A fresh collaboration for better type UI
Choosing a typeface is really just the first of many design decisions you can make when setting type. Ever since 1996, when Adobe began developing the first OpenType fonts in collaboration with Microsoft, type developers have added features like stylistic alternates, old style numerals, and discretionary ligatures to the font files. Informed use of these features can truly bring out the personality of a typeface… so long as the software you use makes those features easy to view and enable.
We’ve heard loud and clear that many people feel Adobe hasn’t done enough to make robust typographic controls accessible in app UIs, or to educate people about the typographic power that OpenType features can enable. We got called out for this at ATypI in September, and rightfully so: it’s past time to begin doing this in a meaningful way. Yves Peters summarized the issue eloquently on ILoveTypography.com, and the #AdobeTypeUI initiative and petition was born out of this conversation. We’ve been listening to this discussion ever since this started, are taking suggestions like Kris Sowersby’s seriously, and we’re committed to improving the situation.
Introducing the Adobe Typography Customer Advisory Board
Earlier this year, we reached out to a group of typographers, designers, foundry representatives, and others from the type community. We invited them to join us for a day-long meeting in Adobe’s New York City offices. That meeting took place on November 17, and we’re very grateful to each of the participants for the time and attention they invested in that collaboration.
We found this so insightful that we’re planning a second meeting in 2015 with an expanded roster, and we’ve given the group a name: the Adobe Typography Customer Advisory Board.
Advisory Board members:
Adobe liaisons to the board:
Matthew Rechs, Director, GM for Adobe Type & Typekit
Miguel Sousa, Manager for Western Type Development at Adobe Type
Michael Ninness, Senior Director for Design Product Management at Adobe
Tim Riot, Senior Lead Product Designer for Photoshop
Stephen Nielson, Senior Product Manager for Photoshop
We’re committing to regular, ongoing communication with this group, and its members will remain active between those working sessions with issue advocacy and discussion in the type industry. We want this to be a space where customers can hold us accountable as we work on improving our products to better accommodate typographic technology and generally advance the state of the art.
With the creation of this group, we’re reviving a tradition of type advocacy that the Adobe Type Advisory Board established over 20 years ago under then-Director of Typography Sumner Stone. Gathered together to critique the work coming out of Adobe, the insights of the original Type Advisory Board helped refine the scope of Adobe’s typography program and guide its commercial success. We hope to accomplish something similar this time around, so that our customers can truly get the most out of type with Adobe’s products.
We’re already working on some long-requested changes to the Photoshop UI, and plan to introduce a glyph panel in the near future. We’re also beginning to tackle the problem of simulated type variations, so you can enable stylistic variants like Small Caps with confidence that you’re seeing what the type designer intended. And on the Typekit side, we’re experimenting with some custom subsetting controls within the Typekit UI to make these features easier to employ on the web.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead to finally tackle these issues head-on. We and the members of this board will keep you up to date with our progress. Contact us anytime to share your thoughts and questions: comment below, send an email, or find us on Twitter.