Utopia Std: Opticals or no?

New Here ,
Mar 09, 2011 Mar 09, 2011

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So I'm a little confused about the options available on the Adobe store for purchasing Utopia Std packages. There is Utopia Std and Utopia Std Opticals.

Clearly, the Opticals version has more fonts (25 vs. 6). But is that the only difference? Does "Optical" refer to the abundance of weight options, or to more/better kerning pairs in the font? This section of the Utopia article on Wikipedia is pretty damning about the metrics used in Utopia.

Irrespective of my question about the packages: do you guys agree with the sentiment on Wikipedia about the font having poor metrics? How necessary do you guys believe it is to use Optical kerning (instead of Metrics) in InDesign for a sea of 9pt Regular body text?

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 09, 2011 Mar 09, 2011

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dmt132 wrote:

Clearly, the Opticals version has more fonts (25 vs. 6). But is that the only difference? Does "Optical" refer to the abundance of weight options, or to more/better kerning pairs in the font?

This page should explain what the optical sizes are: http://www.adobe.com/type/topics/opticalsize.html

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New Here ,
Mar 09, 2011 Mar 09, 2011

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Hi Miguel, I'm aware of the differences between optical and metrics kerning. I'm asking this question specifically about the Utopia font and the options available in the Adobe store: is Utopia a well-kerned font? Are the criticisms on wikipedia valid? How much better (or worse) is the font for body text with Optical kerning?

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 09, 2011 Mar 09, 2011

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You're confusing two concepts: optical kerning (the kerning option available in CS apps) has nothing to do with optical sizes (the size-adjusted designs available in some typeface families).

Regarding your questions,

is Utopia a well-kerned font?

Yes. (the one you can license from Adobe. I don't know about the version that was donated to the X Consortium)

Are the criticisms on wikipedia valid?

What criticisms? The comment about the metrics of the PostScript version of the fonts not being the same as the OpenType version? That has been documented at http://www.adobe.com/type/opentype/T1_to_OTF_FAQ.htm

By the way, in this situation the word "metrics" referes to the proportions of the glyphs (width, height and advanced width), their kerning and vertical metrics of the fonts. So, it's not necessarilly refering to the kerning option available in CS apps.

How much better (or worse) is the font for body text with Optical kerning?

With our fonts, we recomend using the "Metrics" kerning option because that way the app will use the kerning data that resides in the font (which is the kerning adjustments that the type designer specified). The "Optical" kerning option will disregard the kerning data in the font and instead use an algorithm for calculating the kerning adjustments between glyphs. This option is particularly useful if a font contains no kerning (not the case for most Adobe fonts, unless they are monospaced fonts).

We think that you'll get better results using the "Metrics" option but it's at your discretion to use "Optical" instead if you prefer its results.

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