Where The Fonts On Your Computer Came From
It's a given that we can all choose from a massive library of fonts. When we open Word, Pages, Docs or Whatever, to make that invite to a birthday party or write up that report for a meeting next week, we have a font for all moods. But it hasn't always been the case.
Back in the early days of home computers and the internet, there were two base reasons that people couldn't just open up a bank of font choices and print out whatever they liked.
First, the technology wasn't there. Screens and code on the back-end couldn't show different sizes of types of fonts without distortion. Second, there was a disconnect between computer and printer because the printers needed to understand the typeface they were being asked to print.
There's obviously a lot more tech development to it than that, and I don't mean to belittle the years and years of work which meant that we can now all freely choose between a whole range of fonts and send them to print at professional quality in our own homes from a £150 tablet.
We have to thank Thomas Rickner for helping to build that bridge between printer and computer. His coding skills meant that they computer could hint what the printer needed to do, so expensive fonts didn't need to be installed on both machines.
Secondly, we have to thank Apple for using Rickner to help spread the accessibility of fonts through the top secret project; TrueType. His knowledge helped computers draw fonts on screen each and every time a user changed type and weight. No more distortion.
Apple helped pay for this scheme to be used across different systems. No more exclusivity.
Top work. We all appreciate it.
This report explains it in more detail. Thanks to John Brownlee for sharing the story. Images from his article.