OpenType® Font Conversion Services
OpenType combines the best of Type 1 and TrueType® fonts to provide cross-platform, multilingual and rich typographic features. Converting existing Type 1 fonts to OpenType is unfortunately not a push-button process. Because of the extensive features available in OpenType there are many variables to consider before a font can be converted. The Monotype team has been making OpenType fonts for years and we have helped a wide variety of customers to successfully convert their existing fonts to OpenType.
Read the data sheet on Monotype's OpenType font conversion services.
The First Step
The first step in the process is to evaluate our customer's current fonts. Most graphic arts and publishing clients typically have fonts in the Type 1 format on Macintosh® systems. They may desire the cross-platform features of OpenType to better address the PCs in their workflow but do not have PC versions of the fonts. They may be upgrading to Mac OS® X or to XML environments and need the Unicode encoding and multilingual features of OpenType. They may be upgrading their applications and want the typographic features of OpenType. So the extent of work required to convert a font is based totally on the starting font resources and the end results that are desired.
Single Font Conversions
The basic font conversion is taking an existing Type 1 font and converting it to OpenType. This process consists of adding the various tables to the PostScript® outlines to generate an OpenType font. No additional characters or features would be added. Even this simple process requires validation and testing to ensure that all the OpenType tables are correct.
Font Family Conversions
The next level of complexity is converting families of fonts. Here the challenge is to ensure that the font styles are properly linked. A typical family of four fonts consists of regular, italic, bold and bold italic styles and the family needs to be properly linked to work together and appear properly in font menus. More complex font families may have light, book, medium, black or other weights. The Monotype team works with its customers to define the how all the font families need to be linked to ensure that the OpenType fonts behave as desired.
Cross-Platform Character Sets
Adobe has defined a character set that has both the Mac Roman and Win ANSI character sets, along with a few extra goodies such as the estimated and litre symbols. This is referred to as the Adobe® Western 2 character set and it is used for all their OpenType "Standard" fonts. If your existing fonts are only for one platform then Monotype will need to create the missing characters to fill out the character sets.
Rich Typographic Features
One of the attractive features of OpenType is the ability to merge "expert" fonts into a single font file and then use the automated typographic features of Adobe Creative Suite and QuarkXPress® 7. For example, if a user want to use old style figures or true small capitals, typically they would have to constantly change fonts back and forth as you compose the text. This tedious font switching is eliminated with OpenType and an application that supports rich typographic features.
Monotype helps customers combine expert set fonts with the base fonts and enable these advanced features in OpenType such as small capitals and old style figures, swashes, proportional and lining numerals, stylistic alternates, titling capitals, non-standard ligatures and fractions. A more challenging feature is contextual alternates - this is a feature that we love because it is so cool for the user (and technically challenging for us!). Contextual alternates are used to automatically substitute characters as they are typed based on what other characters are nearby. This feature can be found in script and handwriting fonts, titling fonts, and also complex multilingual fonts.
Multilingual OpenType Fonts
One of OpenType's most important features is its support of extensive multilingual characters sets. We have created fonts with over 30,000 characters in them More typically we are creating fonts for companies that want pan-European character sets. This is important to companies that are creating advertisements, publications or documents throughout the European Community or elsewhere in the world.
Because Type 1 fonts were limited to 256 characters in order to support other languages users had to create and manage all these different fonts. Now with OpenType a single font can now solve this problem.
Microsoft® created the WGL (Windows Glyph List) character set to support Western, Central and Eastern European character sets. WGL supports the basic Latin-1 character set found in Adobe Western 2, but also includes Turkish, Baltic, Greek and Cyrillic. Some of Adobe's OpenType "Pro" fonts also support WGL, and all the Windows core fonts support WGL, which is a solid foundation for a pan-European character set. Monotype has earned a solid reputation for designing and building language extensions to fonts, and can help customers to create OpenType fonts with extensive character sets to meet their requirements.
These are fonts that contain icons, symbols or pi characters such as Zapf Dingbats or Wingdings. Typically these characters are mapped to a standard Macintosh or Windows encoding so they can be easily accessed from normal character positions on the keyboard. Because OpenType leverages the Unicode encoding standard there are three options to consider:
- Keep the characters in standard ASCII positions so they function the same as existing fonts
- Reference the Unicode specification and map the characters to standard Unicode positions
- Encode the glyphs with Unicode character codes from the PUA (Private Use Area)
Note that the second and third options would require use of a character palette utility to find and select the characters. While more cumbersome, mapping symbol fonts to proper Unicode positions are recommended for customers who are developing XML-based publishing workflows.
Monotype's reputation for excellence in type design and font development is based on our quality assurance procedures that are integrated throughout our work processes. We use a combination of commercial and proprietary font software tools, and use the latest font validation software to test the final OpenType data.
Publicly available font conversion tools do not take into consideration the needs of an entire family of fonts. Resulting conversions can produce families wherein one style may have a different default line spacing than the others. At Monotype we ensure family-wide unification of values in the 'hhea' and 'OS/2' tables so that your text doesn't get clipped on the screen, and so that mixing several styles of a family in a single line does not cause your line count to change within a document. This also preserves much more consistent vertical line spacing across platforms.
Our font production services include testing of the font data in a mutually agreed upon set of applications, operating systems and output devices. Our standard OpenType font testing suite includes Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign® and QuarkXPress® on both Mac OS X and Windows® XP systems with output to PostScript and non-PostScript printers and to PDF.
Commercial font software is typically licensed under terms and conditions in an End User License Agreement (EULA). The typical EULA from Adobe and others allows modifications of the font software, but any modified fonts must follow the terms of the original EULA. Thus any fonts we convert to OpenType for our customers cannot be further distributed to any unlicensed users. If you have any questions about font licensing please contact us and we can assist you in obtain proper font licenses for your particular situation.
Monotype is the recognized leader for multilingual and custom font development for hardware & software developers, publishers, ad agencies and corporations. The Monotype team has vast expertise in a wide variety of font technologies including bitmap, Type 1, TrueType and OpenType font formats, and is well-versed in Unicode. We have produced complex OpenType fonts for a wide variety of customers and welcome the opportunity to help you with your OpenType fonts.