⇢ Microsoft Font Validator (video: 21 min)
Hin-Tak Leung showed the resurrection of Microsoft’s Font Validator. A QA-tool, that checks TTFs and OTFs for their adherence to the specs as well as Microsoft’s deliverable guidelines. It’s platform independent, runs as a script or through an graphic interface and was open-sourced in 2015.
⇢ Google Font Subsetter (video: 34 min)
Behdad Esfahbod presented his work on new a font subsetter – a tool to remove certain parts of a font file in order to reduce file size, while keeping the (remaining) functionality intact. Rewritten in C++ from the Python subsetter pyftsubset in FontTools, it promises to be a lot faster.
Still a work in progress, the design document can be found in this Google document by Behdad.
⇢ Monotype Variable.JS
⇢ TypeMachine (video: 41 min)
Just van Rossum is developing a versatile desktop application that allows analyzing and comparing fonts in a spreadsheet-style layout with highly customizable sorting. Feed it any format to find gaps in kerning, missing glyphs, inconsistent unicodes or just gaze in awe at the overview of all the glyphs, styles and kerning that make up a large typeface family.
Still an unpublished work in progress, keep your eyes on Just’s twitter.
⇢ Samsa (video: 42 min)
Besides the Axis-Praxis website, one of the web’s first showcases for variable fonts, this year Laurence Penney also showed a web tool that allows taking a deeper look into variable fonts. It previews deltas visually and as a list of tuples, highlighting ones that are active, which is useful for debugging variable fonts. Yet unpublished, contact Laurence Penney for licensing or sponsoring to open-source it.
⇢ HT Letterspacer (video: 24 min)
Automatic letter spacing while designing type is the aim of this tool from Sol Matas made together with Andrés Torresi. Based on user-set parameters and an analysis of shapes, this open source tool generates side-bearings for latin, cyrillic and devanagari. Like all things automatic spacing and kerning it’s not a silver bullet, but delivers a quick and customizable solution.
⇢ Monotype AR/VR Tools (video: 42 min)
In his insights into type in VR/AR, Vivek Vadakkuppattu also showed a demo of Monotype’s tool for VR and AR – a plug-in for the Unity environment or for embedded technology. It’s aimed at improving quality of text in these applications, help with localization and as a method to entice brands to incorporate text in AR/VR applications.
Find out more here.
⇢ WhatTheFont (video: 22 min)
Unlike other tools, the WhatTheFont app is focussed on end-users, allowing them to match photographs of text with typefaces available in the MyFonts catalogue. Seems like a basic function, but in his talk Sampo Kaasila elaborated on the complex deep learning algorithms used to identify the right one out of more than 133.000 fonts and the challenges to make them work for photos of type on complex backgrounds.
Available for Android and iOS:
⇢ FontTools (video: 34 min)
Besides his work on a font subsetter, Behdad Esfahbod with Dominik Röttsches also gave an insight into the changes that have been happening to FontTools, the Python library that’s become a fixture in font engineering. If you are curious about new libraries, functions and what’s been optimized, have a look at Behdad’s talk or just dive right into the git commits:
⇢ Font Bakery (video: 32 min)
Another QA tool, presented by Lasse Fister. It runs with binaries and sources and includes a list of checks for font specifications as well as distributor requirements, which can also be customized. Already being put to use in the onboarding of Google Fonts, it’s an open source tool and can be downloaded or run through a web dashboard.
Web interface: https://fontbakery.appspot.com/
⇢ Font Dimensions (video: 50 min)
Luc(as) de Groot teamed up with developer Andrey Kuzmin to visualize variable fonts. Where cubes fail for fonts with more than 3 axes, this tool allows you to dive into n-dimensional space. Navigating through more than 4 dimensions becomes tricky, but at least it’s not just sliders, right?
Web interface: http://fvar.unsoundscapes.com/
Not one stage, but in workshops TYPO Labs attendees could also learn about the ins and outs of FoundryMaster and DTL OTMaster as well as get some hands-on experience hinting variable Fonts with Microsoft VTT.