Is Anyone Designing Colour Fonts?

I added some coloured Stylistic Alternates for fancy drop capitals to some of my fonts, just because I can using FontCreator from High-Logic, but I don't currently have any application that can support them for print or PDF publications. I can only test them in browsers such as Firefox or Vivaldi, which support the technology. 

I am not much interested in Emojji, as I don't use a mobile. 

Web Fonts Test Page

It is not particularly difficult to do for 2-4 colours, and very easy for single coloured glyphs. I wrote a tutorial for creating glyphs with four colours

I don't have much need for it, but those who are more creative than I am may find a use for it. 

Comments

  • Notable: Photoshop now supports the OT-SVG flavor of color fonts, and ships with some of Adobe's own OT-SVG color fonts.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,364
    I pulled the plug on color support projects due to lack of software support. There isn’t even a decent layout application to test them in. I tried using Photoshop, but Photoshop has buggy caching stuff and doesn’t always detect new fonts in …/Adobe/Fonts. So I have to rename every time I export and it doesn’t always add new fonts to the menu. And Photoshop isn’t really designed for stuff that span lots of pages, so it’s a horrible proofing tool even when it does work.

    If Adobe and Apple get color fonts working well I might explore the possibilities again. Until then I’m just writing color fonts off as a train wreck that I can’t fix.
  • I pulled the plug on color support projects due to lack of software support. There isn’t even a decent layout application to test them in.
    I would not call it a decent layout application, but apparently Word 2016 supports them. I am sure that most users would be able to design a poster, book cover, brochure, or greeting card in Word. I don't have Word, so I cannot test it, but my source is reliable.
  • I've been making color fonts since day one. I just stick to two colors.

    > I am not much interested in Emojji, as I don't use a mobile.

    Funny, I use a mobile, but I'm still not at all interested in emoji.
  • It's best not to be colour prejudiced. No blacks and no whites.   >:)
  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    I've been making color fonts since day one. I just stick to two colors.
    As a matter of fact, You stick to one color. With SVG-in-OpenType we can do more in black&white fonts. For example small trick (impossible with classic TTF/OTF) with my funny WIP font :




  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 506
    edited February 8


  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    edited February 8

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 587
    edited February 8
    I did some color font tests here. I was looking into the possibility of developing color fonts and color emoji. When I talked to type distributors, they weren't interested in distributing color fonts. I think it's the kind of thing that would be useful as a commission for web use but not the kind of thing that a type designer can make and sell. Like, if a news site wanted color headlines to match their brand, they might commission something customized...that makes sense. It's fun to play around with color fonts but at this point, without distributors really getting behind it. Here's how I could see color fonts working:

    Type designers would provide to the distributor, color fonts using layers, they way they've been doing it since the stone age. On the distributor site, the customer has a option to buy separate layers and/or color fonts. There's an interface on the site that allows the customer to adjust the colors and alter layers...with some presets of course. And out pops the customer's custom color font. If they change their mind, they can generate as many as they like.

    Of course, maybe applications will allow users to define colors but I very much doubt that it'll ever happen or if it does, it'll be limited to one or two applications. It just doesn't make sense to generate colour combinations in the hopes that it's exactly what a customer wants.

    As for emoji. It looks like a fun project but I can't see a practical want anyone can actually use one. Again, it would have to be commissioned for a specific application to be commercially viable.
  • > For example small trick

    Please elaborate (since I can't see anything special in that image).
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 201
    I'd guess that the white is solid and not transparent.
  • SiDanielsSiDaniels Posts: 201
    I'd speculate that we'll see an uptick in the use and development of (non-emoji) color fonts once browser support hits a certain level. I'd agree that unless apps get serious about support, providing UI affordances around palette selection and customization, I doubt there'll be much traction there. Kind of the same story with variable fonts.

  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    Please elaborate (since I can't see anything special in that image).
    SiDaniels said:
    I'd guess that the white is solid and not transparent.
    White used as a color, not as transparent

  • I don't see a great need for colour selection in applications. One can use layers or graphics if one want to customise colours. 

    OpenType feature support has taken a decade to become even slightly widespread. It might be a while longer before we see wider application support, but it is improving. Here's a few applications that could benefit from colour glyphs.
    • Logos that have predefined colour palettes (Apple or Google Logos for example)
    • Emojji
    • Fancy Drop Capitals
    • Non-transparent white text
  • > White used as a color, not as transparent

    Ah, OK.
    This is an interesting angle. Two questions:
    1: How well supported is this?
    2: What order are the black and white rendered in?
  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    [...] Here's a few applications that could benefit from colour glyphs.
    • [...]


  • Cute.
    To me the most promising thing about colorfonts is grays.
  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    Two questions:
    1: How well supported is this?
    2: What order are the black and white rendered in?
    1. currently, as far as I know, only Firefox and MS Edge render properly SVG-in-OT fonts with overlapped glyphs (Photoshop 2017 have problems with overlapping)
    2. In one glyph I decide about rendering order (exactly like in SVG file) and every next glyph overlapp previous.

  • glukgluk Posts: 25
    To me the most promising thing about colorfonts is grays.


    Biggest problem (for me) is that colorfonts with gradients looks best on black background :smile:
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,364
    I don't see a great need for colour selection in applications. One can use layers or graphics if one want to customise colours. 
    Print production designers need color management to be simple. A person who has to keep colors accurate in complex job shouldn’t have to deal with eight layers of color on multiple pages when it could all be done in one paragraph style.
  • Roel NieskensRoel Nieskens Posts: 72
    edited February 9
    Changing the palette for both vector color font formats (COLR and SVG) would be done by overwriting colors defined in the CPAL table. The proposed ways, either by assigning colors to CSS variables or using a custom CSS4 syntax, will be pretty straightforward for web developers. It'd be a simple key/value thing, like --color0: hotpink.

    It's probably not a big surprise that none of this works in browsers yet. SVG doesn't even take its colors from the CPAL table yet — it only uses the ones hardcoded in the font or the regular text color defined in CSS (e.g. color: hotpink). The latter could be useful for both Gluk's examples: the fill could always be white but the outline and shadow could take its color from CSS in the first font, and if the gradient can always be black and the fill color taken from CSS in the second font.

    (On a side note, CPAL only takes RGBA values so for print something custom needs to be made by the design software to assign colors, I suppose.)
  • The problem with layer fonts is it doesn't work well with data driven documents (big catalogs in Indesign).

    And transparency and gradients.
  • Colour could be used for those fonts designed to teach young children how to do handwriting. The letters themselves could be black, while the strokes showing the order and direction of strokes used to write them could be in colour.  
  • Down with stroke order.
  • D. Epar tedD. Epar ted Posts: 678
    We are also interested in teaching young and old children how to do, and use handwriting, using stroke order, color and animation, as well as seeing how animated drawing of letters in general, increase in use, with broader variation acceptance as web technology.

    Underware did a great presentation at typolabs, you can find the link yourself if you do video, from this year, showing their work which is new and excellent. They based the drawing path of the glyphs on skeletons, time, and the font also has hundreds and hundreds of alternates.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 473
    edited April 11
    Teaching handwriting that's pretty and easier to read isn't totally useless, but to me there are far better ways to use teaching time.

    In the same way that Hangul uses character density to discreetly convey grammatical information, color could serve to really help along reading. In contrast, handwriting is now mostly for post-it notes to oneself...

    Animated type in general though I think has potential.

    BTW, not remotely a fan of skeletons, but here's a link to that:


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