Happy 25th Birthday, OpenType (May 6)

Do you have any fond OpenType memories? I remember it was a kick to see features gradually get added to Adobe apps. Was Photoshop 7 the first to support some features or CS? I wonder if on its 50th birthday, Inkscape and GIMP will finally support some OT features. I started adding OT features to my fonts in 2002...not quite 20 years yet.
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  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,103
    One of my favourite OpenType memories from the early days was visiting Adobe with a group of other type designers and Ross demo’ing the beta OTL support in the upcoming version of FontLab. At the time, almost no one had seen any kind of graphical interface for building classes or drag-and-drop code references.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,712
    edited May 6
    I don’t think OpenType really hit until a few years after its introduction.
    I had written this piece “introducing” it in 2002.

    A little later, I was spending a year back in England with Karey, my wife, who was doing an MA in Norwich, 2004-5. All I took with me was a laptop, and I worked in a room the size of a closet on an 18th century writing desk I bought at a local auction, developing a Latin-Greek-Cyrillic suite with lots of OpenType features, aided by discourse at Typophile.com. That really brought home the scope of OpenType, and power of the internet. Later that year (2005), I gave a workshop on using contextual alternates in a script font, at TypeCon in New York, along with Thomas Phinney and Adam Twardoch. The first “handwriting” fonts to feature that, apart from Caflisch Script, were Zapfino, Dear Sarah, and my Handsome Pro. I also recall a sans serif style that mixed differently horizontally scaled glyphs, programmed by Tal Leming, from round about that time—an emergent use of the tech.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,318
    I remember OpenType as one of the reasons for switching from Fontographer to FontLab around 2004. I released my first OpenType family that year (Grad). I also remember being frustrated with the lack of support for OpenType at the time in both applications (Quark took forever) and operating systems (support on Mac OS was incomplete and buggy).

    It took way longer to get where we are on OT support than I hoped or expected. Where we are is not bad (especially as of a few years ago), but there is still a ways to go.

    It's kind of shocking that OT support in web browsers is more robust than on desktop design apps.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,091
    edited May 6
    I remember Typecon 2001 in Rochester where @Thomas Phinney had a test version of InDesign, showing all the fancy OpenType features it would soon support. Seems ho-hum these days but at the time it was exciting to think of the possibilities. When I got home, I immediately started looking into how to code it.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,752
    My introduction to Open type was the amazing calligraphic fonts by Sudtipos in Veer catalogs. What Alejandro and company did was amazing! And of course those great Veer catalogs made them something I could drool over.
  • It was the reason I was hired at Adobe in 1997! They needed someone to help build OpenType fonts. It was obviously nascent then, but it was fun and interesting to watch the technology come together. I think the feature file format was still being worked out.
  • May 6 is my birthday as well… Must be a sign? :)
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,091
    What was the reasoning behind PostScript OpenType fonts (OTF) not supporting components (instances)?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,103
    The CFF format had been developed independently of OpenType, initially for embedded fonts. It used subroutines as part of its compression, so didn’t need or benefit from the composites model of TrueType. CFF was essentially bolted on to OpenType when Adobe signed up to the format. And a question to consider might be why didn’t Adobe just switch to TrueType?  :#
  • Christopher SlyeChristopher Slye Posts: 57
    edited June 1
    The CFF format had been developed independently of OpenType, initially for embedded fonts. It used subroutines as part of its compression, so didn’t need or benefit from the composites model of TrueType. CFF was essentially bolted on to OpenType when Adobe signed up to the format. And a question to consider might be why didn’t Adobe just switch to TrueType?  :#
    Ha, well... Adobe had invested heavily in a PostScript-based font production workflow, and (thinking mostly about the engineers at the time) truly thought it was a superior format — e.g. it had a better model for hinting and rendering (among other things). That’s a big oversimplification, but I just mean there were some thoughtful people who had good reasons for sticking with it.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,103
    I also recall a sans serif style that mixed differently horizontally scaled glyphs, programmed by Tal Leming, from round about that time—an emergent use of the tech.
    Ed Interlock, I believe - https://houseind.com/hi/ed_benguiat 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,712
    edited June 2
    No, I was thinking of Christian Schwartz’s Local Gothic.
  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 1,103
    edited June 3
    I wonder if on its 50th birthday, Inkscape and GIMP will finally support some OT features.

    Liam R E Quin just sent me this, so at least Inkscape is getting there :) 


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