OpenType

From now on all Fountain typefaces are supplied in OpenType (PostScript-flavoured/CFF) format only.

Advantages of the OpenType format

OpenType vs. PostScript Type 1

So what was wrong with PostScript Type 1? Actually nothing – PostScript fonts turned out to be the most reliable type of software ever produced. Do you know of any other software made in the eighties that still runs on contemporary computers with the newest operating systems? Yet the fact that there’s nothing inherently wrong with PostScript Type 1 fonts doesn’t mean there wasn’t any room for improvement. Think of it as the switch from VHS video cassettes to DVD discs


Cross-platform compatibility

The most obvious advantage of the OpenType font format is that it is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Previously you had to license separate fonts if you wanted to use them on an additional platform, at an additional cost. Furthermore Mac and PC versions are not always size-compatible because monitors on PC use a different grid than Macintosh.


Single file

This may seem no big deal to TrueType users as they are used to having only one single font file. Professional PostScript Type 1 fonts though come in multiple files – bitmaps, outline fonts, and font metric files on Apple Macintosh, and AFM, PFM, and PFB files on MS Windows. OpenType fonts consist of single, easy to install files.


Extended character set

The main disadvantage of single-byte PostScript Type 1 fonts is that its character set is limited to about 250 slots. This may seem enough to the layman’s eye, but in fact it is just enough to hold the alphabet, accented letters for West and South European and Scandinavian languages, numbers, punctuation, basic math and currency symbols, and some special characters. Thanks to Unicode OpenType fonts can hold thousands of characters and signs.


Additional languages

OpenType literally opens up a world of possibilities. Thanks to the potential of having hundreds, even thousands of characters in one single font there is now room for adding accented characters necessary to set Central European languages, Baltic and Turkish, and even whole new alphabets like Cyrillic and Greek. Depending on the font any number of those extra languages will be featured.


Small caps and old style figures

The limited character set of PostScript Type 1 fonts also meant that – if those had been provided – small caps and old style figures had to be housed in additional fonts. Those fonts had “Expert” or “SC & OsF” (small caps and old style figures) added to their name. Not only do OpenType fonts have built in small caps and old style figures which can be accessed at the simple click of a button, but sometimes there are even more types of numerals included, like tabular, proportional, subscript and superscript, etc. Italics are still separate fonts though, as those are design variations.


Refined typography

OpenType opens up a yet uncharted territory of typographic refinement. The format allows for advancement programming, so OpenType fonts can potentially hold any number of ligatures ranging from the useful to the extravagant, alternate characters to improve the text flow or add variation to the setting, contextual alternates and language sensitive variant shapes, … The list just goes on and on. Those features can be accessed by simply clecking a button or manually. Which features exactly are included in a font depends on the type designer who has to decide inhowfar it is opportune to add any number them.


OpenType Std vs. Pro

OpenType fonts come in two variants. They are technologically identical, but their character sets are different. To keep with the VHS/DVD comparison, OpenType Std fonts would be the single disc DVD, while OpenType Pro fonts are 2-disc Special Edition with extras. OpenType Std are commonly straight conversions of PostScript fonts. They offer the improved technical quality and functionality of OpenType but basically have the same character set and language support. OpenType Pro on the other hand are fully-featured fonts. They typically have an extended character set which may include small caps, different sets of numerals, an extended set of ligatures, contextual and language-sensitive alternates, design variants, and a number of additional languages.