Buying fonts: PostScript vs. OpenType vs. TrueType

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Doctor Q, Jun 8, 2006.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    I buy fonts from time to time, to use for website graphics and also for printed promotional pieces that match the website. Out of habit from years past, I've bought them in PostScript format. As I continue to buy them from time to time, which format should I be buying? I'm using Photoshop under Mac OS X.

    Note: I know there are free fonts available too, but for these professional uses we buy through our regular suppliers and the expense is not a concern. So we could buy each font in multiple formats to make this question moot, but that seems silly without a good reason.

    When I see fonts sold with choices of
    PostScript for Macintosh
    OpenType for Mac or Windows
    PostScript for Windows
    TrueType for Windows​
    I'm no longer sure which would be best. Either PostScript or OpenType will get the job done, but I'm not sure how to decide.

    If I switched to OpenType, then in theory one of my Windows-using coworkers could use the font too (they come with a 5-computer license). That hasn't happened so far (I'm the only one using purchased fonts) but it gives me that flexibility.

    Some OpenType fonts have extended glyph sets (more characters), which would be an advantage if I wanted one of those fonts. So far, that's hypothetical too.

    Are there other advantages to switching to OpenType? Are there advantages to sticking to PostScript besides?
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #2
    It depends on your core bread and butter apps and if they currently — or plan to — offer full OpenType support. Layout apps and Photoshop might be fine but what about Flash?

    You can't go wrong with PostScript for most purposes but if I was rebuilding our corporate library, then I'd go for OpenType where possible. However, not all foundries are offering all their collections in OpenType yet.

    Do you ever send work out where the font might be collected as part of the job? e.g. collect for output in Quark or package in InDesign? What about PDFs? Some PDF creation processes can (apparently) be problematic with OpenType.

    Without going into the nitty-gritty, I suspect that correctly-created OpenType fonts will have superior hinting and metrics to PostScript fonts.

    So yeah... OpenType all the way, with a slight reservation. But it's the future.
     
  3. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    Thanks, Blue Velvet. You've made it clear that it's not a clear-cut choice.

    To answer your questions: For now, I'm using only Photoshop. An artist who works with us (also Mac based) uses Illustrator and Quark too. We used Flash a bit, but only with prerasterized graphics and text in standard fonts, not our purchased ones; working more with Flash is not on our horizon. We do create PDFs of our product literature, using Adobe Acrobat.
     
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #4
    Full OpenType support for Quark is only available in Quark 7 which needs OS 10.4 or higher to run on.


    http://www.quickcut.com.au/support/production/fonts/opentype.html


    I think a lot of these teething problems will be ironed out over the next 12-18 months. Perhaps a repro person might be able to set your mind at ease about this aspect.

    To me however, the advantages of being able to use fonts cross-platform outweighs the potential (small) pitfalls.
     
  5. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #5
    A new problem: installing the fonts

    I installed some newly purchased fonts today by launching Font Book on my Mac and using File->Add Fonts to navigate and select the font files. No problem.

    Then I tried to do the same thing, with copies of the same files, on my other Mac, and it won't let me! All of the font files are dim when I try to open them from Font Book. I have full permissions on the files and I'm an administrator.

    Any idea what's going on?
     
  6. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #6
    When I've occasionally had to use Font Book, I've seen the same behaviour myself and have got round it by putting the fonts that I need to install into a Fonts folder in the Documents folder. It may be worth a try.

    We use Suitcase on all the production machines at work except for the Mac that runs the software RIP for the colour inkjet. All fonts on this machine are managed with FontBook; this is because Quark 6.x doesn't send font postscript info to a software RIP. :rolleyes:
     
  7. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #7
    OpenType is not much more than PostScript in disguise. Most of the time the real Postscript version is better supported, and there are differences in character count support per font file. For now I'd say PostScript is better, but once Vista is released, I'd hope OpenType becomes popular. And cross-platform.
     
  8. stoavio macrumors member

    stoavio

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2006
    #8
    I use all 3 formats. I've never run into any problems in the past :)
     
  9. thenightwatch macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    #9
    Apple helped invent them both or no?

    I seem to remember that both TrueType and Open Font were co-created by Apple and Adobe. Is that right? I know Apple used TrueType in System 7, while Windows used some lesser non-postscript font pre-95, then adopted TrueType as Apple switched to Open Type. Right? It's been a while.
     
  10. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #10
    You are exactly wrong. TrueType was developed by Apple [in partnership with Microsoft] in response to Adobe's refusal to optimize Type 1 for low-resolution devices. OpenType was developed by Adobe in collaboration with Microsoft.
     

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