Layers and Color
We are introducing three new features today.
For Everyone: OpenType/CFF Downloads
Strictly speaking this is not a new feature, but hitherto it was Patron-only. From today, all FontStructors will be able to download any appropriately-licensed FontStruction in the OpenType/CFF format. You can read more about the format and its qualities in this earlier blog post.
Layers (Patrons Only)
Layers were a part of the original FontStruct concept, and now, over 13 years later, we’re finally implementing them in the FontStructor.
To access the new Layers window, simply go into Expert Mode and then choose View->Layers from the Menu:
Each FontStruction starts with one default layer, but you can add up to a total of eight.
Layers can be sorted using drag and drop, renamed, and, of course deleted if they are empty.
Layer visibility can also be toggled, and invisible layers will be excluded from the download. This opens up the possibility of creating guide layers which you keep visible while designing but hide for download.
I’m confident that the our wily Patrons will come up with many ingenious uses for layers, but perhaps the main reason for introducing them is to allow us to introduce something else, something entirely new to FontStruct …
Color Fonts (Patrons Only)
For good reasons, most real-world design employs only monochromatic glyphs. There is also plenty of scepticism in global design communities regarding the value of color fonts. Some see them as gimmicky, while others are frustrated that, up until now, for the most part, the colors are “baked-in”, and can’t be changed without editing the font itself.
But, polychromatic fonts do have clear uses: for icon sets for example, for emojis (yes, I know we don’t offer emojis as an option in the FontStructor yet) games and other custom projects.
Most importantly perhaps, color fonts are fun to create and use. I think they are a good match for FontStruct – already the birthplace of so many, wonderfully-extravagant display fonts.
So, with up to eight layers in the FontStructor, you can now work with up to eight separate colors. Simply assign a color to each layer using the color-picker.
You can download your multicolored font from the FontStruction’s download page. The “Richard of York” image above was created using a color font built using FontStruct.
Note that only certain desktop software supports color fonts, and there are a number of competing formats.
The format we are offering initially is called “OpenType SVG”. This format is supported by Windows, OSX, by Sketch, the Affinity software, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, by Paint.NET and by some (but not all!) browsers. Note that OpenType SVG fonts also always contain a monochromatic fallback version of each glyph, and you will always be able to download traditional TrueType and OpenType versions from FontStruct.
This is only the first step in our exploration of color fonts. We hope to add support for other color font formats (such as COLR) in the future to offer wider browser support. We may also add a multi-font download option whereby each layer can be downloaded as a separate font.
Become an FS Patron
As these are “niche” features, it’s likely that we will keep layers and color fonts as patron-only in the medium-term and possibly even long-term. If you are desperate to try out color designs in the FontStructor, remember that you can sign up to be a patron at any time to not only enjoy access to this feature, but also to directly support the ongoing development of FontStruct as a whole.