Firstly, if anyone has any real examples of font modification briefs – that they'd be happy to share
(private info censored) – I would really appreciate it. I
realize that this might be a big ask. Secondly, if anything here sounds
unfair or inconsiderate – please call me out on it. I'm trying to figure
out what type of proposals might be fair, or not. Context:
Many fonts do not have sufficient support for content
creation in an academically diverse organization, particularly in terms
of diacritics / compound chars. Due to our workflows, that rely on
pre-determined text specifications / series designs, choosing a font
based on a specific title is rarely an option. The majority of titles
use specifications based on an automated system, that does not pass
through our design team.
The idea of a plain vanilla
one-size-fits-all in Latin script is not appropriate for our organisation's culture at this point
. The first step for us is to optimize our microtypography*. To achieve this seamlessly, with minimal disruption to the production schedule, modifications are required. If this is successful, the next step would be a focus on further cost-saving mechanisms…
has to do with the details; setting the right glyph, getting the
appropriate kerning and tracking, and making stylistic choices such as
when to use small-caps. Micro techniques have received a lot of
attention recently, as browser makers adopt new CSS attributes that
allow for finer control over Web type. Microtypography deals mainly with
legibility and can be thought of as the design of letters and words.First steps:
I'm starting to think about how we can approach font modifications. So far we've been substituting, or adapting / creating custom glyphs based on FLOSS fonts, single weight. These instances are rarities not regularities. Usage is print only / PDF use, in a publication-type reading
environment. Ideally, it would be great
to move towards a standardized process, but that's only possible within
a specific budget.
1) What information do you detail? How many examples do you prefer to see?
2) Pricing structure, in your view what are fair points for negotiation. For example:
2.1) Usage limited to a single ISBN / series.
2.2) Complexity of glyph / char, e.g.
- adding a compound glyph for dotted h <ḥ>;
- vs. PUA Chinese Chars;
- vs. OT features for variants / shaping rules.
2.3) License rights for modification of a single glyph / limited unicode range, pending approval IP control. E.g.,
- Latin-based compound diacritics, for which combining forms can be sourced in the font;
- Limited icon range / simple-form icon range.
2.4) Distribution to our typesetters for use in typesetting. If they are licensed for the font, do you charge twice for the modification for us to supply it to them?
2.5) Multiple modifications at different points in time – can these be added to one "extended" font version? Is there opportunity for a model with an initial up-front cost, and then a fixed amount for each subsequent modification?
3) Do foundries have preferred freelancers, or is everything achieved in house – for both licenses that permit mods, and those which do not. Equally, if modifications are made to a FLOSS font - is it fair to continue the license as FLOSS?
4) Reasonable schedule / timeframe…?
5) Other considerations?
It is likely required. If you combine parts of an OFL font with parts of another font, the whole of the newly created font must be licensed under OFL if it is distributed to 3rd parties. (If it isn't distributed, this requirement for all incoming parts to be under OFL doesn't apply.)
First, no two client briefs are the same and each designer/foundry here would probably interpret a written brief differently. Generally there are face to face meetings, video calls and emails to ensure the correct interpretation of the clients brief. Briefs can be anything from a few lines in an email to a 200 page project description.
Secondly, every designer/foundry in here has probably got a different workflow discipline and has a slightly different niche in the industry.
I would suggest that you look at some foundries in the UK that could be responsive to your needs and technically competent for your purposes then discus your points directly with them to see if they are interested in working with you to achieve your aims within your budget.
@Dave Crossland Thank you, noted.
And I have yet to hear a good justification for why the no-mod clause went from a rarity to standard issue over the span of a few years.
More importantly, as far as I can tell your post and this discussion are taking the thread off-topic and do not answer any of Katy’s questions. So if you’d like to discuss your stance on modification, I’d suggest you do it in another thread.
Before I posted I considered whether my point was too far off topic. But I think it's sufficiently related to Katy's conundrum. For one thing, the amount a foundry might charge to carry out a modification is opaque and potentially capricious; you don't know until it's too late. Especially when you consider that nobody actually read the EULA; apparently not even Darden Studio's lawyer reads any besides their own. Joyce valiantly intends to change such attitudes via friendlier EULAs, but I wonder what users would think of foundries with a no-mod clause if they started realizing it's there before it's too late...
Me, I roll my eyes at: «Touche pas à mon Garamond!» To me wrapping outlines around an idea that's never completely yours –and sometimes not remotely yours– isn't enough to warrant such protectionism.
With a standardised SLA for a specific issue-type there is more clout, particularly if the budgeted amount is nominal (high frequency is ok, providing it is spread out between different products). Our systems are standardised, more similar to the assembly-line, with creative directors springing out terms such as "well-oiled machine". Poor typographic thrives in these circumstances, because we're so busy following workflows and shuffling paper – of which the EULA I'm sorry to say does play a time-consuming role.
When A2-Type's Antwerp typeface was selected for the English texts of the Murty Classical Library of India, it needed to be significantly extended and customised, with many additional diacritics for transliteration of Indic scripts and less swashy forms of a couple of italic uppercase letters. I wrote the spec for the modifications, and Harvard University Press approached A2-Type to obtain permission. I went to meet with the type's designer, Henrik Kubel, when I was in London, and we ended up collaborating on the modifications. Later, when some additional diacritics needed to be added, Henrik said he was happy for me to do that work, since he'd been reassured by the previous process that I wasn't going to mess it up or do a disservice to his typeface.
This is culture. It's not a one-man-job, but it exists in discrete instances of creation and in interaction between creators. Sometimes we interact with the dead, which means interacting through the work — e.g. as Henrik interacted with the makers of 16th Century types in the Plantin-Moretus museum —, but when we're interacting with the living, it is best to do so in person.
Of course, all this implies a timeframe that is different from the deadlines under which Katy is made to work. I say 'made to work', because things could be different organised than they are at OUP — as Brill has done, for instance. In the MCLI project, HUP had a long lead-time, and of course were planning a whole series, not suddenly realising that the font they'd selected for a given book didn't contain one of the diacritics needed for the text. But I think it is worthwhile considering under what conditions such a realisation even could be sudden and require a 48 hour turn-around. This isn't how books should be made.
If that is how books are made, then one has to adjust a lot of expectations to match, including expectations about what kind of fonts one can use.
Secondly, my EULA has always allowed licencees to modify fonts for their own use.
Concerning being falsely associated with poor quality (not that readers generally realize –or even care– who made the typeface) I've offered the following approach: a licensee who is modifying a font must alert the foundry (which gives the foundry the opportunity/motivation to offer to do it for a reasonable fee, instead of being tempted to extort); and they must mention the modification wherever the original design is mentioned (for example in a book's colophon). This is an "interaction with the living" that's generally entirely sufficient in my mind, especially when it involves an inherited interaction with the dead (whose oblivious heirs BTW are too often conveniently excluded).
Concerning what involves cultural contribution, I certainly agree there can be cases where a no-mod clause can help more than hinder. But let's not pretend that's its typical raison d'être.
Nick, along with Monokrom and Adobe, you have my respect for that. And culture thanks you.
Agreed. "Microtypography" sounds like unnecessary, pretentious jargon. Typography is about all the details of selecting and setting type.
Joyce has offered a correction here: http://typedrawers.com/discussion/comment/23154/#Comment_23154
RE: Microtypography, the text above is a citation from Smashing Magazine. Sources indicate that micro typography was first coined in 1987 (Hochuli, Detail In Typography, p.7) with uses by other high profile names of the industry. The meaning has possibly evolved slightly, but the cited use pervades a plethora of articles and is used as a base definition in numerous discussions. Please feel free to browse google.
The details that concern type function at different levels. As a straight forward definition, consider the different spatial relationships between character forms, and also between paragraphs, chapters, and columns. They are all typographic relationships, but function at different levels.
There's a host of literature, frameworks and typographic schema that identify these types of differences. If you wish to conflate any further arguments, please benefit the academics of this forum with the use of a new thread.
The idea with this thread is that if I can understand the information required, then I might be able to optimise the time involvement, and figure out our budgets – if there any possibility to support this kind of strategy. In the meantime, production continues as normal and bad typography persists. You can't stop the presses.
The distinction I’ve always recognized is between layout and typography, not macro and micro.
We live and learn.