@Nikola Kostic What name would be given in Serbian to the line above these italic letters? I called them 'macron' above, just for convenience, but as Maxim pointed out the form of this distinguishing mark may differ from that of the macron, and the sign isn't an accent indicating a change in phonetic value.
@Maxim Zhukov I've seen similar distinguishing lines in some examples of Russian handwriting. What would they be called in Russian?
The macron sign on the italic г in both Serbian and Macedonian is an oddity. The macron signs on the italic п and т make sense, because they distinguish the letters from the otherwise identical и and ш, but there is no letter in either modern orthography that could be confused with either shape of italic г. So why the macron? I am guessing that it is an artefact of cursive writing in which the single stem of the italic г could be confused with part of another letter, so is marked in this way to distinguish it from connected stems on either side. That being the case, I can see how the acute accent in ѓ would serve the same function by itself, without the macron, so I revise my suggestion above: italic ѓ doesn't need the macron.
Can't good hinting make the spacing acceptable based on PPEM?
Not any more. The environments that ignore hints to advance widths are too many and too pervasive. We lost that ability around the time that sub-pixel rendering with sub-pixel positioning became the dominant model.
With regard to the design of Spectral, what I'm mostly struck by is that it seems a nice, traditional book face, in terms of its proportions and style. That strikes me as an odd choice in something that is ostensibly designed for online document use. Some of the illustrations of it in use remind me of pre-Calibri/Cambria MS Office documents, and can't help seeming old-fashioned as a result.
[Disclosure: I suggested to Dave Crossland a few years ago developing a suite of fonts for Google Documents, which would have included both serif and sans, as well as a condensed face especially for spreadsheets. Would still like to do it.]
I recall Hermann Zapf talking about the difference in the nature of his drawings for different type manufacturing processes. Drawings for mechanical production processes needed to be very precise, since they would be reproduced very directly. During the hot metal era, when machine punches or matrices would be cut on a pantograph, precise scale technical drawings were required: hence the drawing offices at Monotype and other companies that would have the job of producing these drawings. Similarly, in photomechanical processes, the typical model was e.g. for rubilith cutters to work from precise drawings and reproduce them accurately. This is quite different from Zapf's description of the earlier period of his work, having punches but by hand, in which drawings were less precise and the punchcutter was expected to interpret the drawings in the making of the punch, rather than reproducing them exactly.
I've long taken the view that manipulating bezier curves is more like cutting a punch than making a technical drawing for mechanical manufacture. If I draw, I draw fairly roughly, often at very small size, to help me figure out how to 'cut' the shape of the digital glyph.