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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.