¶ What are color fonts?
- They are the next big thing in graphic design
- They bring multiple colors, shades, textures and transparency to type
- They include vector shapes, bitmap images or even both into font files
Color fonts represent a key evolution in digital typography, introducing rich graphic features into font files. Thanks to new font formats, color fonts are finally becoming a reality for millions of creatives.
Color fonts can impact any type of text, since they may contain any type of characters, including emojis and icons.
Note that colors fonts are sometimes referred as chromatic fonts, which is actually a bit more accurate since they may include multicolored, grayed or even single-tone characters.
¶ What’s inside color fonts?
A color font file is actually just a regular font file that embeds additional data to display more graphic properties than the contour shapes of a character.
Color fonts are now generally stored as SVG data inside OpenType font files. This SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) format can hold vector shapes with color or gradients, and may also include bitmap images – thus leading to bitmap fonts.
So color fonts are now officially referred as OpenType-SVG fonts.
Ok, the reality is a bit more complex…
The OpenType-SVG font format was initially designed by Mozilla & Adobe and became an industry standard in early 2016, when other big players including Microsoft & Google agreed on a single format to support color fonts.
All of them (including Apple) have previously developed and implemented their own proprietary color formats to display emojis on their operating systems, while many other companies built other custom color font technologies for the gaming, video or print industries.
¶ Where’s the catch?
What about file size?
A color font file is generally larger than a regular font file, and a lot more when the font embeds high-resolution bitmap characters.
Whereas fonts usually weigh tens to a few hundred kilobytes, color vector fonts can reach hundreds of kilobytes to a couple megabytes depending on their visual complexity.
Color bitmap fonts may range from a few megabytes to tens of megabytes, and sizes increase when multiple color font formats are embedded in a single file.
What about text scalability?
Good question! Color fonts based on vector glyphs can be resized without any loss, just like any regular font.
Read more about Color Fonts at: www.colorfonts.wtf