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TUGboat Volume 20 1999 No 2 97, A block of text set A block of text set do not read individual characters but read. from Utopia Italics from Computer Modern words and mainly use the upper half of a line of. Generally designers italics Generally text for this purpose The general claim is that. the serifs facilitate this process Just check it,agree that text set designers agree that. for yourself by looking at the next set of lines,in roman is more text set in roman is. legible than text set more legible than text,Now you miss the upper half of this line. in italic although set in italic although,the readability of the readability of.
italics accompanying italics accompanying,This is a text quer auer galapagos. different fonts may different fonts may, differ considerably differ considerably This is a text quer auer galapagos. which is important if which is important if,Furthermore serifs have an important function. large pieces of text are large pieces of text are, in shaping the personality of a type design Differ. typeset in italics typeset in italics ent serifs a set of possible serifs is presented in. Figure 1 give a typeface design a clearly distinct. If multiple slanted fonts are used in one piece personality. of running text it is important to ensure that the The first serif actually is no serif at all The. angle of slant is comparable otherwise a page will second one the slab serif is orthogonal to the stem. look rather uneven to which it is attached and has about the same width. as this stem Slab serifs are generally but not neces. Serif and sans serif An issue that raised much sarily Lucida Typewriter is a well known example. discussion in the first half of this century see e g used for monospaced fonts like Courier and Com. Tschichold 1991 but on which a communis opinio puter Modern Typewriter Some proportionally. now seems to have been reached is the usage of spaced fonts like the Computer Modern Concrete. serifed or sans serif fonts we encountered earlier in this paper also have slab. Computer Modern with serifs serifs Those fonts are generally called Egyptiennes. and are normally used for two purposes display text. Computer Modern sans sans serif,in advertising and typesetting labels on maps A.
Whereas at the beginning of this century a large well known example is Atlas by the Amsterdam. group of designers were of the opinion that sans Typefoundry see Figure 2 An important reason. serif designs were to be preferred as they were more for using slab serifs in this latter type of copy may. modern emphasizing the pure shape of the individ well be that the serifs clearly belong to the letters. ual characters and omitting superfluous elements and consequently are not likely to be confused with. it is now generally recognized that the serifs have other elements on the map 2. an important function for the following not always The next type of serif the wedge serif has. independent aspects of legibility been popular in advertising and for book covers. Serifs make individual characters more distinct during the fifties and sixties of this century but. In their sans serif variant many characters look is hardly used nowadays The main and probably. remarkably if not exactly like mirror images only advantage of this design is that is is easily. of each other During the reading process they drawn by hand and still looks somewhat unusual. are easily confused especially by persons suf The hairline or modern serif is typical of mod. fering from dyslexia The advantage of serifed ern typefaces like Didot or Bodoni see Figure 3. typefaces over their non serif counterparts in Such serifs became popular in the second half of. this respect is easily seen from the following the eighteenth century Great craftmanship was. example required to make the matrices needed to cast letters. b d b d with those extremely thin serifs Furthermore great. p q p q care had to be taken during printing as the hair. line serifs were very fragile and could easily break. Serifs emphasize the beginning and ending of, 2 A second reason for the preference for Egyptiennes and. individual characters compare e g rn with rn, sans serif fonts in applications like map printing is that. Serifs emphasize the shape of words It is the contrast of those fonts typically is near unity see the. generally recognized that experienced readers discussion on contrast later in this paper. 98 TUGboat Volume 20 1999 No 2,sans serif slab serif wedge serif. hairline modern serif bracketed oldstyle serif bracketed oldstyle serif. Figure 1 Different types of serifs, are shown in Figure 1 This is the traditional serif. found in fonts like Garamond Bembo and Times 3,The dimensions of a typeface design.
Size and design size The best known and prob,ably least useful dimension of a font is its size. Everyone has encountered remarks like this text is. set from a 10 point Bembo and papers should be,submitted in 12 point Times Roman Traditionally. the size of a font is the height of the piece of lead. from which the text is set Nowadays the size of a, font can generally be considered an almost useless. figure In most fonts it is equal to the height of the. parentheses but even that is not always the, case In wordprocessors the point size will generally. be equal to the distance between lines of text if you. set linespacing to one For practical purposes this. knowledge is limited the only thing about font size. that is important is that most fonts have a design. size This is the size at which the font will look best. Although bu using modern typesetting software like. TEX or any Windows or Macintosh program it is, possible to scale a font to any desired size you will.
generally get better results if you stick to a size in. the neighbourhood of the design size For some,popular fonts like Times Roman or our good old. Figure 2 Font specimen of Atlas source N V Computer Modern different design sizes even are. Lettergieterj Amsterdam Undated available This allows the careful designer to use all. fonts at their optimal sizes When using Computer,Modern the standard LATEX document classes even. Nowadays one sometimes wonders whether those,take care of this automatically the footnotes for. designs are the equivalent of Paganini s capriccios. instance are set from a font with another design,for violin if their main purpose is not to show. size than the font used for the main text This,craftsmanship rather than beauty Nevertheless.
ensures an equal level of grayness across the page. one has to admit that a book in Bodoni carefully, and increases legibility characters of fonts with a. typeset on the right kind of paper still looks stun. smaller design size are generally somewhat wider,ning apart from blackletter Bodoni is one of the. and heavier look for instance at the difference,very few typefaces that looks good in combination. between the next two examples, with high contrast illustrations like woodcuts Groe. 3 Times is somewhat peculiar in this respect the bold. nendaal 1950, characters use modern serifs the ordinary roman oldstyle.
The serif we encounter most often is the brack serifs. eted or oldstyle serif both the lower and upper serif. TUGboat Volume 20 1999 No 2 99, Computer Modern with when the ascenders are large relative to x height. 5 point design size the capitals would stand out too much 6 An example. of a font that uses slightly smaller capitals than. Computer Modern with 17 point design size,ascenders is Garamond. The x height For practical purposes a more, important characteristic is the x height of a font. which is exactly what the name implies the height The combination of x height and ascender and. of an x or any other letter without ascenders or descender heights roughly determines how econom. descenders in the given font 4 The x height of a ical a typeface is 7 in other words how much text. font essentially determines the size of the font as can be put on a page without sacrificing legibility. it will be perceived by the reader Fonts with an Fonts with relatively large x heights compared to. identical nominal size may have x heights that differ their size can be used at small sizes Consequently. surprisingly The next two examples show Utopia they are rather economical more lines of text can. and Garamond at the same size The x heights and be put on a single page and more text will fit on a. consequently the perceived size of the font however single line However the gain is not as large as one. differ considerably might hope for fonts with relatively large x height. generally require some additional interline spacing. Hamburgefont Hamburgefont, When combining fonts in running text for in Width and stem width Apart from the mea. stance when using typewriter or sans serif fonts in sures of font height discussed in the previous para. combination with an ordinary serifed roman it is graphs we also need some measure of font width. important to ensure that the x heights of all fonts TEX provides the user with an amount called em. used are identical A traditional problematic com space the width of a single m which for design con. bination consists of the standard PostScript fonts siderations has relatively little importance Some. Times Helvetica and Courier Those fonts have what more important is the average width of a font. quite different x heights which distorts the evenness generally measured Rubenstein 1988 by the total. of a page if no measures are taken 5 width of all lowercase characters This width is also. of importance when combining fonts Although less,Times Helvetica Courier.
perceptible than the x height fonts with different. Fortunately the New Font Selection Scheme widths given an identical height tend to combine. a short introduction to the NFSS can be found badly this problem is mainly related to the rhythm. in Kroonenberg 1999 makes solving this problem of the font to be discussed later in this paper 8 Of. rather easy the default is to load each font at the course width also is related to the amount of text. same size however it is also possible to specify that can be put on a page the larger the width the. a scale factor in addition which may be used to smaller the number of characters that fit on a single. compensate for different x heights line Not surprisingly fonts with an x height that is. Ascenders descenders and capitals In addi relatively large tend to have a large width as well. tion to the x height and font size three other height thus reducing the economy gained by using such a. related dimensions of a font are available the height font. of the capitals e g K H and S the height of A final directly measurable characteristic of a. the ascenders e g k l and h and the length font is stem width the width of the stems of letters. of the descenders e g j g and y In many like l Of course this also influences the results when. fonts the capital height is equal to the height of combining different fonts in a piece of text The. the ascenders sometimes however the ascenders next example shows two monospaced fonts along. 6 Barbara Beeton drew my attention to the fact that this. are slightly longer than the capitals The main ad, vantage of making the capitals slightly shorter than is especially important when typesetting text in German. where every noun is capitalized, the ascenders is that this gives a more even level 7 Morison 1997 even claims that the general principle. of grayness across the page otherwise especially behind the evolution of font design is economy and indeed. 4 The x height of a font is readily available in T X If you more recently developed typefaces tend to be more economi. E cal than traditional ones, want to specify a length in terms of the x height of the current 8 Unfortunately T X is only able to scale the height. font just use the measure ex instead of a more traditional E. and width of a font simultaneously so this problem is not. measure like cm or pt, 5 The example also shows that color and rhythm of the easily solved Future generations of TEX may well solve this. three typefaces differ,100 TUGboat Volume 20 1999 No 2.
with a Times With regard to stem width and con Contrast Contrast is defined as the ratio be. sequently blackness Computer Modern typewriter tween the width of vertical and horizontal stems. combines far better with Times than the traditional Rubenstein 1988 Contrast is roughly speaking. Courier but of course the x height still needs some what makes a font lively brilliant if you wish If. adjustment contrast gets extremely high a font is hardly legible. Courier Times Computer Modern at all and only suited for use as a display typeface. Typewriter in for instance advertising Similarly fonts with. extremely low contrast are hardly legible Endless, Some more complex dimensions discussions about optimal contrast values are of. Color Although it is impossible to characterize course possible but there seems to be some gen. a font completely by a set of numbers we may eral agreement that for serifed typefaces contrast. refine the measurements presented till now to get should be somewhere between 2 and 3 5 It is. some additional insight into the properties of a evident from the data presented in Table 1 that. design Most TEX users for instance will have Computer Modern scores rather low on the contrast. heard the remark that Computer Modern is too of if you . Fonts A short introduction to font characteristics Maarten Gelderman Abstract Almost anyone who develops an interest in fonts is bound to be overwhelmed by the bewildering variety of letterforms available The number of fonts avail able from commercial suppliers like Adobe urw LinoType and others runs into the thousands A

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