Adobe Drops Fonts, Leaves Users Stranded
We wish this were one of our infamous April Fool’s Day jokes, but it’s not. At some point in the near past, sometime after InDesign CC was released, Adobe quietly stopped installing almost all the fonts that used to come with the program. Mike wrote that up here. At a time when Adobe has repeatedly announced its intentions to provide more robust typographic features and support customers better, we have to say that in our opinion, this move is a big mistake.
We realized the impact of this decision just recently, when Anne-Marie found that at some of her training engagements, students were flummoxed about missing font alerts in sample files that she had used trouble-free for years. The common denominator was that the client companies were new to Adobe products, or the students were in on-site training labs, where hard drive images were installed fresh for every class.
Here’s the problem: If you install InDesign CS6 (or you’ve been using any earlier version of InDesign), you get a wide array of fonts, such as Chaparral, Caslon, Minion Pro, and a whole bunch of language-specific fonts (for Arabic, Korean, and so on). But if you do a clean install of InDesign CC, on a machine that never had Adobe software on it before, you’ll get:
- Minion Pro Regular
- Myriad Pro Regular, Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic
- Letter Gothic Regular, Slanted, Bold, and Bold Slanted
- and a bunch of language-specific fonts
In other words, Adobe basically just gives you the fewest fonts they possibly could to launch the application.
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Look, we don’t need Giddyup and Birch. But come on… not even providing the italic, bold, and bold italic fonts from Minion Pro?! That’s unbelievable.
We all know that one of InDesign’s biggest strengths is its ability to create elegant typography. But Adobe appears to be telling us to do that with Minion Pro Regular, four faces of Myriad Pro, and Letter Gothic. That ain’t gonna happen.
To be fair, we fully acknowledge that a CC subscription includes access to more fonts (via Typekit syncing) than you ever used to get with InDesign. And you can read Adobe’s position at their Creative Cloud Fonts FAQ. It boils down to “just sync the fonts you want from Typekit.” But there are big problems with this approach:
- A surprisingly large number of InDesign users (especially students and people working in larger companies) can’t grab Typekit fonts whenever they feel like it. As Claudia McCue wrote recently: “In the classes I teach for the continuing ed arm of a local university, we’re going to be fontless when the IT guy wipes out the computers before the fall session and does a fresh install. Instructors do not have access to the Adobe ID/password used to set up the computers, and never will, so no TypeKit. Guess the students will just have to get used to missing font alerts and the festive Pepto-Bismol pink highlighting that follows.”
- Trainers need to create documents that new users can open without horrible missing fonts errors. For example, even Adobe’s own Classroom in a Book templates had to be reworked and dumbed down to deal with the lack of fonts.
- InDesign users make use of a lot of fonts. We’re designers. Forcing us to go download even basic, core fonts literally one at a time from Typekit is like telling us that we’re PowerPoint users.
- Not everyone has access to Typekit. If we can’t access the internet, or we’re behind a firewall that blocks our use of Typekit, then Adobe’s policy means we literally cannot set type in Minion Pro Italic. WTH?!
You might say, “you can download all those fonts in other ways” (as Mike’s article described). But that, too, misses the point: Yes, there are always workarounds, but 90% of users aren’t going to know about them, much less attempt them. We’re not concerned about experts or others “in the know,” We’re concerned about beginners and people who don’t have the flexibility that we freelancers often do.
We have been Creative Cloud supporters since the beginning, but this is an alarming decision that shows either a lack of understanding or concern for the impact it has on both loyal customers and new folks just getting started with InDesign.
If there’s anyone from Adobe out there reading this, we strongly encourage you to rethink this, and at least supply a basic set of professional OpenType fonts spanning the fundamental categories of font designs:
- The full Minion Pro family [classical serif design]
- Myriad Pro, including Semibold and Condensed! [sans serif]
- Chaparral Pro family [slab]
- A script face (perhaps Bickham or Caflisch Script)
- Tekton Pro [handwritten font]
- Zapf Dingbats [a quality pi or dingbat font]