Adobe releases their first Open Source typefaces!

The SourceForge Anvil Podcast Rich: Today Adobe released a family of typefaces called Source Sans Pro. These typefaces were designed for user interfaces. These fonts are free. They’re released as Open Source, and they are released via the Open@Adobe website, which is hosted as SourceForge, along with many other Open Source projects that Adobe produces.

Paul Hunt, who is the designer of these fonts, is actually on vacation this week. But he generously accepted a phone call from me, and we talked a little bit about the fonts, and this Open Source project. Here’s that conversation.

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Paul: What we’ve just released today was an Open Source typeface family that I’ve been working on for the past three years. And it’s a typeface family designed for user interfaces.

Rich: What font file formats will this be released in?

Paul: We released the fonts today in OpenType format with CFF outlines, and we also released the fonts in TrueType format as well.

Rich: What does it actually mean that a font is Open Source? What is the source that you’d be talking about in this case?

Paul: In a lot of cases I think the sources are simply the fonts. Usually, in the case of the Google web fonts, they also have some VFB files available. Adobe has a set of tools that we use for producing typefaces, and that set of tools is called the Adobe Font Development Kit for OpenType. It uses a set of files to compile the fonts. In our case, we have made all of the files that we used in the production of the Source Sans typefaces, we have made those Open Source. So if somebody is interested in following a similar work flow to what we used, they can do so because … I’m just going to refer to our toolkit as the SDK for the remainder of the interview … if people use our SDK tools, they can, because we make them freely available. They’re not Open Source, but anybody can download them and use them to produce fonts.

Rich: If somebody were to develop their own set of fonts using your tools, what kind of distribution mechanism are available?

Paul: I think it’s quite popular for people to distribute Open Source fonts through Googles “Google Web Fonts” directory. At Adobe, we have a partnership with SourceForge, so it made sense for us to go ahead and offer our fonts through that channel, although the fonts have also been put on Google Web Fonts, as well. The fonts went live everywhere today. They went live on SourceForge, they went live on Google Web Fonts, they went live on our own TypeKit service, as well as on other web font servers. A couple other places the fonts will be available – shortly will be in Google Docs, and in Google Presentations.

We did do a blog post on our Adobe TypBlography blog so if people are interested in more information about why we decided to make the fonts and those types of things they can visit our blog and get some more details that way.

Rich: Thanks so much for your time, and enjoy your vacation!

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