What means – Font Info

Filip Paldia
Filip Paldia Posts: 43
edited February 2018 in Technique and Theory
Hello everybody,
I have come across asking myself what actually font info means.
Various type design software adopted this term, but each uses it slightly differently. So what is actually the purpose of the font info?
Is it something which is stored in font file as metadata?
Is it something which is kind of setting the working file?
Eventually, some reference to documentation would be helpful too.
It really makes me confusing when thinking about features and parameters.

Thank you for any meaningful insight.


  • Paul Miller
    As I understand it the Font Info is all the metadata which is stored in the font file.

    The font name, style, weight, version number, foundry name, date of creation, the metrics, embedding restrictions, copyright notice, trademark, description, etc.

    Some of this information is necessary for a computer to be able to use the font and all of it helps to uniquely identify the font.

  • Kent Lew
    Kent Lew Posts: 905
    edited February 2018
    “Font Info” is a conventional shorthand for referring to the information in a variety of font metadata tables.

    You could say that “Font Info” refers primarily to the Required Tables in the OT Font File Specification. There may also be a few tables scattered in other sections of the spec that some tools provide interface for under the heading Font Info.
  • Thomas Phinney
    I don’t disagree with Paul or Kent, but I would like to expand on this just a bit.

    Font Info is metadata about the font, or as Kent says “a conventional shorthand for referring to the information in a variety of font metadata tables.” Mostly, this means information that is about the whole font rather than one or two glyphs. As Paul says: “font name, style, weight, version number, foundry name, date of creation, the metrics, embedding restrictions, copyright notice, trademark, description....” A font editor typically has separate views to allow you to work on individual glyphs, spacing/kerning, or to edit information that applies to the whole font—the last being the Font Info.

    (Yes, I am glossing over some details and ignoring components/elements, etc.)

    In a compiled output font, most of this metadata is stored in tables that are specifically related to metadata. Whether/where it goes may vary a bit depending on the output format.

    But some of this metadata informs other aspects of the font design or font output process, or may not end up in the ultimate output font at all. For example, FontLab VI Font Info has entries for curve tension (affects the Rapid tool), corner tension and ink trap width (both of which affect Smart Corners). This metadata affects the drawing/design process, but is not stored in any way in a TTF or OTF font.
  • Kent Lew
    Kent Lew Posts: 905
    Thomas draws out a good point: “Font Info” will have slightly different meanings depending upon whether you’re talking about a specific font output format or any of the source formats (proprietary or not).
  • Erwin Denissen
    In the context of a font editor, we see font information as something you can view, but you can't edit it directly. So in general it contains calculated fields like maximum number of contours, minimum left side bearing, etc.

    Font properties in FontCreator concern all font related data that you can change like font name, version, foundry, panose, ascender, etc.

    In general most of these are eventually stored in the final font.

    So to answer your question, in our opinion font information is mostly informative and most of the presented data in our font information dialog will end up in the font file.
  • Thomas Phinney
    So, Font Creator makes a distinction between font info (calculated, informative, outside direct user control) vs font properties (user controlled data).

    FontLab, FontForge and Glyphs all (I think) largely use “Font Info” for user controlled data. In the case of FontLab at least, non-user controlled data is displayed elsewhere (such as the edge of a Font or Glyph window).
  • Filip Paldia
    Hey Guys,
    thank you for your insight. This makes me come to conclusion: that font tool should not mix interface controllers for handling with data stored directly in font file and interface controllers for handling work processing data such as design parameters.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,790
    edited March 2018

    But very often the "data stored directly in font file" is "work processing data such as design parameters." Alignment zones, heights, standard stems... these are all both. Or am I misunderstanding what you mean by "design parameters"? Surely you do not want to make it excessively easy for data that ought to be the same be duplicated in two places giving the possibility for it to differ for no good reason?