R.I.P.

Jan SchmoegerJan Schmoeger Posts: 280
edited May 2012 in Technique and Theory
So, /napostrophe is not needed, after all. Could we (reasonably safely) get rid of some more junk in our character sets?
«13

Comments

  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 463
    Has anyone here ever used a per-thousand sign? A cent sign?
  • What about the /Aringacute ? I've been doing a lot of research into several orthographies for my typeface and have yet to see that come up anywhere (besides Unicode).
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    Has anyone here ever used a per-thousand sign?
    The only explanation I have ever seen for this character is that it is still used to express blood alcohol levels in Danish anti drunk driving campaigns. So I dropped it from my character set.
    What about the /Aringacute
    It’s unneeded. Aring is a letter and not a letter in Danish, and in Danish any vowel can theoretically have an acute, so people started putting Aringacute in fonts in case it got used for some obscure word in a dictionary. But the only thing it actually gets used for is transliterating old Norse into Danish, which requires a bunch of other characters that probably aren’t in your character sets unless you design custom fonts for Brill or SIL.

    I would love to drop the Florin now that I am drawing the Indian rupee symbol for my fonts. But I think I will hold off for a year or two just in case France breaks up the Euro zone when the Germans refuse to loan them more money.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    edited May 2012
    Trivia for typedrawers: Matthew Carter once went out of his way to use the per-thousand character in an illustrated talk he gave on character frequency. IIRC he was discussing how to increase the overall character count efficiency of a typeface (Fenway?) by targeting the most frequent characters for narrowing.
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 463
    How about the long s?

    And the generic currency symbol? I worked on Wall Street for 14 years and never saw one used.
  • How about Big Yus and Little Yus along with their Iota combinations. They have been required in every extended Cyrillic I've ever done, and they haven't been used in Bulgarian since the 60s.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    How about the long s?
    I think most people did away with the long s between 1760 and 1900. It’s only really needed if you’re targeting some niche market.
    And the generic currency symbol?
    I have never seen this used outside of high circulation financial publications. They all use custom type to suit their paper and presses.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    Greenlandic K.
    All the boxes and arrows in WGL4.

    ***

    The danger of omitting such unnecessary characters is that some bright spark writing a layout app (or font manager) might decides that fonts won’t be OK’d if they don’t have the full set of characters for a “standard” encoding.

    ***

    I’ve been omitting Aringacute and Greenlandic K for a while, now I will omit napostrophe too.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 915
    Greenlandic k is at least kind of fun to draw. It's these damn calculus symbols that I have no interest in putting together.
  • Guys.

    Let's get a grip,

    How can we bloat our character sets without those otherwise useless glyphs?

    :o)

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    How can we bloat our character sets without those otherwise useless glyphs?
    Well at least we can still list Norsk and Bokmål as different languages.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    edited May 2012
    I use this for Ldot substitution (in the liga feature):
    sub L periodcentered' L by periodcentered.Ldot;
    sub l periodcentered' l by periodcentered.ldot;
    —with the special periodcentered glyphs fitted to their purpose.
    These don’t need to be in a locl feature, as the sequence only appears in Catalan, and the liga feature is well supported.
    Also, the text stays intact.
    But I still include the precomposed Ldot characters, as some typographers do use them.
  • @Russell_McGorman Everyone could start supporting Janalif.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    Good point!
  • Jan SchmoegerJan Schmoeger Posts: 280
    Reiner, this nitpicking of yours is pure gold! )
  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 463
    I've always wondered about the math symbols in the average Pro font. There seem to be a whole bunch—product, partial differential, integral, not sign—that only seem useful for setting complex equations. But a proper math font contains many symbols that aren't in the average Pro font. Maybe someone with a math background could tell me: does is subset of math symbols represented in the average Pro font actually make sense? That is, does it enable a user to set most mathematical texts without being supplemented by Symbol or Euler or something similar?

    On another subject: I notice no one's spoken up for the lowly cent sign. Are we agreed this is a vermiform appendix?
  • Reiner, this nitpicking of yours is pure gold! )
    Thanks. Let me know if I can do anything else to you. :-)
    I notice no one's spoken up for the lowly cent sign. Are we agreed this is a vermiform appendix?
    1. I’d be careful about characters people can type easily. The cent sign is included in many keyboard layouts. A user might try out your font and have the impression that your font is broken if it's missing.
    2. Is the cent sign really out of use? I do come across it every once on a while, and not only in the sense of a hundredth of a US dollar, btw. I've been told it is often used to denote Costa Rica’s colon since people cannot type ₡ on their keyboards, but they can type ¢.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,152
    I still see ¢ used here and there, admittedly not as much as it used to be.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,444
    edited May 2012
    Don’t write off the appendix just yet—there are several theories as to its usefulness, even if these are secondary to its original function. For a typographic analogy, consider the @ symbol and #. A little redundancy can come in handy.

    I wouldn’t like to see the cent go, because it’s not hard to draw (unlike the colon monetaire), and is quite a pretty little thing to sit next to a figure, especially as a superior.

    Max, I agree about the higher math symbols
  • Jan SchmoegerJan Schmoeger Posts: 280
    Max and Nick, dropping these would be indeed nice. However, I cannot help feeling that there would/could be uses for some of those. Even in prose, whether humorous or not. My 2¢ (there;):
    ∑ ∏ — think I saw these in text?
    ∞ — saw in fiction, popular use?
    ≈ ≠ ± — used alongside the basic operators?
    ∫ (integral) ∆ cannot think of any use in text or headline context?
    √= heterosexual practice? I apologise ...
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,152
    I've seen ∞ used on blogs to indicate a permanent link.

    In my earliest commercial fonts (pre-Unicode), I used to put more useful glyphs in some of the math symbol slots—things like solid and open boxes, arrows, and stars.

    I've since updated them to Unicode and given them proper code points, and restored the stolen code points to their proper characters.

    I'm fine with this, but I fear that users will have a harder time finding the more useful characters, especially when there's no glyph palette available.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,152
    You can type all of them directly on a Mac using combination of option and shift + keys, but, yeah, most people probably don't know they're there. Unless they have need of one of them, and then it's not hard to learn. Some Mac users use ƒ (option-f) as an abbreviation for "folder" in folder names. Easy to type, easy to remember.

    I left them out for a while on certain fonts where they were unlikely to be missed, but some corporate clients consider fonts to be non-compliant if they are missing (or so I seem to recall).

    All this stuff goes back to early computers that had only a few fonts (or sometimes only one) that had to serve multiple purposes. And early PostScript fonts normally borrowed glyphs (via reference) from the Symbol font for the math characters, or used a single set of generic ones for every font. Do that now and you risk looking like a slacker. That was actually a pretty good solution, now that I think of it. Nobody will use them anyway, so it doesn't matter what they look like. And the font is technically complete for the compliancy police.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,656
    Does anybody just use multi-axis interpolation to develop these? Or just use the MM font built-into makeotf for cranking them out? Even if you tweak them a little it would probably be less than a morning of work for an entire family. This is something I have been meaning to build from existing open source fonts and Superpolator but I never get around to it.
  • Or just use the MM font built-into makeotf for cranking them out?
    That’s right, I had completely forgotten about this. If we’re too lazy to draw these characters we can have makeotf do that for us. The -adds option creates these glyphs if they are not present in the font:
    Euro, approxequal, at, brokenbar, daggerdbl, equal, greater, integral, Delta, asciicircum, backslash, currency, degree, estimated, greaterequal, less, Omega, asciitilde, bar, dagger, divide, fraction, infinity, lessequal, litre, minus, numbersign (Numero), paragraph, pi, product, radical, threequarters, logicalnot, multiply, onehalf, partialdiff, plus, quotedbl, section, zero, lozenge, notequal, onequarter, perthousand, plusminus, quotesingle, summation
    (src: MakeOTFv2.5 OpenType/CFF compiler User Guide, 20 Nov 2008)

    According to the same user guide, ‘Added glyphs will match the font’s weight and width’. I remember using this option in a font last year. The liter sign was quite nice actually.
Sign In or Register to comment.