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Best Of

  • Re: Interpolating fonts in FontForge

    I would kindly suggest that you do yourself a favor and buy either FontLab or Glyphs... 
  • Re: Quador – a squarish serif

    Have you considered making the alternate the standard? I like it better anyway.
  • Re: Could this be a new approach to Arabic type design?

    I, for one, prefer having dedicated glyph slots for differently connected forms of a letter. For instance, these are the /fehDotless-ar.medi and /fehDotless-ar.init from my Quinoa Black:


    I've had to apply some trickery to the former to make it look like a circle sitting on top of a continuous baseline, when in fact the counter dips below the baseline's top and the circle is optically adjusted to avoid blotting. For the latter, of course, much of that adjustment was unnecessary or would have been counterproductive on its right side.

    You can't do this sort of thing if you use the same glyph for connecting and non-connecting instances. Note that Quinoa is a geometric typeface whose Arabic has even been called «more progressive» (as in non-traditional) than its Roman. The vast majority of Arabic typefaces are going to be less geometric, more organic and thus even much less amenable to this kind of treatment than Quinoa.
  • Re: Could this be a new approach to Arabic type design?

    With regard to the separation of dots from base letter shapes, this is something we did in the Aldhabi project for Microsoft, and is common in nastaliq and other cascading style fonts where the dots need to move relative to adjacent shapes. However, most software still requires that each Unicode character have a single glyph in the cmap as an initial input, so the separation of base shape and dots has to happen during the OpenType Layout GSUB operations. [Some time ago, I proposed to Microsoft a new cmap format that would map from Unicode codepoint to arbitrary sequences of glyph IDs, but they thought it would be too difficult to get a new cmap format accepted and supported in software.]

    The 'four forms' analysis of Arabic script is mistaken, and really represents a particular mechanical solution to typesetting a simplified model of Arabic. In fact, what there are is two kinds of letters: those that can connect on both sides, and those that only connect on the right. The actual ways in which the letters connect, and hence how many forms they require, depend on the style of the script and what they're connecting to. There is no historical style in which there were only four forms of any given dual-joining letter. So the scheme you describe with connecting element and only two base forms may be appropriate to the style of typeface you are designing — a kind of refinement to the Simplified Arabic model of Yakout —, but not necessarily as a general model of Arabic font technology, which needs to accommodate more styles.

    With regard to ligatures, I would advise to avoid them most of the time, and instead to use contextual variant forms that join in different ways, which are more efficient and more flexible.
  • Re: New Open Source Font by Production Type: Spectral

    Well I noticed the bumpy curves by zooming in on the PDF specimen, which was the reason to compare the outlines on top of each other in the first place.

    I agree that at the intended environment and size it will not be noticeable. But you never know how large somebody will mis-use a text font ;)
  • Re: Recommended Type Design and Typography Books

    This raises an interesting predicament. Some of these books mentioned here are famed and regarded essential reading from a craft knowledge point of view, but near unobtainable as original copies. While I detest reading from a screen, some of those books I would gladly buy as digital copies just to be able to read their contents. Alas, there often isn't any.
  • Re: Sporty all-caps display face

    Firstly, don't leave all the decision making up to us. It's your design, and it's okay to have some doubts now and then, but whether you like it or not, you will have to make the final calls.

    Secondly, in order to make those calls it is vital to look at the letters in context. Try them out in words, see which shapes are harmonious, which are legible, which stand out too much, etc. Then, if you still have doubts, show some samples of words (multiple different words per doubt) here, and see what people think.

    Good luck!

  • Re: Minion Pro Phonetic

    Ugh. Those are some really clumsy IPA letters.
  • Re: Could this be a new approach to Arabic type design?

    So the second mistake is (I think) creating glyphs for letters that are identical. Could we at least think about the fact that we could have had one dotless Beh (which exists btw) and then add dots to that? Couldn't it be easier creating fonts with much less glyphs and probably file size?

    I do that all the time, I’ve currently 4 Arabic fonts built this way and they work with any good enough OpenType implementation (Aref Ruqaa, Mada, Reem Kufi, and Amiri Typewriter, if you want examples to check). I hear that Glyphs makes it even easier (though it will compose the output glyphs, my fonts do this on the fly with GPOS marks).

    As for the other suggestion, like Christian said, that would work only for very simplified fonts. However this is not unheared of either, Ahmed Lakhdar Ghazal designed such a system (in the 60s I think) that is still in use in Morocco:



  • Re: New Open Source Font by Production Type: Spectral

    Especially given that I don't think TD is frequented by the designers, anything posted here is just going to amount to a glorified sub-tweet. Especially because the initial post was made without offering any take in itself, the optics of this is just trolling for negative hot takes.
    I certainly did not have the intention of trolling for negative comments, but genuine analysis and discussion, given so many experts here. I wish I could say I'm in the expert category, but I'm not and am mostly following a lot of the discussions that happen here. Folks like you, Jack, might see things about the typeface family that I wouldn't simply because my eye hasn't been trained to (yet). There's a lot for me to learn from you all.

    And you are right (again), I should have offered my own take, which I will now do. As a whole, I find the shapes a bit distracting. I'm not sure if it's the general letter spacing or my taste for more inky, organic and smooth contours found in many classical serif families. I can see how the design works well for on-screen rendering, but unless the text is very small, the very wedge-shaped serifs and terminals really jump out at me. I guess I would have expected to see more of a slab-serif design, but instead I feel like I'm seeing too many edges and not enough words and letters. I would expect to see such bulky features only in a design that was intended for smaller optical sizes where the eye notices them less, but where they provide geometric clarity and substance.

    Of the weights, I think the Regular and Bold designs work together the best and can imagine those will be used the most. The various stroke thicknesses in the Extra Thin weight seems inconsistent across the glyphs.

    Those are my non-expert thoughts. I'd very much be interested to hear yours.