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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When you are emailed your invitation, you’ll download a newer version of the Creative Cloud Desktop application you use to download applications, sync files, and so on.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.

CC Fonts Tab

CC Fonts Tab

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.

Browsing Typekit

Browsing Typekit

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?

A: The Typekit Terms of Use do not allow copying or moving of font data that has been synced to your desktop computer. Print bureaus will be able to access desktop fonts through their own Creative Cloud or Typekit subscription, or you can create a PDF to transfer for print output. (Note that most existing font license agreements – including that for the Adobe Type Library and Font Folio – do not allow sending font files to third parties, unless that third party has their own license to the same font.)

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.

Exploring Typekit Font

Exploring Typekit Font

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:

Document Fonts

Document Fonts

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.

Steve Werner

Steve Werner

Steve Werner is a trainer, consultant, and co-author (with David Blatner and Christopher Smith) of InDesign for QuarkXPress Users and Moving to InDesign. He has worked in the graphic arts industry for more than 20 years and was the training manager for ten years at Rapid Lasergraphics. He has taught computer graphics classes since 1988.
Steve Werner

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22 Comments on “Exploring Typekit in InDesign CC

  1. Interesting that the Typekit fonts are invisible. Reports are still coming in about whether these can be managed with third-party font management tools (such as Font Explorer and Suitcase Fusion). Adobe has unleashed an incredible opportunity, but also the potential for a lot of headaches. I’m sure we’ll have more IDSecrets posts about this in the months to come.

    • It is a disaster using Suitcase Fusion Version 13.2.3 (103) and the updated Adobe CC premier package.
      To make Typekit recognize fonts that are already turned on permanently, every day when I launch an Adobe CC application, I have to temporarily turn off and turn back on the fonts Typekit doesn’t see at first. This is a frustrating workaround. Sounds like Fusion 5 is no better.

  2. Steve,

    Thanks for the great article. I’m using Typekit and desktop fonts, mostly with InDesign CC. I see the benefits of having access to more fonts, but agree with you that’s still in a development stage. I think you really nailed it when you mentioned you need to be able to identify which fonts you have installed are Typekit fonts, which currently you cannot do.

    James Wamser

  3. Thanks for the overview, Steve. So many questions… I wonder what happens when you create print-ready PDFs for output? Do the fonts embed and will it print properly if the service provider isn’t a CC subscriber?

    • @Marty: typekit fonts embed just like regular fonts in PDF. No, the service provider does not need to have CC to print the PDF. It’s important to remember that typekit fonts really are just regular fonts — they’re just managed (put on your system, hidden, and removed when necessary) by CC.

      • Thanks, David. Typekit for the desktop seems like something to use sparingly for now, at least until more things are figured out.

  4. If you quit the Creative Cloud App or are not able to connect to the Creative Cloud (no internet connection, for example), InDesign will tell you “The document uses one or more fonts which are not currently available on your system…”.

    You don’t need to be connected to the internet (24-7) to use Creative Cloud Apps, but you do to use fonts via Typekit.

    One way around this is to Package…your job, since the documents fonts folder will contain the fonts, even though like David said, the fonts synced via Typekit are invisible.

    • James, That is not my experience. I turned off wifi on my MacBook and was able to use the fonts and I would not count on the packaging feature to continue working.

      I’ll stand to be corrected but that appears to be a bug since those fonts were never intended to be packaged or even found. You can’t package them on Windows.

  5. This is great, but does anyone know if the final version will support auto activation? ATM there’s no way to tell what you’ve used from Type Kit unless you click the more info panel and check the path.

  6. Even though I have InDesign CC, I have an older iMac, running a on a very stable Mac OS 10.6.8.

    I have found out that the Typekit sync requires the Creative Cloud app, which is not available for my system. The app is only available on Mac OS X 10.7 and above. Disappointed.

    • I too have Snow Leopard 10.6.8 on an early 2009 Macbook Pro, and have been reluctant to upgrade to Mountain Lion. Some of the big advantages of Mountain Lion are not ones we can even use on older hardware (airdrop, mirroring), and I’ve read so many reports of high operating temps, annoyances with autosave, random slowdowns, reduced battery life, etc. that I’m simply not willing to give up the stability of Snow Leopard to have to deal with a slew of new OS issues. I’ll just wait till I’m forced to buy a new machine which will have the new OS on it.

      I’m disappointed not to have access to Typekit for desktop with my new Creative Cloud subscription, but fortunately, I have a little Samsung machine running Windows 8, on which can use Typekit without problems.

      ***Side note: I was THRILLED to find out from Adobe tech support that with each Creative Cloud license, you can install the apps on 2 different machines, regardless of OS. So I installed one on my Snow Leopard laptop, and one on my Windows 8 laptop. All those cross-grade headaches are a thing of the past with Creative Cloud. This is a HUGE relief to me have a second design machine in the wings, should my main machine go down.

      (I was also happy with how painless the installations were on both OSX and Windows. I have had lots of installation problems over the years with Adobe products.)

  7. @John, is there any reason you’re not upgrading to Mountain Lion (Mac OS X 10.8)? It’s now very stable. Increasingly, you’ll find that other applications won’t support 10.6.8. I’d recommend an upgrade. Upgrading isn’t expensive.

  8. After reading Adobe’s promotional copy above, the take away on Typekit is that the interface is poor and you can’t use the fonts in a normal manner if you normally send them to a service bureau. At least not without everyone involved getting on CC. Is that about right?

    • Nope. You still may not share the fonts with others. However, in the case of sending a document to a service provider (such as a printer), it is usually not necessary because if you send them a CC file then they have to have CC, and if they have CC, then they have access to all the typekit fonts. So they open your file, it says “you need such-and-such font” they say OK, and it automatically downloads it and installs it on their system.

  9. I’m using InDesign CC 2017 version and I have to review many files coming form students.
    It happened many times where even though the fonts were synced, InDesign – Font kit does not recognize it.
    It still indicates that fonts are missing, and it shows errors in the preflight profile and when I try to replace, it even increase the number of errors!!
    I asked the IT guys about this, they did severals tests, but no clue how to solve this problem!
    Very frustrating!

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