MacDirectory Magazine

Jerad Marantz

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Fonts of Color Words by FontLab Up until about 2016, the world of type was a black-and-white affair. If you wanted color in your letters, you could fill each letter with solid color, gradient or an image in the graphic editor — but there was no easy way to apply different colors to different parts of letters. Or you could do the digital equivalent of painting the entire text by hand. When mobile phone users started using the colorful emoji, system vendors extended the OpenType font format to make room for color. The first color OpenType fonts were the emoji fonts bundled with iOS, macOS, Windows and Android. But independent designers started using the new technology to create expressive colorful typefaces. This was first complicated, because a few different sub-formats, or “flavors”, of color OpenType are in use, and not all apps supported these formats. But we are getting to the point where major apps are compatible with at least one color font flavor. For example, the recent versions of Adobe InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop support OpenType SVG, the mightiest flavor, in which each glyph can be made out of a bitmap image, like a photo, with optional transparency, or from vector graphics filled with solid colors, gradients, patterns or textures. This opens a whole new world to type designers and aficionados. With the right tools you can now make fonts that look like... anything! A good way to start is to use a layered font, where each font corresponds to one color. For example, one font represents the inside of the letters, a second font represents the shadow. In any design program, you can type the same text twice on top of each other, switch the fonts and apply the different colors (figure 1.) Or you can use a font editor such as FontLab to overlay the two fonts, and export as a color OpenType font — then, you can just type your text that is already colorized. But when you create a color font yourself, you’re not limited to just simple colors. You can also use patterns, textures, gradients or even photos as fill, and you can color different parts with different colors (figure 2.)

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