Skia Font variations?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Warren Oates, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. Warren Oates

    Warren Oates Guest

    Skia has been an Apple typeface since System 7.5. It's a good-looking
    font, and the oul' Woman likes to work with it.

    In our systems (we have 10.7.x and 10.8.x), with Apple programs like
    TextEdit and Stickies (anything with "Show Fonts" I guess), there are 9
    variations of it: things like "Regular Light Extended" and so on.

    The problem is that non-Apple programs don't see the variations, only
    the standard Skia Regular.

    The non-Apple stuff that we want to use it with are InDesign and MS
    Word. I tried it with Eddie, just to see, and Eddie doesn't see it
    either. I haven't tried it out on Linux ...

    I've tried pasting it in as RTF, and InDesign claims that it can't find
    "Skia-Regular-Black-Extended" and so on.

    I've looked around teh Interwebz and can't find a solution, and maybe
    there's something I'm missing.

    Anyone hereabouts run into this and fixed it?

    Warren Oates, Jun 6, 2013
    1. Advertisements

  2. This will only be a little help I'm afraid. I have the 10 variant Skia
    here. Font Book says it is version 6.1d3e1. I can reproduce your
    problem in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (CS3). My InDesign crashes
    as soon as I try to insert any text, (I had not touched it for years
    and I can't be bothered trying to make it work again) and I binned all
    of Microsoft Office years ago. I can't get XeTeX to behave properly
    with Skia; it will only let me specify Skia and Skia Regular in
    fontspec and if I boldface some Skia text it sets it a different font,
    so that looks like the same problem. OmniGraffle sees all the variants
    OK however, so that is a counter example to "only Apple apps work".

    I went looking for other ttf fonts that misbehaved like Skia, but could
    not find any in a small sample I tried before getting bored.

    We are not alone, I found this from 2000 (no help either, but
    Elliott Roper, Jun 6, 2013
    1. Advertisements

  3. Warren Oates

    Warren Oates Guest

    Thanks for the response. I found the same forum thread that you did. Oh
    well -- she'll have to use a different font I guess.
    Warren Oates, Jun 6, 2013
  4. Warren Oates

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    On the otherhand all ten of the Skia faces work fine (at least for me)
    in Pages. Perhaps instead of a different font she might consider a
    different program!
    TaliesinSoft, Jun 6, 2013
  5. Warren Oates

    Warren Oates Guest

    Is Pages as powerful as InDesign?
    Warren Oates, Jun 6, 2013
  6. Not all non-Apple stuff suffers from this problem. BBEdit uses the
    standard system font palette and does show all of Skia's variants. Nisus
    Writer Pro uses its own Character palette but also sees all the Skia

    Microsoft and Adobe have a history of doing things their own way rather
    than using the tools that Apple provides, and very small developers tend
    not to update things until Apple finally pulls the plug on the old API
    they were using.
    Neill Massello, Jun 7, 2013
  7. Warren Oates

    TaliesinSoft Guest

    That depends on just what it is that you are trying to accomplish. An
    analogy would be comparing a Lamborgini with a Chevrolet in terms of
    speed. if you are planning to drive within a 70 mph speed limit is
    there a meaningful difference?
    TaliesinSoft, Jun 7, 2013
  8. Warren Oates

    Warren Oates Guest

    Herself has been using InDesign for years; she went through Quark and
    Pagemaker. For me, Pages would be to InDesign as iPhoto is to Photoshop,
    or as iMovie is to FCP(any version). She does a lot of serious pre-press
    Warren Oates, Jun 7, 2013
  9. Warren Oates

    Mitch Bujard Guest

    Interesting puzzle…

    Font Book does show all the styles, and these are not simple
    computerized extrapolations of the original style. Pages shows all the
    variations as well. The separate fonts must be somewhere, but they are
    not seen by regular tools.

    I looked into the system (Library/Fonts) for the Skia font, opened it
    with Fontographer, and found no variation whatsoever. Normally, TTF
    fonts come as one font file for each style (such as Bold and Italic).
    There must be something, however, because the font file is
    exceptionnaly big for one style. I bet the extra fonts are hidden in
    there, but meant not to be accessible.

    More interesting yet… I was able to open Skia.ttf in Windows Fontlab.
    Same as Fontographer, one font only. Seems fine enough, but Windows
    itself says the font is not valid.

    I bet Apple wanted to keep the font for itself, as well as all the
    _very nice indeed_ stylistic variations.

    Apple mysteries are infinite ;^)
    Mitch Bujard, Jul 3, 2013
  10. Warren Oates

    Warren Oates Guest

    They all show up as available in Final Cut Pro's titling "plug in." It's
    not a great title font, though.
    Warren Oates, Jul 3, 2013
  11. Warren Oates

    klakster Guest

    Yes. This may be the reason Skia (Orig designed in 1993 under OS 7.5) displays only as one font style outside cocoa programs:

    Post Source:


    " Re: Skia.ttf Apple font mystery and hidden design
    « Reply #1 on: 2013-07-05, 14:09:17 »

    Skia was designed to showcase some QuickDraw GX (the precursor of ATSUI) technologies which were intended to compete with Adobe's multiple master format. The different styles are governed by the CVT variation table (cvar) which is ATSUI-specific and will only be available on a mac (and even then only in cocoa applications). There's only a single set of outlines present in the font which is what you will see when you open the file in any font editor.


    Hope this explains the issue-

    klakster, Aug 26, 2013
  12. Warren Oates

    klakster Guest


    I haven’t found a font quite like Skia: it’s a wonderful balance of primitive (and borderline playful), yet seriously designed. It’s a unique font in more ways than the one mentioned here (only one outline style showingwithin most non-cocoa Apple programs).

    Because of the above, the following fonts are the closest substitutes I’ve found to Skia (in sensibility and style). They break down into two categories:

    Caps and Small Cap font substitutes (for Skia Black):
    Heartwood Display SSI (Caps)
    Hoffmann Black titling FBI (Caps)
    Jungle Fever SC (Small Caps)

    Upper and lower case font substitutes:
    Clair FSI
    Ryder Gothic Pro RR
    Frutiger Next LT
    Gill Sans Std (esp. Bold and above styles)
    Fairway (Alan Meeks) (esp. Bold and above styles)
    Pluto Sans HVD
    Deco Donut Fat (Just My Type)
    Humanist 521 BT (esp. Bold and above wts.)

    Sources: Taking screen shots of different Skia styles in Font Book (Then cut & pasting select upper & lower letters in “Preview”) similar fonts were discovered in “Find My Font” Application as well as at a couple web site search programs: “What the Font?” at, and “What Fontis” at

    Hope this is of some consolation grappling with the restrictions of Skia-

    klakster, Aug 26, 2013
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.