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Multi Master fonts


September 8 2012

In today's blog, I discuss a new open-source Multi Master font, as well as an update on my Gopher files.

Multi Master fonts

In the early 1990s, people were really excited by a technology called morphing. Morphing uses digital technology to smoothly transform one shape to another. Adobe got on the morphing bandwagon by creating a font technology called "Multi Master" (MM) which allowed a font to smoothly transition from one shape to another as seen in the above image where the letter "a" smoothly goes from being pencil-light to extra-black bold.

While Adobe made a few fonts taking advantage of this technology, it did not catch on and Adobe stopped selling commercial MM fonts a few years ago. A shame too, since it allowed a font to go from one arbitrary form to another: Adobe Jenson, for example, allowed a font to change its optical size.

I mentioned that Adobe recently released an open source font called "Source Sans". What has not been as widely advertised is that this font is generated from two freely available multi-master fonts.

The source code to "Source Sans" includes two MM fonts: One for the "roman" form and another for the italic form. The fonts can smoothly transition from a very-thin font to an extra-black bold font.

I spent this morning generating 15 different thicknesses of this open-source MM font, resulting in some 15 different weights for my variant of this open source font. It can be looked at here:

Gopher update

I lost the script that automatically converts my HTML blog pages in to text pages suitable for looking at in Gopher. This in mind, people using a Gopher client to read this page will either need to wait until I return home and recover this script from my backups, or to use a text-based web browser to read new entries.

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