TrueType fonts

The TrueType format was jointly developed by Apple and Microsoft in 1991, several years after the release of the PostScript Type 1 font format. Despite the format’s technical superiority (most of the system fonts on both Mac and Windows computers are TrueType) it never became popular amongst designers.

The TrueType format defines curves differently from PostScript fonts, and allows for the rendering of outlines using a hinting process, which improves the appearance of TrueType fonts on low-resolution output devices, such as computer monitors and low-resolution printers. Hinting uses a powerful set of instructions to achieve superior on-screen legibility similar to that of handmade bitmap fonts, but with the option to scale the fonts to any size. Unfortunately, incorporating hinting into the font is very time-consuming, and only a few fonts take advantage of this technology. As a result, the average TrueType font appears to display with less quality on-screen than the corresponding PostScript one.

At Typotheque we offer special screen-optimized fonts which have been manually hinted and are marked with the filename extension ʻScreenʼ. With their high level of legibility, these fonts are excellent choices for reading lengthy texts on-screen at small sizes.

TrueType fonts contain both the screen and printer font data in a single file, making the fonts easier to install. A TrueType font can theoretically contain over 65,000 characters, using Unicode standards. In reality, few fonts contain more than 220 extended characters.