There were several attempts to come up with a next-generation digital font format in the 1990s. Why did OpenType (mostly) succeed where GX/AAT and multiple masters did not? Thomas explores the factors that caused GX and MM to fail in the marketplace, and explains why OpenType didn’t suffer the same fate thanks to a combination of accidents of birth, and lessons painfully learned from the previous format battles. Corporate alliances, attention to support and workflows, openness, and tireless evangelism all played their parts.
Thomas Phinney is vice president of FontLab, the font software tools company. Previously he was product manager for fonts at Adobe, and then senior product manager for Extensis (Suitcase Fusion, WebINK web fonts). At Adobe, Thomas helped drive the conversion to OpenType, evangelizing both internal teams and other font makers, and helping define Adobe’s OpenType strategy.
Thomas is a type designer who is also active in writing, teaching, technology/standards, history, and forensics of fonts. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font. His most recent, Cristoforo was funded via Kickstarter. Both have Latin, Greek and Cyrillic support. Thomas has an MS in printing from the Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology, and earned an MBA from UC Berkeley while working at Adobe. He has been an ATypI board member since 2004, and treasurer since 2006.