Exploring Typekit in InDesign CC
[Editor's note: Typekit has been updated in the CC9.2 January release.]
One of the best reasons upgrade to InDesign CC by subscribing to the Adobe Creative Cloud is the ability to try out new features and services as they become available. One which has excited me the most is the new ability to explore downloading Typekit fonts for the Desktop. Typekit fonts from a variety of font foundries have been available through the Creative Cloud for some time for use on websites. It's very exciting to use these fonts for print, PDF and EPUB!
Typekit for the Desktop was announced at the MAX Conference in May, but wasn't available when Adobe Creative Cloud was updated in June. Adobe is now rolling it out slowly, but they're encouraging those who'd like to try it out to apply for early access.
When you are emailed your invitation, you'll download a newer version of the Creative Cloud Desktop application you use to download applications, sync files, and so on. Then the Fonts tab becomes available, and you have options to Browse Fonts on Typekit and Manage Fonts. Under those choices are a list of some of the fonts I've synced from Typekit.
When you click the Browse Fonts on Typekit link, it opens your browser and takes you to the Typekit website (Typekit is now owned by Adobe). It presents a somewhat complex interface for selecting typefaces to download. The most important point to understand is that not all fonts can be downloaded for desktop use (print, PDF, EPUB and tablet). On the right side, the Desktop Font icon is highlighted in green. When you click on that icon, it filters fonts available for desktop download. You can set other filters for type classification and other attributes.
When you click to download a font, or a family of fonts (usually limited to about four styles for desktop fonts at this time), it is "synced" to your computer and shows up in your list of available fonts. It's also available not only in all the Adobe Creative Cloud applications like InDesign CC, Illustrator CC and Photoshop CC, but in other applications on your computer as well. Typekit fonts show up in your font menus just like other fonts.
Limitations on Use
Unfortunately, while a Typekit font looks like any other font, it has some limitations: Officially, it cannot be shared with other people who are not subscribers to the Adobe Creative Cloud (you can also subscribe to the Typekit service by itself).
Here's how the Typekit FAQ on Packaging currently reads:
Q: How will that work when my print bureau requires me to send a packaged version of an inDesign folder?
We want to make it as easy as possible for Typekit users to get their work to print bureaus or anywhere else. We are currently exploring the best way to integrate Typekit desktop fonts with the packaging feature of InDesign and Illustrator.
Under the Hood
Of course, some of us like to look "under the hood" to figure out how this will work. I made use of InDesign to do this. After I placed some type in InDesign created with a Typekit font, I opened Type > Find Font. I selected the font in the list and chose Reveal in Finder. Here's the result—a seemingly blank folder.
Currently the Typekit service puts the font as a hidden file in a special hidden folder (names preceded by a period on the Macintosh are hidden). The path would be somewhat different in Windows.
So here's where it gets strange: What I found is that, if you lose your Internet connection, you still have the Typekit fonts active. But if you quit the Adobe Cloud Desktop application, the fonts disappear! When you reconnect, the fonts will be added back to your computer, and will reappear.
Even stranger: At this time, you can package your Typekit fonts on the Macinotsh, but you cannot in Windows. On a Mac, the hidden Typekit fonts are included in the package (though they're invisible), and can be transferred to someone else who has Adobe Creative Cloud, where they will show up again. They appear in the Document Fonts list as shown below:
Clearly, we're still in a development stage. It's not reasonable to assume that however the Creative Cloud services develop, that Mac computers should be able to do something you can't do in Windows. There needs to be much better ways of handling and managing the fonts. The list of fonts available for download will need to grow. You need to be able to identify which fonts you have installed are Typekit fonts, which currently you cannot.
But in the meantime, if you're an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, I encourage to to explore this exciting new feature.