonable amount of time to do us any good. Do you bet on the older pride leader who is slower yet now worried about competition or the new young Lions out there with self-imposed eagerness yet fewer resources? You can guess and pick one now or support them all and help them grow into a healthy competitive system.

Synthview's picture

I love using Glyphs, it is comfortable and evolving fast.
Despite someone says, you can edit advanced values (meta, name etc) by yourself, but you have to know the keywords. It's quite simple and good documentations are available online.
The bigger limitation, in comparison with Fontlab, is you can't export true type fonts nor old postscripts, but I think they're dying formats; UFO export is always possible.

I’ve never used this feature but manual hinting is also available in Glyphs. You have to disable "auto hinting" before exporting to keep your own hints.

Richard Fink's picture

Having a Windows version as well as a Mac version is a plus. At least for me.
How much of a plus it is for those marketing software like thi, I'm not sure anymore.


Is "bourdon" an alternative spelling for "burden" or were you just typing fast?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Truetype, a dying format?

Synthview's picture

@ frank
which are the advantages of TT making it necessary in the next tomorrow?
With higher resolution monitors and pixel subsampling, TT hinting will become unnecessary I guess. And OT give much more possibilities thanks to OT features.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Opentype fonts can have both Truetype and Postscript outlines.

dezcom's picture

"Is "bourdon" an alternative spelling for "burden" or were you just typing fast?"

Richard, I am a pathetic hunt&peck typist, for me typing speed is counted in CPM (characters per millennium). I am also a horrible spelling afflicted geezer. If that is not bad enough, this new keyboard on the new iMacs is just enough smaller than the old one that I often miss keys completely. If you combine that with "maybe I was just thinking about bourbon" it might lead you to the answer to your question ;-)

Either that, or there is this French-like language called Cajun spoken in Noarlans... :-)

Té Rowan's picture

Ah dunno... reckon a full rank of sixteen-foot bourdon isn't lightweight.

dezcom's picture

LOL :-)

Synthview's picture

It's true, I had forgotten that.
But going back to glyphs, it exports postscript-OT, and you haven't the option "export as TT", but for me it's not a problem.

Bendy's picture

Yes, there is a minority of committed Windows users who would love to see Glyphs available on a PC (I understand the commercial reasons why not tho'). It does call itself 'the font editor for everyone' ;)

Synthview's picture

"for everyone" means it's easy to use ;)
Glyphs relies on Mac OS graphic libraries, for this reason is Mac only.

John Hudson's picture

there is a minority of committed Windows users who would love to see Glyphs

A very small minority, I think, and mostly only from curiosity. It should be said that the debate between FontLab and other tools on the Mac isn't due to the fact that most of those other tools are Mac-only, but also because the Windows version of FontLab is so much more stable than the current Mac release version, and in a Windows-centric font production workflow, e.g. involving VOLT and/or VTT, is well integrated.

My personal choice for primary font development tool on the Mac is the Windows version of FontLab running in Parallels. I use the RoboFab and UFOcentral scripts to integrate this into a UFO workflow (Prepolator, UFOstretch) on the Mac.

robarnow's picture

Having used both, I find Glyphs much easier to use than Fontlab. I literally picked up most it immediately -- it's very intuitive.

charles ellertson's picture

. . . it's very intuitive.

"Do what I want. No, no, my other want!"

Té Rowan's picture

"Don't do what I tell you! Do What I Mean!"

Jack B. Nimblest Jr.'s picture

"frode frank ! Opentype fonts can have both Truetype and Postscript outlines."

Has something changed the present "either" to some future "both"?

& I moo for RoboFont more than most;)

Richard Fink's picture


"My personal choice for primary font development tool on the Mac is the Windows version of FontLab running in Parallels. I use the RoboFab and UFOcentral scripts to integrate this into a UFO workflow (Prepolator, UFOstretch) on the Mac."

This sounds really interesting because although I have a Mac running VMWare with Win 7 on it, I don't use it to run FontLab nor do I run FontLab natively on the Mac and so have been frustrated because Prepolator is only available for the Mac.
How does this work? Having trouble visualizing it. Or am I misunderstanding - will this give you, essentially, access to Prepolator through Windows?

Richard Fink
Blog: Readable Web
Type Director: Kernest/Konstellations

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