Get ready for multicolor fonts -- maybe in motion, too

For a few decades now, fonts have been monochromatic -- just the thing for putting black ink on white paper. But publishing has gone digital, and the era of the multicolored font is beginning.

The Motion Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) standards group last week began a project to standardize chromatic fonts -- those with multiple colors. Vladimir Levantovsky, a Monotype Imaging employee who serves as chairman of the group's font work, said he expects to merge technology from Mozilla, Adobe, Google, and Microsoft into a standard.

The impetus for the work was the need to support emoji, the colorful emoticons, icons, and pictures that gradually are expanding in use. But the work will expand to traditional typography, too, Levantovsky said. … Read more

Overlay your shared photos with good-looking typography

Over for iOS lets you jazz up your Instagram photos with beautifully rendered typography to make them more than just photos with filters.

This is not a complete photo-editing app. Instead, with Over, you're adding great-looking fonts to your images to tell more of the story, make a meme, or simply to add a label. You start by picking an image from your iPhone photo library. A wheel-like interface on the right gets you to the apps main functions where you can choose your fonts, edit what you have on screen, save to your camera roll, or share to … Read more

At Apple HQ, eye for design extends to men's room

Last night, I was considering the true meaning of truth -- as is normal for a Friday night -- when an odd tweet appeared in my TweetDeck.

Here was something from Steve Ko, who is a software engineer at Apple. I don't know him personally, but his tweet had been retweeted by someone else.

His was a simple tweet. (Well, he does work at Apple.) It read: "Oh, only at Apple."

Attached was a link to a photograph, which I reproduce here. It is a picture of a broken urinal, supposedly at Cupertino HQ.

Some might be … Read more

Monotype releases font suite for mobile developers

Monotype Imaging today announced a new mobile font suite designed for Android Ice Cream Sandwich devices. The suite, which offers a slew of tools and services for developers and manufacturers, is called "Type Enhancements for Android."

Though some of the tools in the suite have been previously available to developers, it is the first time they have all been offered in an all-in-one package.

One such module, known as the iType font engine with Edge Tuning, promises OEMs better and cleaner text rendering.

In addition to that, the suite offers a greater breadth of language support than within … Read more

Monotype gets more digital, buys Bitstream font biz

Monotype Imaging acquired the font business of rival Bitstream for about $50 million in cash, a move that gives it greater clout in the world of digital typography.

Through the acquisition, announced yesterday, Monotype Imaging gets Bitstream's typeface library, its MyFont site for browsing 89,000 fonts and licensing them for use on Web sites, the WhatTheFont service for identifying typefaces, its Font Fusion and Panorama software for font rendering and layout, and 10 patents. It's also hiring 50 Bitstream employees and taking over its research and development site in India.

The move gives Monotype Imaging more heft … Read more

Monotype and Google try greasing the Web-font skids

Hoping to aid fancy typography on the Web, font powerhouse Monotype Imaging has released technology called MicroType Express (MTX) so it's free for public use, CNET has learned.

MTX is patented compression technology that shrinks font download sizes, hastening the moment when a person can see a Web page with its intended typography, but Monotype Imaging is releasing the technology under very liberal licensing terms. Microsoft licensed MTX for use in Internet Explorer, and now Monotype has won over another major browser maker, Google, the companies plan to announce today.

With its "make the Web faster" initiative, … Read more

Android 4's Roboto font: It's for humans, too

Android's move from Droid to Roboto may sound like Google is just replacing one techie typeface to another.

But nerdy names notwithstanding, the font used in the new Ice Cream Sandwich version of Google's mobile operating system is designed to be more human as well as more practical.

"Our new typeface had to be...friendly and approachable to make Android appealing, and a little bit more human," Matias Duarte, who's in charge of Android design work at Google, said yesterday in a Google+ post.

Google clearly is pained by those who would position Android as … Read more

Monotype text engine gets hardware acceleration

Monotype Imaging is bringing its font-rendering software a step into the future with hardware acceleration features it expects will help improve readability, add fancy features such as 3D, and offload work from mobile devices' main processors.

The company, while perhaps best known for creating and licensing typefaces, also has a business selling software that lets printers print the text and devices such as e-book readers display it on screens. It's this last category where the company offers its iType product, and the new version 5.0 announced today adds the new hardware acceleration features.

iType 5.0 draws upon … Read more

Monotype Imaging releases 500 new Web fonts

Monotype Imaging has opened up a batch of 500 more typefaces for use on the Web and announced a partnership under which those publishing on Acquia's Drupal Gardens can use the service.

Web fonts, after languishing for years, are giving typeface makers a new business opportunity with the arrival of new abilities in the formatting technology called CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) in modern browsers. With it, Web publishers can employ downloadable fonts to give their Web sites a more memorable look or to add some pizazz not possible with the limited number of "Web-safe" fonts that can be expected to already be installed on a browser's computer.

It's not that such typography wasn't possible before on the Web. It's just that it likely was done with graphics rather than type. Graphics, though, can be bulky to download, don't scale well to different screen sizes, aren't noticeable as text to search engines, and can't be copied and pasted as text.

Monotype Imaging now licenses hundreds of its fonts for online use through its Fonts.com site. Among the new arrivals to the online service is ITC Avant Garde Gothic, a widely used sans-serif typeface.

It seems likely that budget-minded publishers might steer clear of fonts with a fee, opting instead for free options such as Google's Web-font options. But Drupal Gardens also is used by corporations and others that might be more concerned about a refined look or proper brand identity.

Drupal Gardens also announced recently that it's now hosting more than 50,000 sites and that it's improved several publishing tools. … Read more

Google's joking, but Monotype isn't: Comic Sans Pro

Comic Sans, the Windows font reviled by font snobs everywhere, has joined the big leagues.

Monotype Imaging released the oxymoronic but definitely real Comic Sans Pro, taking advantage of April Fools' Day to bring some humor to the occasion. The new typeface combines a script style geared for typographically clumsy children's birthday invitations with high-end font features more commonly used on wedding invitations.

"Comic Sans Pro contains a versatile range of typographic features including swashes, small caps, ornaments, old-style figures, and stylistic alternates," Monotype said, referring to a variety of ways designers extend beyond the standard character … Read more