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Ray Larabie said:
This format was developed out of self-interest.
You could say that about a lot of things. But we always find ways to exploit new toys and make them work in our own interest.
Georg Seifert said:
One of the reasons why we only see two weights per website is because a third would add to much load.
Georg Seifert said:
So using two single fonts versus one variation font the later does give a similar download and technical complexity – but gives a lot more options.
Chris Lozos said:
Universal also means that ‘everyone’ needs to be able to use itMeaning software vendors like Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, and Quark need to help the user get to it with ease and use it without pain and suffering.
Starting to wonder whether a much more primitive multi-file-compressed-container format could have solved the size and server requests issue more efficiently and more flexibly (as in: users build the multi-font resource from standard fonts themselves according to their needs, possibly automated by their website building tools).
Caren Litherland said:
Then Peter wrote (my emphasis):I know that the no.1 success factor is that a single organisation is determined to push it through (i.e. to cover the costs and effort). Without that, nothing is going to happenWhy? One of the most significant aspects of this effort, it seems to me, is an unprecedented collaboration among corporations and independent designers. Why can’t the same sort of collaboration on front-end tools lead to “an empowering and universal solution”?
John Hudson said:
It is possible to build a variable font in such a way that all the design axes work in discrete steps between named instances, with no intermediary interpolated instances.
I think I would call this a 'restricted variable font'.
Obviously such restriction would be likely to provoke support calls from customers used to variable fonts behaving differently.
Ben Blom said:
In the future, the most sold variable fonts may be “restricted variable fonts”.
In the future, there
may be tools to convert a “restricted variable font” into an “unrestricted
Agreed. How about “discrete
variable fonts” and “continuous variable fonts”?
I like the idea of reducing the file size. If we really take this issue seriously then some questions arise:1• From which number of used instances are variable fonts more size-efficient than single style fonts? Could a two-master variable font be smaller than the equivalent two single style fonts? Naturally, we need to compare compressed data; comparing raw data is meaningless. I’d be curious whether a good compression algorithm could pack two individual fonts into one file with the same size as a (compressed) two-master variable font.2• What about cases when the user does not make use of all the possibilities (masters) that the font offers?2a) Say, a variations font has a weight and width axis but someone uses only the regular width. Will there be tools (and will foundries allow) to “subset” variations fonts by removing unused masters/axes, similar to removing unused glyphs? Or, will foundries provide optional weight-axis-only variable fonts for these cases?2b) Or, if a user only needs a single (interpolated) instance, would the foundry allow to generate a single-master font from it so as to reduce the data size?To me, it appears that a lack of understanding by the font user, or a lack of tools or the appropriate EULAs, could eventually lead to more data being transferred than with the single-style system.
Belleve Invis said:
Just a reminder: variable font may be easier for pirating, given that the font file contains all design-time data for generating styles.
Erik van Blokand said:
@Roel Nieskens apart from the licensing issue, I would not trust a CSS centric tool to be precise enough to assemble a working instance font out of a variable font. I don't think foundries would look forward to handling support questions when such a tool fails either.