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Ben Blom


Ben Blom
Last Active
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    Ray Larabie: You can try to hold back the tide but there’ll be a day when nobody buys fonts anymore and it’s not that far off.

    The future is, to a large degree, shaped by the decisions people take in the present. Suggesting that some kind of future is inevitable, is denying one’s shared responsibility for the future.

    Hrant H. Papazian: there can be exceptions, especially for many non-Latin scripts where there is a higher cause than type at play.

    Agreed. For the Latin script, there are no gaps to be filled—that won’t be filled without a free font scheme. For non-Latin scripts, there may still be gaps to be filled—that might not be filled without a free font scheme.

    Khaled Hosny: So one should reject good (that is also both legal and moral) business opportunity because someone somewhere thinks it might affect their career choices at some unspecified point in the future?

    The moment you realize that you are sawing off the branch on which you, and many others, are sitting, by accepting such an opportunity—you might decide to forego such an opportunity. What may be good for a few now, may be bad for all in the future. There is a similarity with a weapons embargo, where someone sees a “good business opportunity” to sell arms anyway. (There is, of course, no fonts embargo.)

  • Re: Dutch IJ with dots

    John, one of the possible alternatives for a ligature of “f” with a subsequent “ij”, is missing from your examples. It is, in fact, just a “fi” ligature of the unconnected type. The first sample word below is without ligature; the second sample word has a “fi” ligature. (The font is Aspira. No complicated “eye salad” to look at.)

  • Re: Dutch IJ with dots

    Hrant, what is more efficient: ignoring what one’s fingers want to do “automatically”, or just let the fingers move as they are used to? (According to your logic, it would be a good idea to add direct input for other common combinations, like “oe”, “eu”, “ee”, “sch”, etc.)

    In my high school days, I tried to learn to type with ten fingers—but I failed. (Left hand: a-s-d-f; right hand: ij-l-k-j.) The images below are Dutch typewriters. The last one looks like my dad’s old typewriter.

  • Re: Council for German Orthography officially allows use of u+1E9E

    Two questions about the “ß”.

    (1) Should there be (within one font family) a relationship between the lowercase design and the uppercase design of the “ß”? Do the different designs of the lowercase “ß” which exist, require some difference in the design of the corresponding uppercase “ẞ”? This is not about the small details of the design, but about variations in the general shape of the design (Gill Sans, Consolas, Arial):

    E3: When writing with uppercase letters, write SS. Alternatively, you can also use the capital letter ẞ. Example: Straße – STRASSE – STRAẞE.

    (2) What would be the best way to implement this in the OpenType features to create All Caps/Small Caps/All Small Caps? When using OpenType features to create uppercase from lowercase, should “SS” be the standard uppercase form of “ß”, and should a Stylistic Set be used to switch to the alternative form “ẞ” (except for Swiss German)?

  • Re: Multiple master/Designspace design workflow

    When considering saving time, one might wonder: What is more work, designing two masters for an axis, or designing three? It may be obvious that the answer is “two”—but is it, really? Is it less work (1) to design two very different extreme masters, or (2) to design first a “middle” master and then to “derive-design” from it two extreme masters which are not that different from it?

    The answer to this may depend on the availability and sophistication of tools which can create the first, “raw” version of a new master—based on just a single existing master. (Many current tools require two masters.) Such a tool may be more successful in creating the first, “raw” version of a new extreme master, when starting from the “middle”—compared to creating an extreme master from its opposite extreme master (because, when starting from the “middle”, it has to cover a smaller distance). Although such a tool only assists with the design of a new master, it may significantly speed up the design process.

    Example of a not yet published tool that requires only one master: “”. (I don’t know to what extent this tool can be used, not only for single glyphs, but also for a category of glyphs or a complete font.)