Still Using PostScript Type 1 Fonts? Really?

Ben Greiner -

Font issues among Creative Professionals can range from minor annoyances (Warning: Helvetica conflict at startup) to major problems that cost thousands of dollars (Oops: 10,000 books were affected by text reflow).

We work with more than 500 heavy font users and we’re confident we can fix — or explain — every font issue that’s presented to our Support Desk. However, we’ve noticed a growing font problem that has one very clear solution. Unfortunately, it’s a solution few seem eager follow.

As Thomas Phinney from Adobe pointed out in 2005

People expect their fonts to continue to work forever. But when thinking about Type 1 eventually going away, it’s worth keeping in mind the value that customers have gotten from their Type 1 fonts over the years. What other software do you have that you bought in the late 1980s that still works today? It’s amazing that these things have had such a long lifespan. 

Of course, a lot of people don’t think of fonts as software, but that’s really what they are: little plug-ins to your system software. 

If you’re expereincing ongoing font issues, especially in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, take a look at your fonts and see if they are PostScript. Most of the font issues we see today are related to using PostScript Type 1 fonts from the early to mid 1990s (15-20 years ago. A century in techno-years!)

If you can prove you own the font, it’s sometimes possible to contact the font developer and ask for a free PostScript update. This might solve the problem. If you don’t own the font then the only option is to buy new — and buy OpenType. There are many advantages to buying OpenType (see OpenType Q&A for details).

Replace your PostScript fonts with OpenType. Your workday will become more enjoyable and you'll love your fonts again. :)

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