Exploring Typekit’s New Dynamic Kits

While I won’t repeat here any of the exciting details in Typekit’s recent announcement for East Asia web font support (简体中文, 繁體中文, 日本語, 한국어) that employs dynamic kits, I’d like to seize this opportunity to demonstrate some of the default behavior that this new development exposes in various browsers.

While conventional web fonts might be able to provide some level of advanced typographic functionality, what Typekit has developed provides an experience that is much closer to having the actual fonts on your system, which allows OpenType GPOS (Glyph POSitioning) and GSUB (Glyph SUBstitution) features to function to their full potential, and other aspects of East Asian fonts, such as the Standardized Variants or Ideographic Variation Sequences that can be represented in the Format 14 ‘cmap‘ subtable, are supported as well. It’s all very exciting for me, and this has been a long time coming.

For those using the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer, the glyphs that are shown in the “Text String” column of the table below, whose live text is being displayed via a font that is served via a Typekit dynamic kit, should display correctly (if you click on “Text String”, you can see a screenshot of what the table should look like if the browser supports these features and functionality):

Features/Functionality Text String Code Points/Sequences
kern AWAY U+0041 U+0057 U+0041 U+0059
liga diff U+0064 U+0069 U+0066 U+0066
ccmp ア゙イ゙エ゙オ゙ <30A2 3099> <30A4 3099> <30A8 3099> <30AA 3099>
ccmp 가ᇰ <1100 1161 11F0>
ljmo+vjmo+tjmo 가ퟋ <1100 1161 D7CB>
locl U+66DC (JP) U+66DC (KR) U+66DC (CN) U+66DC (TW)
CJK Compatibility Ideograph 漢字 U+FA47 U+5B57
UVS (Standardized Variant) 漢︀字 <6F22 FE00> U+5B57
UVS (Adobe-Japan1 IVS) 漢󠄁字 <6F22 E0101> U+5B57

The latest version of Chrome—at least as of this writing—does not yet support UVSes (Unicode Variation Sequences), so the first kanji in the last two rows may not display correctly. The first kanji in the row above the last two rows should display correctly, but because it is a CJK Compatibility Ideograph that is susceptible to normalization, if you copy it from the table above then paste it into another application, it is likely to convert into its canonical equivalent, specifically U+6F22 (漢). The sequences that are used in the last two rows are immune to the effects of normalization.

Of course, other OpenType features that are present in the fonts served by a dynamic kit can be used, as long as the browser supports them. The purpose of this particular article was to demonstrate default behavior of Typekit dynamic kits without explicitly turning on particular OpenType features.

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