MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2009 (#40)

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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124 MacDirectory PROFILE FONTLAB > YOUR PLACE FOR FONT & TYPOGRAPHY SOFTWARE Looking for the ultimate destination for font and typography software? Then you should definitely consider browsing the many innovative products that are available at The company is the only one that is exclusively dedicated to the development of font and typography software. Further, Fontlab Ltd. currently possesses more typography products on more platforms in more languages than any other such business in the world today. The company was established in 1992 to internationally market and distribute software produced by SoftUnion Ltd. of St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1993 the first product, FontLab 2.0 for Windows, one of the first digital typeface editors for the Windows environment, was released. Popular Products Fontlab boasts a large number of popular products that include font editors, font converters, font utilities and more. One such popular product is called TransType. TransType is unique as it can convert fonts between all major font formats – such as TrueType, PostScript, and OpenType. Further, this product can also convert fonts between Windows and Macs. Better still, since TransType supports batch conversion so that all users can easily convert hundreds of fonts at a time. One other impressive feature of this program is that this font conversion may help to repair any corrupt fonts that are currently in the system. Another popular product at the company is the FontLab Studio product. A next- generation professional font editor for both Windows and Mac operating en- vironments, this program is utilized by well known companies that include IBM, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Bitstream and others. In fact, just about every major font foundry on an international basis uses this product. FontLab Studio permits professionals to create or modify fonts and typefaces as they see fit. FontLab Studio 5 supports font formats that include Multiple Master, Type 1, TrueType and OpenType, and all other major font formats. Recent Products The company's most recent products, Photofont WebReady, Photofont ID and Photofont QX, are all aimed at bringing full typography to Web pages. In the past, when you created a Web page you had to choose between using generic type (because that's what was on the user's computer) or bitmaps. "Generic" means, of course, that you are very limited in the choice of typeface and there is no color or transparency. "Bitmaps" means you lose the advantages of hypertext - search, indexing, copy-paste, and so on. Consequently, Fontlab combined photofonts, Flash, CSS and Javascript to overcome this problem. Now Web designers can quickly and easily use any font they want on their Web page and not only will the viewer see the page exactly the way the designer wants it to be seen, but the text will still be "searchable" by the search engines. This solution is built on two new technologies – namely photofonts and sIFR. Photofonts are a new bitmap font format that allows type designers to create fonts that have color, transparency, gray scale, texture, and so on. Further, the format is non-proprietary and easy to use. Meanwhile, sIFR (scalable Inman Flash Replacement) is a technique to use Flash to turn bitmap fonts into hypertext. It also works on regular vector fonts – consequently, with a sIFR tool, you can take almost any font in your library and use it on a web page. "The company's newest product, WebReady, combines sIFR and photofonts into a simple process that allows the user to create colored, translucent, searchable, indexable, Web text and insert it into their web pages in just a few minutes," says Ted Harrison, president of FontLab. "Photofont ID and Photofont QX are plugins for Adobe InDesign and Quark Xpress that do the same thing." Future Plan In the future, Fontlab plans to continue to develop tools for both Web and print typography. "We will place particular emphasis on web typography in the near future," says Harrison. WORDS BY LARISA REDINS FONTLAB STUDIO 5

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