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Drop #354 (2023-10-17): Typography Tuesday
FountryTools CLI; FontBase; Featured Foundry: Lobby24
Lots to play with in type-land, today, with coverage of a super comprehensive set of CLI font tools, a wicked-cool, cross-platform font manager, and a neat, featured foundry.
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This is an AI-generated summary of today's Drop.
The first section of the blog post discusses FoundryTools CLI, a collection of command line tools written in Python for inspecting, manipulating, and converting fonts. The tools leverage the capabilities of other tools such as FontTools, AFDKO, skia-pathops, cffsubr, ttfautohint-py, and dehinter. The post provides a detailed list of the functionalities of FoundryTools CLI, including compiling 'name' table, manipulating the 'CFF' table, converting formats, detecting and fixing font errors, and more. The primary resource for this section is the FoundryTools CLI documentation, which can be found at https://ftcli.github.io/FoundryTools-CLI/.
The second section introduces FontBase, a font management software that provides a complete solution for managing and customizing fonts on any operating system. It allows users to add fonts to the app and activate or deactivate them as needed for design projects or apps. The software also features an auto-activation feature for missing fonts in design documents, the ability to organize fonts into collections, apply different styles, and more. The primary resource for this section is the FontBase website, which can be found at https://fontba.se/learn.
The third section highlights Lobby24, an Open Source Typefoundry created by Simon Marcio Bretz, Hannes Brischke, and Florian Budke. Lobby24 is built as an accessible platform for type design, enabling the creators to autonomously publish fonts. All their fonts are open source and free to use under the SIL Open Font License. The primary resource for this section is the Lobby24 website, which can be found at https://lobbby24.com/Startseite.
FoundryTools-CLI (formerly known as ftCLI), is a collection of command line tools written in Python to inspect, manipulate and convert fonts. It takes advantage of the capabilities made available by other tools, such as:
You can skip the blather and get started right away with:
$ python3 -m pip install foundrytools-cli
It comes with a ton of included batteries:
ftcli assistant: Helps correctly compile ‘
name’ table and to set the proper values for
usWidthClass, bold, italic and oblique flags.
ftcli cff: A set of command line tools to manipulate the ‘CFF’ table.
ftcli converter: Converts from one format to another
ftcli fix: A set of commands to detect and automatically fix font errors.
ftcli hhea: A command line tool to manipulate the hhea table.
ftcli metrics: Vertical metrics tools.
ftcli name: A set of tools to write, delete and modify NameRecords in the
ftcli os2: A set of tools to manipulate the ‘OS/2’ table.
ftcli otf: A set of tools to manipulate fonts with PostScript outlines
ftcli post: A command line tool to manipulate the ‘post’ table.
ftcli ttf: A set of tools to manipulate fonts with TrueType outlines
ftcli utils: Miscellaneous utilities.
The documentation is extensive and is a crash course in digital typography on its own.
FontBase is a font management software that provides a complete solution for managing and customizing fonts on any operating system. It enables us to add fonts to the app and activate or deactivate them as needed for design projects or apps. This means they stay deactivated when not in use, saving your system's resources (i.e., it avoids the “scrolling font menu of doom”). When a font is missing in your design document, FontBase's auto-activation feature automatically activates it.
You can organize your fonts into collections, apply different styles, and much more. When you need to use some fonts in other apps, you simply need to enable them by clicking on the gray circle near a font's name. When the circle turns green, the font is ready to use in any of your apps. It's a great free alternative to Adobe (and other) typeface managers, and makes structuring collections, enabling/disabling fonts, and searching online font collections very straightforward.
FontBase also makes it easy to export a collection. When working with external collaborators, you can simply right-click on the relevant collection to download a zip file, ready for sharing. This eliminates issues with storing, updating, and locating the correct font families.
While a good chunk of FontBase can be used for free, they also offer a paid subscription called “Awesome” that provides a set of extended features:
SuperSearch: Find fonts based on the properties that actually matter: xHeight, contrast and weight.
Auto-activation: All missing fonts are activated automatically in your Photoshop, Illustrator or InDesign documents.
Full Glyphs: View and copy any glyph for any language and any font in your collection (full access).
Multiple Views: Use more screen space by viewing your fonts in a tight and clean grid.
Themes: Switch between classic, dark, and light themes — whichever is more pleasing for your eyes.
Tags: Manage and search through tags. Contribute to a growing database of community curated tags.
Collection Sync: Sync your collections across computers using any cloud drive (Dropbox, Google Drive).
Featured Foundry: Lobby24
They built Lobby to be an accessible platform for type design, enabling them to autonomously publish fonts. They act as a collective, and collaborate on typefaces, help each other out and provide feedback regularly.
All their fonts are open source and free to use under the SIL Open Font License. They also encourage designers to use our fonts by editing, distorting and extending.
I feature them as their collections are super eclectic, and should provide some pretty cool design inspiration for some future project(s) of yours.
Here’s hoping for a slow pace for the rest of the week for all of us. ☮️