Evolution of Font Technologies: PostScript, TrueType, and OpenType

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The article provides a detailed history of the evolution of font standards from PostScript in the 1980s to TrueType and OpenType today. It discusses how the introduction of the Mac in 1984 revolutionized print and type design, eliminating the manual processes previously required. The Mac Plus and LaserWriter were significant advancements that enabled designers to create print publications with ease. Adobe’s PostScript language played a crucial role in this evolution, with Adobe Illustrator and InDesign becoming key tools for designers and publishers. PostScript’s ability to describe pages, vector graphics, and fonts in a concise, text-based language facilitated the development of new font standards, such as TrueType, which offered improved features and compatibility. Apple also made advancements with the introduction of TrueType and QuickDraw GX, addressing limitations in the original font system. Third-party vendors, such as Fifth Generation Systems and Symantec, developed font management utilities to streamline the handling of fonts on the Mac. The article also discusses the challenges and benefits associated with Adobe’s use of splines to describe shapes and fonts in PostScript and its impact on the design industry. Overall, the article provides a comprehensive overview of the technological advancements and innovations that have shaped the font standards used in design and publishing today.

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