COLRv1 and Rethinking Variations

For those of you who have not seen it on Twitter, I wrote a blog post meditating on some of the things that we can do with COLRv1 fonts which aren't too easy to surface in our font editors, and ended up meditating on some of the things that we can do with variable fonts which aren't too easy to surface in our font editors.

I'd enjoy hearing any feedback or reflections.

Comments

  • @Simon Cozens I'll have a read and get back to you.

    Broadly speaking, I appreciate your ability to distill the more complex type design topics into human friendly blog posts. Many of your previous writings are approachable and also technical. This is a skill within itself. Many experts who publish documentation on type, fail to acknowledge the inapproachability of their work, especially when they've spent multiple years learning what they're trying to document.

    I'm so glad you're in the type industry! 
  • I dearly love the concepts of color and variable fonts. My problem is that I can't find a customer who wants either one. They prefer to keep things as broadly compatible as possible ("do whatever, but it has to work in PowerPoint"). So for me that means separate cuts instead of a variable font, and color layers in multiple styles instead of one color font. 
  • Named instances of a variable font will work in PowerPoint.
  • k.l.k.l. Posts: 61
    You don’t need a variable font for that. Put differently: That’s not the variable font experience evangelists are preaching. Put yet differently: Takes, again, a manual to explain that, yes, supports variable fonts but, no, not the way it’s advertised.
    Not the kind of product I would want to bother anyone with at this point. Too much small print required. Again.
  • Named instances of a variable font will work in PowerPoint.
    Except when the variable fonts are embedded into the document ...




  • @Jens: I'm curious about the repro steps: did you save a pptx with embedded font on one device (Mac? PC?) and then try to view on another device?
  • k_l said:
    That’s not the variable font experience evangelists are preaching. Put yet differently: Takes, again, a manual to explain that, yes, supports variable fonts but, no, not the way it’s advertised.
    How would you characterize what evangelists are preaching / how VFs are advertised?
  • @Jens: I'm curious about the repro steps: did you save a pptx with embedded font on one device (Mac? PC?) and then try to view on another device?
    No changing of platforms was involved. I made a PPTX document each on Windows 11 and macOS 12, saved with embedded fonts (subset), deinstalled the VF from the system, opened the documents in PPT on the same OS again.
  • Sorry for hijacking this thread! We can continue the conversation via e-mail.
  • I agree with Karsten. We (folks involved in creating and promoting variable fonts) promote/advertise the access to any instance in a continuous design space. Showing animations of smooth transitions from one instance to another, something we do all the time, absolutely implies this.

    For my most recent variable fonts for Google, it isn’t even remotely plausible to have a good set of predefined static instances available. There would be too many to work in an app like PowerPoint, that just uses a normal font menu and has no other access to axes. So in the end, I am making 4-axis fonts that last I recall, will display in PowerPoint as 7–9 standard weights, and no other variation options. (Yes, this is more limited than it has to be.)
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