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Dave Crossland


Dave Crossland
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Admin James Puckett
  • Re: FontLab VI now shipping

  • Re: Units per em

    Are there any technical/application issues with having either...

    a non-standard UPM (like 1100).
    Yes, some old software will still botch things up because it assumes 1000.
    I seem to recall that 'old software' included macOS X and some PDF generation software. Been a long time since I came across that myself, though.
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    Adam Twardoch said:
    In the last decade, more type designers became actual millionaires than in all centuries of typemaking combined. 
    Maybe I'm hanging around the pauper libre fonts community too much, but I'm astonished to hear there are many type millionaires. I wonder if anyone here will unmask themselves?
  • Re: Plex; IBM's new font identity model

    Personal opinion only follows, not the views of anyone or any organization I'm associated with, such as my employer :)
    Ben Blom said:
    Why did type designers lose?

    It’s the same as with Google Fonts and other big free font schemes.

    The bigger (in relative terms) the market of good quality free fonts becomes, the smaller (in relative terms) the market of good quality paid fonts becomes.

    "The" market! This is far far too simple. There is no single monolith :) 

    There is at least the retail and custom segments, and there are various important segments within those. 

    It may not be a zero sum game—but the more good quality fonts become available for free, the less people are willing to pay for good quality fonts

    So type designers who are dependent for their income on the market of good quality paid fonts, will loose out by the increased availability of good quality free fonts.

    While you say it's not zero sum, you are still asserting that there is strong "substitution" (in the economic sense of the word) between typefaces, but this is simply not true: "I want that one" is powerful and should not be underestimated. 

    I believe that as more good quality libre fonts are available,

    (a) since 2009 the demand for web fonts grew much larger than it otherwise would have been, and HTTP Archive and other sources show that web fonts are still only used on about half of the web so there's still a lot of room there;

    (b) similarly, looking forwards, the desirability for sophisticated Variable Fonts of the kind Font Bureau is choosing to demonstrate as libre fonts will grow much more than if they weren't libre; and

    (c) the demand for custom fonts also grows much larger, and this is a much more lucrative business for typeface designers. 

    I think the retail market will not be a blip in type history, starting in the mid 80s and ending completely in the mid 2020s... Rather I think that there will always be demand for retail fonts, no matter how many there are out how quickly someone can make the next one, because of that non-substitutability. 

    I expect the professional type design community to continue to grow massively, as it has done in the past 10 years, and I expect more and more type designers to earn money initiating and customizing libre fonts.

    The only thing I can say about "the" type community is that it is growing, and libre fonts is part of driving that growth. 

    Selling fonts on floppy disks that can only be used with the sellers phototype machines was more lucrative for those sellers than what you are doing retailing fonts today, but it was a much smaller market and you Ben were very unlikely to be part of one of those seller companies. 

    Selling fonts on CD-ROM for $0.10/per as Adam mentioned had the same effect as libre fonts has today: Stimulating demand for typefaces, which no amount of cheap or zero price per typeface can satisfy. 

    The only way to prevent this to happen, is for type designers to show solidarity with their fellow type designers—i.e. 

    i.e. form a cartel! Its not a good look. What happened to capitalism?
  • Re: Are we heading towards a "VariableFontCloud"?

    Ray Larabie said: 
    With enough money you could do it right now. I think you'd have to keep sans-serif, serif and script separate. Blending sans to serif always looks dopey.
    Money's got nothing to do with it, just time :)

    And what looks hip and what looks dopey is super subjective.... But I think you are exactly right that it's dopey to me, because it looks super dated :)

    I always think of Marshall McLuhan with this stuff.

    I question the premise of Vasil's timing. This isn't particularly about the future, or font APIs, or OpenType v1.8.... 

    I'd say phototype technology deterministically made super tightly spaced type so easy to do - past the point of good readability but equally beyond what previous type technologies could do so easily. People ignorant of the dominant culture determined by previous type technology were not constrained by that thinking and did what they hadn't seen before, which looked dopey to the metal minded people. 

    In the same way, I think the initial adobe-apple-aldus-altsys dtp technology deterministically made grunge type so easy to do, and the same thing happened, to the chagrin of the phototype minded people. There were, I think, some interesting class dynamics going on too. 

    So what's interesting for me here now, is that this GX stuff is older than my sister, so the media determinism has already played out in Latin typeface culture: The people making text type in that time used early interpolation tech to publish "semi serif" styles within closely coupled sans/serif superfamilies, and the fashion appetite for semi serifs came and went. 

    By the mid 90s there were several tools like FontChameleon and InfiniFont for end users to frankenfont Helvetica to Bodoni to their hearts content. 

    So I don't expect the kind of "supervariable" fonts Vasil describes to be very culturally interesting. 

    Underware made one from the fonts in their collection and presented it at TypoLabs (and elsewhere) earlier this year, and the video is on YouTube :) Most of the latent space is garbage, not even dopey :)