[OpenType] Proposal: Rename "preferred" family to "typographic" family

Sairus Patel sppatel at adobe.com
Mon Nov 28 20:43:02 CET 2011


Yes, unfortunately OT and Apple's TrueType specification (http://developer.apple.com/fonts/TTRefMan/RM06/Chap6.html) differ in several ways, including 'name' table ID definitions and how bold/italic style linking itself is expressed. This has caused no end of issues in font engines I've worked on, since just from looking at a particular name table ID 1 string, for example, there is no way to tell whether it's a 4-stlye family name (OT) or the "typographic" family name.

Apple did extend their 'name' table spec to add OT-introduced name IDs 16 and 17, however, and I take that as an indication of desire for spec convergence. I've requested that Apple consider redefining their 'name' table spec (in particular, ID 1) to match OT's and re-doing their font families with more than 4 to use name IDs 16 and 17 (the way Mac OS' 6-face Baskerville's 'name' tables are made today is not valid OT). Ironically, I am told there is a Microsoft Office bug on Mac OS which makes inserting name IDs 16 and 17 untenable for existing families, but Apple said they may do this for *new* families with more than 4 styles in the future.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the 'name' table spec, some of which I'm comfortable proposing, and some not:
- Separating out all the recommendations for what should go in name tables into the Recommendations section, for a start. I'm fine proposing this.
- Making sure those recommendations are precise and accurate (they aren't). This information has to come from and be maintained by Microsoft and Apple, at the very least, since it involves how Windows and Mac OS/iOS APIs use information in the font.
- Documenting divergences and existing usage would be good as well, and perhaps more historical notes as to how OT name ID 1 came to be defined the way it is.

Does anyone have ideas on the best way to go about doing this? It would seem a more readily updatable format that the OT/OFF specs would be warranted, perhaps something that’s wiki-based and curated.

My original proposal still stands, however, since I see that as relatively orthogonal to all the above, and one concrete, incremental step to clarity.


-----Original Message-----
From: listmaster at indx.co.uk [mailto:listmaster at indx.co.uk] On Behalf Of John Daggett 
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 9:51 PM
To: multiple.recipients.of.OpenType at inbound-smtp-1.adobe.com
Subject: Re: [OpenType] Proposal: Rename "preferred" family to "typographic" family

Message from OpenType list:

Sairus Patel wrote:

> 1. There is a valid modern usage for the 4-style family name: it's how 
> OT expresses bold and italic style linking (along with a couple of 
> style bits). It's not necessarily inferior to the "preferred" family 
> name, it just has a different usage.

Sorry to quibble but I think you're ignoring that the 4-style family name is effectively a Windows-specific limitation that was propogated into the OpenType spec.  Apple has always treated the nameID 1 family name as what you've called a "typographic family", so under OSX or iOS the tiered WWS family ==> preferred family ==> 4-style family distinction doesn't exist.  Apple dealt with backwards compatibility by creating synthesized family names for things like condensed faces rather than using the tiered family name system.

So rather than change the name I think it might be better to document actual usage in the spec, however unfortunate the divergence might be.


John Daggett

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