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Thanks, ended up using Inkscape instead (after wasting multiple hours on unsuccessfully converting the variable font into multiple static ones)

Had to use Bahnschrift in semi-condensed bold and light variations. Just having access to these predefined variations in Affinity Designer would go a long way.

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8 hours ago, mkey said:

Had to use Bahnschrift in semi-condensed bold and light variations. Just having access to these predefined variations in Affinity Designer would go a long way.

The MS Cloud fonts include static versions of most of the Bahnschrift pre-defined instances (those two are included). If you have Office 365 it is possible to get those static cloud fonts.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/11/2022 at 12:24 PM, wonderings said:

I can count the number of times I have used or seen variable fonts used on 1 hand. I work in print and design so get a lot of work from designer houses (not people with photoshop who call themselves designers). I think they are a great idea, but not something that drastically changes how people work in these field. Many fonts already have the gamut from light to ultra which I would think suits the vast majority of the world. Again I think variable fonts are a great idea and nice to always have options, not sure I would make such a big deal about the variable fonts not being in V2 myself. 

It would be nice, as would color fonts, but tagged PDFs for accessibility is WAY more important.

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On 4/23/2023 at 9:18 AM, AffinityMakesMeSmile said:

A little OT, but, what marketplace is best to buy high quality Variable/static Fonts with great kerning/ligatures?

I subscribe to the MyFonts newsletter, which often has sales, and also get a lot of good free fonts at FontSquirrel.

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I haven't seen any free variable fonts at the Font Squirrel web site. But the Google Fonts web site has a pretty good collection of free, open source variable fonts.

Out of commercial sites, I like checking the MyFonts site every few days to see what is newly released as well as what else is on sale. Most of the variable fonts I've bought over the past few years were purchased when the fonts were newly released and heavily discounted. Even with the discounts they still can be kind of expensive. For instance the introductory price for Helvetica Now Variable was $199. That's for two font files. When the static version of Helvetica Now was introduced in 2019 it had a bunch of font files (in Display, Text and Micro sub-families); introductory price for that was around $100.

6 hours ago, SallijaneG said:

It would be nice, as would color fonts, but tagged PDFs for accessibility is WAY more important.

If I had a choice between either feature I would take variable fonts capability over tagging PDFs. There is a variety of third party PDF editors that can modify PDFs after creation. Variable font capability is a pretty basic thing affecting the creative front end of the application.

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That's great news! Unfortunately the step by step guides I found online do not seem to work anymore? Under C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\FontCache\4\CloudFonts\ I could find quite nummerous ones, but Bahnschrift is not one of them (despite being able to use that font in O365). Any Ideas?

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On 5/29/2023 at 10:22 AM, mkey said:

That's great news! Unfortunately the step by step guides I found online do not seem to work anymore?

What step-by-step guides? I am curious.
There was one "guide" which ran a Word macro - and this got you ~280 cloud fonts.
But that is missing the bulk of them.
To that Word doc I added all the cloud fonts from the online cloud fonts list, and from the json file font list.
That got me 238 folders and 1,048 font files.
And that is not complete (but I do not have access to O365 right now).
 

On 5/29/2023 at 10:22 AM, mkey said:

Under C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\FontCache\4\CloudFonts\ I could find quite nummerous ones, but Bahnschrift is not one of them (despite being able to use that font in O365). Any Ideas?

The cloud fonts only download if the fonts are not already installed.
Bahnschrift is a protected system font which is always installed on Windows.
So you have to disable/delete it (after making a doc which uses it).

First, make a Word doc which uses all the styles.
Should look something like this:
Bahnschrift-Styles-LibreOffice-cropped.thumb.png.4c10a0336f41e923e504eec44c6f1b11.png

That was made in LibreOffice awhile ago (Word could not select all the styles back then).
Looks like MS has fixed the Word font picker and it now has access to all the styles.

Bahnschrift-Styles-Word.docx

Bahnschrift-Styles-Word.docx.zip

(the forum is giving me an error message, but it looks like the file is actually here).

Once you have the doc with all the styles, close the doc, and exit Word.

Second, disable the Bahnschrift font (bahnschrift.ttf).
I use the 7-Zip File Manager (FOSS) in admin mode to rename the font file.
Install 7-Zip, and then in the Start menu right-click on 7-Zip File Manager and then select Start as Administrator, browse to the font file and rename it.
Such as: bahnschrift.ttf to bahnschrift.ttf.BAK

Third, re-start Word and open up the doc again.
O365 should see the required fonts are not installed, and so it will download them.
They should be here:
%userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\FontCache\4\CloudFonts\Bahnschrift
You should have all 15 files there.
(I only got 13 because when I did it Word could not handle the long font names).
Recommend you copy and save that folder.

Warning, the cloud font updates can be kinda flaky.
As I was adding all the fonts to the doc I would re-start Word and sometimes it update right away and download the font(s), and sometimes it did not. Then I would open it up the next day and all the fonts would download. So try more than once, and re-start Windows and/or Word, etc. to try to get it to trigger.
Maybe it was just because I had a doc with over a thousand fonts in it.

Please let me know how it goes.
Because I did this months ago, I only got 13 of the 15, which was v2.06 then.
The current Win11 version is v2.07 (Win10 is still on v2.06).
So I am interested if those are the ones you get.

Note: this method is also useful to update protected system fonts.
So you can have v2.07 on Win 10.
Other fonts have been updated such as Calibri, etc. and you may need the fix.

All the cloud fonts are single TTF files (no TTC files).
The Angsana TTC (angsana.ttc) file has 8 fonts in it and it does not work properly in APub.
The 8 separate TTF cloud fonts do work properly.
The method above works for these fonts too.
Make a doc with all the styles, disable the font file, etc. ...
 

To install the cloud fonts just select them, right-click, and select Install for All Users.
Then delete that particular cloud fonts folder (after saving it).
This installs the fonts in the normal C:\Windows\Fonts folder.
So they are now available to all applications including APub.

 

Note: to use those %userprofile% links
Press WindowsKey+R to open a Run dialog.
Paste the link and select OK.
That will open a Windows Explorer window at that folder.
(can also paste it directly into Explorer or other file manager apps)

 

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I will say this: my MA students, future designers, ARE using variable fonts as we speak. I have been warning Serif developers all this time, and they won't listen. They have several high-value users and testers connected to the industry and academia at the highest level, following – nay, setting – the trends (guess what I'm about to do when I finish my PhD in… typography education? 🙄), and yet… here we are.

Let's just ignore the 500lb pink gorilla in the middle of the room that is Adobe (they created the format, after all, and had already come up with Multiple Master fonts before it – I tried those on an ancient version of Ai running on a Basilisk II System 7 VM, and it's shockingly similar to the current implementation, down to the generic parameter sliders, so I'm guessing it just failed due to lack of support from type design applications, third party vector and photo editing and DTP apps, etc.), and look at one of Serif's actual competitors on the Mac, Sketch:

https://www.sketch.com/blog/variable-fonts-improved-opentype-support-and-a-new-data-plugin-whats-new-in-sketch/

Sketch v.59, from 20-freaking-19, from four years ago, back when Affinity v.2 was just a blip on the radar (likely an internal Alpha, or a set of notes on a whiteboard, or something), supported variable fonts. Sure, Sketch is very much geared towards web and UX design, but there had been already such a request here in the forums the year before, as was already requested 2016 and heavily commented by yours truly the next year onwards! And I'm commenting here because a musician friend of mine (a musician who works in banking, not one of my design students, so you can see just how mainstream these can and will become), who uses a Mac, wants do do his own design work and variable fonts came up in conversation; I recommended him either Affinity or Sketch, but I'm guessing that if he enjoys playing with those, you won't get his patronage, and through no fault other than your own. 🤷‍♂️

Seven years, guys. Seven years. And at least six years of me warning you that it would eventually become a serious omission. There are now people, both here in the forums and out of them, literally skipping on the v.2 upgrade (or on Affinity altogether) because of this. This can't be a v.3 feature, it *has* to be added to v.2 at some point. No ifs, no buts.

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  • 1 month later...
29 minutes ago, Patrick Kayser said:

Is there any update?

No.

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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Thought is being given into the complications of fully supporting these fonts, particularly exporting to formats like PDF and SVG, which do not support variable fonts natively and therefore need to convert them to traditional fonts at export. Not insurmountable but not straight forward.

Patrick Connor
Serif Europe Ltd

"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility lies in being superior to your previous self."  W. L. Sheldon

 

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14 hours ago, Patrick Connor said:

Thought is being given into the complications of fully supporting these fonts, particularly exporting to formats like PDF and SVG, which do not support variable fonts natively and therefore need to convert them to traditional fonts at export. Not insurmountable but not straight forward.

Why would SVG require variable fonts, Fonts are always converted into outlines. and we essentially export raw curves to other apps.
Variable fonts is required for the user interfaces in Affinity, ideally respecting how they appear in browser engines. For interface design it might be useful to have a way to export the values as copy pasteable css code. Certain variable fonts have features that go beyond the typical typeface capabilities of line thickness or slant, like actually deforming, changing colours or their entire pattern.

But with PDFs couldn't it be substituted during export by the closest static variant of that typeface or also baked like it is with svg?
 

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You can easily ‘bake’ variable fonts to static variants on export using tools such as fonttools mutator (there are others, including Harfbuzz which I think now also provides variable font instantiating for static output). You specify the axis parameters for the variable font and it converts it to a static version, and is what other apps that export text set using variable fonts to pdf do.

It often feels that Serif goes to great pains to reinvent everything themselves rather than adopting well accepted, and open source solutions such as Harfbuzz (text shaping engine used by Android, Chrome, Sony, etc) that already includes many features Affinity users have been asking for for years (right to left language support, variable fonts, etc).

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40 minutes ago, Patrick Kayser said:

Why would SVG require variable fonts, Fonts are always converted into outlines. and we essentially export raw curves to other apps.

Not always, and not by default. Here is the content of an SVG I just exported, and you can see that the text is text, not curves or outlines:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no"?>
<!DOCTYPE svg PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD SVG 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/Graphics/SVG/1.1/DTD/svg11.dtd">
<svg width="100%" height="100%" viewBox="0 0 3300 2550" version="1.1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xml:space="preserve" xmlns:serif="http://www.serif.com/" style="fill-rule:evenodd;clip-rule:evenodd;stroke-linejoin:round;stroke-miterlimit:2;">
    <g transform="matrix(319.836,0,0,319.836,1343.91,1021)">
    </g>
    <text x="686.279px" y="1021px" style="font-family:'ArialMT', 'Arial', sans-serif;font-size:319.836px;">ABC</text>
</svg>

 

-- Walt
Designer, Photo, and Publisher V1 and V2 at latest retail and beta releases
PC:
    Desktop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 64GB memory, AMD Ryzen 9 5900 12-Core @ 3.00 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 

    Laptop:  Windows 11 Pro, version 23H2, 32GB memory, Intel Core i7-10750H @ 2.60GHz, Intel UHD Graphics Comet Lake GT2 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU.
iPad:  iPad Pro M1, 12.9": iPadOS 17.3, Apple Pencil 2, Magic Keyboard 
Mac:  2023 M2 MacBook Air 15", 16GB memory, macOS Sonoma 14.3.1

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To expand on what @walt.farrell said, SVG can also use variable fonts in contexts that support it (such as modern browsers), using font-variation-settings. FWIW Illustrator does a really poor job of supporting this and I always end up going in and editing it by hand.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<svg id="Layer_1" data-name="Layer 1" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 640 480">
  <defs>
    <style>
      @font-face {
        font-family: 'Maru';
        src: url("./maru.woff2") format("woff2-variations");
        font-weight: normal;
      }
      .variable {
        font-family: 'Maru';
        font-size: 48px;
        font-variation-settings: 'wght' 400, 'wdth' 200, 'ital' 0;
      }
    </style>
  </defs>
  <text class="variable" transform="translate(68.48 239.83)">This is a variable font.</text>
</svg>

 

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50 minutes ago, Bryan Rieger said:

You can easily ‘bake’ variable fonts to static variants on export

Legally? Respecting copyright? In every case of every variable font or only in some cases?

51 minutes ago, Bryan Rieger said:

open source solutions such as Harfbuzz (text shaping engine...

Please, this has been discussed over and over. I have posted links before, it is even on the Harfbuzz home page about what it does not dohttps://harfbuzz.github.io/what-harfbuzz-doesnt-do.html.

e.g. essential features for use with DTP:

"HarfBuzz won't help you with line breaking, hyphenation, or justification"

 

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On 7/21/2023 at 2:29 PM, Patrick Connor said:

Thought is being given into the complications of fully supporting these fonts, particularly exporting to formats like PDF and SVG, which do not support variable fonts natively and therefore need to convert them to traditional fonts at export. Not insurmountable but not straight forward.

I see that some formats don't support variable fonts, but maybe coding in export restrictions (e.g. can't export PDF or "export text as curves for font independence" forced on for SVG, etc.)? It's 2023 and I don't see why Affinity products can't have variable fonts.

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On 7/21/2023 at 3:29 PM, Patrick Connor said:

Thought is being given into the complications of fully supporting these fonts, particularly exporting to formats like PDF and SVG, which do not support variable fonts natively and therefore need to convert them to traditional fonts at export. Not insurmountable but not straight forward.

 

please include Single stroke fonts (for cnc uses) as well… PLEASE!!!

2021 16” Macbook Pro w/ M1 Max 10c cpu /24c gpu, 32 GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Ventura 13.6

2018 11" iPad Pro w/ A12X cpu/gpu, 256 GB, iPadOS 17

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On 5/31/2023 at 3:18 PM, JGD said:

...Adobe (they created the format, after all, and had already come up with Multiple Master fonts before it –... it's shockingly similar to the current implementation, down to the generic parameter sliders, so I'm guessing it just failed due to lack of support from type design applications, third party vector and photo editing and DTP apps, etc.)...

This old timer, and fan of Multi-Master Fonts, recalls that Adobe agreed to discontinue MMF in order to get MicroSoft's approval for putting a "Works With Windows" label on their box.

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  • 1 month later...

I tried creating a PDF with variable fonts in InDesign and I checked – there are only two fonts embedded in the PDF but all the weights that I chose are displayed in the PDF.

I then imported the PDF into Affinity Design and the the file did not display correctly – there was roman and italic but no weight variations. This was no surprise, as Im afraid that Affinity is not very reliable at importing PDFs with embedded fonts, variable or otherwise. However, I could see that the full gamut of weights was available within the program. 

In case this was related to opening the PDF, I then created a fresh document from scratch using the font, which I only have as a variable font. I saved as a PDF. Despite everything looking OK in Affinity Design, the resultant PDF had only regular weight.

I should mention that InDesign embeds the variable fonts in such a way that that show up as the Regular and Italic, as though they were static fonts, but they are not. In contrast, Affinity Design produces PDFs which appear to be static fonts – and they are

 

Incidentally, the InDesign was saved as PDF/X-1a:2003, which is a very old standard as the name suggests, and it caused no problems.

I do hope Affinity supports variable fonts soon. I use some fonts which don't have a full set of weights in their static versions.

 

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The OpenType Variable format is already far more successful than the Type 1 Multiple Master and TrueType GX formats were in the 1990's.

When Adobe was promoting the Multiple Master format they were pretty much going it alone both in supporting the standard in applications like Illustrator and developing Multiple Master fonts. Apple was competing with its GX format. I never heard the story before of Microsoft convincing Adobe to drop the T1 MM format in order to get "Works With Windows" labels put on retail packages. I had Windows versions of Illustrator in the late 1990's that could use T1 MM fonts.

A big difference with OpenType Variable is Adobe, Apple, Microsoft and Google worked together on developing the new standard (this is more than just Adobe's baby). Another big difference is far more type foundries are developing and releasing OTF Variable fonts. There is even a decent number of open source Variable Fonts available for free at the Google Fonts web site. Some of them are very useful and even innovative. Check out how Kablammo "morphs" in Google Fonts' type tester. Pretty incredible. The Tilt family (Warp, Prism & Neon) has 3D-like rotation axes.

It's clear the OTF Variable and OTF-SVG font formats are not going away. I'm certainly not going to stop using them in my sign design work. They solve too many geometry problems for me to be willing to live without them. But that means me using Illustrator or CorelDRAW to utilize those fonts, not Affinity Designer.

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15 hours ago, Bobby Henderson said:

...Check out how Kablammo "morphs" in Google Fonts' type tester. ...

It's clear the OTF Variable and OTF-SVG font formats are not going away. I'm certainly not going to stop using them in my sign design work. They solve too many geometry problems for me to be willing to live without them. But that means me using Illustrator or CorelDRAW to utilize those fonts, not Affinity Designer.

You can also add VivaDesigner, a layout application, to a small list of applications supporting OT Variations:

 

 

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