Lot of creatives have been questioning each other recently "What's an OpenType-SVG font?". The OpenType-SVG (AKA Color Font or Chromatic Font) is a powerful new technology that allows colors, textures, gradients and even transparency features to be embedded into a single font file. With this technology, font characters are no longer restricted by the usual black and white contour shapes.
Although color fonts are in the stage of development by large corporates and there is no one single universal format that is agreed upon to represent this technology, there are two notable and ready-to-use color font formats. The first is “SVG-TTF” which is originally co-developed by Adobe and Mozilla. The second file format is “COLR” which is introduced by Microsoft few years ago. Both of these formats support the multiple color palettes as well as transparency features. According to Adobe, color fonts will appear just like typical fonts in programs’ font menus — but they may not display their full potential, since many programs don’t yet have full support for the color components.
How color fonts are designed?
An SVG color font is basically a font that is composed of multiple layers. Each of these layers features a single color (or a transparency value). To create a color font, a traditional font design program such as FontLab Studio, Fontographer or Glyphs can be used. The output should consist of multiple fonts that can be later overlaid by any external tool for merging fonts in order to compose a functional SVG font. There are also program extensions such as Fontself Maker that allow to create simple color fonts in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator.
How useful are color fonts?
Color Fonts can display more graphic properties which opens the door to a broad spectrum of creative ideas that may have been difficult to achieve in the past. Design wise, this technology can open up many opportunities in graphic design as well as in other fields. For instance, a colorful logotype can be the key ingredient of an attractive brand identity in which all brand elements are linked and united by a single OpenType-SVG font. A color font can easily establish such unity and consistency to the brand due to the fact that it comes with an embedded color palette that remains unchanged in spite of the medium it has been displayed on. The same applies to web design and publication.