TYPO Labs: Spacing and kerning in FontLab VI

Yuri Yarmola and Thomas Phinney presented improvements to one of the key parts of the application. The sometimes funnily chaotic presentation showed that we’ll have a lot to look forward to in the final version.

By Radek Sidun

© Norman Posselt (Monotype)

Thomas Phinney, Yuri Yarmola and Adam Twardoch showcased new mechanisms for working with class-based metrics and kerning, including linked metrics, kerning groups, optimized GPOS ‘kern’ feature generation and other gems. Foto: Norman Posselt (Monotype)

Expecting a breathtaking presentation, a plethora of new functions and revolutionary solutions, accompanied by loud music and half-naked dancers? You’ll be disappointed – the only circus-like element in Yuri Yarmola and Thomas Phinney’s presentation was the colourful suit of Adam Twardoch, who at times could seem like a television entertainer, but who in reality jauntily supplemented the men behind the machines.


Instead of a revolution, we got evolution, but that’s good news. An improved, highly customisable interface, a whole new range of small features and functional improvements show that the FontLab team really listen to customer feedback and know the weaknesses of the still “current” version 5. A comparison with Glyphs seems logical. Those who didn’t make a run for it and patiently stuck with FontLab will be happy – FontLab 6 keeps its “hi-tech” appearance and still looks like an application for professionals.

We’ll still need to wait a bit for the champagne and fireworks to go with the final version, but good things come to those who wait. Adam Twardoch says we won’t need to wait long, apparently only until December.
Seems like I should dust off my glad rags soon.