OpenType Variable Fonts and CJK

gxjapanesefontsAfter hearing bits and pieces from Japanese font developers over the past year that Apple was looking at stroke font technology again, variable fonts for OpenType was announced today at the ATypI conference. This sounds like a good idea but I wonder: is this, yet another, western font centric development process that doesn’t pan out for Chinese, Japanese and Korean (CJK) fonts?

I already pointed out the limitations of the OpenType outline font format for CJK on mobile platforms. Adobe admits there’s a lot of work to do, so I look forward to see what changes are in store for the OpenType format, and if there is any attempt to address the huge problems of making variable CJK fonts work on the desktop, or even viable for mobile platforms.

We have been down this road before but at least Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Adobe are doing this together. We’ll see if this works out. Or not.

Update: Documentation details on the Microsoft OpenType site. More explanation here.