PostScript® Type 1 (or simply called Type 1) font was the first standard released by Adobe. Apple built in the Adobe technology into the Macintosh in 1985. This combined with the release of PageMaker®, which was the first DTP software, was revolutionary for the industry.

Few years later Apple, Microsoft and IBM realized that they needed a font technology, which can be built into the operating system at the core level. Apple developed its own technology called TrueType, which could be used on screen as well as for print. Before TrueType all screen fonts were bitmaps. Apple and Microsoft exchanged their font technologies. Apple in return for TrueType received the buggy PostScript clone technology called TrueImage.

TrueImage was never used by Apple, however the highly successful TrueType was made public and in 1991 TrueType was built into the Mac and Windows® operating systems. Even before this event Adobe released ATM, which allowed PS Type 1 fonts to be viewed on screen and to be printed on non-PS printers. By 1990 Type 1 fonts were made public too. Finally Mac, Windows and OS/2 (IBM) users were able to preview their Type 1 and TrueType fonts before printing.

The main difference between Type 1 and TrueType fonts is their language to describe the curves that make up the shape of the letters. The math of TrueType is simpler than Type 1 and it’s more compact, since for Type 1 fonts you need to have two files (sometimes three), while TrueType fonts include all information in one compact file. However, Type 1 fonts are usually smaller than their TrueType counterparts. Also, TrueType fonts have more sophisticated hinting options than Type 1, but these extra features are rarely taken advantage of. (Hinting is the extra information added to the fonts manually, that helps fonts to be printed at small sizes or at low resolution nicely).

Conversion between Type 1 and TrueType is possible, but requires great skill and understanding of both standards, otherwise one might end up with a screwed up converted font. Generally TrueType can be converted to Type 1 easier than vice versa.

It’s very important to remember that whatever operating system you use, you shouldn’t have both types of fonts open with the same name at the same time. Although make sure that your font names are different to any of the system fonts.

In Mac OS X and Windows 2000 and XP both Type 1 and TrueType are built in, so no need to install ATM anymore. However that’s not all that has been included in these operating systems. A new standard called OpenType which embeds both type formats into a standard new format is also supported. OpenType is an Adobe and Microsoft joint initiative to wrap the two standards into one ultimate standard. Not all applications fully support all the features of OpenType yet. Adobe applications are the most advanced regarding OpenType support. Initially Microsoft supported OpenType on Windows version of Office only.

Most big font vendors including Adobe have their collections available in both Type 1 and TrueType formats and every day new fonts collections appear in the OpenType format too.

Personally I think that OpenType is the format of the future once all operating systems and applications adopt it fully, until than TrueType is my choice.

I recommend to buy 2-3 fonts from a respected font supplier. Make sure when choosing those fonts that they are as complete as possible. They should contain several versions of the same font including small caps, several number formats, book kerning fonts and other added features depending on your needs. Some great fonts include languages as well, this could be important if you ever need to have for example greek or russian in the same document. There is nothing more unattractive than non-matching fonts used for different languages in the same document. Most great typographers do not use more than 4 fonts for all their work throughout their entire career, however they use them with great skill and variety.

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