Adam Twardoch is Director of Products at FontLab, and a font consultant specializing in font technology, multilingual typography, CSS webfonts, Unicode and OpenType. Co-designer of Lato, the world’s most-popular independently made font family (by Łukasz Dziedzic), and of Milka (by Botio Nikoltchev). Co-creator of OpenType Font Variations and CSS Fonts specs. In 2000–2014, technical and linguistic consultant at MyFonts, the world’s largest online font distributor, and board member of Association Typographique Internationale (ATypI). Adam regularly teaches workshops in font creation. He lives and works in Warsaw and Berlin.
Below are selected highlights from FontLab 7.2. Click the button above to read the full story!
In FontLab 7.2, interpolation works 30× faster than in previous versions, so you can preview variation animation in Preview panel and Glyph window. In Preview panel, you can also preview interpolation steps between any two instances.
If Preferences › Variations › Show instance layer is on, the Layers & Masters panel shows an instance layer in all variable glyphs. The instance layer corresponds to the dynamic instance selected in the Variations panel.
In the Font window, when you make the instance layer current, and you then choose a dynamic instance in the Variations panel, you will see that instance in all glyph cells.
In the Glyph window: When you make the instance layer current and use the Variations panel to choose a dynamic instance, then you can see the detailed view of that instance in the Glyph window. You can even use the Play buttons to animate the variations along the axes, and watch the Glyph or Font window update.
In FontLab, a component typically points to a different glyph in the same layer, but it can also point to a glyph in a different layer, or to a dynamically interpolated instance.
When you open the Elements panel, turn on Show/hide element properties at the top, and click Expand properties (^), the panel shows the Base layer name field. In this field, you can enter a different layer name, or you can click the Select component instance to open a widget with variation sliders.
To assemble glyphs from existing glyphs, you can use components. If a component is attached, it automatically snaps to the location determined by the corresponding anchors. You cannot manually move an attached component but you can scale, rotate, slant or interpolate it. To move an attached component, move the anchors that determine its position.
With attached components, you can use the benefits of anchor-based placement of components, while you’re flexible in editing the metrics, and you can mix contours with components. To attach a component, select it in the Glyph window and turn on Element › Attached, or toggle the “paper clip” icon in the Glyph window property bar, or click in the Attached component column in the Elements panel.
When you turn on View › Suggest › Distance, and you drag a node, handle, selection or anchor, FontLab now draws a temporary suggested outline at the distance defined in Font Info › Other Values › Contour properties › Suggest distance. This is like having a freeform grid that adapts to your current drawing.
You can define separate horizontal (x) and vertical (y) distances, separately for each master. Use Suggest Distance to position anchors at a specified distance from existing contours, or to transform the existing drawing.
In FontLab 7.2, we have revamped the quick transform tools: Rotate, Scale and Slant. They work better, and you can access them from the toolbar.
In FontLab 7, you can use the Font window search box (at the top right) to find glyphs by glyph name, Unicode character name, script, Unicode codepoints, Unicode range, codepage or installed encoding. The search results create an ad-hoc filter.
Drag a remembered search to the Bookmarks section to use the filter in future. This is a very fast alternative to creating encoding filters. The bookmarked searches are stored in your preferences. To remove a bookmarked search, click it and click the – button at the bottom. In FontLab 7.2, you can double-click a bookmarked search and give it a custom name.
The Glyph window in FontLab 7 is a text editor in which you can edit the glyphs. By default, it’s single-line. You can make manual wraps with Enter, or switch to Auto wrap. When you Apply the text wrap in Glyph window, you can switch masters and instances without reflow of longer texts.
FontLab 7 is a major upgrade to FontLab VI. FontLab VI was long in the making. We shipped the first public preview version in 2015, premiered the app in 2017, and we tirelessly kept making it better. You’ve seen some of these improvements in the free updates that we have published since the premiere. But we’ve also been working on a more comprehensive upgrade. So after a super-busy summer and autumn, we’re proud to present FontLab 7, the follow-up to FontLab VI!
Until December 22, 2019, you can buy FontLab 7 or upgrade from FontLab Studio 5, Fontographer or TypeTool 3 at a 25% discount. If you have FontLab VI, you can upgrade to 7 for just $99, and if you bought FontLab VI on August 1 or later, or if you have a full educational license for FontLab VI — the upgrade is free! See below for details.
We’ve learned a lot from you in the last four years. So FontLab 7 focuses on stability, productivity and technical excellence. We’ve incorporated countless user requests, and we’ve implemented some of our ideas that didn’t make it into the previous release. FontLab 7 brings more than 250 new features, fixes and improvements!
With FontLab 7, you can edit curves precisely without zooming, improve consistency of the weight (thickness measurement, equalize uneven stems), quickly create kerning classes (now also both-sided) and fix clashing kerning combinations. FontLab 7 fully supports variable fonts. You can open and export both CFF2- and TrueType VFs, with intermediate glyph masters and conditional glyph substitution, avar axis mapping and STATaxis instances. You can view multiple masters at the same time (as overlaid wireframes, and as cousins on the sides), and edit them (Edit across Layers, Match when Editing).
FontLab 7 now understands glyph naming from other font editors, and can automatically generate OpenType features based on different glyph naming schemes (it’s easy to batch-rename glyphs, too!). When you run FontLab 7, hold F1 over a user interface element, and let the new Quick Help tell you more about it. Built on a solid 64-bit foundation, FontLab 7 runs smoothly on macOS Catalina, on Windows 10, on older systems, and even on Linux with Wine!
Download, install and run the FontLab 730-day trial version. The app is fully functional, so start working in the trial mode right away. You can install and use FontLab 7 parallel to FontLab VI, but when you save VFC/VFJ in FontLab 7, you won’t be able to open them correctly in FontLab VI.
Upgrade to FontLab 7 for free
If you bought FontLab VIon August 1, 2019 or later, or if you bought an full educational FontLab VI license in the last two years, you qualify for a free upgrade to FontLab 7!
If you bought FontLab VI on store.fontlab.com (after August 1 or educational), we will send you your free FontLab 7 serial number per e‑mail. Please wait a few days, but you can already download and run the 30-day trial. If your serial number does not arrive within a week, check your spam folder.
If you haven’t received your serial number per e‑mail in a few days, or if you bought FontLab VIthrough a distributor after August 1, visit our store and “buy” the “FontLab 7 for Mac & Win (FREE upgrade if you bought FontLab VI after Aug 1, 2019)” product (it’s free, you don’t need to pay). Enter your FontLab VI serial number (FL60…) in the Add Comments section of Step 5 of Checkout. We will verify your order and will send you the serial number in a day or two.
If you bought a FontLab VI school lab license, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll issue you free upgrades for your lab.
Upgrade to FontLab 7 for just $99
If you bought a FontLab VI full license or a paid upgrade before August 1, 2019, or if you received your FontLab VI license through the free upgrade program from FontLab Studio 5 — upgrade to FontLab 7 for just US$99, the cost of a small font family.
Upgrade to FontLab 7 from FontLab Studio 5, from Fontographer and from TypeTool 3
25% off until December 22!
Upgrade from FontLab Studio 5 for just $149 (later $199)
Upgrade from Fontographer for just $172 (later $229)
Upgrade from TypeTool 3 for just $299 (later $415)
Buy FontLab 7
Just $345 until December 22!
If you’re a first-time user of our font editors, hurry — buy FontLab 7 at the special introductory price of $345 until December 22, 2019! After that, you can buy it for $459.
If you’re a student or a teacher, buy the full educational version of FontLab 7 for just $229. You can use the app for any purpose (including creation of commercial fonts), even after you leave the school.
If you’re a student or teacher and you already own a 1‑year educational FontLab VI license, or you’re new to FontLab — you can buy a new 1‑year educational license for FontLab 7 for just $89.
If you represent an educational institution (a high school, college or university), or you’re a group of students, buy 8 or more licenses at just $184 per license!
Fábio Duarte Martins (Scannerlicker), designer of Optician Sans and Electrica, says of FontLab 7: “This baby is a rock-solid font development software, from design to engineering. Drawing is a joy: FontLab has the best drawing tools I’ve ever seen, and they just got better!”
Eduardo Tunni, designer of the Graduate variable superfont, says: “Great stuff! FontLab 7 is very stable. Congrats to the FontLab team.”
Dave Lawrence (California Type Foundry), designer of CAL Bodoni and CAL Zed, says “If you want to make more fonts faster and better and if you want to stay ahead of the competition, go with FontLab 7. My favorite parts of FontLab are auto layers, glyph masters and FontAudit. Using these features, I was able to create an average of 167 ornamental glyphs (in two weights) per day. By automating much of the grunt work, I think I’m doing some of the best work of my life.”
Vassil Kateliev, (Karandash / The FontMaker), co-designer of the Bolyar font family and developer of TypeRig, sums FontLab 7 up: “I’ll put it simply: FontLab 7 is superb! What’s not to love? The best vector engine for drawing and manipulation I have seen in ages. Rock-steady interpolation engine that is also compliant with variable OpenType fonts.”
“Start with an excellent multi-paradigm approach to type design – old-school outlines, element references, components, auto-generated glyphs, or all of them combined. Sprinkle on top a handful of nifty tricks to speed up your work like auto layers or auto OpenType feature generation. Combine that with a super powerful Python based API (that I actually use a lot). Let’s not forget multi-platform: a fact that I consider very important. The new FontLab is an endless ocean of opportunities — you get an app for every taste and workflow,” he continues.
Kateliev concludes: “FontLab 7 finally feels really mature. Don’t take my word for it — obviously I am a devotee. Just give it a try, and see for yourself!”
[Edit: Updated on Match 20, 2020 with info about FontLab 7 and with videos and info about CrossOver 19] Apple released macOS 10.15 Catalina on October 7, 2019. This version of macOS only runs apps that are 64-bit, and removes the ability to run 32-bit Mac apps. This means that you cannot natively run our classic font apps on macOS Catalina: FontLab Studio 5, Fontographer 5, TypeTool 3 and BitFonter 3. In this blog post, we’re discussing options that you have if you’d like to use Catalina.
FontLab VI6.1.4: new high-precision segment editing, Font window cell icons for composites and auto layers, smoother kerning workflow, italic linked metrics, snapping Knife — plus smarter glyph deletion, better OTF hinting export, and all-new .glyphs format support! See the full release notes for details!
FontLab VI6.1.3 is faster and more streamlined: arrow-key Tunni lines editing; precise non-node segment editing; easier free transformations; better anchor decomposition; improved classes and features editing; easier font export customization; better UFO3 handling; single-stroke fonts; improved Sketchboard text frames.
With FontLab VI6.1.2, you can now print, synchronize text across multiple windows with Echo Text, override and add custom OpenType tables using the new Tables panel, quickly add and edit classes in the improved Classes panel, create OpenType Symbol-encoded fonts, restore your panels when you open a VFC/VFJ, and much more! See the release notes for details about 6.1.2.
We’ve just published FontLab VI6.1.2, the 12th release since the initial version of our ultra bold font editor 12 months ago. We’d like to thank you all, type designers and font developers, students and pros, for the fantastic feedback we have received this year. FontLab VI is evolving thanks to you, and we have many great things to come in 2019!
Celebrate the upcoming first birthday of FontLab VI: through Cyber Monday (November 26th), buy FontLab VI for $299$459, upgrade from FontLab Studio 5 for $169$199, and if you’re a student or teacher, get your license for just $195$229!
Since FontLab VI premiered last year in December 2017, we’ve released ten new versions of our ultra bold font editor, each adding great new functionality and fixing bugs. Almost a month ago, we released version 6.1, and restarted the free 30-day trial period. So if your trial expired in the past, download FontLab VI now, try it, and remember: our Thanksgiving birthday sale ends Monday night!
If you’re in Antwerp on Tuesday, September 11, 2018 — join us at our free FontLab VI workshops that we host as part of the ATypI Antwerp conference! The workshops are free but you need to register.
In the morning, take either an intro to FontLab VI for FontLab Studio 5 users, or the FontLab VI class for everyone, then join us in the advanced workshop in the afternoon! Please bring your own Mac or Windows laptop. If you don’t already have a FontLab VI license, please download the 30-day trial from http://fontlab.com/vi before the workshop.
If you’re participating in the main ATypI Antwerp conference, Thomas, Yuri and Adam will be there as well, so come talk to us if you have any questions about FontLab VI!
FontLab VI for FontLab Studio 5 users
Tuesday, September 11, 2018, morning (9:30AM – 12:30PM)
Are you a FontLab Studio 5 user who is ready to try FontLab VI? Learn what is new in FontLab VI, what is different, how your workflow can speed up with the new tools, and avoid that “who moved my cheese?” feeling with this half-day workshop presented by FontLab’s Thomas Phinney and Yuri Yarmola.
Besides showing specific things you ask for, we will cover:
How Elements are better Components
Rapid tool vs Pen tool: why and when to use Rapid?
Metrics and Kerning workflows
How to use Power Nudge, Power Guides, Smart Corners, Tunni Lines, and other new editing tools
OpenType Variations support and workflow (replacing Multiple Master features)
Working with flexible Layers instead of just Mask and bitmap layers
Type drawing basics with FontLab VI
Tuesday, September 11, 2018, morning (9:30AM – 12:30PM)
If you’re just starting your adventure with type design, you need an idea, an eye, a tool and the skill and knowledge to use that tool. In this FontLab VI workshop, Adam Twardoch will help you acquire the latter aspects. Together, we will take an existing mini-font that has just a few glyphs, and we will extend it while exploring the rich set of drawing, spacing and kerning tools offered by FontLab VI. Adam will answer questions and help you along the way, so when you get your own idea, you’ll be well-equipped to efficiently turn it into a font.
Advanced type design and font creation with FontLab VI
In this workshop aimed at experienced type designers, Adam Twardoch and Yuri Yarmola will discuss the more advanced concepts of FontLab VI that can help you streamline your type design and font production process: drawing using guides, grids, smart nodes and open contours; creating font families through layers, masters and variation; spacing with expressions, kerning with classes; extending glyph sets with elements and anchors; and technological aspects like OpenType features, hinting, exporting final fonts and interchange with other font creation apps.