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Variable Fonts in InDesign

InDesign Magazine Issue 128 coverThis article appeared in Issue 128 of InDesign Magazine.

A concise Q&A guide to navigating InDesign 2020’s newest tool for type.

Graphic design control freaks rejoice! While variable fonts have been supported in Illustrator and Photoshop for the past year, we now get to use them in InDesign 2020! In this article, I’ll explain what variable fonts are, what they’re not, and how to leverage this awesome and sometimes controversial new technology.

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Scott Citron is a New York City-based designer and consultant. He specializes in fine books, magazines, advertising, and corporate identity systems. You can learn more about his work at
  • Lindsey Martin says:

    Scott, thanks for writing this article and for the useful links included. I very much hope this technology gains widespread use and continued support; its application to the web makes me optimistic that it will do so.

  • Phillip Maas says:

    I also found the article helpful and informative. One thing that immediately springs to mind though, is that with the increased range of choices – now in fonts even – comes the increasing sense of paralysis for less stylistically-aware users. True, you love the flexibility when you want it, but there’s an argument for limited choice. Being not so much a visual creative, I really appreciate it when someone who is, sets forth what is the best font to go with, or style etc, especially now that you’re saying new fonts are making their way to the fore. Which of them might become the industry standard?. In part, that’s why Calibri took off I think. Company-who-will-not-be-named put it in their WP as a pleasant, standard go-to, and it took off. Maybe writers for this mag might consider doing the same. Templates, instructions on what’s the accepted-in-the-industry standard etc go a long way to help users like me, who have to focus their learning in other areas.

    • Scott Citron says:

      Phillip, I completely agree. Sometimes fewer choices is better than more. At first, having 90-some font weights sounds great in Minion Variable Pro. But at a certain point you realize that 12 or 24 variations is enough, right? As they say, sometimes less is more.

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