FontLab vs Glyphs

2

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  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,786
    Am I right in thinking that FLVI sparked an exodus to Glyphs? If it wasn’t so terrible I would probably have stayed with FL, but I’m glad I switched anyway. 
    Fontlab 5 never getting fixed sparked a mass exodus to Glyphs by Mac users who were sick of the instability of Fontlab’s Mac version. Glyphs wasn’t perfect but at least Georg fixed his bugs (sometimes he fixed them for me in thirty minutes at 2am his time). I get the impression that some of the Windows crowd jumped ship when Fontlab 6 finally came out and was, as the MBAs say, suboptimal.

    At this point I should add that I have purchased Fontlab 7 but I rarely use it. I just don’t have time to watch the videos. Maybe they’ll do workshops at the next Typecon or someone will do a good book like Leslie Cabarga’s old book.
  • I was reluctant to leave FontLab 5 but having tried FLVI and struggled for months wth it switching to Glyphs was a delight. It took a while to get used to it but now my workflow is so much quicker and better. 
    In some way I wold like to say so myself, but each time I try Glyphs, aside from user interface differences, I find the control it gives you too limited…
    On the other hand Fontlab 7 has become stable but too cluttered: it allows you do very complex design fine-tuning, and many options are very advanced, but the most annoying thing is that it ends up with something getting in the way while you are trying to focus on simple tasks, and that is frustrating.
    Having said this, probably if I was unable to use Illustrator to draw, I might have put much more effort in trying to get accustomed to Glyphs (possibly using both), but as things are now, I see the thing as unlikely.
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 113
    Drawing in Glyphs is superior to Illustrator in every way. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 1
    I started my career in 2014 on the then version of Glyphs, later when I was stuck on a PC I busted my head over FL7's way of creating instances, and have a mind to buy a Mac Mini and a Glyphs license now. In my opinion, the same problem persists in FontLab that does in Adobe products - it is a software with a very old paradigm, something from before the 2000's. It had to be completely re-written to appeal to modern users in the mobile era, but simultaniously there is a an enormous pool of old ones that need it as it was. This is unsolvable in any other way other then doing away with the old alltogether, IMHO. If you think about it, the way to add, say, a layer style to an object in Photoshop is pretty counterintuitive, especially in 2021. I haven't used mobile versions of Adobe products much, but it seemed to me they are somewhat restricted not due to device capabilities and screen space, but the zillion menus and tiny items you have to tick on the desktop so you get what you need. I think programs like Canva will morph into something far better given some time and lack of takedowns. Figma certainly looks more promising than XD, last I checked. The very fact that upstarts can pose ANY competition to no-one less than ADOBE seems to me pretty significant. Also, I've worked with big companies, they often are far more rigid and less open to new things, at least in my experience. I can pretty much see all of tomorrow's apps being web-based services with monthly fees, none of this downloading business. Which will of course mean huge security gaps, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
    Bit this brings us from graphic design back to our field - it may come a day that fonts are rented rather then bought. We see this in microtransactions in computer games, Adobe's subscription model and so on. If you want to use the basic plan, you get the basic version of the font. A tier above, and you get the opentype features. With this subscription, you get basic access to the web service, with taht one, you get some additional options to design your fonts, faster speeds etc.
     Time will tell.
  • Drawing in Glyphs is superior to Illustrator in every way. 
    I guess it depends on the approach. The little I have tried it, it does not satisfy my needs. Fontlab 7, for example, offers some advanced drawing features which can’t be found in Glyphs. On the contrary, while Illustrator’s drawing tools are the essential one would have come to expect from a vector drawing program, there is to say that there isn’t much alternative, as – for example – Affinity Designer has some limitations in this (no blending tool, for example).
    I draw in a quite complex fashion, especially if I have to get the right curves for a historical revival. I use layers, some vector, some bitmap. I constantly use blending as a tool (not for font interpolation, that is left to the font editor in the final stage, if I have masters). The more drawing tools I have, the best is to choose. But clearly the interface is very important, and that’s where I find Fontlab 7 lacking.
  • Vasil Stanev What do you mean, precisely? Software interfaces has often become less intuitive due to an excess of features, not well organized, and cluttered.
    It’s not a question of being attuned to portable devices (which would be hardly used for type design or complex tasks, anyway).
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 1
    Vasil Stanev What do you mean, precisely? Software interfaces has often become less intuitive due to an excess of features, not well organized, and cluttered.
    It’s not a question of being attuned to portable devices (which would be hardly used for type design or complex tasks, anyway).
    What makes you so sure they won't? They probably aren't with today's technology, but this is bound to change in the future. Consider Huawei Mate XS. What will most probably happen soon is that screens will unfold to the size of a newspaper. Or stronger batteries will help the device project the keyboard and screen on a surface, eg a table next to a wall. The interface may be as is now on a desktop, or it may not be, because it would have to adjust to a foldable screen format. 

    What I meant was that we are using very old technology (and probably code) for  a very different era. There are Adobe folks on the board, they may shed some light on this.
  • Of course I meant limitations given by dimensions of the screen.
    On my part, I find unpractical even a graphics tablet, go figure drawing with touch screen.
  • I can't even use a trackpad, for anything.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 1
    On my part, I find unpractical even a graphics tablet, go figure drawing with touch screen.
    I use a Samsung pen phone, personally, best of both worlds. My Talljob was started as a sketch on it during a public lecture. (Remember those?) :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjGaWA8g_ks

    But the future of design, including typography

    Hrant H. Papazian said:
    I can't even use a trackpad, for anything.

     may be something completely different - monitors the size and function of contact lenses, and people gesticulating into thin air with VR gloves manicure or rings, or a detector inside the lens, even:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NckMmeZTCDc

    And then we will lament not only the death of penmanship, but of writing alltogether :) People will just type. And no-one will know anything, they will simply google it, get distracted by a meme instead, forget what they were thinking 5 sec ago, and be even more easily led sheeple.

    I can't predict everything, but I know damn sure everybody will still complain endlessly.
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 113
    I can't even use a trackpad, for anything.
    I use a trackpad for everything. 
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 113
    Drawing in Glyphs is superior to Illustrator in every way. 
    I guess it depends on the approach. The little I have tried it, it does not satisfy my needs. Fontlab 7, for example, offers some advanced drawing features which can’t be found in Glyphs. On the contrary, while Illustrator’s drawing tools are the essential one would have come to expect from a vector drawing program, there is to say that there isn’t much alternative, as – for example – Affinity Designer has some limitations in this (no blending tool, for example).
    I draw in a quite complex fashion, especially if I have to get the right curves for a historical revival. I use layers, some vector, some bitmap. I constantly use blending as a tool (not for font interpolation, that is left to the font editor in the final stage, if I have masters). The more drawing tools I have, the best is to choose. But clearly the interface is very important, and that’s where I find Fontlab 7 lacking.
    I see nothing in Ottomat that couldn’t be easily achieved using Glyphs. 
  • Claudio PiccininiClaudio Piccinini Posts: 605
    edited May 1
    Drawing in Glyphs is superior to Illustrator in every way. 
    I guess it depends on the approach. The little I have tried it, it does not satisfy my needs. Fontlab 7, for example, offers some advanced drawing features which can’t be found in Glyphs. On the contrary, while Illustrator’s drawing tools are the essential one would have come to expect from a vector drawing program, there is to say that there isn’t much alternative, as – for example – Affinity Designer has some limitations in this (no blending tool, for example).
    I draw in a quite complex fashion, especially if I have to get the right curves for a historical revival. I use layers, some vector, some bitmap. I constantly use blending as a tool (not for font interpolation, that is left to the font editor in the final stage, if I have masters). The more drawing tools I have, the best is to choose. But clearly the interface is very important, and that’s where I find Fontlab 7 lacking.
    I see nothing in Ottomat that couldn’t be easily achieved using Glyphs. 
    Oh well, Ottomat, aside from being my very first “serious” typeface (started in 1994) was very linear, and not difficult in terms of curves. That’s why I specified “historical revival”, i.e. where I want to get certain curves as much as possible faithful to the original, using high resolution layers of templates, colored intermediate layers, etc. I have never found type design programs satisfying in terms of pure vector drawing if you have to redraw precisely a scanned shape.
  • I can't even use a trackpad, for anything.
    I use a trackpad for everything. 
    Aside from how much one finds it practical, is that good for your wrists? I know for many a mouse is not, luckily it never gave me problems so far.
  • I think UI is a tricky business. For every user complaining about a cluttered, outdated UI, there is another user who depends on their years-long familiarity with that UI for their income. Change comes incrementally as new software pushes the boundaries and shifts the Overton window, so to speak. (We need an “Overton UI.”) The only way change happens radically is with entirely new users.

    I’ve certainly seen this at Adobe, where apps like Photoshop and Illustrator have a very entrenched user base that is important to the bottom line. I’m sure FontLab (et al.) deals with the same thing. (I know certain type designers that were long stuck on using Fontographer 3.5! Hopefully they’ve moved on by now.)
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 113
    I can't even use a trackpad, for anything.
    I use a trackpad for everything. 
    Aside from how much one finds it practical, is that good for your wrists? I know for many a mouse is not, luckily it never gave me problems so far.
    I switched to a trackpad because I was getting RSI with a mouse, it took a bit of getting used to but I now find it much easier and faster. BTW, I did this ‘historical’ typeface using Glyphs and a trackpad; https://g-type.com/fonts/sherborne and I no longer have RSI. 
    I assume when you talk about the blending tool in Illustrator you mean the same as interpolating between masters in Glyphs? Read the tutorials, they’re quite straightforward and easy to understand. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 2
    Nick Cooke said:
     BTW, I did this ‘historical’ typeface using Glyphs and a trackpad; https://g-type.com/fonts/sherborne 
    Oh, that's gorgeous! Definitely worth the buy. *clapping*
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 227
    edited May 2
    Anecdotal evidence is just bias. If someone fixed bugs for you at 2am it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. This could also mean a nobody like myself couldn't have gotten that bug fixed just because I'm no pro type designer who runs a forum as a moderator where said developer hangs out in said forum and takes feedback from such pro type designers....just saying. Fact of the matter is FLVI and FL7 caters to a wider audience and is cross platform compliant whereas Glyphs just isn't. I finally got around to play with FL7 and love FL7's current UI, and loved FLVI's UI too and know people who are putting out work that use FL7 as their primary. Would I have loved to use Glyphs on windows some 8 yrs ago? Sure. (made it abundantly clear then). Were the developers open to porting it then? Absolutely not.  Thus the windows crowd jumped ship and as far as I can tell a good thing. If anything Fontlab is trying to cater to not just the professional but the average joe too and the cross platform compatibility wins. I remember when the developers in the Glyphs forum tried to convince people they didn't need a fill, it took a dozen or more complaints before they actually implemented a fill and it was not even natively built but a 2nd party script, ha!. When the developers tell you what you can and cannot do without choice, its prolly best to avoid such a product. 
  • @AbiRasheed A bit harsh in spots, but agreed.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 3
    Glyphs, as far as I understood it then, is Mac-only because of piracy.

    I see such topics - "A vs B" more like "A and B". You gotta know how to work both on PC and a Mac, Glyphs and FL.
  • @Vasil Stanev It's certainly good to know as many things as possible. But resources (not least the mental) are always limited, and that includes those of people you might have to teach.
  • @Vasil Stanev Pirating software on a mac is just as easy as on windows (er...my friend told me that). Glyphs' official statement is that it's not worth the effort and that they would only get a few hundred dollars in yearly revenue out of it, which, besides sounding very dismissive, also seems like hogwash.
    I recall reading a while back, either here or on the typography reddit, that one of the Glyphs founders has personal beef with microsoft, however I can't actually find the source for this anywhere so please don't take my word for it.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 651
    edited May 3
    Personal beefs, piracy techlore... we're getting too much into the loop. Better agree that both competitors have their pros and cons and leave it at that. Neither is perfect, neither is abysmal, as most things are.
  • @Vasil Stanev Nobody should expect perfection, but anybody who really does care about diversity should be concerned about Apple-only software. Not condemn, but simply push.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,371
    Diversity is fine but if a small developer can't make a profit from the expense of porting to Windows then how can you ask them too?  The only thing that would help them make the decision is if enough NEW Windows type designers were to come on the market to make it worthwhile.
  • Matthijs HerzbergMatthijs Herzberg Posts: 114
    edited May 3
    @Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer
    Thanks for clearing that up, and my apologies for spreading that rumor.
    As for financial feasibility, I do think that for every request you receive to go across platforms, there’s a dozen or more people who don’t bother asking. I personally know several people who either have refrained from trying their hand at type design, or who have purchased fontlab rather than glyphs, simply because they’re used to windows or can’t afford to switch.
    I’m not suggesting I have a better insight into the financial implications of such an endeavor than you, and the demand may still not be enough to be worthwhile, but it may be higher than you think.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,110
    @Matthijs Herzberg
    ...people who don’t bother asking
    I'm one of those Windows users. I don't know if I'd like Glyphs becuase I haven't tried it. I don't want to request a Windows version of something that I don't know I'd like. I heard that it's good but that means nothing; somebody likes everything. But if there were a Kickstarter, I'd chip in. It would be worth a few hundred bucks just to experience Glyphs. None of the current Windows offerings appeal to me as a primary development tool so I'm willing to risk a few bucks to have another option.

  • @Chris Lozos Well the greater social good can't be reduced to profitability.

    @Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer Any financial barrier is a barrier against diversity. The more people you support, the more you promote diversity. Windows is much more common in the world, mostly because the computers are far more affordable. Supporting Windows promotes more diversity. I have first-hand experience on this from my students, but it's really just common sense.

    You can take a risk too.
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