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Linotype Releases 1100+ OpenType Fonts
Release a Significant Step Towards Format's Acceptance

Over 1100 Linotype library fonts are now available in OpenType format. Linotype has provided a PDF user guide with a table listing the available fonts and their features.

Are OpenType's advanced typography features finally gaining mainstream acceptance? One of Adobe's previous technical innovations, Multiple Master Fonts, never really left the Adobe campus. With such a large catalog of ubiquitous typefaces, Linotype's embrace of OpenType may just be what's needed to convince the remaining major foundries to offer their libraries in OpenType format.

But what about independent foundries, most of which are not fortunate enough to have full-time staff devoted to the technical aspects of font production? As of now, there have only been a trickle of independent OpenType releases (this list may not be exhaustive):

Although this represents a very small percentage of independent foundries and one man played a major role in many of these releases, it seems to indicate that independent foundries are interested in making an effort to see what OpenType technology allows them to do. Most importantly, these foundries seem to be using OpenType as a tool to accomplish what they already intended to do (Mrs Eaves and Kosmik were created before OpenType) instead of contriving new ideas just to use the technology.

Despite all of this, OpenType's success cannot be predicted by only examining type releases. Application developers and end users also play a major role. The availability of a large selection of typefaces with support for OpenType's advanced features could be what is needed to convince those other groups to make the effort to use and support OpenType as well.

Posted by Colin Hartnett | August 06, 2003 | LINK


Great news.

Question: Who did the Linotype "conversion"?


Hrant | Aug 6, 2003 11:54 AM


As you say, your list is not exhaustive. Thirstype has published three fonts in OpenType: Commodity, General, and Orbit.

General has some OT features, but the others are "raw", and were released in OT because we are dedicated to staying at the forefront of font technology. (The fonts do ship with PST1 versions for those working with incompatible software platforms.)

Our next release, Apex Serif, will be very-rich* OT format, and will be followed-up by a very-rich OT version of the Apex Sans family.

We intend to revisit the entire library and prepare the fonts for OT; adding Euros, coding any special glyphs with the correct Unicode indexes, and adding any necessary OT functionality.

We received great technical help from Thomas Phinney, who is the world heavyweight champion of typography. (Figuratively.)

Best regards,

*By "very-rich", I mean to say that the character sets will include numerous additional accented characters, and will have the following OpenType features: Tabular Figures, Old Style fFgures, Proportional Figures, Small Caps, Ligatures, Cap Spacing, Case Sensitive Forms, and Contextual Alternates.

chester | Aug 6, 2003 12:21 PM


I think that the fonts released by Linotype are exactly the same as the ones released by Adobe. I.e. these are the products of the large-scale Adobe conversion.

As an addition to the "non-exhausive" list of independent OpenType releases, one should notice two rather major releases:

URW++ released 4 CDs that together contain more than 1000 fonts in OpenType PS format (each covering the Western + Central European glyphset):

Elsner+Flake released their first batch of OpenType PS fonts (circa 60) on the EF SmarSet Plus CD:
These fonts also contain Western + Central European glyphsets. It is rumoured that more releases are under way.

I was also under the impression that House Industries released more OpenType fonts than just the Neutraface family.

In addition, you should note that OpenType fonts come in two flavours: OpenType PS (CFF) and OpenType TT. Agfa Monotype and Microsoft released a substantial set of Roman fonts in OpenType TT format, although the feature ranges vary heavily (with Palatino Linotype engineered by Microsoft probably having the lead).

In addition, some companies (Masterfont, Linotype, Winsoft, Agfa Monotype, Microsoft) released Hebrew and Arabic OpenType fonts, mostly in the TT flavour.


Adam Twardoch | Aug 7, 2003 06:57 AM

Also, James Montalbano's Terminal Design http://www.terminaldesign.com/ and I believe Locas de Groot http://www.lucasfonts.com/ have released some OpenType fonts (PS or TT, I don't know).

Adam Twardoch | Aug 7, 2003 07:00 AM

What on earth is the difference between OT TT, and OT PS? I mean... wasn't at least one of the reasons to go OT was to forget about all the other formats?

Silus Grok | Aug 7, 2003 07:35 AM

Please read the appropriate OpenType ReadMe section by Adobe Systems and the OpenType FAQ by Terminal Design. Also refer to: OpenType page by Adobe Systems, OpenType ReadMe by Adobe Systems, OpenType User Guide by Adobe Systems (PDF) and the excellent TrueType, PostScript Type 1 and OpenType: What's the Difference? article by Thomas Phinney (PDF, version 2.22).

Adam Twardoch

Adam Twardoch | Aug 7, 2003 08:00 AM

thanks for the info and links.You're the man. (Everything I know about ogonek positioning, I know from you...)

Very best,

chester | Aug 7, 2003 08:33 AM

Anyone seen the Adobe OT Devoloper pages recently?
They seem to be down.

Eric Olson | Aug 7, 2003 09:27 AM

If I'm given a choice now, I would always pick OpenType. I hate having to manage two font files for PS fonts... it's a pain! And the 'expert' fonts... It's so great to have everything in one convenient file.

But when is Adobe going add OpenType features in Illustrator?

Keith Tam | Aug 7, 2003 11:01 AM

Adam! Thanks for all those linkers. We will consult you on all further OT articles. I should know better.

Stephen | Aug 7, 2003 12:04 PM

Also add to the list Andreas Seidel's astype. All three of his packages are heavily loaded with OpenType features, giving him the highest percentage of OT penetration.

John Butler | Aug 7, 2003 12:15 PM

Rrrr. That should be astype.de.

John Butler | Aug 7, 2003 12:17 PM


Do you speak french? I only know about 12 words, but I believe this article shows that Illustrator 11 will include opentype support. Maybe one of the french speakers can confirm this?

karl | Aug 7, 2003 12:57 PM

The fourth paragraph is basically saying that Illustrator is becoming more like InDesign - and it does mention (and show, further down) the OpenType tool palettes.


Hrant | Aug 7, 2003 02:05 PM

How far off is Illustrator 11? Will it be released before I graduate college in June? (Trying to decide when to get the Design Collection... haha.)

Colin | Aug 7, 2003 04:10 PM

It's sad to see some marketing strategy (or whatever) kept Macromedia from including OpenType features in FreeHand MX (11) and I think is very unlikely they'll do even in version 12. I think QuarkXpress 6 includes them (am I wrong?) to keep up with InDesign. I always disliked Xpress but it could be a big push if they do.

Personally I have a feeling (but it's just a feeling) the conditions are now pretty favorable for a mainstream breakthrough. Opentype (and Unicode as well) are not simply one-company efforts like Multiple Master or Truetype GX have been. Besides, with FontLab becoming quickly the leader application (like it or not), probably we'll have more encouragement to produce OpenType faces as well.
As for Multiple Master I continue to find them a great idea. They're just such a hassle to design with current tools. Just look what Lucas DeGroot did with F Move Me from the "Pornography" issue of FUSE: you'd have a lot of possibilities with MM if only it was less time-consuming and simple to design them.

Back on OT, in spite of my observations the FontLab manual is not so well done, and although the topic is generally covered it would be very helpful to have a book on scripting features and so on. Hey, John (Butler) why don't you write it? I'm sure we'll all be with you! :)

Also, many people still object many users keep asking Type1 and TrueType formats. I had a brief discussion on this with Rudy Vanderlans and I understand his position, so I think it will be more a decision coming from the foundries instead of customers, at least for now.

What do you think?

Claudio Piccinini | Aug 10, 2003 03:58 AM

Claudio -

Quark 6 does not provide support for OT features.

Eric Olson | Aug 10, 2003 07:33 AM

>What do you think?

OpenType has an untapped potential to be exploited for creative type designs. I'm thinking along the lines of the innovative glyphs Zuzana Licko created for Mrs Eaves, with "LigatureMaker".

There are many practical reasons why OT should catch on, but it would really get a boost from some new typefaces that have composite-character glyphs. (I have some ideas along these lines, but I haven't got around to learning the software yet.)

What are the typefaces, apart from Mrs Eaves and scripts such as Zapfino, that have special OT ligatures? Simian has some, I recall. Any others?

nick shinn | Aug 11, 2003 07:51 AM

I think Jeremy Tankard�s Aspect was an early example of exploring OT ligature possibilities, wasn�t it?

� K.

Kent Lew | Aug 11, 2003 08:47 AM

Caflisch Script has a tonne of ligatures, but that _is_ a script.

Brioso Pro italic has ligatures for tt TT Th ft fft ll rr, and the usual f ligs.

John Nolan | Aug 11, 2003 01:24 PM

Phil's Fonts has a list of the OT fonts sold by Linotype, including the following which are not part of the Adobe conversion: Palatino� Linotype (the same four weights that come with Windows 2000/XP), Helvetica� Linotype (2 weights plus 2 italics), Lotus, Al Harf Al Jadid, Mariam, and Qadi.

I'd be interested to see the differences between Helvetica Linotype and Helvetica LT Std.

John Butler | Aug 11, 2003 08:15 PM

I'd be interested to see the differences between Helvetica Linotype and Helvetica LT Std.

The biggest differences are the new Greek, Cyrillic and Hebrew designs, and the presence of Arabic support based on the radically redesigned Yakout Linotype (not a perfect match for the Helvetica, but the most appropriate in the Linotype Library; this is 'core font' Arabic support: not for fine typography). There is also a large maths and symbol set in each font (not complete maths typesetting support, but more than you'll get in most fonts).

The only big change in the Latin is that the whole thing has been respaced. The old Helvetica Std Type 1 and TT fonts inherited, via phototype, the unit metrics of the original hot metal type. This led to all sorts of oddities in the sidebearings, which were cleaned up during development of Helvetica Linotype. It is still quite a tightly spaced typeface by today's standards, but the spacing is now consistent. It was also re-kerned.

Helvetica Linotype has also been extensively hinted for screen.

John Hudson | Aug 11, 2003 08:46 PM

Oh yes, and the Helvetica Linotype italics are a little better than the old versions, which were mechanically slanted without adjustment. The italics are still sloped versions of the romans, but the extreme points of curves have been adjusted slightly to look more natural. Also, because the italics now contain real, hinted glyphs instead of a PS slant angle, the maths and symbols characters are upright when they should be.

John Hudson | Aug 11, 2003 08:49 PM

> The old Helvetica Std Type 1 and TT fonts inherited, via phototype, the unit metrics of the original hot metal type.

John — To my knowledge, the metal Linotype did not have any unit constraints. It had duplexing and kerning constraints, to be sure, but there were no fixed unit-width increments. Unlike the Monotype, which had constrained width units due to the gridded matrix scheme.

The 18-unit system was introduced with the first Linofilm, due in part to the fixed speed at which the writing prism moved across the film. Even after the introduction of a stepping motor removed these constraints from phototype, many Linotype faces seem never to have fully recovered from being adjusted for the 18-unit system.

It’s possible that the specific system of 18 units (instead of a different subdivision) was adopted because of the precedent of the TTS newspaper system — newspapers being a big part of Linotype’s bread and butter and some faces already being adopted to it. It is also possible that the 18-unit system derived (somewhere along the line) from Monotype’s.

— K.

Kent Lew | Aug 12, 2003 05:25 AM

BTW, what's the 54-unit limitation I've heard about?


Hrant | Aug 12, 2003 09:56 AM

The 18-unit system was introduced with the first Linofilm

Thanks, Kent. I wasn't sure when it had been introduced, and assumed it was during the hot metal period.

John Hudson | Aug 12, 2003 01:15 PM

You�re right, Hrant, I misspoke: the introduction of a stepping motor in the V-I-P removed the 18-unit constraint, but Linotype expanded it to a 54-unit system. It�s unclear to me whether a discreet unit system was still a mechanical necessity with the V-I-P, or whether a unit system was just carried over for other practical reasons and expanded to enough units to accommodate aesthetic concerns. Fifty-four units does give a lot more leeway than eighteen.

The stepping motor of the V-I-P also made it possible to have the prism stand still, and zero-width characters opened up whole new possibilities for the design of alphabets with complex accenting or conjunct combinations � like polytonic Greek or Devanagari, for instance.

BTW, my understanding of these matters is not firsthand, but comes out of my Linotype research. Many of these facts come from conversations with Matthew Carter, where he has graciously answered my pesky questions.

� K.

Kent Lew | Aug 13, 2003 04:15 AM

BTW, I just realized: 54 = 18 x 3
An even multiple makes it painless to port old designs to the new unit system.


Hrant | Aug 13, 2003 12:10 PM

Exactly. Which is why some designs never recovered from adaptation to the 18-unit system.

� K.

Kent Lew | Aug 14, 2003 03:29 AM

Back on OT:

Thanks, Eric, for the highlight on Xpress 6. I still wonder why software houses are so reluctant to include OT features. Does Xpress 6 at least include Unicode support? (not that I care, but for those which will use it)

Nick wrote:
"There are many practical reasons why OT should catch on, but it would really get a boost from some new typefaces that have composite-character glyphs. (I have some ideas along these lines, but I haven�t got around to learning the software yet.)"

That's right. Of course the technology, for the majority of "no fuss" designers, has run a bit too quickly and many have to catch up. I am so concerned about learning to use FontLab well for designing, spacing, hinting, and to understand better encoding issues, that I realize I'm unable to see when I'll have the time to dig into OpenType. My friend Alan Dague-Greene assured me the basics are pretty easy to learn and shwed me many script examples to produce contextual alternates and composed glyphs, but the other things are more urgent for me. It would be really great to have a well-written book on OpenType functionalities.

Although I find Mrs. Eaves "ligatures" a fancy "delirium" (maybe nice, but nonetheless a "delirium"), there are so many applications, when you think about "live" ligatures. A miilion of ideas have cluttered my mind. Just think of how words change as you type with multiple ligatures and imagine a "subversive" typeface altering slightly (in print) strings of numbers. Or imagine a word that changes abruptly with its contrary as it's composed (i.e. as I've finished writing "war" it changes to "peace" or vice-versa).
These are not just typographic divertissements. They open up an ideologically recreational field of possibilities, to me. An effect such as these happens when you type the word "Zapfino" which becomes substituted by Zapf' own typeface signature.

That's why I said it largely depends on foundry efforts. If a designer has ideas, but lacks the knowledge, the foundry could support the final development of a type family/idea.
So, my appreciation to Chester, although I can understand very well the doubts of Rudy, with so many clients still asking for Type1 and only Type1.

Claudio Piccinini | Aug 18, 2003 05:45 AM

> there are so many applications

Indeed - not least in the functional realm.


Hrant | Aug 18, 2003 08:12 AM

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