At least 10 years ago I licensed Optima (I still have the 3.5 inch installation "floppy") and still use it as my primary font--except for an application like InDesign where I must create a PDF file for a Print on Demand vendor. Then all output is gibberish, and I get a message from Acrobat X Pro that some fonts were not rendered correctly. Same problem exists with a simple Word document when exported as a PDF. This worked properly for many years, but no longer. Short of licensing the font again, is there anything I can do?
Optima was one of at least two different families of Adobe typefaces (can't remember offhand what the other one was) that were problematic in their initial Type 1 release because each font included two different versions in the same font file, one designed and drawn for low-resolution laser printers like the Apple LaseWriter family of printers and a higher-resolution version for Linotronic Imagesetters.
I have the same 3.5" floppy version and was rather frustrated that Adobe wouldn't even give me a discount on their bug-free OpenType version, let alone a free upgrade.
What I ended up doing was opening the font file in Fontographer and re-saving it under a new name, Zoptimum (for Zapf Optima) and used it for years on my LWII printers.
I wouldn't recommend using just a fresh copy of the original files on that floppy. The problems manifest themselves in a variety of ways.
In the meantime I have become disabled and retired, so I can't justify or afford to buy the OpenType version at full price now, but for anybody in a production environment, Optima is versatile and useful enough to warrant at least considering buying the new version.
That was a particularly irritating experience for me at the time, as in effect Adobe was telling me, "yes, what we sold you was a product we now consider to be defective, but we won't make you whole."
Not what I would call a classy act on Adobe's part.
Wo Tai Lao Le
Message was edited by: Tai Lao
If you have Optima on a diskette, it was certainly licensed well over ten years ago. I believe that we haven't licensed any fonts on diskettes for close to 15 years.
As described by Tai Lao, Optima was one of a very few Type 1 fonts released by Adobe that had multiple outlines in it, the choice at rendering time being dependent upon the device resolution. There was nothing in the implementation of those fonts that did violate the Type 1 font specification - they were not “defective” in any way. However, due to various rendering issues and problems with non-Adobe renderers, those fonts were replaced with versions with only a single outline. The replacement of that old version of Optima with a new, simplified version of Optima occurred nearly 20 years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that we did provide replacements at that time for registered licensees of Optima who experienced any issues.
If you licensed the font directly from Adobe anywhere near the time frame you mention, you definitely would not have received the older font version. If you received your font diskette from someone else or some third party vendor in that time frame, all bets are off.
I am not personally aware of any changes that occurred either in any of Adobe's type renderers or other libraries used in InDesign or Acrobat that would have yielded the problems you are noting (both from PDF exported from InDesign and from Microsoft Word formatted with this old copy of Optima). I assume that you are able to edit the original document files without a problem on screen?
I would be interested in seeing copies of sample PDF files exhibiting the problem to make sure that there isn't something in the latest version of Acrobat that is rejecting a valid font. (My e-mail address is <email@example.com>).
Going forward, we do strongly recommend use of the OpenType versions of the older Adobe fonts, especially when dealing with applications that are really OpenType-centric such as InDesign and Illustrator. Even the latest version of Microsoft Office applications really work much better with OpenType and can take advantage of some of the OpenType features.
It's great to see a post by the Big Adobe Bear himself. It's been a long time, Dov!
Dov Isaacs wrote:
…due to various rendering issues and problems with non-Adobe renderers, those fonts were replaced with versions with only a single outline. The replacement of that old version of Optima with a new, simplified version of Optima occurred nearly 20 years ago. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that we did provide replacements at that time for registered licensees of Optima who experienced any issues…
I wish that had been the case, Dov, but at the time (yes, decades ago) I was told by Adobe Customer Service that Adobe was not providing a replacement or even a discount for individual licensees of Optima, only for buyers of the entire Adobe Font Folio. They claimed they had no way of verifying individual font purchases, as opposed to applications. (I had my sales receipt from MacConnection and the original floppy.) Very irritating, to say the least.
It was way before customer and tech service were outsourced to India, as I remember the very apologetic young guy telling me at the time that they were located somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, either Oregon or Washington.
The problem with Optima in my case was that it became incompatible with the then-new version 4.5.1 of ATM Deluxe, a quintessentially Adobe product.
Here are my contemporary notes on the issue:
RGC (my initials) created the Zoptimum family of PS fonts on 02/14/2000 in order to work around the incompatibility of Optima with the new version of ATM Deluxe (4.5.1), which reports Optima as “damaged”—apparently due the early Optima package's two versions of the outline font [low-res and hi-res] within a single outline printer font file.
Zoptimum is the low-res (LW II) version of Hermann Zapf's Optima converted in Fontographer.
Anyway, good to hear from you, Dov.
Wo Tai Lao Le
I appreciate your prompt and thorough response. I have attached the PDF
file that would not render the font correctly.
I would like to clear up a few other open matters raised in your email:
I said I had licensed the font at least ten years ago. I did not mean to
try to fudge the timing--it may have been 15 years, or more. I personally
licensed (and registered) both Optima and Palatino at the time. (And I have
subsequently licensed Americana, Tiepolo and Nofret from Adobe.) If you
want to check you will see that I have also licensed and registered several
versions of PageMaker and InDesign. I am reasonably sure that I had no
problem using Optima in PageMaker, but I cannot be certain of that. My
impression is that the rendering problem showed up several years ago,
perhaps about the time I switched from PageMaker 6.5 to InDesign.
To put this in context, I am not a graphic designer; I am an architectural
historian who publishes a book every year or so and insists on control of
the page layout. My fascination with typography goes back to the late 1970s
when I directed the development of a new multi-volume encyclopedia
(Academic American) and used the combination of Palatino and Optima in a
ragged-right layout that was unprecedented in encyclopedias at the time. I
still like that association and would continue it in my current publishing
work if I could get Optima to work.
Thank you again for your attention to the matter.
Frank L Greenagel
…I have attached the PDF file that would not render the font correctly…
If you attached it to an email reply to the forum, be advised that nobody will see it, including Dov. You need to send it directly to Dov at the email he provided. Attachments sent to the forum via email simply disappear into cyberspace.
Wo Tai Lao Le