Features of a robotic typesetter: best practices in defining and implementing OpenType Layout features for European fonts

Adam Twardoch
Berlin, Germany
Play (57min) Download: MP4 | MP3

The international standard ISO/IEC 14496–22, which is an ISO version of the OpenType font format specification, references OpenType Layout features — which are registered by Adobe and Microsoft and are not part of the ISO standard. Some of them are currently implemented in mainstream applications by Adobe, Microsoft and Apple, so it does make sense to put them into fonts. Some features will most likely never be implemented, so placing them in fonts is at least questionable. I will give a brief overview of the current status of OpenType support on systems and applications. I will also give recommendations which features should be included in European fonts (that support Western, Central European, Cyrillic and/or Greek letters). Finally, I will give specific recommendations about the glyph design and naming, and about the technical implementations of some of the most popular features, such as superscripts and subscripts, small caps, ligatures — taking into account recent advances made by Adobe, Microsoft and other vendors.