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Mark Simonson said:
I think at least one of the formats supports assigning colors.
Nina Stössinger said:
What I’d find more interesting (does this exist?) is a color font format that would have the colors assigned via variables
Roel Nieskens said:
A big downside of the CPAL table is that everything is numbered, not named. So instead of being able to say "Pick the 'Toxic green' palette and overwrite 'outline-color'", you must say "Pick palette 17 and overwrite color 3".
Many thanks for all your valuable comments. First I like to state that I’m not ‘selling’ anything; no book (although the Novo Typo Color Book is available for purchase), no fonts or typefaces, or even try to sell the ‘concept’.
I want to share thoughts with you, typedesigners, about the use of chromatic fonts within an editorial context. I am convinced that chromatic fonts are a valuable extension or an extra option amongst the usual set of regular, italic and bold.
I am not interested in decorative typedesign. The designs may look beautiful (or ugly, that's up to your personal taste…), the initial goal is to start a discussion about one of the basics of typo/graphic design, the organization of text, combined with the use of chromatic type.
Contemporary printing techniques and new browsertechniques make it possible to add color in typography. This renewed interest for color-within-typography took off with the use of emoji on mobile devices at the beginning of this century. The introduction of these new techniques has allowed type designers to design fonts that are structured on separate colored layers (see picture). The user can add different colors to these layers through a range of applications. The Novo Typo Color Book offers a series of typefaces designed by us based on this multicolored (or chromatic) design concept. Our approach to design implies that readability and legibility in contemporary type design is overrated. Every character is legible, if not, it is not a character. We are not interested in designing a new Helvetica or Univers, simply because these typefaces already exist.
Some of the posts seem to focus on support of chromatic fonts instead of discussing the new possibilities of chromatic fonts in typographic design. If a designer knows his way around in Adobe Indesign or Illustrator (and know how to use layers in his / her document) the use of chromatic fonts in a lay-out is easy. You can give the text, (copy-paste and separated on different layers the color you prefer - CMYK, RGB or in any pantone color). Adobe Photoshop CC17 supports the chromatic SVG-OT format.
The same as for web fonts. TransType by Fontlab can easily generate a colored font file in any color combination you choose. You are invited to visit the website of Bixa color (a collaboration-project between designers Novo Typo and developer Roel Nieskens / Pixelambacht). On this website you can pick the colors you like, download the font and play around, it’s free.
The possibilities afforded by combinations of type and color are endless. Designers can pick any color they like. They may decide to use the colors of their client’s corporate identity or simply a fashionable color. Color and typography present a powerful mix in graphic design. In our opinion a bespoke chromatic typeface, well designed and with a strong personality, can easily replace a logo within a corporate identity.
Can you imagine?
Max Phillips said:Dan, don't you mean you place all your bets on Y? In which case, I'm with you. In fact, going back to the origins of the cliché, I can't help noticing that, all these years later, black remains the new black.
Nina Stössinger said:
— so the person who uses the font would just get more variables to set, and instead of coloring text, say, red, they could color it red, blue, and orange, and then the font would know which of those colors goes where, painting-by-numbers like. Sort of like now with layers, but in one package (and maybe extended a bit, with support for things like gradients or transparency). Is this a thing?
My thanks for all the interesting comments. Enclosed some thoughts about the use of chromatic fonts.
In my opinion the use of color within type design takes two different directions. Color can be used for the purpose of decoration, and historically we have seen lots of different variations of these designs. Typical examples of the decorative approach are the use of color in the outline, inline or the dropshadow of the basic letter forms. A beautiful example of this approach is Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders, published by William H. Page and Co. in 1874. This sample catalog offers a fine collection of chromatic wood types for letter-press printers. The specimen book was used to sell the wooden pieces of type to printers. The typefaces of William H. Page and Co. are today part of the collection of the Hamilton Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, USA. (more about Page on the interesting website of David Shields). All these examples are based on the decorative approach to design. Going even further back in history, color in layout was already used centuries ago. Around 1455 the German printer and inventor of movable type, Johannes Gutenberg, used color in the page layout of the famous 42-line bible by rubricating the initials and paragraphs. We may presume that, in this case, the use of color did not have a decorative purpose. The reason to use color was to introduce hierarchy in the layout of the page. Later on color was often used to separate paragraphs with a colored pilcrow ¶ or a colored silcrow §. This brings us to the second direction in which color is used within typography.
The second direction, which is obviously the most interesting and exciting one, is the color - construction approach. Color can be used as part of the construction of the basic shapes of the characters. The images enclosed (from the Typewood project, 2015) show an example of the Bixa typeface which is designed according to a colored and constructed concept. The characters illustrate this approach. Working within this color - construction / deconstruction typographic concept, it is possible to take this idea one step further. It is only logical that if you can construct the basic shapes of a character, you can also deconstruct these basic shapes. Using this color - deconstruction design concept within an editorial context leads to the following propositions.
Color will be the new Italic.
Color will be the new Bold.
And you are all invited to disagree.
The Novo Typo Color Book is a logical continuation of the Typewood - The Declaration of Deconstructed Typography project and the Bixa project that was published in 2015. Bixa, the chromatic typeface, which is also produced in wood type, is designed as a typeface for a large display size. The chromatic typeface that was especially created for this project is designed and optimized for smaller sizes. With the Novo Typo Color Book project we present a visual investigation of the possibilities of the use of chromatic typography within an editorial context.
Hrant H. Papazian said:
> How does the reader, conditioned with ....The same way people have learned new things since time immemorial?
LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland said:
Mark van Wageningen / Novo Typo said:The reason to use color was to introduce hierarchy in the layout of the page. Later on color was often used to separate paragraphs with a colored pilcrow ¶ or a colored silcrow §. This brings us to the second direction in which color is used within typography.