The FontLab Blog

For better fonts

FontLab plans for new OpenType 1.8 variable fonts

Moments ago, at the ATypI conference in Warsaw, representatives from Google, Microsoft, Apple and Adobe unveiled version 1.8 of the OpenType specification, featuring a surprise in the form of variable fonts (a.k.a. OpenType Variations). This is an extension and updating of the 1990s GX Variations technology invented by Apple, and a functional superset of Adobe’s Multiple Master technology.

Links which should all be live shortly if they are not already:

The variable fonts enabled by this technology will offer more freedom to type designers and font users, and smaller file sizes for packaging font families. Type designers can enable one or more axes of variation, such as weight, width, or optical size. These can be done with true typographic finesse—we’re not talking artificial stretching and automatic algorithms.

FontLab has already recently begun work on integrating support for variable OpenType fonts in FontLab VI. Indeed, sharp-eyed users of the most recent FontLab VI Public Preview builds may note that they already contain a “Variations” panel, which already features some of the key flexibilities allowed by variable fonts but not in, say, Multiple Master: masters at any point in the design space, and potentially many more design axes. FontLab VI will ship with some degree of OpenType Variations support, and we will continue work on OpenType Variations afterwards, both for FontLab VI and other products.

Variations panel prototype from FontLab VI (build 6101)

Variations panel prototype from FontLab VI (build 6101)

Long-time type industry watchers might be aware that FontLab was the first font editor to offer designers a full visual environment for working with Adobe’s Multiple Master technology. I did my own Master’s thesis in this area, and FontLab’s Adam Twardoch has been suggesting for several years, to anyone who would listen, how it wouldn’t be hard to add GX Variations to OpenType.

So needless to say, the FontLab team is very excited to see the unveiling of this new technology, and is fully supportive of this announcement. I have already written an article for Communication Arts magazine about OpenType Variations and what it means for designers, and next week I will be talking about it at the WebVisions conference in Chicago. You can already see the seeds in our latest FontLab VI Public Preview, and there is more to come!

OTMaster 6 now available, 1/4 off!

Dutch Type Library / URW++ release OTMaster 6,
available now at FontLab,
25% off until June 1st

icon_otmaster3_512x512_rgb-redrawnOTMaster is the ultimate tool for examining final output fonts and tweaking them, without bringing them through a full-on font editor.

BUY NOW—sale ends June 1st, 2016

  • Full version: USD $279 $209
  • Academic (student or teacher): USD $139.50 $104.62
  • Upgrade: $54.71
  • Free Upgrade if you purchased version 5 in 2016!

FontLab VI Public Preview 2 for Mac

FontLab VI logoWe’ve just posted a FontLab VI update, Public Preview 2 (build 5844) for Mac, because the initial public preview just expired on December 31st, 2015. We still don’t call this a “beta”; that would imply being feature complete and fairly stable. We are not there yet!

New FontLab VI Public Preview for Mac download

We have a new Public Preview (5926) available!

FontLab VI logo

Download the new Public Preview (5962) build:

  • If you have a public preview build from within the last month, just launch it, and use the built-in auto-update feature. This should work even after the build expires at the end of the month.
  • Otherwise, you can sign up for the Public Preview on the main FontLab VI page, and that will automatically send you an email with a link to the newest Public Preview download. Yes, this will work even if you already signed up before.

Discuss and post bug reports in our user forum.

We still don’t call this a “beta”; that would imply being feature complete and fairly stable. Although we are not there yet, stability and usability continue to improve.

Better font outline construction free FontLab webinar

Better Glyph Point Placement for Better Fonts
with Thomas Phinney
Tuesday 9 February 2016
9:00 am Pacific / noon Eastern / 18.00 CEST
FREE Live Webinar
Register now

Learn how to construct better outlines for fonts, and why it matters.
Make your fonts render quicker and better on screen, and your glyphs easier to edit.
Discover why so many designers think they have points at extrema when they don’t.

Note: to submit a font for live feedback during the webinar, write to “info” at the obvious domain (fontlab.com).

Webinar Agenda

  • Why outlines matter
  • What to do
  • Issues
  • Tools for Better Outlines
  • LIVE feedback and example outline corrections on several real users’ fonts
  • Q&A

About Thomas

Thomas Phinney is a type designer, educator, and font geek who used FontLab for 20 years before joining FontLab in 2014, and becoming President in 2015. Previously he worked at Extensis (web fonts and font management tools) and Adobe (product manager for global fonts and typography). Thomas teaches typeface design with Crafting Type, and has been a repeat guest lecturer for MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading. He is also secretary of ATypI, the international typography association. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font.

There are a limited number of seats available for this webinar, so don’t be disappointed: Register now

FontLab Studio 1/2 price + free VI upgrade Cyber Monday sale!

UPDATE: This sale was Nov 31 – Dec 1, 2015. Sorry you missed it!

icon_fontlabstudio51_128x128_rgbYes, as a Cyber Monday special, we just marked down our flagship program, FontLab Studio 5. Regular price is US $649, now $324.50. Student/teacher pricing is also halved: regular US $325, now $162.50. Upgrades to FLS 5 from older/other FontLab products are also half price!

Plus, effective immediately, all new permanent licenses of FontLab Studio 5 from now until we ship FontLab VI will qualify for a free upgrade to FontLab VI when it ships next year! Yes, that includes upgrades and academic orders.

@fontlab

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