Color Fonts (also known as Chromatic Fonts) are the latest technological advancement in the world of typography and the next step in the evolution of typesetting. We’re all familiar with digital fonts that progressed from the concept of movable type, but one drawback that those two systems have in common is each character can only be produced in a single colour. Digital type can of course be modified with an array of text effects and customisations, but the new wave of Color Fonts use the OpenType SVG format to save colour, texture and transparency information directly into the font file. Essentially, Color Fonts are character sets of full colour graphics that provide exciting opportunities for creating vibrant typefaces.
Color Fonts are quickly gaining traction after support was included in Adobe programs, but the technology is already in use in the form of webfonts and the emoji keyboard on your smart phone. The add-on for Photoshop and Illustrator named Fontself is equipping creatives with the tools to experiment with Color Fonts by turning any kind of graphic into a character for a typeface. Some early examples of Color Fonts seem to have fallen victim to the novelty of being able to include vibrant colours and as a result can be quite garish, but one application I’m personally intrigued by is the idea of using Color Fonts to produce brush fonts in order to preserve the transparency and detail of the brush stroke. Existing brush fonts have to be vectorized from the original scan, so all that lovely detail is lost.
Still being in its infancy, the selection of quality Color Fonts is still fairly small, but I’ve scoured the web for all the interesting examples I could find. Check out these Color Font offerings and watch out for how designers find clever and unique ways to harness this new technology.