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US State Deptment switching from Times New Roman to Calibri for all official documents

James MontalbanoJames Montalbano Posts: 85
edited January 2023 in Font Technology
https://wapo.st/3HfS5dV

One of th authors of this piece is John Hudson, but not that @John Hudson

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     :) 
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    I have still to understand why sans-serifs are considered more inherently legible for impaired people. It’s not always the case.
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    And welcome back, @James Montalbano
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    Now’s the perfect time for Microsoft to finally pick the new default Office font!
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    John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,092
    Of course, my opinion is that they should copy the lead of the Supreme Court, and go with Century Expanded (or Schoolbook), at least for paper documents, if they want to be sure that people will be able to read them.
    As for displays: resolution has gone up from 640 by 480 to 1920 by 1080, yes, on a typical computer (yes, some people have 4K for double that resolution, but you can't depend on that), but the biggest innovation that affected the appearance of typefaces on a screen wasn't that, it was Microsoft ClearType.
    Of course, some people use Macintosh computers with Retina displays, but that is not common, that is rare and unusual.
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    c.g.c.g. Posts: 53
    Of course, my opinion is that they should copy the lead of the Supreme Court, and go with Century Expanded (or Schoolbook), at least for paper documents, if they want to be sure that people will be able to read them.
    As for displays: resolution has gone up from 640 by 480 to 1920 by 1080, yes, on a typical computer (yes, some people have 4K for double that resolution, but you can't depend on that), but the biggest innovation that affected the appearance of typefaces on a screen wasn't that, it was Microsoft ClearType.
    Of course, some people use Macintosh computers with Retina displays, but that is not common, that is rare and unusual.
    Silly question: with modern monitors, hinting still makes sense?
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    Hinting is good. It is really a question of auto-hinting vs manual hinting, if one is talking about TTF.

    Auto-hinting has improved. Manual hinting could be worthwhile for some fonts and uses, but continues to trend towards less importance. Currently the importance of manual hinting depends on your use cases and audience, which determine the resolution multiplier and typical/minimum ppem size.
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    c.g.c.g. Posts: 53
    For what I see, most of times hinting is more an issue than and advantage, especially in OTF files. TTF autohinting seems working well (even if my eyes are no more that good), but OTF hinting is a mess in the majority of cases.

    This screenshot comes from the type tester of a distributor, the size is 48px


    At 25px is even worse:


    At this point, wouldn't be better no hinting at all? Probably a profane question, but I'd like to understand the pros and cons.


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    From that rendering, if this is a non-variable OpenType CFF font, I would be inclined to suspect that either there is something wrong with the outlines, or with the hinting, or both.

    You don’t say anything about how the hinting was done, or what rasterizer is in play, both of which are important questions. The /three rendering could be at least partly due to overlapping hints with hint replacement not happening… which would be a seriously faulty autohinter or an error in manual hinting.
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    c.g.c.g. Posts: 53
    edited January 2023
    I found the time to download that font and check. It's a static TTF, and after dehinting, removing overlaps and re-hinting (TTF Autohint) it looks better but still not perfect.

    Web preview at 24 px:

    Windows preview at 12 pt after dehint, remove overlaps, ttfautohint:


    But it's full of examples like that. I think that hinting of TTF fonts works better than CFF hinting, from that my question about the sense of hinting certain fonts given the resolution of modern displays.

    I stop the OT.

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    I think we have drifted this thread pretty far, and the discussion isn’t really working very well. If folks want to have a discussion about the effects of hinting, perhaps a new thread… and please specify what OS, OS version, app and app version are in play.
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    it would be really great if our government could standardize on something open source.
    I wonder why they did not use the goverment-issued Public Sans.
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    k.l.k.l. Posts: 109
    Maybe someone there is still able to distinguish a typeface that was professionally designed and produced from others that are ... not so much?  :-/

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    John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,092
    it would be really great if our government could standardize on something open source.
    I wonder why they did not use the goverment-issued Public Sans.

    And I browsed a bit more of the web site, and found this page,
    wherein other faces are also mentioned. (I didn't find what I was looking for, a link to "Public Serif", which didn't exist.)
    The other faces mentioned were all pre-existing open-source faces:
    Source Sans Pro
    Merriweather
    Roboto Mono

    So if one needs to use a monospaced typeface for computer programs or output, there's Roboto Mono.
    If one wants a serif typeface, there's Merriweather.
    Apparently, from the description on that page, Source Sans Pro is recommended for use on screens, and Public Sans is recommended for use on paper.
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