Affinity Publisher OT Support

Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,654
edited September 2018 in Font Technology
I recently downloaded the public beta of Affinity Publisher. This is their alternative to InDesign and Quark XPress, and designed to work with their two existing apps, Designer (like Illustrator) and Photo (like Photoshop).

I haven't spent a lot of time with it, but it seems to have most of the features we would expect for a page layout app. The thing I was most interested in is the OpenType support. Designer and Photo had pretty bad OT support at the beginning. They've improved a lot in recent versions and are basically okay (even in the iOS versions). But Publisher appears to have pretty good OT support right from the start, and the UI for it is great. Here's what it looks like:

Contextual support is solid (a sore point in Designer for a long time), and I like the way it gives you previews showing the effect of each feature and how turning them on and off affects other features. It supports instances in variable fonts, but I haven't found any sliders or any other way to vary axes. Plus, it uses the same advance width for all styles. So, buggy OTVAR support. It's also missing support for named Stylistic Sets. In any case, my first impression is pretty positive.

More info here.


  • I played around with the beta for awhile. Unfortunately, based on the comments on their forums, it would appear that adding support for RTL and complex scripts in not particularly high on their list of priorities. I was really hoping this release might help me escape from Adobe’s subscription model, but alas, ’tis not to be.
  • Let's convince them to inplement Harfbuzz before it’s too late.
  • I really like that it shows you a preview of the change so you don’t have to guess. Nice touch!
  • Yes, OT support was greatly enhanced/improved by the end of the Windows beta version.

    I don't know whether the improvements in the OT Feature panel will be in AD's 1.7 release. But as they share code (and file formats) I suspect it will be.

    RE Harfbuzz, I don't think that will happen. I believe Adam T. suggested it and Dave Harms, the developer at Serif basically said that isn't going to happen. He's written their own method.

    They will add complex shaping at some point. But the idea was to get the main three applications out before. It will be interesting after they make it to version 2.x to see what is on the 2.x roadmap after it is posted.
  • What is Dave Harms thinking? lol
  • To beat Adobe they'll have to change their logo first... :wink:
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