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View Full Version : ITC Avant Garde Pro released, but . . .


ktinkel
10-18-2005, 01:17 PM
ITC has released an opentype Pro version of Avant Garde Gothic (http://www.itcfonts.com/fonts/whatsnew_fonts.asp?Newrel=oct_05&disp=avantgardegothic), that iconic ad face from the 1970s. This new font includes custom ligatures and other details that have been missing from most digital versions (as well as some brand new ones). A PDF catalog of the new font is available at the ITC link above.

We can also read criticism of aspects of the OT font’s quality. Type designer Mark Simonson points out in a discussion on Typographica — Ain’t What ITC Used to Be (http://typographi.com/001029.php) — that the new font has adopted mechanically slanted upright characters for the obliques (like those in the Adobe versions of Avant Garde) rather than return to the well-crafted, optically-balanced obliques of the original ITC fonts.

On Typophile (http://typophile.com/node/15556), the discussion takes another turn. The use of computer obliques was in part because Adobe did them that way in early PostScript days, and the assumption was that users would be accustomed to them (!!). Beyond that, Adobe has also defined the OT “Pro” format as matching prior Type 1 fonts, and Agfa Monotype/ITC wanted to comply with that. There were also cost considerations.

BTW, Simonson has a very good description of the difference between mechanically slanted and optically balanced (i.e., designed) obliques on his web site: Fake vs. True Italics (http://www.marksimonson.com/article/128/fake-vs-true-italics). When he criticises the new ITC AG font, he knows whereof he speaks.

Gerry Kowarsky
10-18-2005, 01:55 PM
I'm happy to see that ITC has taken advantage of the possibilities for Avant Garde offered by OpenType, but Simonson's point about the italics is hard to argue with. The difference is easy to see in his example.

ktinkel
10-18-2005, 02:21 PM
I'm happy to see that ITC has taken advantage of the possibilities for Avant Garde offered by OpenType, but Simonson's point about the italics is hard to argue with. The difference is easy to see in his example.I am always frustrated by the continuance — or worse, revival — of something mediocre with justifications that try to blame users. Not sure how large a market there is for authentic 1970s faces, but I would bet that it is a somewhat critical crowd, not casual users.

It is especially troubling in this case because evidently ITC has also stopped licensing to other foundries, so even if someone else would like to restore Avant Garde (or other ITC type designs) to their 70s standard, they cannot.

I thought that Elsner & Flake still offered the AG ligs, but cannot find them at MyFonts.com (and the E&F site is literally impossible to read, with type in the 3-pixel size range and unresponsive to zooming or resizing). Sigh.

Gerry Kowarsky
10-18-2005, 02:31 PM
I think you're right about the critical crowd being the audience they should go for. Why else would there be so much activity at the high end of the font market?

What about the Avant Gardes from Bitstream bundled with Corel Draw? Are they still available, or has the withdrawal affect Corel, too?

ktinkel
10-18-2005, 02:39 PM
I think you're right about the critical crowd being the audience they should go for. Why else would there be so much activity at the high end of the font market?Beats me. They claim it was also a cost-saving decision, but they ought to have retained the URW outlines from the past for many of the characters, no?

Oh, what the heck do I know. Just groping for sense. Nowdays, fonts are hardly the only arena where that is futile! <g>

What about the Avant Gardes from Bitstream bundled with Corel Draw? Are they still available, or has the withdrawal affect Corel, too?Not sure. I do not believe Bitstream continues to sell them, but perhaps the Corel deal still stands. If anyone has a recent version of Draw, perhaps they can tell us.

Paul
10-18-2005, 04:41 PM
I do not believe Bitstream continues to sell them, but perhaps the Corel deal still stands. If anyone has a recent version of Draw, perhaps they can tell us.


Avant Garde BT (book, medium, and demi, with obliques) is included with the Corel Graphics Suite 12.

ktinkel
10-18-2005, 05:33 PM
Avant Garde BT (book, medium, and demi, with obliques) is included with the Corel Graphics Suite 12.Thanks. So we know that! <g>

ktinkel
10-19-2005, 01:02 PM
I'm happy to see that ITC has taken advantage of the possibilities for Avant Garde offered by OpenType, but …I just noticed another odd thing in the promotional PDF.

Look at the layout for ITC Avant Garde Gothic. The one on the PDF cover (attachment at right below) uses the GA ligature and a TH one, but the original ITC marketing materials used more and different ones, including the much nicer TH with a split T, and a similar form for the NT (the new logo just jams the T crossbar into the right stem of N).

For the word GOTHIC, the old one used an overlapping GO lig, the TH, and spliced the I onto the C (not sure that was successful). The letter spacing was tighter, with the bottom of the left leg of the second A in AVANT aligned exactly with the top of the A portion of the GA lig below. This also created a more graceful negative space below the AV.

The arm of the R overlapped the base of the D more. The O of GO actually ran into the TH lig (not sure about that one, either).

I know the original reflects the excesses of the 1970s, but it also demonstrates Lubalin’s gift for making typographic art, and it is a shame to just throw it out. The new one is coarser, somewhat sprawling, and less interesting. IMHO, of course.

Oh, well.

Gerry Kowarsky
10-19-2005, 04:30 PM
The new one is coarser, somewhat sprawling, and less interesting. IMHO, of course.

I can't disagree with you. I guess the value of the OT Pro font will ultimately be determined by how well people use it.

ktinkel
10-19-2005, 04:45 PM
I can't disagree with you. I guess the value of the OT Pro font will ultimately be determined by how well people use it.Yeah. Guess so.

And then we can debate whether anyone but the late Herb Lubalin should use it at all! :rolleyes:

tphinney
10-22-2005, 10:33 AM
On Typophile (http://typophile.com/node/15556), the discussion takes another turn. The use of computer obliques was in part because Adobe did them that way in early PostScript days, and the assumption was that users would be accustomed to them (!!). Beyond that, Adobe has also defined the OT “Pro” format as matching prior Type 1 fonts, and Agfa Monotype/ITC wanted to comply with that. There were also cost considerations.

(Emphasis added)

Urm, that's just not true. Adobe has done the exact opposite with our OpenType fonts (both "Pro" and "Standard"). We make no strong claims of compatibility between our new OpenType fonts and our previous Type 1 versions. In fact, there's a specific case where we redesigned the italic completely for the Pro version: Cronos Pro.

Cheers,

T

ktinkel
10-22-2005, 12:51 PM
Urm, that's just not true. Adobe has done the exact opposite with our OpenType fonts (both "Pro" and "Standard"). We make no strong claims of compatibility between our new OpenType fonts and our previous Type 1 versions. In fact, there's a specific case where we redesigned the italic completely for the Pro version: Cronos Pro.Perhaps not. I got it from comments at Typophile.

So you are saying that Agfa/Monotype is on its own hook, huh? <g>

tphinney
10-23-2005, 05:10 PM
Yup. Entirely their call, can't reasonably pass the blame onto anybody else.

But I can understand their reluctance to do the optically-adjusted obliques. Only type geeks like me and you would notice, while the ligatures and such are much more flashy (= "will sell fonts").

Cheers,

T

ktinkel
10-23-2005, 07:31 PM
Yup. Entirely their call, can't reasonably pass the blame onto anybody else.

But I can understand their reluctance to do the optically-adjusted obliques. Only type geeks like me and you would notice, while the ligatures and such are much more flashy (= "will sell fonts").People prefer to deal with stuff they can count, I have found — more qualitative (or subjective) criteria are much more difficult.

I find the same things with my animals: Dogs can count, but they cannot measure! When I wanted one to lose a little weight she was happy so long as the other one did not get more treats than she did (no matter that hers were kind of under-caloric).

Stephen Coles
10-27-2005, 02:28 AM
The E+F version of Avant Garde Gothic Alternate (http://typophile.com/node/15807) is available from FontShop.

Also mentioned here:
http://www.desktoppublishingforum.com/bb/showthread.php?t=844
http://www.desktoppublishingforum.com/bb/showthread.php?t=297

Stephen Owades
10-31-2005, 04:58 PM
The promotional PDF for ITC Avant Garde Gothic Pro (http://www.itcfonts.com/fonts/pdfs/AGPro.pdf) shows the complete character set. The cover uses alternate "A" and "V" characters, plus "GA" and "DE" ligatures, but none of the other ligatures as shown in your attached scan of the original release. All the other ligatures needed to form the original version ("NT", "GO", "TH', and "IC") are in the list of "alternatives, biforms & logotypes" on page 4 of the promotional PDF. Without having the font, I can't tell which of the substitutions are made by an OpenType-aware applications like InDesign, or what options are presented with this font in InDesign. But the original ITC promotional version can be re-created with the new OpenType Pro font. I can't guess why they didn't choose to do so.

ktinkel
10-31-2005, 05:08 PM
… the original ITC promotional version can be re-created with the new OpenType Pro font. I can't guess why they didn't choose to do so.Me, neither. That was my point.

After all, Allan Haley, who was one of the people in charge of ITC, is now in charge of Agfa Monotype — why on earth didn’t he make sure they did it right?

This is mainly of historical interest. After Herb Lubalin, it is at least arguably likely that no one can use Avant Garde Gothic effectively. But why wouldn’t the inheritors of this company at least give it the old college try!?

Never mind. I will never, as long as I live, understand the way marketing works! :confused:

Norman Hathaway
11-01-2005, 08:33 AM
I'm braced for the Emigre revival now