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RE: display vs text faces

From: EDP <i-simond@microsoft.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 96 01:28:50 PST
To: billhill@microsoft.com, www-font@w3.org
Message-Id: wsh-03-msg960126012827MTP[01.52.00]000000f9-5951
I only mentioned Photoshop rasterizing/antialiasing because it's 
multi-platform and seems to work the same way on all the platforms I've 
seen (Mac and Windows and SGI). Anyway I can't imagine a situation 
where Adobe would give it away, as it would certainly undermine their 
Acrobat product.

Antialiasing in Win95 is far better than Photoshop especially at small 
sizes. But I'm only recommending the approach for display typography, 
not  text set at small sizes, which Photoshop has never been able to 
deal with (although people still seem to use it.) Searching would still 
be possible using text included in the ALT tag.

Although having a comprehensive library of free text faces ( which can 
also be used for display) seems like a workable idea, designers have an 
unending appetite for display faces, and I can't see type designers 
giving thousands of display fonts away for free.

Using a vector format rendered by the browser seems to sidestep the 
licensing issues associated with distributing display fonts, because 
the font can not be extracted and used elsewhere.

Simon Daniels (i-simond@microsoft.com)

these views are my own and no not necessarily reflect those of my employer etc.

From: Bill Hill
To: Simon Daniels (EDP); www-font@w3.org
Subject: RE: display vs text faces
Date: 25 January 1996 16:38

i think there's a better way of handling display faces than this.

for a start, why should we be saddled with the anti-aliasing used in Photoshop?
research has shown that people recognize words mostly by the 
high-frequency information - the contrasts between dark stems and light 
backgrounds, or light stems and dark backgrounds. PhotoShop's 
anti-aliasing blurs ALL of the letters, degrading the high-frequency 
parts as well.

The (TrueType) anti-aliasing in Windows 95 Plus! is much more 
sophisticated in its approach, since it first grid-fits the letters to 
regularize stems, etc., then applies anti-aliasing only to the places 
it's needed (curves and diagonals) while leaving stems, crossbars and 
serifs alone. the high-frequency information is retained.

also, Win95's anti-aliasing is applied "on the fly", which means your 
text is still text, not a bit-map. so it's scalable, searchable, 
editable, localizable, etc.. if you've ever been involved in puting out 
information that has to be updated, or localized into other languages, 
you'll know what a complete pain anti-aliased bitmaps are to deal with. 
How are you going to use software to search for a heading if it's in a 
vector graphics format?

now, Win95 anti-aliasing isn't cross-platform, obviously. but 
well-hinted TrueType is. Yes, there are different Macintosh and Windows 
font files, but if a library of enough useable faces was freely 
available people could download what they needed. And they'd get good 
print as well.

With properly-designed and hinted faces, some faces will work well for 
both text and display. For the sake of variety, we probably do need 
some faces which are display-only. These could be handled differently; 
for example, they might have reduced character-sets. They could be 
hinted only down to, say, 14 point on VGA (a lot of hinting data in a 
text font is taken up by delta instructions aimed at getting the best 
representation at small sizes - 12pt and below). These are just some 
ideas; would need to be looked at in more detail.

Received on Thursday, 25 January 1996 20:29:08 UTC

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