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          [14]Customizing Color Fonts on the Web
          May 25, 2022
          by Myles C. Maxfield and David Jonathan Ross
          [15]@Litherum and [16]@djrrb
          Color fonts provide a way to add richness to your designs without
          sacrificing any of the many benefits of using plain text. Regardless
          of how decorative a color font is, the underlying text is always
          searchable, copy/paste-able, scalable, translatable, and compatible
          with screen readers.
          WebKit now supports CSS [17]@font-palette-values. With this at-rule,
          you can access predefined color palettes provided by the font
          designer, and you can customize them in order to make the color font a
          perfect match for the colors in your designs.
          ONCE upon a time in the middle of winter, when the flakes of snow were
          falling like feathers from the clouds, a Queen sat at her palace
          window, which had an ebony black frame, stitching her husband’s
          shirts. While she was thus engaged and looking out at the snow she
          pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell upon the snow. Now
          the red looked so well upon the white that she thought to herself,
          “Oh, that I had a child as white as this snow, as red as this blood,
          and as black as the wood of this frame!” Soon afterwards a little
          daughter came to her, who was as white as snow, and with cheeks as red
          as blood, and with hair as black as ebony, and from this she was named
          “Snow-White.” And at the same time her mother died.
          THIS answer so angered the Queen that she became quite yellow with
          envy. From that hour, whenever she saw Snow-White, her heart was
          hardened against her, and she hated the little girl. Her envy and
          jealousy increased so that she had no rest day or night, and she said
          to a Huntsman, “Take the child away into the forest. I will never look
          upon her again. You must kill her, and bring me her heart and tongue
          for a token.” The Huntsman listened and took the maiden away, but when
          he drew out his knife to kill her, she began to cry, saying, “Ah, dear
          Huntsman, give me my life! I will run into the wild forest, and never
          come home again.”
          You can try out @font-palette-values today in Safari 15.4 or later.
          Color palettes work great in WebKit with the COLRv0 font file format,
          and we are investigating other formats like [18]SVG.
          Background on the font above
          The font in this demo is a [19]revival of Bradley, a “fairytale
          blackletter” originally released in 1895. The typeface came with a
          special set of [20]ornate Initial caps meant for drop caps ([21]see
          also ::initial-letter) and other titling uses, which David [22]digitized
          this past December for his [23]Font of the Month Club, just in time
          for the holidays.
          Each glyph is made up of a handful of distinct layers (letterform,
          backdrop, ornate linework, letter outline, and border). Making the
          layers different-yet-coordinated colors adds depth to the design,
          taking it beyond what a simple foreground/background can provide. It
          felt like the perfect use case for a color font with multiple color
          palettes, and a unique opportunity for a 127-year-old font to play a
          small part in an emerging font technology.
          Palettes in CSS
          Fonts can define one or more of their own color palettes inside the
          [24]CPAL table inside the font file. The palettes are ordered, and so
          they are identified by index. For example, a font might define color
          palette #3 that uses blues and greens, but another palette #5 might
          use reds and oranges. Colors within a palette inside the font are also
          identified by index – all palettes contain the same number of colors
          within themselves.
          These color palettes can be tweaked or overridden in CSS using
          font-palette-values. An example looks like this:
          @font-palette-values --lilac-blossom {
              font-family: "Bradley Initials DJR Web";
              base-palette: 7;
              override-colors: 0 #fff, 1 #F3B0EB;
          This example means “Make a color palette named Lilac Blossom, that,
          when applied to Bradley Initials DJR Web, is just like the 7th palette
          in the font, but overrides color #0 in that palette to be white, and
          color #1 in the palette to be #F3B0EB.” If you don’t want to override
          any colors, that’s no problem – just delete the entire override-colors
          You can then apply this color palette by simply supplying it to the
          font-palette property like this:
          font-palette: --lilac-blossom;   
          The Round Table
          Progressive Enhancement
          If you’re using an older version of Safari, or a different browser
          which doesn’t understand the font-palette property, it will render the
          default (0th) color palette in the font. Here’s what the above example
          would look like in such a browser:
          The Round Table
          If the fallback behavior is undesirable for your particular font, you
          can detect browsers that understand CSS color palettes in your
          stylesheet by using the @supports media query, like so:
          @supports (font-palette: --lilac-blossom) {
              .lilacblossom {
                  font-palette: --lilac-blossom;
          @font-palette-values --lilac-blossom {
              font-family: "Bradley Initials DJR Web";
              base-palette: 7;
              override-colors: 0 #fff, 1 #F3B0EB;
          Dark Mode
          Not all color palettes are clearly visible on all backgrounds. Without
          color fonts, the color used to render text was entirely determined by
          the CSS author, but now that fonts can have color palettes defined
          inside them, it’s up to CSS authors to pick or create a color palette
          that is legible on the background it’s being rendered on. This can be
          particularly tricky when font fallback occurs, or when the user has
          blocked some fonts from loading.
          Fonts such as Bradley Initials DJR Web have an extra tool for helping
          with this, though. Fonts [25]can indicate that certain palettes inside
          them are usable with light backgrounds or usable with dark
          backgrounds, and these palettes are hooked up to the font-palette
          property. You don’t even have to use @font-palette-values!
          So, if you want to use a color palette on a dark background, you can
          simply say font-palette: dark, like this:
          And the same thing for a light background: font-palette: light:
          Because the font-palette property has no effect on non-color fonts,
          it’s safe to set it in conjunction with the prefers-color-scheme media
          query, like this:
          @media (prefers-color-scheme: dark) {
              :root {
                  background: black;
                  color: white;
                  font-palette: dark;
          Because @font-palette-values blocks are scoped to a specific font, you
          can make multiple of them that share a name. This is really powerful –
          it means you can define a single color palette name, and have it
          applied differently to whatever font happens to be rendered with it.
          Here’s an example:
          @font-palette-values --lilac-blossom {
              font-family: "Bradley Initials DJR Web";
              base-palette: 1;
          @font-palette-values --lilac-blossom {
              font-family: "Megabase";
              base-palette: 2;
          <div style="font-palette: --lilac-blossom;">
              <div style="font-family: 'Bradley Initials DJR Web';">Pizza is amazing!</div>
              <div style="font-family: 'Megabase Web';">Is there any food better than pizza?</div>
          This will have Bradley Initials DJR Web’s Lilac Blossom palette
          applied to Bradley Initials DJR Web, and Megabase’s Lilac Blossom
          palette applied to Megabase. And you only had to specify the
          font-palette property once!
          Contextual color
          In addition to pulling colors from palettes, some color fonts set
          aside special shapes that are connected to the foreground color of the
          current element. This makes them extra flexible, but it also means
          that these shapes operate independently from font-palette. In these
          cases, you can simply use the color property to change their color,
          like in this demo using [26]Megabase.
          <div style="font-family: 'Megabase Web';">
              <div style="color: black;">They were just pushed into space.</div>
              <div style="color: blue;">As much as I care about you.</div>
          They were just pushed into space.
          As much as I care about you.
          Of course, with power comes responsibility; just because you can
          change colors, doesn’t mean you always should. Often the colors in a
          palette are coordinated to harmonize aesthetically, so it’s good to
          have a sense of how they are meant to relate to one another. You can
          look at the font’s predefined color palettes to see how the font
          designer assigned the roles for each color in the palette, [27]and
          tweak accordingly.
          It is also important to choose colors that contrast strongly against
          the background in order to [28]keep your text readable and your
          webpage accessible. Colors in the palette that are used to form the
          base of the letters should typically “pop” against the background,
          while supporting layers like shadows, outlines, and decorative
          elements might contrast less in order to keep them from overpowering
          the letterforms.
          Color fonts are a great improvement over graphic images, because they
          work by default with screen readers, copy/paste, and find-in-page.
          Also, they gracefully show fallback text if the font somehow fails to
          load, and they reflow if the browser window resizes. Not only that,
          color fonts are more flexible than graphic images, because they can
          incorporate the foreground color of the element using them into the
          design of the font.
          Color fonts are not meant to take the place of single-color fonts. But
          used in moderation, at a big enough size in the right circumstance,
          they can be the perfect icing on the cake!
          You can contact Myles C. Maxfield at [29]mmaxfield@apple.com or [15]@Litherum,
          and you can contact David Jonathan Ross at [30]david@djr.com or [16]@djrrb,
          and you can find David’s work at [31]djr.com. [32]NextRelease Notes
          for Safari Technology Preview 146Learn more[33]PreviouslyNew WebKit
          Features in Safari 15.5Learn more
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