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Making the Move to Open Type Fonts

(August 2007) posted on Mon Aug 27, 2007

Streamlining fonts on the front end relieves headaches later

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By Stephen Beals

Many other reasons for font problems also come into play:

* Several font types are available, including TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType.

* Some programs allow users to change a font, adding special characters and ligatures to their fonts. Thus, you might be working with a font that has been, in a very real sense, "genetically altered" without your knowledge. This is why print service providers often insist clients send the actual fonts used in a file along with the file for output. But as your operators have probably experienced, those files are often incomplete.

* Many times, "phantom" fonts may have been used as a space somewhere in the document or used on the pasteboard, only to come back and disrupt production at output.

* Your client may opt to send you a screen version of a font-a font expressly designed for on-screen use-rather than the printer version of a PostScript font.

* Finally, Mac and PC fonts are often different-even fonts with the same name made by the same manufacturer. The problem lies at the heart of the different operating systems. A lot of fonts were created years ago at the dawn of the digital age when resources were scarce and downstream compatibility was rarely a consideration. We’re still living with that legacy.

A couple of other font problems also can confuse operators and designers. The first: Apple’s infamous dFonts. In the case of dFonts, unload any that are not absolutely vital to the operating system and replace them with OpenType versions on your production machines. The second problem: Adobe Multiple Master fonts. From Adobe’s website: "Adobe stopped making new MM and Type 1 fonts in 1999, and there is no equivalent to MM in the newer OpenType format. From late 2002 to mid 2003, Adobe phased out sales of multiple master fonts." There’s a reason for that: Don’t use them. In fact, Adobe will give you half off if you convert your old Multiple Master Fonts to an OpenType version (

The OpenType solution