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LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland


LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland
Last Active
Member, Type Person
  • Re: Quador – a squarish serif

    Frank, you need to stop accusing people of plagiarism, it's rude.
    Hi Christian,

    We’re a bit on different wavelengths, I reckon. I am only observing, investigating, analyzing, and questioning. Of course, we can switch here instantly to details mode (which I consider the easy part because consistency matters regarding shape, contrast-flow, contrast, and spacing are purely relative to the concept), but I think it is relevant to discuss the concept first. Your remark make me wonder how your type-design tutor(s) handled the originality and idiom issues.

    Best, Frank
  • Re: How big is the type design industry?

    Fonts are cheap to make […]
    I take the liberty here to utterly disagree. The development of high-quality fonts from scratch requires a long and intensive study and a thorough, i.e., costly production. The prices of hard- and software are peanuts in comparison with the development costs.
            Next week the Dutch Type Library will release DTL Valiance by Hanna Hakala, of which the development took ten years. Coming autumn we will release DTL Romulus and DTL Fell, of which the production started in 1997. Cheap fonts are perhaps cheap to make but the development of high-quality fonts takes a lot of time and efforts, and hence is very costly.
  • Re: Unlimited LIcensing

    If you are not able to come to terms, you could tell them to pick a libre font
    Hi Dave,

At the risk of being off-topic too, I am just wondering what the intent of your message is. Do you mean that customers should realize that there are free alternatives and that basically all fonts are interchangeable anyway? This will make Libre fonts forceful weapons in the hands of potential customers for negotiations, I reckon. If that is what you mean, then I think that you should rephrase ‘Libre/open fonts are about freedom, not price’* into something like  ‘Libre/open fonts are about restricting the freedom of non-Libre designers because of their price’.

  • Re: Color will be the new Italic. Color will be the new Bold.

    Hi Mark,
    Color will be the new Italic.
    Color will be the new Bold.
    Besides the fact that your examples don’t really support your claim, i.e., your colored type can’t be used for text purposes IMHO, the next questions that come up are:
    – How does the reader, conditioned with the use of italic and bold, know whether the colored text is meant to be considered as italic or bold, or even bold italic?
    – Does the use of colors exclude the use of italic and bold(italic) and if not, what is then the new function of colored italic and colored bold(italic)?

    Or do I completely misinterpret your claim?

    BTW, Gutenberg did not have an italic or bold (after all, the textura was bold enough already), nor did for instance Jenson. If you suggest that Gutenberg used color in the function of, for example, italic then actually the italic was the new color. And Manutius used indents instead of a colored pilcrow in, for example, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
  • [OTVar] Spacing axis

    Recently I proposed to Microsoft the registration of a ‘Spacing axis’ in OpenType Font Variations. Tracking and CSS letterspacing are highly primitive mechanisms and they mess up spacing (for instance with unwanted negative side bearings) and ruin the kerning. Tighter and wider spacing should be controlled by the font producer and hence needs to be recalculated. Kerning pairs should be adapted too IMHO.

    In the meantime I exchanged ideas with John Hudson and Peter Constable and this resulted in the axis definition and additional information below, which will be discussed at the upcoming TYPO Labs conference in Berlin:

    1. Axis definition

    Tag: ‘spac’
    Name: Spacing
    Description: Used to vary glyph spacing.
    Valid numeric range: Any negative, zero or positive value can be used.
    Scale interpretation: Values can be interpreted as per-mille-of-em changes in glyph spacing from ‘normal’ spacing.
    Recommended ‘normal’ value: 0
    Suggested programmatic interactions: Applications may choose to select a spacing variant in connection to user-selected layout settings for ‘tracking’ or ‘character spacing’.

    2. Additional information

    Glyph side-bearing distances are typically the primary aspect of design that varies, though other secondary details such as serifs may also be encompassed in this variation. Variation may also be applied to other font values that are sensitive to glyph metrics, such as kerning distances or mark anchor positioning.
          The Spacing axis can be used as a variation axis within a variable font. It can also be used within a ‘STAT’ table in non-variable fonts within a family that has spacing variants to provide a complete characterization of a font in relation to its family within the ‘STAT’ table.
          Some applications may use Spacing variants to implement layout features such as ‘tracking’ or ‘character spacing’. This may be limited to variable fonts that implement Spacing as also variable axis. Applications that do this can use the axis values in combination with the font’s head.unitsPerEm value to map between the axis-value scale and physical units such as points. When Spacing variants are selected in this way, applications should assume that the font will provide all of the spacing adjustment, and not apply any additional glyph metric adjustments.

    3. Demo

    I made a screen recording of a prototype font with a proprietary Spacing axis.

    4. Spacing versus tracking

    The following image shows on top a version of DTL Haarlemmer of which the spacing has been reduced with a fixed amount and of which the kerning has not been changed (i.e., what happens with tracking) and a version in which the character widths and the kerning have been adapted per character. In case of tracking a couple of characters, such as the /r and the/v, get a negative spacing. In the manually (optically) altered version (bottom) the right side bearing of the /r and both side bearings of the /v have been set to zero.

    In the image below the manually altered version is further refined by adapting the length of the serifs to the tighter spacing (top). This is in line with the method of first patterning (stem interval) and then adapting details like serifs to obtain equilibrium of space, instead of the approach of first designing details and then adapting the patterning to obtain an even distribution of space.

    5. Notes on the spacing method

    For the prototype font I newly calculated the spacing of DTL Haarlemmer using the LS Cadencer tool –which is developed by Lukas Schneider– in RoboFont. The image below shows the ‘standard’ spacing.

    The following image shows the tighter spacing.

    The LS Cadencer is based on a spacing algorithm I developed based on my investigation of Renaissance archetypal patterning. Lukas will demonstrate his ‘cadencing’ tools at the TYPO Labs 2017 conference on Thursday 6 April.