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Time and Type wait for no man

July 18, 2014

Just as King Canute could not control the sea, so are we unable to hold onto our old favorite fonts.

When it comes to font replacement, there are immediate issues that can be mitigated and there are future issues that cannot. The immediate issues are the conflicts with certain Type 1 fonts and the Apple Operating System (Mac OS).  The Mac OS has since 2008 reserved certain fonts for itself.  These fonts were first in TrueType form then migrated to OpenType.  For example, to work with Helvetica Neue on a Mac required a hack to allow it to use the Type 1 form of that font.  Since then, the Mac OS has increased its security and these hacks no longer work.  Therefore, we are not able to work documents with these reserved fonts on newer Macs.  In the latest version of the Mac OS, the following common fonts are reserved, there are more, but not often used:

Courier, Helvetica, Helvetica Neue, Lucida Grande, Monaco, Symbol, Times, Zapf Dingbats.

Various softwares can reserve other fonts also.   An article that goes into great detail about fonts is available at http://www.jklstudios.com/misc/osxfonts.html#requiredfonts .

A future and larger issue is the move to Reference Print Conditions, RPCs.  The RPCs that are coming out to replace SWOP and GRACol require the use of the PDF/X-4 workflow rather than the PDF/X-1a which we currently use.  The RPCs are based on  new measurement standards.  These workflows allow us to  handle the Optical Brightners, OBAs, in the stock used to produce publications and commercial printing.  The PDF/X-4 format also enables better handling of transparent layers in files and RGB images. The change in standards is very technical and was discussed at the Color Management Conference held last December at the Biltmore.  Information can be found at http://cmc.printing.org

Though the RPCs do not forbid the use of Type 1 fonts, the ability to properly create overprints as a practical matter does require the newer OpenType fonts.

Essentially it comes down to

  1. The industry is moving to new color standards

  2. This move requires new workflows, ex, PDF/X-4

  3. The new workflows require new software

  4. The new software won’t work with old fonts, Type 1

All of this is designed to allow printed material, such as magazines, to be more easily repurposed on the web or on tablet devices.

 

In addition, many customers are moving to the newer versions of Adobe’s software.   To work with Creative Cloud 2014, you can’t keep your G5 running on 10.5.8 any longer.  So plan ahead, pick out what fonts you need to purchase and start using them.

If you have questions, feel free to call me in the Scottsdale office at 480.948.6686.

 

 

 

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