Los Angeles InDesign User Group

Typography, OpenType and InDesign

Thursday, March 15, 2012

8000 Sunset Center, 8000 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90046

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Original Event Page



By Alvin Takamori


Thank you to everyone who attended the March meeting of the Los Angeles InDesign User Group. Meeting locations are sometimes a challenge to find (thank goodness for Google Maps) and this month everyone had to endure horrible traffic conditions, pricey parking and a few other inconveniences, so we appreciate the effort of all who attended. Alicia Adams, who came all the way from Westlake Village, received a subscription to InDesign Magazine for having traveled the farthest. By the way, we are always looking for new meeting venues, so if anyone has a suggestion, please let us know.


If you made it to the meeting you were rewarded with some cool, free posters and pamphlets from several font companies and a fascinating, educational presentation from Andrew Keith Strauss about typography.


Andrew was one of the co-founders of the original Los Angeles InDesign User Group back in 2001. He is an Adobe Certified Training Provider, and has worked with a variety of publishers, design firms, advertising agencies and other customers. Over the last 12 years, he has helped many prominent companies convert to InDesign usage, and even trained Adobe’s own staff in preparation for the release of the original Creative Suite in 2003. He provides consulting, support, and training in all aspects of publishing, from print, to digital, to online. Currently, he is concentrating on publishing to tablets and mobile devices and the emerging HTML and CSS3 web standards. Two of his specialties are color theory and typography.


Early into his presentation, Andrew reminded us that fonts are software that people devote a lot of time and energy to create. Many fontographers are motivated by a love for fonts and often receive very little monetary compensation for their creations. So, when we use fonts for money generating projects, we should be mindful of the licensing agreements and abide by them.


Andrew pointed out that fonts have undergone an interesting evolution since the creation of the computer. No longer restricted to blocks of carved metal, fonts can assume a greater range of sizes and spacing and take on a completely different character. For instance, Palatino was designed for metal typesetting, which includes the effect of metal pressing the ink onto the paper. Converted to digital form, Palatino looks thinner and more delicate. The font Zapf Renaissance which looks like Palatino, but with heavier strokes, was introduced to replicate the original look of the metal pressed Palatino.


PostScript, a programming language which describes how things look on a page, was invented back in 1982. It came on the market with PostScript-based Adobe Type 1 fonts in 1984, vector described fonts which looked sharp at different sizes. However, it had difficulty rendering at smaller sizes and required a bitmap version for viewing on monitors. This was addressed when Apple created its own font format called True Type in 1991, which offered more precise control over how a font appeared. These font sets were limited to 256 characters or glyphs. In 1993, Adobe came out with PDF, which eventually developed support for transparency. It was intended to replace PostScript, however, proprietary usage, no support for external hyperlinks, and larger file sizes that took long to download over modems of that time caused the adoption of PDF to take place slowly.


Later Adobe and Microsoft worked together to agree on a font format called OpenType. This format accommodated Unicode character encoding. It works on any system and provides consistency, so that an “A” is always an “A” in any font, and if a font set has a ligature combination it is replaced by the same combination in any font set that carries it. OpenType also allows support for thousands of glyphs in a font set, so that more extensive use of type features like ligatures, small caps, and old style figures could be included. The additional glyphs are especially useful for international languages.


When Adobe produced the Creative Suite they created Adobe Type Engine, a typesetting system that ensured that a line of text written in one application of the Suite would look the same in another application of the Suite. To achieve consistency on the internet, Adobe created Text Layout Framework for Flash.


After the history lesson, Andrew explained that Adobe Standard fonts were more traditional PostScript-like styles whereas Pro fonts carried larger glyph sets that supported more international languages. The larger glyph sets also contain more variations to choose from. For instance, Garamond Premier Pro has different glyphs based on text size, caption size, subhead size and display size with the larger sized fonts designed with lighter more refined strokes. Hypatia Sans Pro has seven different stylistic sets.


Andrew showed a few more examples of the expanding range of type that OpenType allows. P22 Type foundry carries a fun font called Declaration Pro which replicates the various signatures from the Declaration of Independence. Liza Pro from Underware has several versions of each character to mimic a more natural ink and brush style.


Want to find fonts on your iPad or iPhone? Just add the Font Book app which will show you the offerings of multiple type foundries.


In InDesign, if you need to know what characters are included in your font set, go to the Type menu and select Glyphs. This opens a window that shows every glyph in the selected font. In some instances there can be thousands of characters. To manage this flood of glyphs, next to Show, there is a box where you can scroll through a range of subsets that make finding the glyph you need much easier. A custom set of glyphs can also be created.


Another feature Andrew pointed out was Optical Kerning. Metrics spaces characters using fixed numerical formulas assigned to each character. This can result in awkward, uneven spacing. In contrast, Optical compares the size of spacing between character combinations and makes relative adjustments to make the spacing appear more even. This can be a good way to handle large blocks of text, however it often doesn’t look good with script styles. Also, with so many glyphs in Open Type font sets, every single spacing combination can’t be accounted for so, individual kerning is still necessary.


Left and right alignment can be refined using Optical Margin Alignment. For instance, hanging punctuation at the beginning of a line can be pushed to the left to make the line visually appear even with other lines. In InDesign under the Type menu, look for Story and select Optical Margin Alignment. Another way to adjust line alignment is to specifically mark the place where you want the end of a line to begin. Under Type, select Insert Special Character, then Other, and then Indent to Here.


Another way to control the look of type in InDesign is to go to Paragraph options and select Adobe Paragraph Composer. Instead of looking at a single line and choosing the best place to break the end of it, this setting evaluates all the lines in a paragraph and considers the impact a break on one line has on the other lines in the paragraph before deciding the best place to have a line break.


Paragraph options also has adjustable settings for Hyphenation and Justification. Other font features to consider are small caps, number styles, and discretionary ligatures.


Towards the end of his talk, Andrew listed some of the smaller boutique type foundries and described their special products. You can download a list here.


Who knew there was so much to typography?


One person who wanted to learn even more was Chris English, who put in a bid of only $20 and won a $600 admission to the Typo Conference in San Francisco. There he’ll be able to attend workshops and sessions led by noted designers on typography and design.



Raffles and Prizes


At the March meeting, there were so many raffle prizes, the odds of being a winner were a zillion times better than the recent Mega Millions Lottery. Notice how long this list of winners is:


Katy Adams: Tablet Publisher from eDocker

Scott Rovin: InDesign CS5.5 from Adobe

Azenith Gueco: PUB2ID from Markzware

Karen Borchgrevink: Stock photo 3 month subscription from Fotolia

Natalia Naduris-Weissman: Stock photo 3 month subscription from Fotolia

Chris English: Suitcase Fusion 3 from Extensis, Font Agent Pro and Smasher bundle from Insider Software

Patrick Floresca: TypeTool 3.1 for Mac from FontLab

Monette Velasco: Basalt front from Stone Type Foundry, Font Creator 6.5 from High-Logic, InDesign Seminar from Mogo Media

Yolanda Jassu: Photoshop Down & Dirty Tricks for Designers by Corey Barker, Training library 3 month subscription from Lynda.com, Template library 3 month subscription from Stock Layouts

Jennie Zhu: Adobe Type Library Reference Book from Adobe Press, TypeDNA

Maria Laszczok: The Non-Designer’s InDesign Book by Robin Williams from Peachpit Press

Sebastian Bleak: Joshua Tree by Émigré

Alicia Adams: Departures: Five Milestone Font Families by Émigré

Robert Hyre: T-Shirt from Otis College of Art and Design, Magazine subscription for one year from InDesign Magazine



Thank you


Thanks to all the sponsors and donors of raffle prizes: Adobe, eDocker, Émigré, Extensis, Fontlab, Fotolia, High-Logic, House Industries, HOW Design Conference, InDesign Magazine, Insider Software, Lynda.com, Markzware, Mogo Media, TypeDNA, Stock Layouts, O’Reilly Press, Otis College of Art and Design, Peachpit Press, Stone Type Foundry, TYPO Conference, Typotheque.



Job Opportunities


We are looking for people who want to get involved with the administration of the group. Maybe you have web skills, newsletter skills, an eye for photos, want to conduct the raffles. Whatever. Let's talk.



Next Meeting


Erica Gamet, an InDesign trainer with over 20 years experience in the pre-press trenches, is making a trip from Denver (by way of San Francisco) to Los Angeles especially to present at our next meeting Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 7 p.m. For this meeting we return to Los Angeles Valley College, where the women are strong, the men are good looking, the children are above average and the parking is free. Erica’s topic will be “Don't Re-invent the Wheel" discussing presets, templates, object libraries, graphic standard files, and other things to make your InDesign life easier. On the other hand, Adobe has announced that CS6 is coming but hasn’t specified a date. If CS6 drops by May 17, we’ll kick the wheel to the side and talk about the cool features in CS6 – or maybe a combination of both.






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