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Daniel Veneklaas
Posts: **20**

I was wondering about larger type families with a multitude of widths and weights, and how people go about naming them. What happens with the apparent weight across widths is that condescended styles end up looking heavier and extended styles end up looking lighter when using the same mathematical weight. I assume this optical illusion is due to the changing size of counters.

So I see two options, either weights are optically adjusted across widths to have a consistent weight, or the weight is kept the same and the name is changed accordingly based on its optical weight.

The other issue is that designing with very narrow display styles you have to increase the point size to for it to look like the same size as the regular widths. So taking this into account do you name the ultra condensed styles with this scaled application in mind? What’s everyone’s thoughts on this?

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## Comments

751This is what I will typically do.

1,037228Below is a table of the uprights of my Aspira family. The width of left stem of the “m” in the sixth row (Bold) is, from left to right (UPM = 3333): 402, 412, 422, 432, 442, 452, 463.

1711,077290The number 3333 still seems a little arbitrary to me.

1,077228See here for the reason why I use a UPM of 3333.

20Another question that arose is the purpose for having different widths be optically equal weight in the first place. I can't think of many instances where different widths are used together in situations where it's required to appear "the same". When different widths and weights are used in typography it's usually for the sake of hierarchy where contrast is key.

It doesn't seem uncommon that variations that come after an initial typeface release such as Futura Condensed have much to do with the original in regards to weight. Is it more important to logically arrange a family or to design the weight most appropriate for the width and it's intended use?

@Ben Blom Just out of curiosity if you don't mind me asking, how much of Aspira was drawn from scratch and how much was interpolated?

92644notincrease linearly, but rather exponentially?171Ultimately, trust your eyes. They are the best judge of a good progression of weights.

228See here.

228Well... yes and no. Only use your eyes when u are deciding which weight progression logic to choose. Once you have decided which logic or system for such a progression you like best, just use that system for all your future font families. I simply do not believe that the design of a font, is relevant for the choice of its weight progression logic.

A long time ago, before I created my first font family, I experimented with Lucas De Groot’s weight progression logic. I didn’t like the outcome. Then I tried various weighted averages of the results of a De-Groot-progression, and the results of a linear progression. With this, I used my eyes as judge to choose a progression logic. In the end, I chose a 50%/50% weighted average of the results of De Groot, and the results of a linear progression. This corresponds to the yellow line in the first chart of this post.

Since then, I reuse the chosen weight progression logic for all my new font families. So I don’t reinvent the wheel for something I decided in the past.

840520I do not like it very much, but for theoretical "easy of use" I've renamed one of my families in the past.

My original naming scheme (that has the nicety that each subfamily folder sorts alphabetical when browsing the files in the hard disc) can be seen at http://www.impallari.com/testing/encode/index.php

The final release, following the CSS spec's can be seen at https://fonts.google.com/?query=encode

But as they say, "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them to choose from."

1,037In particular, the “weight progression” is being defined solely in terms of the vertical stem thickness. However, I believe that (1) internal white space and (2) horizontal stem thickness both contribute to the perceived boldness, and that these may progress differently for different typefaces as weight increases.

So I would not *necessarily* always use the exact same weight progression across all typefaces.

228To support this, you say:

By whom? For sure not by me. “Weight progression logic” as I use it, is the same as “interpolation logic”. And when interpolating, for instance, a thin and a heavy “m”, all aspects of those two m’s are being interpolated—not only their vertical stem thickness. For the calculation of linear interpolation values, the vertical stem thickness of the thin and a heavy “m” is not being used. For the calculation of “De Groot” interpolation values, the vertical stem thickness of the thin and a heavy “m” is being used. But again, when using the interpolation values which result from such a calculation, every aspect of the involved glyphs is being interpolated—not only their vertical stem thickness.

So, when interpolating a thin and a heavy “m”, the

designof these two m’s determines what is being interpolated. (If both the thin and heavy “m” would have the same internal white space and the same horizontal stem thickness, then these aspects would be the same in all interpolated versions of that “m”. But really, then the designer of that thin and heavy “m”, would be a very incompetent designer.)Thomas, I am afraid that your reasoning to conclude that the design of a font is relevant for its weight progression, is based on a misunderstanding.

1,037My point, however poorly expressed, is that even with linear interpolation from a reasonably designated "light" to "black" master, the visual boldness progression may differ depending on the design, in at least *some* cases.

Perhaps you will argue that the cases I have seen all involve poorly designed fonts. Yet as there is quite a bit of disagreement about what the correct standard weight curve is, to start with, I am amused that you can not only insist that not only is there exactly one perfect curve for the weight progression for all typefaces, but think that for me to believe otherwise “is based on a misunderstanding.”

228Thomas, perhaps I misunderstood you when suggesting that your reasoning is based on a misunderstanding. However, it seems again that you misunderstood what I wrote before.

If you suggest that I said there is exactly one perfect curve for the weight progression of all typefaces—then you misunderstood me. I only suggested that if a designer chooses a specific weight progression for a typeface, then this designer can reuse this same weight progression for his/her other typefaces (as long as this designer continues to prefer this weight progression).

I am not sure what this “visual boldness” means. I guess it is related to someone’s perception. However, I was not talking about someone’s perception, but about interpolation values, like this linear series of values: 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% (the masters are 0% and 100%). When reusing such a series of interpolation values, the (technical, objective) “weight change” between the interpolation results—or the relative weight of one result compared to the other results—will always be the same (whatever the design of the font involved).

1,0771,037My own tests show that this can affect what I perceive as the ideal weight curve.

The whole notion of a weight curve is perception-based in the first place. So while the numbers are always the numbers and invariant, that does not mean they are always “right.”

228Thomas, here you confirm that you misunderstood me. I discussed a weight progression like a linear progression or a “De Groot” progression—which is about numbers (interpolation values), not about perception. You responded to my post as if you were discussing the same thing—but you were not. So—one big misunderstanding.

1,037228Of course, in the end, the choice of a weight progression logic is based on perception (and also on the preference of the designer), as I said in my original post. Does the fact that this choice is partly based on perception, lead to another conclusion regarding the reusability of a chosen weight progression logic?

What is this thing that should “look right” we are talking about here? Answer: The “weight change” or “weight progression” between the interpolation results—or the

relativeweight of one result compared to the other results. So, this isnotaboutabsoluteweights, but about the difference in weight between different interpolation results (i.e.relativeweights).Now, does the “visual interpretation” by someone’s eyes of

objectiverelativeweights (i.e. interpolation values), intoperceivedrelativeweights, change these relative weights? In other words: Do thoseperceivedrelativeweights differ from thoseobjectiverelativeweights? No, because the glyphs which weight is visually compared, are from the same typeface, so the influence of the design of these glyphs on theirperceivedrelativeweight, is the same for all those glyphs.The

perceivedweight of a specific interpolation value within a font, may look different from theabsoluteperceivedweight of the same interpolation value within another font—because of the difference in design between those fonts. However, within any font, theabsoluteperceivedweight of the same interpolation value will be the same, i.e., will have the samerelativeperceivedweight compared to therelativeperceivedweight of the other interpolation results of that font.relativeSo, if a designer chooses—based on what he sees and likes—a specific weight progression logic for a typeface, then he can reuse this weight progression logic in his other typefaces (as long as his preference for this weight progression stays the same).

20Surely all users benefit from a standard set of naming conventions, but it probably has to come about organically to really stick.