FontLab VI version 6.1.0 is now available as a free update to FontLab VI. This major update includes numerous new features, many tiny enhancements to make things work more intuitively, as well as countless bug fixes. This article covers major highlights, and gives brief explanations for some of them. We have another blog post that gives a detailed description of the font filters, components and metrics improvements, and our release notes describe all other improvements and bug fixes.
Design: Components, improved Metrics expressions, Nonspacing components, Measurements panel, X‐Ray view, display lengths and angles while drawing
Font Window: Sidebar, Filters, better character placeholders
Variations: Matchmaker enhancements, better kerning coordination across masters, Smart rounding, custom Family names for individual instances
Technology: Source panel, VFJ format improvements, customizable location of your user data, layer merging, improvements in TrueType Hinting and OpenType feature editing
The 30‐day trial restarted: Don’t have FontLab VI yet and your previous 30‐day trial run expired? We have restarted the trial period for the 6.1 update, so you can download FontLab VI and enjoy it again for a month! Buy or try it at https://fontlab.com/VI
Five weeks ago, we made many new users happy when we put FontLab VI on sale. The sale was about to end, but we have some great news: we’ve decided to make FontLab VI accessible to more people — permanently!
Effective immediately, what was the sale price is staying: you can buy FontLab VI at $459 instead of $689 today, tomorrow, and next month, too! FontLab Studio 5 users can upgrade at $199, Fontographer users at $229.
So if you didn’t get the chance to take advantage of our summer sale, visit our store to license FontLab VI!
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.
The new free FontLab VI6.0.9 update, together with last week’s 6.0.8, adds various improvements:
The Font Info dialog has a new section for Guides
better handling of composite glyphs and auto layers (live composite glyphs), including a quick way to create “auto layers” for multiple glyphs and layers, and a new extended syntax for glyph recipes that allows scaling and flipping of components
a better List view in the Font window, where you can decide which columns should be shown, and drag them to your preferred order
a new Glyphs Bar to help you navigate through your glyph set, right in the Glyph window
a new Guides section in Font Info to help you control font guides
ability to manually arrange classes in the Classes panel
auto‐complete and drag‐drop support in the Features panel
a new contextual Quick Help panel, accessible from the Help menu, and new Quick Tips in the Welcome screen
a setting to show and hide placeholders for missing glyphs in the Glyph window (if placeholders are shown, you can now double‐click on them to create the glyphs). (Preferences > Editing > Show missing glyph placeholders)
Copy‐Paste buttons in the Font Info sections for Family and Font Dimensions
improvements in working with Genius nodes
more control over outline conversion from PostScript to TrueType
easier ways to add missing extrema nodes and implied TrueType nodes
a more human‐readable VFJ file format (the optional FontLab VIJSON format)
smaller file sizes for exported bitmap color fonts (Google CBDT and Apple sbix)
an optional Profile setting to include open contours in exported fonts
Quick Help shows contextual help/tutorial information.
FontLab VI is on sale for just $459 instead of $689 — 1/3 off until August 31! Buy FontLab VI now, and you’ll be drawing type, kerning or hinting faster and easier than ever, so you can spend more time in the sun.
FontLab VI, our radically re‐thought, “ultra bold” font editor, is already packed with functionality that lets you create variable fonts, color fonts and large font families with ease, and it’s getting better all the time!
Many of you who have tried or bought FontLab VI have praised how quickly and precisely you can draw new glyphs. The new FontLab VI6.0.7 update adds major new features that help you complete your fonts faster:
Auto glyphs: extend and complete the character set faster with our new smart composite glyphs that build accented letters on the fly and keep their look, positioning and metrics up‐to‐date.
Cousins: draw and edit your glyphs while you see related letters in the background for reference, and quickly switch between them.
Improved geometric transformations: decide if you want to scale, rotate or slant all references or just the base glyphs.
New property bar for the Text mode: type basic letters and quickly get to their accented variants or alternate glyphs.
Pixel‐perfect rendering: with sharper outlines, nodes and guides in the Glyph window, perhaps you don’t need those glasses quite yet.
FontLab VI6.0.7 also includes improvements in handling Elements, glyph names and Unicode, FontAudit, contour editing, plus user interface tweaks and many bug fixes — see the release notes for a full list.
TypeCon in Portland is about two weeks away, August 1 – 5, 2018. FontLab will be there! I (Thomas Phinney) will be teaching “FontLab VI for FontLab Studio 5 users.” There are still a few spots left in this half‐day workshop (Wednesday August 1, 9 am — noon), so sign up now!
If you’re not in the workshop, feel free to ask me questions any time you see me, get an impromptu demo of some feature, or just say “hi!”
Conferences — including TypeCon in particular — are a great way to meet people of all levels in the type community. Even many of the top folks in fonts are amazingly friendly and approachable! Not to mention all the amazing talks and panels. Highly recommended!
1/3 off full price, 20% off upgrades and educational! We are celebrating this week’s #typolabs conference in Berlin by giving talks and demos at the conference — and by putting FontLab VI on worldwide sale for the first time ever. No matter if you’re in Berlin or elsewhere — sale ends Tuesday April 17, so get the discounts while you can!
At the same time, we have just shipped version 6.0.5, our biggest update since FontLab VI first shipped. We have added several of the most‐requested features to FontLab VI, including autosaving; easier ways to work in integer coordinates; class kerning improvements; font window browsing by Unicode categories and scripts; a host of improvements to variable fonts workflows; and more — a total of 100+ improvements and bug fixes, more than in any previous update!
If you are at #typolabs18 in Berlin, come see us on Saturday April 14. First at 9:30 Adam Twardoch will show you what FontLab VI can do for variable fonts, with no limits on the number of masters and axes you can use! Then at noon, get a deeper dive on FontLab VI variable fonts capabilities with Adam and FontLab VP Yuri Yarmola, plus Q&A and some broader discussions.
After years of hard work, we’re happy to announce that FontLab VI, our “ultra bold” font editor, is finally available. Rewritten from scratch and in glorious Retina HD, this release is an important milestone in the development of our pro font editor. The app has been in public preview for two years, and we’re immensely grateful for all the feedback from our users. We’ve made great progress, and rest assured — we’re not stopping now!
We’ve worked with the type industry’s best brains, creative thinkers and problem solvers. We’ve redesigned the user interface, so you can work with tabs on a notebook display or with floating windows on multiple monitors. We’ve unified the Glyph and Metrics Window, so you can draw and edit across multiple glyphs and masters, working on entire words or phrases at once.
Did we say draw? Drawing in FontLab VI is an immensely pleasurable experience! (As it should be, really, since that’s what you do most of the time.) The Pen and Pencil tools are better than ever, but with the brand‐new Rapid tool, you’ll get pretty curves in many fewer clicks. Fancy new phrases like Power Nudge, Servant and Genius nodes, Tunni Lines, tension, Curvature, Harmonize and Balance don’t just promise easier and faster ways of getting the right curves — they deliver! These new techniques can assist you in your drawing process, but of course you’re the one with the final control over the curves, whether they are TrueType or PostScript.
We’ve replaced the more limited old Multiple Master interpolation model with a new Variations workflow, so you can have virtually unlimited axes, intermediate font and glyph‐specific masters. You are no longer forced to have your glyphs point‐compatible at all times, but if you do need point compatibility, our revolutionary Matchmaker tool and automatic Match Masters will get you there.
Element References are a powerful way to work with repeating paths and contours — more like CFF subroutines than TrueType components. You can use them not just for base and mark glyphs, but also for open path fragments like serifs, and they’re linked in a bi‐directional way.
There are tons of other cool features to help you design typefaces and create fonts from start to finish, from a simple design to a really “ultra bold” complex project.
Things are so busy inside our team that I sometimes forget that our buzzing beehive of activity is not externally obvious. But as none of the FontLab team made it to the TypeCon and ATypI conferences of recent weeks, I thought I ought to share: below are some things that might otherwise be mentioned in presentations, Q&A afterwards, hallway conversations and over lunch, dinner or drinks. The reason we skipped these conferences is simply that we are busy finishing FontLab VI!
Behind the Scenes
Our tireless developers Yuri, Dima, Sofia and Oleg have fixed over a thousand bugs during the Public Preview period, to date. We are down to only 46 bugs on our to‐do list — plus 18 fixed bugs we need to verify in our next internal build. (Usually our internal builds come once or twice a week with fewer fixes than that. But Yuri has been working on a big feature…)
Besides bug fixes, we have just a couple of key feature areas left to be implemented. Right now, Adam is working with Yuri to bring full support for Variable Fonts into FontLab VI. (Adam was one of the few visionaries who saw and evangelized the potential for reviving GX Variations in OpenType several years ago, and I did my own Master’s thesis in this area. So we are both very excited about it.) Adam and Yuri have also been working on finalizing the export of OpenType fonts in all their varieties — CFF, TrueType, various color formats, and so on. You will see fruits of these efforts in coming builds.
Our newest team members Pooja and Igor are both themselves type designers. So they are ideal people to be testing FontLab VI. They have also been working to complete the FontLab VI User Guide, alongside me, Adam, and our veterans Jim and Alex. Igor and Pooja will also become a core part of our support team when VI ships.
Sales and orders point‐woman Lisa has been giving me feedback on my ideas to smooth out our ordering process before FontLab VI ships.
For my part, I have been coordinating our team efforts, working on a new support system and store changes, contributing to the User Guide, juggling all the usual administrative things, and generally preparing for the release of FontLab VI.
We’re delighted that our FontLab VI Public Preview (for both macOS and Windows) already has several thousand regular users. That’s how many people download an updated build every couple of weeks when we publish a new one. Many of you have also reported problems and suggestions on our forum, and shared your experiences using FontLab VI. Thank you all! Your feedback is important, and we’re processing it constantly. Please keep the suggestions and bug reports coming!
We can’t wait to deliver the best FontLab app ever!