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Best Of

  • Re: Optical correction in Arabic monoline

    Personally, at this weight, I would go for something between the 2nd and 3rd options, so maybe 76 on the vertical. But of the three presented, the third looks best.

    I think this kind of optical correction addresses a mixture of perceptual bias—a tendency of a person familiar with the norms stroke modulation in the script to perceive monoline as unbalanced—and actual optics. It's difficult to disentangle these.

    I know, as someone familiar with the modulation patterns of a lot of different scripts, that my perceptual biases are not linked to my native script (Latin); that is to say, how I perceive monoline Arabic is affected by my experience of Arabic, not by the modulation of Latin.
  • Re: Cantarell redesign

    This is good, and mostly faithful to Cantarell’s personality, but I think it’s definitely too much of a departure from the original. I remember seeing the changes between versions 0.0.24 and 0.0.25 last year and thinking, “Why is Cantarell turning into Source Sans Pro?” and this redraw takes it even further. Cantarell really grew on me (at small sizes on a low-res screen) when I was using GNOME as my everyday desktop environment, and its original personality is its raison d’être. If it’s going to become more and more like Source Sans, GNOME should just switch to Source Sans outright and save you all the work.

    In particular, the sharp increase in the roundness of the curves/bowls in a, b, d, f, g, j, p, q, and 5 is too much of a difference. A few other things that seem like change for change’s sake are the altered stem-to-leg design of K/k, the slenderized quote marks, and the five-pointed asterisk.

    I think the goal of the Cantarell redraw should be to make it a better version of itself—not to morph it into a whole other sans.

  • Re: Brain Sees Words As Pictures

    You'll need to define which version of “empiricism” you mean before anybody can disagree. But clearly personal and individual experience is rather limited compared to experimental method, and when one is talking about how the brain works, it is awfully easy to fool oneself and hard to do double-blind experiments on oneself. (Let alone have n much greater than 1.)

  • Old neon signage in Germany

    Those of you who fancy old commercial neon signs in the city may enjoy watching this theme galery.
    The majority of these advertisements have vanished, however, a few survived and have even been faithfully restored.

  • Re: Aspects of quality for a typeface

    It’s tricky. Nearly all of the aspects mentioned here can be intentionally done differently and still make a good font.

    E.g. FF Trixie, the original distressed typewriter font.
    • Quality of glyph outlines = horrible
    • Quality of spacing = monospaced, what do you expect?
    • Quality of kerning = kerning is nonexistent
    The font would fail by these criteria, still it is an important milestone for OpenType fonts.

    Not to say that quality criteria don’t matter, but it’s the old saying, if you know the rules you can break them.

    In my opinion, ligatures and alternates are overrated. Type designers (including myself) can get carried away adding them. Most users will never find the alternates. Ligatures (esp. ones that are active by default) can do more harm than good if they are added to designs that don’t really need them.
  • Re: Tesserae — an experiment in modular variable fonts

    It was way easier than I expected.
  • Re: Aspects of quality for a typeface

    Hard to measure all typefaces with one rule. A brilliant text face is difficult to compare to an excellent display face.
    Features and range of weights are much overrated, i.m.h.o., whereas drawing and spacing are far too often underestimated by fontists.
    Idea and concept I would rather leave aside here because that you can’t measure objectively.

    I would distinguish essential requirements from extras and individual aspects.

    1. Essentials
    • Quality of glyph outlines (drawing)
    • Quality of spacing (width and sidebearings)
    • Quality of kerning
    • Character coverage

    2. Extras
    • Font family concept (Italics, weights, widths, others)
    • Languages supported (apart from the usual suspects)
    • Figure sets and fractions
    • Ligatures
    • Variant glyphs and alternate sets
    • symbols and ornaments

    In my opinion, a basically well crafted single font with 400 glyphs and no feature extras is worth more than a feature- and alternates-packed superfont of 2000 glyphs which are lousily drawn and poorly spaced.

    The aspect of character coverage is an interesting one. It always evokes a ‘search for completeness’ but in practice this is hardly to achieve. Who is going to tell you what goes in and what does not? Nobody. Out there is no reliable common standard which tells you that. Even well-known references (e.g. the Adobe glyph sets) are not entirely reliable in that respect.

  • Re: This Just In: Linotype Master Drawings

    One thing that some folks here might be interested to note: the British L&M (Linotype & Machinery) drawings are likely to vary subtly from corresponding drawings by the American MLCo (Mergenthaler Linotype Co.) of the same face & size.

    In particular, MLCo consistently applied Standard alignment throughout their library, whereas L&M did not adopt Standard alignment until later and apparently did not apply it as consistently.

    I have a photocopy of a letter from C.H. Griffith to Jackson Burke that touches on this topic and mentions a few specific examples.

    I pointed this out in a note I sent to Stephen. In that message, I said that I thought this was less likely to be true of American designs sent to L&M as it would be for British designs coming to MLCo, where they would have been redrawn to conform.

    But, I just took a closer look at those few Electra images posted with the news release, and they don’t seem to conform to standard alignment. So L&M might have been in the habit of redrawing American designs on different alignment for their market as well.

    I don’t have any copies of MLCo drawings of Electra in my collection, so I can’t compare directly. But the dimensions that I see don’t jibe with the table of Standard alignments that I have.

    The practical result of these differences would be seen in subtly different ascender & descender heights between equivalent faces from the two manufacturers.

  • Re: [OTVar] Axes Proposals:

    Could usefulness be an axis? That way, we wouldn't be forced to choose between useful and useless.
  • Re: Tesserae — an experiment in modular variable fonts

    Surprised there's been no mention of Fontstruct, the the long-running site/tool for modular type-building.