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How To Prepare For The End Of PostScript Type 1 Fonts

It’s happening. Announcements have been made and the plans are set. Adobe is ending all support for PostScript Type 1 fonts in January 2023. This means that any PostScript Type 1 font used within a program or application will not appear in the “in-program font list.” And any file containing a PostScript Type 1 font will trigger a “missing font” error when opened.

The first sign of this was when Adobe ended support for PostScript Type 1 fonts within Photoshop in January 2021. Still, it can feel a little shocking that such a large-scale change is coming to our industry. But this doesn’t have to be a sign of impending creative chaos. With every change comes new opportunities for growth.

What Is A PostScript Type 1 Font?

PostScript Type 1 fonts were developed by Adobe in 1984 to use with its PostScript page description language. The original font set contained 13 base fonts, including classics like Courier, Helvetica, and Times New Roman. Think of this chart as a museum exhibit of the early days of PostScript Type 1 fonts:

helvetica-courier-imd-D

Since the early 2000s, the PostScript Type 1 font format has been eclipsed by OpenType — which has risen to become the industry standard. OpenType fonts offer greater compatibility across platforms (Mac and Windows) and have added other features that support different languages, expanded character sets, and more.

Even though the format has been rendered all but obsolete, PostScript Type 1 fonts are still in use today. When reviewing our customer font database of over 7 million fonts, we discovered that 25% are PostScript Type 1 fonts.

PST1-Fonts-Infographic-01-img-D

What Does The End Of Support Of PostScript Type 1 Fonts Mean For Designers?

No matter what your font collection looks like, Adobe’s decision to end support for PostScript Type 1 fonts will impact your creative workflow. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a freelance graphic designer or if you lead a global agency. If you work with fonts, this shift will transform the creative landscape for years to come. Here are a few of the biggest considerations:

Financial Impact Of The Demise Of PostScript Type 1 Fonts

If you decide to purchase new OpenType or TrueType fonts to replace each of your PostScript Type 1 fonts, the costs could add up quickly. While it has become much easier to acquire individual fonts today, a classic font family like Futura can cost hundreds and/or thousands of dollars depending on how the font will be used and by how many users.

Updating Documents That Contain PostScript Type 1 Fonts

The need to re-publish assets that contain PostScript Type 1 fonts is going to cause an issue. For example, book publishers often reprint new book editions with only minor revisions and updates to the existing content. But this won’t work starting in January 2023. A complete overhaul of every document that contains PostScript Type 1 fonts will be a lengthy process, as every replacement font will alter the formatting throughout the file.

The End Of PostScript Type 1 Fonts Could Lead To Productivity Issues

Creative teams could benefit from auditing their fonts, which would help minimize complications when this transition happens in January 2023. Understanding which servers, systems, and processes are affected by PostScript Type 1 fonts is a crucial step to avoid disruptions to your team’s workflow.

How Can You Prepare For The End Of PostScript Type 1 Fonts?

Okay, that was the bad. Now comes the good — action. With a little flexibility and planning, you can mitigate the impacts of the demise of PostScript Type 1 fonts. We recently held a webinar that outlines what steps you can take. Watch it through the link at the end of this article, and keep reading for a summary:

  1. Start By Taking Inventory. Identify all your PostScript Type 1 fonts and group them in a separate folder. You can perform a smart search for PostScript Type 1 fonts in Extensis font management tools, and collect all of them in seconds. This way, they’re organized, easily accessible, and isolated from your current library of fonts.
  2. Kick PostScript Type 1 Fonts To The Curb. Get into the habit of consciously choosing alternate font types such as TrueType or OpenType fonts for your new and ongoing projects, and start removing PostScript Type 1 fonts from your workflow daily. This will make you much more prepared when Adobe ends support for all PostScript Type 1 fonts in January 2023.
  3. Turn Away From Font Conversion Tools. While you might have thought about converting your PostScript Type 1 fonts to either the OpenType or TrueType format, be careful. This is likely prohibited by the font foundry's End User License Agreement. Review your font EULAs or contact the font foundry directly for more information.
  4. Explore Independent Font Foundries. As long as you're looking for replacement fonts in the OpenType or TrueType format, consider expanding your search. While Adobe has many amazingfonts in wide use, there are also many smaller font foundries doing incredible work. And any of these independent foundries might have the OpenType or TrueType font you’re looking for. Always remember that choosing from a wide variety of font foundries gives you more options to expand your creativity.
  5. Review, Review, Review. Be sure to double-check all affected text in documents and template files. Then resave your projects using a similar naming structure to ensure you keep the original file safe. There’s always the possibility that glyphs or kerning will be affected when you substitute a different font.

Planning For A World After PostScript Type 1 Fonts

While this is one of the largest challenges the design community has ever faced, we’re with you every step of the way. And we’re always brainstorming new ways to help you manage your fonts, minimize workflow interruptions, and control creative chaos.

In the meantime, share this article with your team and watch our webinar for more insights on how to overcome this challenge. We’ll be with you every step of the way.

GET INSIGHTS ON POSTSCRIPT TYPE 1 FONTS