Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 21

Thread: Fonts, fonts, and fonts

  1. #1

    Fonts, fonts, and fonts

    For those of you who pay attention to fonts, the following is a great article. Written by type designer Mark Simonson in February 2001 and entitled The Scourge of Arial, this article details the history of Arial and how it was adapted from an older Monotype's font called Grotesque to mimic Helvetica. Let me just give you the end of the article to illustrate what the article is about.
    Now, Monotype was a respected type foundry with a glorious past and perhaps the idea of being associated with these "pirates" was unacceptable. So, instead, they found a loophole and devised an "original" design that just happens to share exactly the same proportions and weight as another typeface. (See "Monotype's Other 'Arials'") This, to my mind, is almost worse than an outright copy. A copy, it could be said, pays homage (if not license fees) to the original by its very existence. Arial, on the other hand, pretends to be different. It says, in effect "I'm not Helvetica. I don't even look like Helvetica!", but gladly steps into the same shoes. In fact, it has no other role.
    By the way Mark Simonson is the designer of two fonts: Mostra and Kandal. He also wrote an article How to Spot Arial, comparing the details of Helvetica, Arial, and Grotesque. In his Monotype's Other Arials, he pointed out that Monotype has created cheap substitutes of all the other proprietary fonts that Adobe has included with Postscript. Monotype did this at the request of Microsoft when they created TrueImage. These imitation fonts are of course what is used in Windows today, including
    • Monotype Antiqua (substitute for ITC Palatino)
    • Monotype Corsiva (substitute for ITC Zapf Chancery)
    • Monotype Sorts (substitute for ITC Dingbats)
    • Monotype Century Gothic (substitute for ITC Avant Garde Gothic)
    • Monotype Bookman Oldstyle (substitute for ITC Bookman Light)

    Please note that Microsoft licensed Monotype Times New Roman which was developed originally by Monotype in the 1930's. Linotype (ITC) actually licensed Times originally from Monotype. So, Time New Roman is more authentic than times. All this is really very interesting reading if you are at all interested in these sorts of things. Mac uses the original ITC fonts rather than the Monotype fonts. If you have ever thought that Mac fonts just look better and don't understand why, this may the reason.

    So, why am I interested in fonts? This may seem a strange preoccupation. Perhaps it is because I have been using the Macintosh since 1984 and have been puzzled by why the Windows fonts always look incongruous, misproportioned, and ill-at-ease on the computer screen while Macintosh fonts always seem more elegant and comfortable to the eye. By the way, for those of you who have never spent much time on a Mac, you won't know what I am talking about. However, for the 10% of computer users who use Macs, fonts are a main part of the difference between Macs and other computers.

    Actually, the main reason why I am interested in fonts is because of the time I spent with a professor in college. I went to a small college called Reed Collage in Portland, Oregon. My professor was Lloyd Reynolds. I took two courses of calligraphy from him and Father Bob Palladino who shared Lloyd Reynold's love for Roman lettering better than anybody. Lloyd Reynolds was revered by all that knew him. He brought italic calligraphy to the United States and I will forever remember what he taught, not only about calligraphy but art and life. According to Michael McPherson, one of his students who became one of the leading calligraphers in the United States, Lloyd Reynolds was a tough professor:
    “One day we were practicing letters,” McPherson recalls, “and Reynolds said loudly to a woman in the class ‘You don’t have an ounce of rhythm in your entire body! You should get out of here, go home, put on some Mozart, dance around for an hour, then try this again.’ She dissolved in tears. I ran into her years later, and she told me that Lloyd felt so bad about it that he had sent her a Christmas card every year since! ‘And the thing is,’ the woman told me, ‘what he said to me was right!’”
    Unfortunately, with his retirement and death, calligraphy has all but disappeared from the handwriting of Reed students but Lloyd Reynold's influence has been lasting on the computer consoles of the world. Two of Lloyd Reynold's students, Chuck Bigelow and Kris Holmes, contributed many of the fonts that now grace the Macintosh. Chuck Bigelow originated the Lucida family of fonts that now is default font family of the Mac OS system. These include Lucida family of fonts: Lucida, Lucida Sans, Lucida Sans Typewriter, Lucida Math, Lucida Serif, Lucida Typewriter, Lucida Bright, and others. He also created Lucida Console for Microsoft in 2000. Few people know this but Chuck Bigelow also recreated new versions of the classic Mac fonts Chicago, Geneva, Monaco, and New York for Apple in 2000. By the way, here is an image of his Lucida font:


    Chuck Bigelow won a McArther "Genius" Award and is one of the nicest people imaginable, as illustrated by this response that he made to somebody who asked for a printed version/slide of a recent talk that he gave. He was equally nice to me when I wrote to him over a decade ago saying how much I admire his work and Lucida family of fonts. Imagine my great pleasure when I discovered that Apple chose Lucida as the Mac OSX system and default font. For a long time, Chuck Bigelow taught at Stanford. He recently became Melbert B. Cary Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (Source), where:
    Bigelow said he first plans to offer a course on the history, theory, and technology of typefaces and fonts, followed by an advanced course on newspaper typography (not only types and fonts, but also usage and the typographic image and identity of a newspaper) and later, advanced typography seminars on subjects like typography on mobile devices (cell phones, pocket PC’s, etc) as well as typography and material culture: how typography contributes to the experience of super markets, chain stores, and the rest of our marketed civilization.
    When I have time, I will post a detailed comparison of two favorite fonts: Verdana and Optima. Verdana is of course what is used on this site. Verdana was licensed by Microsoft and, like Lucida, was designed to be pleasing, clear, and legible on a computer screen. All redundant features were stripped and the font was designed to be legible even at 8 ppem. Verdana was designed by Matthew Carter, one of the four founders of Bitstream (Source). Lucida was designed by Herman Zapf in 1958. Zapf also designed Palatino, as well as Zapf Chancery and Dingbats. Optima is the most elegant of the sans serif fonts, an example of which is shown below (Source).


    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 05-25-2007 at 11:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Very interesting, Dr. Young. I just began using LaTex for my papers in grad school. I will never go back to perpetua!!!
    End triangle inequality...triangle equality NOW!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Tufelhunden
    Very interesting, Dr. Young. I just began using LaTex for my papers in grad school. I will never go back to perpetua!!!
    Tufelhunden, much as I dislike microsoft, you are making the wrong choice with LaTex. You need to use Word because that is what the rest of the world uses. Writing is a means of communication. If you files cannot be read by 99% of the world, then you have put yourself at a disadvantage.

    Wise.

  4. #4
    Fascinating stuff, Wise. Even before reading this, I always saw Arial as a "cheap knockoff" of Helvetica.

    I became interested in Type design through my Dad long ago, as a kid, when my Dad would take me to work at the ad agency where he was Art Director. He learned to design type in college and was a sign painter before he got into advertising. He passed on his interest in all things art and design to me. My Dad always liked the clean lines of Helvetica, too.

    I also like the fonts Verdana and Optima, and I remember reading back in 1995 or so how Verdana was designed specifically to look good on the computer screen.

    I know what you mean about the Mac and its screen fonts. Even back in the mid-90s when I scoffed at the Mac for its propensity to crash at the drop of the hat, I still recognized its superior look and feel, and the screen fonts seemed so much cleaner; Windows looked cumbersome and clunky by comparison. Back then, the main Mac screen font was Chicago, I believe. This reminiscing makes me want to dust off my beige G3 and boot up OS9.

    I recently got a font design program by FontLab--I've wanted to design my own fonts since '94 or so. I plan to use them in my comicbook lettering and graphic design work.
    Last edited by Scorpion; 05-28-2007 at 03:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Placerville, CA
    Posts
    8,265
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  6. #6
    Not sure why this was bumped, but I'll say I prefer Verdana for everything online. Even when my eyes get blurry at the end of a day staring at a screen, I can still make out Verdana, where Arial and Helvetica are almost illegible to me. I'm glad you chose Verdana for the default on this site.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Placerville, CA
    Posts
    8,265
    Quote Originally Posted by Zero
    Not sure why this was bumped, but I'll say I prefer Verdana for everything online. Even when my eyes get blurry at the end of a day staring at a screen, I can still make out Verdana, where Arial and Helvetica are almost illegible to me. I'm glad you chose Verdana for the default on this site.
    After experimenting with all the font options which were way too few, considering the usable range, I liked Mangal best but it wouldn't display properly. That leaves , you guessed it, Verdana.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  8. #8
    These are the fonts that I see here:

    Arial: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Arial Black: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Arial Narrow: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Book Antique: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Century Gothic: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Comic Sans MS: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Courier New: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Fixedsys: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Franklin Gothic Medium: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Garamond: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Georgia: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Impact: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Lucida Console: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Lucida Sans Unicode: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Microsoft Sans Serif: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Palatino Linotype: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    System: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Tahoma: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Times New Roman: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Trebuchet MS: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog
    Verdana: A quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog



  9. #9
    I just realized that the fonts will show up on other people's computer based on the fonts they have available. Here is what some non-serifed fonts look like on the Mac. Wise.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  10. #10
    The best font searcher.
    http://typenav.fontshop.com/
    Wise.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •