Working with fonts

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Font problems
Type 1 MAC
TrueType MAC
Type 1 & TrueType WIN
Font families & styles
Avoiding font problems

Working with fonts

Font problems

Extremely important elements in processing a job are the fonts used in the page layout document. Fonts are actually mini files that manage the “typefaces” you see on the monitor.
In order to output your files correctly, we need to have the same manufacturer, and version number of the fonts on our system that were used in your document.

Font problems are unquestionably responsible for more job delays and frustrations than any other area of digital file production. However, they can be easily avoided once you know what to look for and how to properly organize your fonts.

Type 1 fonts for Macintosh

The original Adobe Postscript font format, Type 1, is still considered to be the best by most professionals. Type 1 fonts consist of two parts: the SCREEN font and the PRINTER font.
The screen font is a bitmap image of the letter forms used to represent the type on screen.

Shown above is a sample of the icon used for a Type 1 (or postscript) screen font for Helvetica Bold.
Screen fonts are usually collected in a “suitcase”, which can contain fonts from many different families. For proper organization of your fonts, it is best to put each font family in its own font suitcase.

Shown above is a sample of the screen font suitcase for the Helvetica family.

The printer font contains the data that is actually sent to the laser printer or imagesetter and it is used to correctly render each character. If the printer fonts are not available or are damaged, your font will look “jaggy” on the screen and will either print with the same bitmapped appearance, or convert automatically to a default system font such as Courier.

A sample of the printer font icon for Helvetica is shown above.
It is important to send both the screen and printer components for each font used in your document. This includes fonts used for EPS files (3rd party EPS files are notorious for containing fonts not included with the job, as they are often sent to clients without including the font files). Many fonts with the same name, such as Helvetica, are manufactured by more than one company and may have differences in kerning values, letter weight, etc., which may cause your text copy to reflow if we have to substitute our version of the font because we did not have yours. On a Macintosh platform, the fonts can be found in your main hard drive system’s folder:

Unless you are using a type manager
your MAC fonts are in the system folder.

TrueType Fonts for Macintosh

The TrueType format was developed by Microsoft and is now widely distributed with system software, applications and on disks of font collections. The most obvious difference between Type 1 and TrueType is that in True Type both screen and printer data are contained in one file whereas Type 1 has two separate files.

A sample of the TrueType icon for the italic version of Century Gothic for a Macintosh is shown above. TrueType fonts are also stored in a font suitcase and should never be mixed with Type 1 screen fonts. Rename the suitcase to Century Gothic Type1 and Century Gothic Truetype and place the files accordingly. If you have both types of fonts in the same suitcase it will occasionally cause problems when printing.

Type 1 and True Type for Windows

The same concepts apply for Windows versions of Type 1 (postscript) and True Type fonts. Just as on a Macintosh system, the postscript font is composed of two parts, a printer font and a screen font. The printer font has an extension of .pfb and the screen font has an extension of .pfm, and both have the same red Adobe “A” icon as shown below.

Printer fonts are used by ATM (Adobe Type Manager) to create crisp, accurate screen renditions of the font at any point size. You will find the postscript fonts in C:\psfonts folder. You must be sure to send both the screen and printer components.

A sample of a Windows True Type icon is shown above. If you are using ATM, then these fonts can be found in your C:\windows\fonts\ATM folder.

If you do not use ATM, then all fonts available on your system should be found in C:\windows\fonts.

Font families & styles

One benefit of using ATM (Adobe Type Manager) is that it can help you find your fonts quickly on your hard drive. The Deluxe version includes a Font List tab which allows you to see all the fonts your system uses as well as if they are True Type or postscript ( Type 1) fonts. You can locate a font on this list by clicking on it, and then under “Display” go to “Properties” (shown below) and it will tell you exactly where this font is, as well as the actual name of the font. This can be very useful since many fonts such as the “Times” font family can have the following names: “TIR”-Times Roman; “TIB”-Times Bold; “TII”-Times Italic; “TIBI”-Times Bold Italic.

A font is an individual style and weight, for example, Times Bold. A family is a collection of these individual fonts. The family will include Times, Times Bold, Times Italic, Times Bold Italic, etc. Your font package will contain a printer font and a screen font for each member of this family. A mistake commonly made when setting up files is to “style” the font instead of selecting the true font. One example would be to use Times, then apply bold to it by choosing the “bold” option from the font style menu. If you initially set up your pages by applying styles, always go back through your document using the “find and replace” function and change these stylized fonts to the correct family member to avoid imaging problems.

When you apply the characteristic <italic> to the font "Times," the program goes to the font file for "Times" and asks it, "what is the name of your italic companion typeface?" The font replies "Times Italic," and the page layout program searches for a font with that name. If the page layout program finds "Times Italic," then that’s what it uses. But if "Times Italic" is missing, that spells trouble.

You should never apply bold or italic stylization to fonts that do not have existing bold or italic family members. It may work on your screen, and may even print to a printer, but generally will not work correctly when sent to an imagesetter. Sometimes bold applied to a font that does not have a bold family member will cause the font to have a double image. Applying italics this way may cause the font to only slant instead of becoming a true italic, or may not print at all to an imagesetter.

Some styles, such as underline, superior, superscript, subscript and small caps, can only be accomplished by using the styles menu and are generally acceptable. The drop shadow and outline styles should be avoided –they were designed for non-postscript use.

More information regarding fonts and styles can be reviewed at Adobe’s font tutorial section:

Avoiding font problems

  • Please use Adobe Type 1 fonts (when working on MAC) for obtaining the best results.
  • Please include all fonts that have been used. Even so-called ‘standard’ fonts, because different versions of the same font do exist and may cause unwanted differences in the printing of your documents.
  • Do not stylize fonts (make Bold and italic) in Quark; i.e. don’t use the ‘bold’ command to make regular Helvetica appear bold. Use the correct Helvetica Bold font instead. All fonts need to be shipped with your print files, including the bold or italic font versions.
  • Remember the fonts embedded in EPS files. Often a customer will send the fonts used to create headlines and text, but forget to include fonts that are contained in EPS graphics that are imported into the page layout document.
  • As an alternative, before creating an EPS, you can convert the text to paths. Most Illustration programs, especially Illustrator and FreeHand, have the ability to change text into vector elements so you no longer need to include the font files. It becomes self contained. Do backup your files before you convert!
    (select your text > Type > Create Outlines)
  • Avoid nesting or layering of fonts. Placing type in a graphic, then placing it in another graphic, and finally, imprinting it into the page layout program could make it hard for the imagesetter to find the font. Try to keep graphic file construction simple.
  • Avoid obscure font manufacturers or bargain basement fonts. All fonts are not created equal. Strange fonts could cause problems with high-resolution output. Some of these types of fonts are only made for 300 DPI laser printers.
  • Minimum text size: Serif 4 pt, Sans-Serif 3 pt

Font problems

Extremely important elements in processing a job are the fonts used in the page layout document.

Font problems are unquestionably responsible for more job delays and frustrations than any other area of digital file production. However, they can be easily avoided once you know what to look for and how to properly organize your fonts.

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