New from Typekit: Get early access to new web font subsetting options
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The original post is available below.
We’re pleased to announce some major improvements to our language subsetting options for web fonts. These changes will allow you to fine-tune the characters and OpenType features you include in your kits, so you can deliver content in more languages while serving much smaller fonts to your users. This is great news for kit sizes, and paves the way for some really exciting features to come.
Subsetting is one of our most requested features, and we think it’ll be hugely valuable to everyone who publishes web fonts through Typekit. We still have a few last touches to make on the user experience and documentation, but we feel this feature is so valuable we want to get it in your hands (and hear your feedback on it) right away. As such, we’ve decided to release it as an Early Access feature.
Early Access is a new option in your Typekit account settings that lets you try out new Typekit features before they officially launch. When you opt into it on your Account Settings page, you get to try out the latest features we’re working on, and can help shape the final product with your feedback.
What is subsetting?
A subset is a copy of a master font with some of the characters removed. Because every character or glyph in a font adds to its file size, more advanced fonts with support for more languages and OpenType are larger. To date, Typekit has offered two options: Default and All Characters. The Default character set is a subset that supports nine European languages but excludes OpenType features like ligatures. If you’ve needed more than the Default, you’ve had to use the All Characters option.
We’ve added a “Custom” subsetting option to the kit editor in Early Access, so when you decide which languages you need to support on your site, you can combine them in any way the font allows. You are free to mix Russian with English, French with German and Hungarian, or however you like.
As an example, the regular, italic, and bold styles of Adobe’s Source Sans Pro together weigh 286KB without subsetting. With custom subsetting, a font could support only English with OpenType, and weigh just 95 KB. By removing OpenType, it’d be just 49 KB. If you’ve needed to support a non-Default language like Czech, which had required All Characters, you can now get your kit down to 102KB.
What’s this about OpenType?
By enabling OpenType features, previously available only as part of the All Characters set, you’ll be able to access alternate glyphs, ligatures, fractions, and any other substitutions included in a given typeface. If you don’t need these, you can turn off the OpenType option to reduce your font size.
We’ll be sharing more information about OpenType in the near future, so stay tuned!
Enabling Early Access
To enable Early Access mode, and access to these new subsetting options, go to your Account page on Typekit and flip the Early Access switch on.
Once this is enabled, you’ll see the new subsetting controls in the Kit Editor.
If you have any questions about using this feature, or if you have any thoughts you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment, find us on Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.