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Another +1 from me, it is mind-boggling that this wasn't included in the V2 Affinity Suite already. A large amount of built-in Windows fonts and Adobe Fonts fonts are distributed as variable fonts and are thus barely usable with usually only one font weight selectable.

This is a major pain point when using fonts in the Affinity Suite and I hope it gets addressed soon.

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+1 Vote for variable fonts from me as well.

A nonprofit I work for provides a Creative Cloud License for me to use in creating all their marketing content. I use the Affinity Suite for all personal and client projects. Jumping back and forth is a great way to compare products. (I use AI and ID primarily on the Adobe side and Publisher with Studio Link while using Affinity.)

Variable fonts and RTL text are two of the biggest features I miss when using Affinity. Other than that, I actually prefer Publisher to ID in a lot of ways. (I love Studio Link!)

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  • 1 month later...

+1 for RTL and variable fonts.

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Ryzen 7 5700U Rx Vega 8 graphics 

16GB RAM (15.3 usable) 

Affinity Photo 1.10.6

Affinity photo 2 2.3.1 Affinity Designer 2 2.3.1 Affinity Publisher 2 2.3.1 on Windows 11 Pro version 23H2

Beta builds as they come out.

canon 80d| sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO OS HSM | Tamron SP AF 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di LD | Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Autofocus APS-C Lens, Black

 

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Take a look at this:

  • Microsoft Paint:

          Screenshot2023-11-10023554.png.0c753a558c7d4df0ad894fe291a4871f.png

  • Windows Notepad(!!!):

          Screenshot2023-11-10023622.png.ea7c6147719db3f2f6b57f5f427d20bf.png

  • Meanwhile in Affinity Designer:

          Screenshot2023-11-10023526.png.2656158a2a186245c98dffc1f9e8904f.png

------------

  • New-ish built-in Windows Fonts are heavily limited (Bahnschrift in the example above)
  • Nearly all Adobe Fonts fonts are heavily limited
  • Baking/converting fonts is not a practical solution, and can present a licensing problem.

How is this not a top priority? In the current times, having at least some support for variable fonts is essential functionality. It's not even an Adobe vs Affinity situation anymore, Microsoft Paint supports it!

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RTL text is a line composing convention, not a font format. If Serif wants Affinity Designer to be used by a lot more people globally they'll need to support Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu and other scripts. Let's not forget about vertical text used in nations like Japan. But that's a different matter than support of font formats.

Variable fonts are not going away. The OTF Variable format is already far more successful than the Type 1 Multiple Master and TrueType GX formats from the 1990's. I use variable fonts frequently in my design work. Whenever I'm considering to buy a new typeface package I'll check to see if it includes any variable fonts as well as how many variable axes it includes. It's just as much a selling point as a typeface having an expanded character set with lots of OpenType features.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 7/21/2023 at 8:29 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.

Adobe seems to support them just fine. Of course, they are both the creators and main implementers of the PDF format, and creators, distributors and heavy promoters of variable OTF fonts, seeing how it's just a development of their old Multiple Master format (seriously, the other day I was playing around with a really old version of Illustrator, running on System 7.6 on top of Basilisk II, and I was absolutely shocked at just how similar the interface for manipulating Type I MM fonts was to their current implementation), so they obviously have their work cut out for them.

Unless Adobe, Corel et al. have some sort of weird patents, it should be just a case of opening their files and reverse-engineer them. Voilá, presto! Anyway, and AFAIK from my own look into it way back when, Adobe's apps just take whatever interpolated values you picked and export the end result as bespoke, automatically-generated and embedded fonts for the relevant text strings (yes, a separate one for each combination of variables), so there's no need for converting stuff to curves, losing the ability to select text or ballooning file sizes, the works.

Of course, when reimporting, you absolutely must have also an embedded Illustrator file stream, otherwise you're completely screwed. Perhaps you could look into making your own implementation of PDF files with embedded .afdesign or .SVG streams, or just metadata for the relevant text strings to save on file size, so that one could in theory reconstitute those multiple resulting fonts into their parent variable OTF fonts/styles?

As others have said, variable OTF fonts are just not going away; not this time, and especially not with the might of Adobe TypeKit and Google Fonts behind them. Heck, even I wrote a paper on those; you can check it out in my ORCiD page in my bio if you want. And, as I've said before, my students are really using them in earnest (… as attested in said paper), which means that when they leave the Uni and enter the workforce, they'll either keep using Adobe CC, or switch to something else altogether, like Sketch.

I know you don't like to hear this, and please don't shoot the messenger, but… I did warn Serif (a company called, of all names… SERIF!) years in advance of just how relevant and pervasive they would become. 🤷‍♂️

I cannot stress this enough, and to all the people rightly clamouring for RTL support: variable OTF font support should be included in a splashy v.2.x update (not a v.2.x.x one, but a full-blown point update, and maybe even a jump to v.2.5 for good measure), and RTL could very well wait for v.3… Allow me to explain: the RTL market is not even considering Affinity apps at the moment, at all, so they're not exactly invested in them, whereas a lot of designers, be they young and aspiring or established veterans, may have bought Affinity 1.x (let alone 2.x, because this thread and all related discussions date back to the v.1 days, if I may remind you all), with the expectation of it being a professional package somewhat approaching feature-parity with its peers (in their Latin-centric bubble, for sure, but it is undeniable that the vast majority of the design market in the West indeed doesn't need RTL; and full disclaimer: I'm a type designer with two finished but as of yet not commercially available fonts which support Arabic, so I fully understand what's at stake and feel RTL users' pain). And variable fonts being an external development, long in the making and over which Serif does not have much control, they are something third-party developers must adapt to and properly support, ASAP, and not the other way around.

As I've said, the penalty can actually be people switching back to whatever software package they were using before, or to a different alternative to the proverbial 800lb gorilla in the middle of the room, just so they can stay up-to-date and competitive. The best way Serif can ensure people stay in the Affinity bandwagon for v.3 is to give them the bare essentials, and typography being the basis of design (think about it; other media and visual resources such as, say, photography or illustration can exist in standalone form, but not typography, or not to the same extent), yep, supporting the most popular formats available is as essential as being able to import and export in all popular vector and bitmap formats. Would you like being limited in what camera, or drawing tablet, or brush packs, or whatever you could buy for your creative endeavours because your supposedly very much up-to-date software package of choice refused to support them? Now extend the same exercise to something as basic as typefaces…

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On 11/10/2023 at 1:58 AM, Winkelmann said:

How is this not a top priority? In the current times, having at least some support for variable fonts is essential functionality. It's not even an Adobe vs Affinity situation anymore, Microsoft Paint supports it!

This one takes the cake… Even the completely discombobulated Microsoft, which has a great typography department but still fails to support something as basic as OpenType ligatures across the entirety of the Office Suite (hey, if I want ligatures in my Excel spreadsheets, I want them, g*dammit… 😂 Now, in all seriousness, it irks me to no end having to use legacy fi and fl Unicode characters in PowerPoint, which I sometimes use for presentations in typography events), seems to be progressing in the right direction…

I will also add that if Serif isn't in contact with other developers, or at the very least with specialized academics and type designers, with developing standards in mind, they should. Variable typefaces are a veritable UX conundrum, and I completely feel the developers' pain in trying to support something as… anarchic as the variable OTF format, not just at the technical, behind-the-scenes level, but especially at the user-facing one.

Yes, all those text-based parameters and sliders make OpenType features, with its predetermined names grounded in tradition, seem user-friendly by comparison, I know. If you want my €0,02? Type designers being, err, experts in vector design, perhaps a future variable OTF version/spec should let them add specialized glyphs as visual labels/aids for their custom variable axes' end-, mid- and even custom points, which would then be used automatically by graphic design software packages. Hey, maybe I will even write a paper on that… Any of you peepz in?

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@Patrick Connor I am very happy to see positive feedback on my penultimate post, by the way. As for the other right above this one, where I mentioned writing papers and giving the industry as a whole a proper jolt, I really meant it. As a typography user, creator and educator, I am not too happy about the current lacking – nay, half-assed, if I may be so blunt – implementation of variable OTF fonts in software packages; sure, it… works, and we need it also in Affinity regardless of its current state, but we can and should do better as a collective.

Very conveniently, as part of my PhD, I still have to publish a second paper until the end of next year, and even after that, we – sadly, or thankfully, I guess I'll figure out in due time if I can handle the pressure – in our research centre have to fill a certain biennial quota of publications, so… we might as well make truly useful ones. Patents seem to be highly valued over there as well, and my supervisor has some experience with those (you know, with his calligraphy app for the iPad and whatnot) and I wouldn't mind joining him in that club, so… if you're interested in taking the reins and really setting trends, hit me up. ;)

We're actually both part of a team of ten researchers, all working on this kind of stuff, but I'd say we're the ones more technologically-minded of the bunch, and it also bears reminding that Prof. Brandão has always been a strong advocate of Affinity and other tech underdogs (Glyphs.app, with whose developers we keep close contact and whose support we consistently get for our teaching endeavours, also comes to mind). If you want to check us and our work out, you can find us at https://typo.fa.ulisboa.pt/en/about/ .

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  • 3 weeks later...

+1

2020 MacBook Pro 13” M1 | Affinity Designer 2 | Affinity Photo 2 | Affinity Publisher 2

2019 iPad Air 3 10.5” | Affinity Designer for iPad 2 | Affinity Photo for iPad 2 | Affinity Publisher for iPad 2

»A determined man can do more with a rusty screwdriver than a lazy man with a whole toolbox»

 

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+1

I have a big font library of variable fonts I installed this week.  Then I start my work in Affinity and find out none of them work in Affinity Designer.  This means I can't even do basic graphic design tasks that involve any text, making this software completely useless for me. 

I have loved Affinity software.  But this lack of font support is a big problem for me, and most people I suppose.  This is the first time I will have to consider Adobe products out of pure necessity.  This should be a high priority item for the development team...I can't believe people have been asking for variable font support since 2020 and nothing has been done!  Very disappointing.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Voicing my support for this request, not only as a type designer seeking a strong proofing tool when I work on my own fonts, but as a graphic artist and developer who would love to be able to use the hundreds of fonts which I choose to purchase and store only the OTVAR versions of for their smaller sizes, easier font family management, and greater flexibility.

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While I am not suggesting you are not aware of the seriousness of the lack of this feature, I do want to highlight that, at least for me, this is the biggest obstacle why I cannot migrate from Adobe to Affinity fully. Currently I am using the two simultaniously and in many aspects Affinity is on pair or even better than Adobe, until I have to use fonts... I literally cannot edit 80% of my legacy files since I broadly use Google Fonts, Adobe Fonts and some of the baked-in Microsoft fonts like Bahnschrift, which is a variable-only solution (AFAIK). So, if you really want to compete, this feature is a must, and yesterday was too late in my opinion for implementing it. 

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I had to revert back to the terrible Illustrator just because of lack of variable fonts support in Designer. I almost forgot how outdated the Illustrator really is. Sure they have this 'awesome' text-to-vector 'AI' (huge selling point to some), but the UX and the user experience is awful. Adobe even messed up the variable fonts support in the newest InDesign 2024.

So yes, please, make the variable fonts possible across the Affinity Suite. Please!

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  • 2 weeks later...

+1 this is so frustrating! Very often I need to do microadjustments to my text where switching between Thin and ExtraLight just doesn't do - I need the steps between. Many of my fonts just don't work with Affinity. And while I am a huge fan of the software, this really is a big pain-point.

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On 12/15/2023 at 6:41 PM, kt-affinity said:

+1

I have a big font library of variable fonts I installed this week.  Then I start my work in Affinity and find out none of them work in Affinity Designer.  This means I can't even do basic graphic design tasks that involve any text, making this software completely useless for me. 

I have loved Affinity software.  But this lack of font support is a big problem for me, and most people I suppose.  This is the first time I will have to consider Adobe products out of pure necessity.  This should be a high priority item for the development team...I can't believe people have been asking for variable font support since 2020 and nothing has been done!  Very disappointing.

 

I think that is a bit of an over reaction saying "I can't even do basic graphic design tasks that involve any text...". While variable fonts are great and a nice addition, there are still hundreds of thousands of fonts to do all sorts of great and wonderful things. I like the idea of variable fonts but rarely ever use them as most font families cover all my needs.  I do agree it is something that should be added, it will be the future of fonts for sure, but I don't think there is going to be a big tidal wave and everyone stops using traditional fonts as we use them now, it is just going to take a while as new fonts are created and new standards set. 

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10 minutes ago, wonderings said:

I think that is a bit of an over reaction saying "I can't even do basic graphic design tasks that involve any text...". While variable fonts are great and a nice addition, there are still hundreds of thousands of fonts to do all sorts of great and wonderful things. I like the idea of variable fonts but rarely ever use them as most font families cover all my needs.  I do agree it is something that should be added, it will be the future of fonts for sure, but I don't think there is going to be a big tidal wave and everyone stops using traditional fonts as we use them now, it is just going to take a while as new fonts are created and new standards set. 

Sure anybody won't stop using traditional fonts, but right now, I'm working for several clients that use variable fonts. And I'm forced to use this terrible Illustrator for the task. (I haven't realize how outdated the Illustrator really is until I got used to the Designer ;-) )

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