Re: Fonts and readability

[ Sorry about the unreadable odd message I tried to send earlier.
That'll teach me to use crap web-based email packages :-(
Here it is again in (hopefully) readable form... ]

"Sergey I. Panov" wrote:
> Then we need font editor. Commercial font editors (just two
> decent font editor are on the market) are >$300. I read a few
> articles about METAFONT script -> TT/T1 transformation.
> Unfortunatly your need fonteditor to define hints at the last
> stage. There are also some tools available, that let you design
> METAFONT scripts using xfig. I guess it is theoretically
> possible to turn some free vector drawing program into a font
> editor (?with METAFONT based automation?).

Strangely enough, I've been thinking about writing one over the
last few days. I was going to do it in python, which already has
wrappers for t1lib and freetype, and steal a lot of code from
sketch. The problem is that it\'s a pretty large project. A font
editor is at least as complicated as a general vector graphics
program. Also, good fonts in themselves represent a very large
design effort- at least months of work.  99.9% of the fonts out
there are rubbish, and the last thing we need is more bad fonts -
just a few really good text faces would be enough. Anyway if
anyone else would be interested in this, please mail me - I'm just
toying with ideas at the moment.

What I'd really like to see is for someone with money (eg RedHat?)
to approach one of the major font vendors about either freeing an
existing design or making a new one from scratch which could be
freely distributed. The trouble is, they'd have to be paid enough
to compensate them for never making any more money from that font.
And with custom designs for companies going for >$50,000 dollars,
it\'s not cheap (God knows what Microsoft paid Matthew Carter for
Arial etc). However, I'd say it's a worthwhile investment- a good
font makes a huge difference to the user experience and legibility
of the screen. Windows 2000 looks much nicer than NT primarily
because it has a better default font - all that fading etc is a
nice gimmick but the font really makes a difference. Anyway, enough
blatant pleading.

A note on ClearType: the idea for this is to recognise that an
onscreen pixel isn't just a coloured square- it's three separate
phosphor dots. Apparently by taking account of this you can improve
readability at very low resolutions. As such my guess is that
Microsoft want to use this for WebTV etc & it's probably not very
useful for workstations with decent displays (which represent the
vast majority of current Linux computers). Proper greyscale
antialiasing in X would be *really nice*, though...

So in summary there are three separate things required to make
gnome/X/linux etc a decent platform for typography:

1) Truetype support & antialiased text in X.

2) Some decent fonts, whether bought-in or home-brewed.

3) (maybe) a font editor along the lines of Fontographer or FontLab.


Edwin Young

[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Thread Index] [Date Index] [Author Index]