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LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland


LeMo aka PatternMan aka Frank E Blokland
Last Active
Member, Type Person
  • 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’.

  • [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.
  • Re: Technical Trivial Facts (.ttf)


    Until late in the 1950s at typographic meetings it was common practice –for education and enjoyment– to saw women into two halves to prove that their upper parts were the most important ones for recognition, just as seems to be the case with letters.
  • Re: OpenType labels in software

    One can add the featureNames to existing fonts by exporting the OT Layout features file using OTM, adding the additional info using a text editor and subsequently importing (compiling) the features file using OTM.
  • Re: Windows 8 doesn't like "Book" weight?

    Not necessarily, although I would restrict to this for the Windows entries and use ID16 and 17 for the preferred naming. That being said, I think at the end it is preferable to do the same on the Mac side and to use ID16 and 17 there too, i.e., to make the entries on both platforms identical.
    But the weights order in InDesign and other software is not correct anymore, with Book moving to the top.
    Everything comes at a price, but assuming that our customers know what they purchase when they buy the Book version, I can live with this. I must admit though that by default we only do this with the .ttf versions and not with the .otf editions, which are mostly sold to macOS customers (in that case 500 for Book and 600 for Medium).