Fonts: Don’t Let Your Files Leave Home Without Them

Ask us or any other printer to name the top five reasons why customer-provided document files fail preflight, and you’ll always have “missing or unusable fonts” on the list. The problem is so common that we’re devoting this issue of Printips to the topic.

Digital font technology Let’s start with a brief overview of digital font technology. You probably know there are two standards for fonts: PostScript and TrueType.

PostScript was originally developed by Adobe and was engineered with two parts to each font – a screen font for rendering characters on a computer monitor and a printer font to direct a PostScript printer how to render the font on paper. In the early days, PostScript fonts gained wide acceptance in the graphic arts community because of superior resolution on output.

The TrueType font format, developed by Apple Computer and later adopted by Microsoft, was designed with the printer font and screen font created from the same information. The font technology also includes a rasterizer; it is the interaction between the font and rasterizer that determines the appearance of the font on paper. Whereas PostScript fonts required a PostScript printer to render correctly, TrueType fonts could be used on any printer. TrueType fonts have been more popular than PostScript in the corporate environment.