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Simon Cozens


Simon Cozens
Last Active
  • Re: Could we hack into designing a Persian/Arabic braille font?

    Right. This kind of work can be done much more easily at the text level than at the font level. Trying to modify text by modifying the font is a misguided approach.
  • Re: Efficiency in kerning pairs

    On one hand I hear people talking about thousands of kern pairs. On the other I hear people like Andreas saying "space everything as well as you can, then kern only what is necessary", and Bruno Maag saying "kern straight-straight, straight-round, round-straight, round-round and be done with it". I wonder if he's oversimplifying for effect, but I take from that a pushback against over-complicated kerning and over-reliance. I wonder how to resolve this.

    I have to be a bit careful saying this, but... I wonder if there is a danger in coming to think of the number of kern pairs as a proxy for font quality. And I wonder if it becomes a pride issue - a way of showing how seriously you are taking things.

    I just opened up a bunch of fonts. Three were by truly world class designers, whose names you will know. The first was a display face with no kerning at all, which surprised me. It's still a great font. The second was a text face with 750 pairs (no categories) and all of the kerns were at 10 unit intervals. Applying categories and compressing, I got it down to 345. Another, which is widely regarded as an absolute classic display font, has 890 pairs.

    The fourth was by a designer I had never heard of. It has 230 glyphs, and even using categories has 2557 kern pairs, and they're all over the place: six units here, eight units there; /K/V gets -32 units whereas /K/W gets -31. Does that really make a difference? I don't know. But I think the designer was able to satisfy himself that he worked very hard in a way that he would not be satisfied with if he had only 300 pairs. Is there some internal pressure on people to achieve a certain number of kern pairs?

    "Space like hell, kern when you must" makes a lot of sense to me. How many "kern pairs" did some of the most famous letterpress types have? And every day I see software that still doesn't apply kerning at all. But still, it's hard for me to avoid the feeling that if I end up with less than five or six hundred pairs I haven't done a good enough job.
  • Re: Norse Sans, Geometric & Grotesque

    I don't think someone's first ever typeface is meant to mature into a new or useful thing, any more than one's first story will turn into a bestselling novel. It's a learning exercise, and if you treat it as such and keep your expectations appropriate, there's still plenty to be learned by continuing with it. There's already a few lessons in this already.
  • Re: 2017 Font Purchasing Habits Survey Results (worth the read!)

    The DJR license is still 1500 words.

    People do read EULAs - it's just that what they read is "Press the button marked 'I agree' to get on with your day."
  • Re: Space kerning and OpenType Layout

    Oh wow. I get that these are display fonts but I wonder what the intended rendering is for, say, Zilla Slab in a full-justified context. Ideally you'd have a flexible-width black space, but I can't see how a layout engine would be expected to know that. Pages and LibreOffice display the (inked) space character and then add flexible (white) glue afterwards, which is probably the least bad solution.

    As for Libre Barcode... ouch, my head.