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Mark Simonson


Mark Simonson
Last Active
Member, Type Person
Invited by
Admin James Puckett
  • Re: Units per em

    The 18 unit em John mentions is from the metal type days, and it was strictly to do with the widths of the characters. The shapes of the characters were not constrained by any sort of unit grid the way they are in digital fonts.
  • Fontself as an alternative to ScanFont

    I have only vaguely followed the development of Fontself, seeing it mainly as something for dabblers and novice type designers. It lets you make a font directly from Illustrator or Photoshop. I'm only going to discuss the Illustrator part here.

    I quit trying to use Illustrator to draw font artwork long ago, and, really, a font editor is the way to go if you want to be productive. It's optimized specifically for making fonts, whereas Illustrator is a general purpose tool. I thought, this is interesting and I would have loved this back in the nineties. I know better now and didn't think I had any use for it.

    But sometimes I do need to get something from Illustrator into a font. Copy/paste works, but is slow and tedious if it's more than a few characters. In the past, I have used ScanFont to quickly move Illustrator artwork or images (auto traced) into FontLab. Unfortunately, it hasn't been very well supported on Macs since the ability to run PPC software went away. You basically have to run the Windows version somehow. Technically, this works, but kind of sucks, and some things (kind of important things) don't work properly in the WINE version that FontLab offers for Mac users and it doesn't look like it will be fixed.

    This morning I noticed Fontself mentioned in another discussion. I took a closer look at it and realized that it can do everything that I was using ScanFont for, and works directly from Illustrator. It exports to OTF, which can be opened in your favorite font editor.

    I don't think I would ever use Fontself by itself to make a font, but it looks like a pretty good alternative to ScanFont for Mac users. Maybe everybody already knows this, but I don't think I've seen it mentioned before.
  • Re: Why are composite glyphs not used whenever possible in exported TTF files?

    Composites are not allowed in CFF OpenType fonts (OT fonts with PostScript outlines). The .otf file extension usually indicates a CFF OT font, but not necessarily. Technically, an OT font with TrueType outlines could have either the .ttf or .otf extension if it includes a digital signature. By convention it's not usually done, though.
  • Re: MyFonts and families

    I'm not convinced that fonts acquired on a steep discount actually get used very much. Back when I was more of a font user than a font maker, it was definitely true of me. Not that this matters that much in the short term (yay! a sale!). But fonts that continue to sell are the ones that are seen being used.
  • Re: Your opinion on super heavy discounts on MyFonts.

    I never do it. I think my prices are already reasonable and I don't want customers wondering if they are about to miss a better deal when they purchase a license. The only problem is, because others are offering discounts, potential customers may not realize that I don't and may hold off and wait for a sale that will never come.