Caring about OpenType features: A new lesson on Typekit Practice

Please enjoy Caring about OpenType features, a new lesson on Typekit Practice. Many resources exist to explain what OpenType features are and how they work; this lesson is about why we care.

Why do OpenType features matter? I take three minutes in this video to explain a little:

For years, designers have wished for better OpenType feature support in applications — and solid educational materials. In addition to today’s Practice lesson, our community is working together to better expose OpenType features in Adobe applications, so that people not only have good tools but can realize the full potential of great typefaces.

To foster awareness, I’ve unofficially declared it #OpenTypeFeatures week on Twitter. Share your favorite OpenType feature-related resources.

If you’re just getting started, the best thing to do is read and ask questions. These resources explain the what, why, where, and how of OpenType features, so that using them is practical and approachable:

Check out the lesson, experiment a little, and let us know how it goes. We learned a lot just by putting this lesson together, and we look forward to learning more with you.

2 Responses

  1. B Barrett says:

    Is there an easy way for type newbies to search Typekit for fonts with specific features such as OS figures, swash or ornaments?

    1. Tim Brown says:

      Great question, B. There is, unfortunately, not an easy way right now.

      To see whether a font on Typekit contains OpenType features, you need to either sync the font and try it out in your application of choice … or, add it to a kit (where we indicate whether any of a dozen or so features are present in the font): http://help.typekit.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1789708-using-opentype-features-in-css#features

      This current situation is not acceptable, of course. We’re working on making it easier for customers to see which OpenType features are in each font, without having to sync fonts or add them to a kit. Not sure when that work will be public, but we’re on it.

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Tim Brown

Head of Typography for Adobe Typekit & Adobe Type. Practicing typography and web design every day. I write, speak, and make tools to share what I learn. I try to be helpful. I love my wife, kids, family, friends, teachers, and dogs. I'm a volunteer firefighter.

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