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  • Re: Two thoughts about Google after Typographics

    Good questions. I was at the lunch hosted by Rob Giampietro (Google Design) and the Google Fonts team. The new push of investment and energy into GF appears to come from GD finally paying attention to the little 20% project hiding in the corner. They noticed that it has a huge influence despite how little attention the company gave it; and they seemed embarrassed (my interpretation only!) by the quality of the site and many of the fonts.

    As for intention: Rob reinforced Google's line that their purpose is to encourage webfont use so the web is faster and more accessible (indexable). But at some point, as webfonts become more and more prevalent, you have to wonder if the main goal shifts to enhancing Google's own products, just as Typekit does for Adobe. 

    I asked if achieving the first goal required that Google pushes users to their own fonts or if maybe they could also use their very popular (and improved) directory to link to other webfont providers, especially the font makers themselves, further promoting webfont use while demonstrating Google's desire to be a good citizen in the type community. Rob agreed that was possible. Currently, only gets this treatment.

    Another change: they appear to be pulling back from the quantity-over-quality MO and will focus on better type that solves specific needs, while continuing their push for more non-Latin designs. They are also investing in improving existing fonts in their library and will stop listing the worst ones.
  • Re: WOFF Only?

    Do you know if .WOFF2 has addressed any of the issues present in the original WOFF?

    With WOFF essentially just being a compression wrapper around .OTF .TFF I believe it's relatively easy to reverse engineer the file to retrieve the font inside.
    I’m repeating myself on this forum, but if you still think anyone has trouble finding illegal downloads for any typeface, I’d suggest you use your search engine of choice and forget about that notion.

    Your audience should be designers and companies paying for type, not people who will not pay for type in the first place out of principle.
  • Re: OEM Licensing and What It Means to You: An Interview with Stuart Sandler of Font Bros.

    My understanding is that compensation is very much based on your provable rates and pricing tables.  This can of course get reduced for various reasons in a court.  But, court is of course the last resort anyway.  Our priority is always to resolve license infringements in the lowest stress way possible for the customer who in almost all cases didn't set out to steal from us. 
  • Re: Generating font weights in fontlab, Italic v Oblique

    I continue to use the term "Oblique" when referring to a slanted roman design, even when it has been redrawn for optical balance.

  • Re: Generating font weights in fontlab, Italic v Oblique

    Weights of fonts are determined by eye. There is no standard "regular" or "bold" or any other weight. The OS2 weight numbers don't have any prescribed mathematical relation to stem width. Think of those numbers more like labels. The values only relate to relative differences in weight as determined by the type designer, used for things like sorting weights in a font menu. The names of weights are conventions and a bit subjective, like color names. 

    Generating new weights by software is possible, but the results are not usually usable as is. You nearly always need to make adjustments to get it to look right. Even more so with italic.

    If you have drawn two or more weights, you can generate in between weights using interpolation. If the differences between the fonts at the end points is not too extreme, the generated fonts may be used with little or no adjustment.
  • Re: Type/Font identification

    Is it okay if I sit here?

    Well, no actually this seat is ta...

    (sits down anyway)
  • Ascender & descenders in Latin type design

    The technique of determining ascenders & descenders has been discussed recently in font critiques. I think it deserves it's own discussion.

    @Hrant H. Papazian mentioned his technique here.

    Here's how I determine my ascender/descender levels.

    I work from the heaviest weight and design my f. I decide if I want to keep the f crossbar aligned with the x-height. I need to decide where it's more important to keep the ascender low or to keep the top of the f from looking crushed. Then I use the f to determine the height of the lowercase L and i. The ascender height doesn't have to align perfectly with the f , it just has to flow nicely. You can come up with all the theories you want but that fat f has plans of its own.

    Next, I work out the g and y. The relationship between these letters is crucial so I design them simultaneously. I go back and forth, making adjustments. When I'm testing, I'm seeing how it looks in words with ascenders. Making sure it feels balanced. Or unbalanced if that's what I'm going for. Then I based the other descenders on what looks best with the g and y. I'm not too concerned about using up valuable descender space because the descenders usually aren't the lowest glyphs. The comma accent and lower circumflex almost always lower than the ascender unless I'm deliberately crushing them. In the lightest weight, there's less pressure on the top of the f and the x-height is usually different. I re-evaluate the ascender and descenders try to maintain the balance established in the heavy weights.

    I'd like to hear how other people determine their ascender/descenders.
  • Re: Recommended Type Design and Typography Books

    I think it is important to bear in mind the context in which Bringhurst's book was initially written, which was that period in the early 1990s when traditional typesetting houses and the accumulated experience that they embodied disappeared pretty much overnight, and 'desktop publishers' floundered about with new tools and limited guidance. I've tried to describe this context to younger typographers, some of whom were infants at the time, and it's clear that they don't really believe how dire things were. They've grown up in a world in which information about any topic was readily available via the Internet, and in which there is a plethora of books, magazines, conferences, online forums, etc. devoted to typography.

    Bringhurst's book also needs to be appreciated as part of a particular response to that context, which involved not only The Elements of Typographic Style but also other publications from Hartley & Marks, notably their edition of Tschichold's The Form of the Book. I'd argue that the programme of revivals that made up an important part of the Adobe Originals collection was part of the same impulse: to establish a baseline founded on a particular tradition of quality book typography.

    Tschichold's own defence of his traditionalist move is worth bearing in mind too: it is easy to teach someone to do competent traditional typography; it is very much more difficult to develop the kind of skills that are needed to produce good 'asymmetric typography'. I think this translates very directly to the situation in the early 1990s, and to the response seen in books like The Elements of Typographic Style.

    I've known a lot of people whose interest in typography was initially inspired by Bringhurst, and who have gone on to do all sorts of good work both within and outside the canons laid out in his book. As for the 'Bible of typography' epithet, that was Zapf's phrase, repeated as part of the jacket blurb of every edition of the book. It also should be taken as indicative of the context in which it was uttered.
  • Re: Quality; or, What Makes a Font Great?

    I always found it essential to start font work with an idea which makes me tick long enough to overcome the (sometimes horrendous) amount of labour and time spending.
  • Re: Curvature Combs

    I found SpeedPunk very helpful toward understanding curve quality. Now that I have an eye for it, I don't use it much anymore. I still use RMX Harmonizer regularly as part of my workflow when drawing glyphs, though.