Discovering Historical Gems

One of the fringe benefits of moving offices—especially when one has accumulated nearly 25 years of font-related material and it is thus not a pain-free exercise—is discovering historical documents, some of which turn out to be true gems. Our team is preparing to move from the Adobe East Tower to the West one, and part of the process is figuring which material to keep, and which to put into File 13. Anyway, I had been recently looking for a particular presentation that I prepared many years ago, and was fortunate enough to come across it while sifting through my accumulated materials.

This particular presentation, entitled Creating Fonts for the Unicode Kanji Set: Problems & Solutions, which I needed to scan into a PDF so that I could share it here, was delivered nearly 22 years ago at the Unicode Implementers’ Workshop 6 in 1994 (equivalent to IUC6). There are two important ideas that I presented:

  • The idea to build Unicode CMap resources for CID-keyed fonts, which initially sparked the development of UCS-2 ones that were prematurely bundled with Adobe Illustrator Version 7.0, and which ultimately led to the development of fully-synchronized UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32 ones, the last of which are used for the development of CID-keyed OpenType/CFF fonts
  • The idea to build a Pan-CJK font whereby a non-zero number of Unicode code points would include multiple glyphs to accommodate language- or region-specific conventions, which ultimately led to the development of the open source Source Han Sans and Noto Sans CJK typeface families

I very much enjoyed re-reading this historical document, which was a blast from the past, and I hope that some of you enjoy reading it, too. It provided to me a good dose of perspective, to realize what had been accomplished in the two decades that followed.


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