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Typeface optimization

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  • David P. Wall
    Howdy, folks: When typefaces are designed for computer reproduction, do the type designers always create their master patterns for a standard optimal size? For
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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      Howdy, folks:

      When typefaces are designed for computer
      reproduction, do the type designers always create
      their master patterns for a standard optimal
      size? For example, are all text faces out there
      now designed for optimal reproduction at, say,
      12 pt. and all display faces at 36 pt.? Is there
      any kind of industry standard for this, or does
      each designer pick whatever master sizes they
      feel are right for their particular designs?

      Also, is there a way of finding out what the
      optimal or master sizes are for particular
      typefaces on the market. Do the type foundries
      publish this information?

      My reasons for asking relate to the
      previously-discussed issues of optimizing type
      for letterpress printing---in case anyone was
      wondering what these questions have to do with
      photopolymer.

      Thanks for any help anyone can offer!

      David Wall




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    • Peter Fraterdeus
      At 6:39 AM -0800 2003-01-27, David P. Wall wrote: (on the PhotoPolymer Letterpress List) ... David There is no industry standard that I know of. When I
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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        At 6:39 AM -0800 2003-01-27, David P. Wall wrote:
        (on the PhotoPolymer Letterpress List)
        >Howdy, folks:
        >
        >When typefaces are designed for computer
        >reproduction, do the type designers always create
        >their master patterns for a standard optimal
        >size? For example, are all text faces out there...


        David

        There is no industry standard that I know of.
        When I designed Marlowe (see http://www.alphabets.com), which is based on the Oxford Fell types of 1690, we used two specimen sizes for the roman, which I can't recall the names of at this point, but pretty much as you are suggesting. (Primer and Grand Extra Huge, I think ;-)

        I will put your question to the ATypI members list (www.atypi.org) and see if there's any further information there. Adobe, FontBureau and other major design houses are members of ATypI, so I expect that there will be some info forthcoming!

        Best regards

        Peter

        PS Please add {README} to the subject line if you reply from yahoo.com, or my filters will trash the message before I see it!


        At 6:39 AM -0800 2003-01-27, David P. Wall wrote:
        >Howdy, folks:
        >
        >When typefaces are designed for computer
        >reproduction, do the type designers always create
        >their master patterns for a standard optimal
        >size? For example, are all text faces out there
        >now designed for optimal reproduction at, say,
        >12 pt. and all display faces at 36 pt.? Is there
        >any kind of industry standard for this, or does
        >each designer pick whatever master sizes they
        >feel are right for their particular designs?
        >
        >Also, is there a way of finding out what the
        >optimal or master sizes are for particular
        >typefaces on the market. Do the type foundries
        >publish this information?
        >
        >My reasons for asking relate to the
        >previously-discussed issues of optimizing type
        >for letterpress printing---in case anyone was
        >wondering what these questions have to do with
        >photopolymer.
        >
        >Thanks for any help anyone can offer!
        >
        >David Wall
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        --
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        Peter Fraterdeus -:- peterf#semiotx.com -:- Galena, Illinois
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      • Gerald Lange <bieler@worldnet.att.net>
        David Most run of the mill PostScript Type 1 and TrueType digital faces are designed in one size from a master pattern at 10 or 12 point. It varies. So If you
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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          David

          Most run of the mill PostScript Type 1 and TrueType digital faces are designed in one size from a master pattern at 10 or 12 point. It varies. So If you set
          something at 72 pt it is in actuality, 10 x 72. Not good. Unless you have a multiple masters font with the appropriate axes, all you can do to compensate is create your own weight-adjusted sizes with a font-editing program.

          In recent years that has been a concern for optimization
          (post-multiple masters) and several foundries have made separately
          drawn fonts for the various sizes, usually at text or small text /
          medium display / large display. In that regard, this is not much
          different than the practice followed by Monotype or Linotype in the machine composition years. To my knowledge, ITC Bodoni was one of the first
          of digital faces to follow this path. It was initially intended as a
          multiple master, and most likely developed with that technology. In
          fact, many digital foundries have used multiple masters to configure a
          font to an ideal weight, but these (the multiple masters) were usually
          not available as such to the market. The trend with the OpenType
          format is to develop different optimized sizes.

          From what I can gather, multiple masters is something relegated to the
          dustbin. There were only about three dozen multiple masters ever
          produced for the market. Not exactly any incentive to continue along
          that course.

          At this point in time, I'd start looking at OpenType offerings. The
          PostScript format is marked for extinction. The Adobe line is now all
          reconfigured to the OpenType format and a number of the fonts contain
          opticals, or sized optimization. Emigre has re-released Mrs Eaves in
          OpenType format. But not much else is actually out there yet (though
          some of the smaller foundries are forging ahead). Problem is, with
          OpenType you are kind of stuck with what you get. I don't believe that
          you can edit an OT font like you can PostScript Type 1 font. Or, I
          should say, I don't know that you can. If true, a bit disturbing.

          Gerald


          >
          > When typefaces are designed for computer
          > reproduction, do the type designers always create
          > their master patterns for a standard optimal
          > size? For example, are all text faces out there
          > now designed for optimal reproduction at, say,
          > 12 pt. and all display faces at 36 pt.? Is there
          > any kind of industry standard for this, or does
          > each designer pick whatever master sizes they
          > feel are right for their particular designs?
          >
          > Also, is there a way of finding out what the
          > optimal or master sizes are for particular
          > typefaces on the market. Do the type foundries
          > publish this information?
          >
          > My reasons for asking relate to the
          > previously-discussed issues of optimizing type
          > for letterpress printing---in case anyone was
          > wondering what these questions have to do with
          > photopolymer.
          >
          > Thanks for any help anyone can offer!
          >
          > David Wall
        • Peter Fraterdeus
          ... Gerald, David -- I have better news, which is that OpenType is not really a new format. FontLab 4.5 can certainly edit OT fonts, either of the TrueType or
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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            At 3:59 AM +0000 2003-01-28, Gerald Lange <bieler@...> wrote:
            >David
            >
            >...
            >
            >At this point in time, I'd start looking at OpenType offerings. The
            >PostScript format is marked for extinction. The Adobe line is now all
            >reconfigured to the OpenType format and a number of the fonts contain
            >opticals, or sized optimization. Emigre has re-released Mrs Eaves in
            >OpenType format. But not much else is actually out there yet (though
            >some of the smaller foundries are forging ahead). Problem is, with
            >OpenType you are kind of stuck with what you get. I don't believe that
            >you can edit an OT font like you can PostScript Type 1 font. Or, I
            >should say, I don't know that you can. If true, a bit disturbing.
            >
            >Gerald
            >

            Gerald, David --

            I have better news, which is that OpenType is not really a new format.
            FontLab 4.5 can certainly edit OT fonts, either of the TrueType or the Type 1 (Postscript) persuasion.

            Opentype is really just an updated package of font data, using the TrueType table format, but with extensions to allow Postscript Type 1 glyph outlines to be used (in .otf fonts). Open'true'type are still called .ttf fonts.

            No problem from that standpoint...as long as you can afford to buy FontLab ;-)

            P
            --
            AzByCx DwEvFu GtHsIr JqKpLo MnNmOl PkQjRi ShTgUf VeWdXc YbZa&@
            Peter Fraterdeus -:- peterf@... -:- Galena, Illinois
            dezineCafe : www.dezinecafe.com | A*IFonts : www.alphabets.com

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            Magical Images from the Moon's Garden!

            http://www.semiotx.com "Words that work."(tm)

            BookSense http://www.booksense.com
            Independent local booksellers on the web.
          • Gerald Lange
            Peter Well, I d sure like to believe this, but after spending some time on one of the OpenType developers lists (over at Topica) desperately trying to sort out
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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              Peter

              Well, I'd sure like to believe this, but after spending some time on one
              of the OpenType developers lists (over at Topica) desperately trying to
              sort out one definitive statement after conflicting definitive
              statement, I'm suspicious of the easy answer (which seems to be the
              corporate answer).

              FontLab 4.5 is available as an upgrade for $200 for anyone with a
              previous version and for the same price to anyone with a previous
              version of Fontographer.

              I'm not too quick to jump on the band wagon here. A lot of info on OT
              seems still uncertain, even untruthful, to me.

              Gerald


              >I have better news, which is that OpenType is not really a new format.
              >FontLab 4.5 can certainly edit OT fonts, either of the TrueType or the Type 1 (Postscript) persuasion.
              >
              >Opentype is really just an updated package of font data, using the TrueType table format, but with extensions to allow Postscript Type 1 glyph outlines to be used (in .otf fonts). Open'true'type are still called .ttf fonts.
              >
              >No problem from that standpoint...as long as you can afford to buy FontLab ;-)
              >
              >P
              >
              >
            • Peter Fraterdeus
              Gerald I ve got FL 4.5, having bought every version since it came out for the Mac. What s uncertain? The format is fully documented at Microsoft s Typography
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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                Gerald

                I've got FL 4.5, having bought every version since it came out for the Mac.

                What's uncertain? The format is fully documented at Microsoft's Typography site (one of the only things I like about M$)

                I've just opened Zapfino.dfont, which is Apple's OT version of this Linotype face.
                I have full access to all the hundreds of glyphs in the font...

                (screen shots sent by request!)

                No problema!

                P.


                >Peter
                >
                >Well, I'd sure like to believe this, but after spending some time on one
                >of the OpenType developers lists (over at Topica) desperately trying to
                >sort out one definitive statement after conflicting definitive
                >statement, I'm suspicious of the easy answer (which seems to be the
                >corporate answer).
                >
                >FontLab 4.5 is available as an upgrade for $200 for anyone with a
                >previous version and for the same price to anyone with a previous
                >version of Fontographer.
                >
                >I'm not too quick to jump on the band wagon here. A lot of info on OT
                >seems still uncertain, even untruthful, to me.
                >
                >Gerald
                >
                >
                >>I have better news, which is that OpenType is not really a new format.
                >>FontLab 4.5 can certainly edit OT fonts, either of the TrueType or the Type 1 (Postscript) persuasion.
                >>
                >>Opentype is really just an updated package of font data, using the TrueType table format, but with extensions to allow Postscript Type 1 glyph outlines to be used (in .otf fonts). Open'true'type are still called .ttf fonts.
                >>
                >>No problem from that standpoint...as long as you can afford to buy FontLab ;-)
                >>
                >>P
                > >
                >>
              • Gerald Lange
                Zapfino would be AAT configured, correct? I get the feeling Apple doesn t feel all that comfortable with OT? What does full access to all hundreds of glyphs
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 27, 2003
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                  Zapfino would be AAT configured, correct? I get the feeling Apple doesn't feel all that comfortable with OT?

                  What does full access to all hundreds of glyphs actually mean? What modifications have you been able to make with FontLab?

                  I'm well aware of Microsoft's documentation, and Adobe's, and Apple's. Some of it off the record. There are others who have a different take on this. From what I'm seeing the table standards are still evolving and consideration for inclusion is ongoing (as proffered by developers).

                  I have no doubt about the industry need for OT. What I'm concerned about is the user's need for OT and the impact this will have on their existent type libraries and on their real computing needs.

                  Bit serious about this. There's a lot of misinformation I'm trying to sort out and I frankly don't trust the pie in the sky, everything's coming up roses, don't worry about it, it will all be fine stuff.

                  Are you developing fonts for OT?

                  Gerald



                  Peter Fraterdeus wrote:

                  >Gerald
                  >
                  >I've got FL 4.5, having bought every version since it came out for the Mac.
                  >
                  >What's uncertain? The format is fully documented at Microsoft's Typography site (one of the only things I like about M$)
                  >
                  >I've just opened Zapfino.dfont, which is Apple's OT version of this Linotype face.
                  >I have full access to all the hundreds of glyphs in the font...
                  >
                  >(screen shots sent by request!)
                  >
                  >No problema!
                  >
                  >P.
                  >
                • Katie Harper
                  Incidentally, there is a short article in this month s issue of HOW magazine about type formats, including Open Type, with its pros and cons. Interesting
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 28, 2003
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                    Incidentally, there is a short article in this month's issue of HOW magazine
                    about type formats, including Open Type, with its pros and cons. Interesting
                    reading.


                    Katie Harper
                    Ars Brevis Press
                    Cincinnati, OH
                    513-233-9588
                    http://www.arsbrevispress.com
                  • Dr P.B. Watry
                    What is this magazine and how do we get access to this article? Paul Watry
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 28, 2003
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                      What is this magazine and how do we get access to this article?

                      Paul Watry

                      On Tue, 28 Jan 2003, Katie Harper wrote:

                      >Incidentally, there is a short article in this month's issue of HOW magazine
                      >about type formats, including Open Type, with its pros and cons. Interesting
                      >reading.
                      >
                      >
                      >Katie Harper
                      >Ars Brevis Press
                      >Cincinnati, OH
                      >513-233-9588
                      >http://www.arsbrevispress.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >• To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                      >PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                      >• Encountering problems? contact:
                      >PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                      >• To unsubscribe:
                      >PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                      >
                      >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                      >
                      >
                      >
                    • Katie Harper
                      HOW is a semi-monthly graphic design magazine. It is found in all major bookstores and where magazines are sold in the section dealing with the arts. You might
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 28, 2003
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                        HOW is a semi-monthly graphic design magazine. It is found in all major
                        bookstores and where magazines are sold in the section dealing with the
                        arts.

                        You might also check their website. Sometimes articles or shortened versions
                        are repeated there. http://www.howdesign.com


                        Katie Harper
                        Ars Brevis Press
                        Cincinnati, OH
                        513-233-9588
                        http://www.arsbrevispress.com





                        > From: "Dr P.B. Watry" <Pwatry@...>
                        > Reply-To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                        > Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 12:04:21 +0000 (GMT)
                        > To: PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                        > Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Open Type, etc.
                        >
                        > What is this magazine and how do we get access to this article?
                        >
                        > Paul Watry
                        >
                        > On Tue, 28 Jan 2003, Katie Harper wrote:
                        >
                        >> Incidentally, there is a short article in this month's issue of HOW magazine
                        >> about type formats, including Open Type, with its pros and cons. Interesting
                        >> reading.
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> Katie Harper
                        >> Ars Brevis Press
                        >> Cincinnati, OH
                        >> 513-233-9588
                        >> http://www.arsbrevispress.com
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >> • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                        >> PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                        >> • Encountering problems? contact:
                        >> PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        >> • To unsubscribe:
                        >> PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >>
                        >> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
                        >
                        > • To respond to a post or post a message to the membership:
                        > PPLetterpress@yahoogroups.com
                        > • Encountering problems? contact:
                        > PPLetterpress-owner@yahoogroups.com
                        > • To unsubscribe:
                        > PPLetterpress-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >
                      • Hrant H Papazian
                        From: David P. Wall ... Not always, but it seems to me that generally the 12 point is chosen. Of course it doesn t much matter what you choose: things won t
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jan 28, 2003
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                          From: "David P. Wall"
                          > When typefaces are designed for computer reproduction,
                          > do the type designers always create their master
                          > patterns for a standard optimal size?

                          Not always, but it seems to me that generally the 12 point
                          is chosen. Of course it doesn't much matter what you choose:
                          things won't really work with less than at least 3 masters.
                          That's because there are two cutoffs in "modes of reading",
                          resulting in three bands: display, reading, sub-reading.

                          From: Gerald Lange
                          > Unless you have a multiple masters font with the appropriate axes

                          And there is a view that practically none of those really
                          work optimally: the smaller sizes especially don't go far
                          enough in terms of compensation for optical distortions.

                          I in fact have the view that small type has to have a
                          certain ugliness about it if it's ever seen large* and
                          this leads to the probable reason why the optical axes
                          don't go far enough: since it's possible to set large
                          type using the small end of the axis, resulting in the
                          insensitive user (~75% of them) exclaiming "Hey, that's
                          pretty ugly - what a waste of money on that font!", it
                          makes more business sense to strike a balance between
                          what it *needs* to be versus what most people expect.

                          * Look in particular at the work of Walter Tracy.

                          From: Peter Fraterdeus
                          > I've just opened Zapfino.dfont

                          But isn't that a "dumbed down" OT font?

                          Plus it's not just a matter of loading it up, it's a
                          matter of maintaining all its functionality when you
                          re-output it. For example, you can open up all those
                          wonderful MS core fonts in Fontographer, and it all
                          looks peachy, but when you generate a new font from
                          there you lose all the hinting, which is the entire
                          point of those fonts!

                          I share Gerald's uneasiness to some extent.

                          hhp
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