Friday, October 14, 2016

OpenType Variable Fonts

John Hudson (via Avi Drissman):

An OpenType variable font is one in which the equivalent of multiple individual fonts can be compactly packaged within a single font file. This is done by defining variations within the font, which constitute a single- or multi-axis design space within which many font instances can be interpolated. A variable font is a single font file that behaves like multiple fonts.


OpenType Font Variations builds on the model established in Apple’s TrueType GX variations in the mid-1990s, but has fully integrated that model into all aspects of the OpenType format, including OpenType Layout, and is available to both TrueType and Compact Font Format (CFF) flavours of OpenType.


However, unlike master-based interpolation technologies such as Adobe’s earlier multiple master format, an OpenType variable font contains only a single set of glyph outlines, and the other extremes or intermediate shapes are defined as deltas from those outlines.

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