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In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, author Mordy Golding shows how to create type that’s both beautiful and communicative, whether it’s destined for logos, brochures, signs, infographics, or simple documents. This course covers core typography concepts, such as working with Unicode and OpenType fonts, applying character and paragraph settings, managing text with styles and text threads, placing text along a path, and wrapping text around graphics.
In this chapter, we are going to focus on using fonts in Illustrator. Now, I am not here to teach you about which fonts are best to use for your design. I am assuming that as a designer, or as an aspiring designer, you already know about those. There are different classifications like serif fonts or sans-serif fonts. But I want to talk more about the technology about using the fonts so that you can better take advantage of some of the features found inside of Illustrator. Now, overall there are three kinds of fonts that you are going to be using on a day-to-day basis. And if I over here go into Illustrator's Type menu and I choose Font, I can see here a list of all the fonts currently installed on my machine, but to the left of all the names of the fonts, you will see these icons.
Some of them have these little green and black O's, some of them have these little double T's that are here, and some of them have this red A, and that identifies the different type of font that it is. The red A's refer to PostScript Type 1 fonts, the TT's represent TrueType fonts, and the green O's represent something called OpenType fonts. Now, there is a lot of history behind all these different font types that exists. For the most part PostScript Type 1, those are these right here, the red A fonts over here, those were developed by Adobe, and back in the day, these were considered the most highest quality fonts.
Next came along these TrueType fonts. The format itself was actually defined first by Apple and Microsoft to try to compete with Adobe's PostScript Type 1 font, and that's why primarily you would have always found TrueType fonts installed on Windows computers. Then we have OpenType fonts, which has become the new standard in working with fonts. They were actually developed by both Adobe and Microsoft, and considering how we had this discussion about Unicode at the end of the last chapter, I thought it would be helpful to understand a little bit more about these three different type formats--not because one is any better than another.
The truth is, nowadays in computers, from a pure quality perspective, or from the perspective of simply getting good output out of your computer, it really doesn't make a difference whether you use PostScript Type 1 fonts, TrueType fonts, or OpenType fonts. But where it might make a difference is, A) what features you might be able to get out of using those fonts, and B) considerations that you may have to make when sharing your documents with other people. What do I mean by that? Well, OpenType is not just the newest font format that's kind of been brought to the world of computers.
The first thing you have to understand is that OpenType fonts are Unicode-compliant. So if you remember the discussion that we had in the previous chapter, by definition, an OpenType font would work and function the same no matter where that font was being used, whether it was to view a document on a Mac computer or a Windows computer or in one region and one country and one language. It would always appear consistent. In other words, if you are actually working in an environment where you are creating a digital file and you are going to share that digital file with somebody else, by using an OpenType font you are ensuring that when that person opens up that file on that other computer, no matter where they are, it is going to look and appear the same.
In other words, if you use OpenType fonts, then your files will be truly cross-platform. This is not the case with, say, PostScript Type 1 fonts, which are created specifically for either Mac or Windows computers. In other words, in this case here I have a PostScript version of Avenir. I would need to have a Mac version in order to run this on my computer, because I'm using a Macintosh here. However, if I were to send this file to somebody and they had a PC, I could not send them my fonts, because these fonts would not work on a PC. That person would need to have the PC version of Avenir in order to open up and display the file correctly on their computer.
However, if I use the Avenir LT Std version over here--and we'll talk in just a moment about what that means-- I would be able to open up the file and create the file on my computer using this font, and then I could send this file to that other person. And whether or not they have a Mac or a PC, it wouldn't make a difference. They would be able to open up the file and edit it correctly on their machine. I would even be able to send my font file, which I'm using on my Mac, to that person and they can actually install and use that font on a Windows machine--now of course granted that I have the license in order to do so.
So it's always going to be beneficial for you to use OpenType fonts if they are available to you. Now, another reason why you might want to consider using OpenType fonts is because also, as we discussed before, before the days of Unicode, character encodings like ASCII, for example, as we had already discussed, only have slots for 256 characters, or glyphs. And we know that OpenType fonts, which are Unicode-compliant, don't have that limitation. In fact, OpenType fonts sometimes have more than 60,000 glyphs inside of them.
From the perspective of just pure typography, the options that you will have as a designer will be far greater when using OpenType fonts as opposed to working with PostScript Type 1 fonts. Now, again, I'm not telling you that you need to use OpenType fonts. I am just letting you know what the advantages are of working with them. Now, Adobe has a very specific way about how they name their fonts, specifically for the OpenType versions. If you see a typeface name with the letters Std, which stands for Standard, at the end that typeface name, that refers to as a Standard OpenType font.
Now, if I scroll down over here, you might find sometimes that certain fonts, for example, here Adobe Caslon Pro, where the typeface name ends with the words Pro. This is also an OpenType Font, but it is a font that has extended features inside of it. So standard fonts are OpenType fonts that have basic features inside of them; Pro fonts are OpenType fonts that have extended functionality inside of them. Now, of course not every font manufacturer names their fonts in this way. It's only Adobe that adds the Standard or the Pro at the end of their names.
So when you purchase any fonts from any font foundry, you just want to know that you can look out for these extended features that exist inside of the fonts. What are these extended features that I am speaking about? That's something that we'll cover specifically in the next movie.
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