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From: Gustavo Ferreira <gustavo.ferreira@hipertipo.net>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 12:35:26 +0200
Cc: www-font <www-font@w3.org>
Message-Id: <BDDED58A-4B92-4C53-BDCE-E3790B4EB3E5@hipertipo.net>
To: Tal Leming <tal@typesupply.com>, Erik van Blokland <erik@letterror.com>
Hello Tal & Erik,

I have a question & some ideas to extend your current .webfont  
proposal to embrace size-specific, screen-optimized typeface designs.

#--- The question

Would it be possible to include support for size-specific designs in  
the .webfonts proposal?

#--- Context ( executive summary )

1. I have been working on screen typefaces with 'optical  
scaling' (different designs for different sizes).

2. Most (if not all) browsers have an integrated text scaling  
functionality [Ctrl+/Ctrl-].

3. There is no simple way to integrate the different design sizes of a  
typeface with the browsers' text scaling functionality.

4. I think the notion of size-specific designs is essential to (high- 
quality text screen-) typography and should be part of the technical  
typographic infra-structure of the web.

#--- Context ( long version )

I predict a near future in which the ability to use any font on web  
pages will bring us internet text typography of /inferior/ quality  
than what we have today; PostScript typefaces designed for print will  
not display as well in text sizes on the screen as Verdana & Co,  
specially on Windows.

There is currently no standard cross-plattform technology to control  
the display of fonts on screens. The only way to have some kind of  
control on the display of type on screens is by working directly on  
the pixel grid, either with bitmaps or outlines 'grid-fitted by design'.

This size-specific design approach demands the individual fonts to be  
used in the specific sizes they were designed for. This approach,  
which has been in the heart of type design practice for centuries, is  
not possible with current type technology architecture.

(I am aware that OpenType has a mechanism for dealing with optical  
sizes, but this is not yet widely supported and I haven't heard of any  
plans to do so in the near future.)

#--- My idea

I find it highly desirable to have some sort of standard mechanism to  
deal with different design sizes of a same typeface.

The different design sizes could be made available as individual font  
files (format is irrelevant), zipped into a "fontdata" resource.

"fontinfo.xml" would contain a flag to indicate that this typeface  
comes with size-specific fonts. It would also list a range of sizes  
(in pixels) and the corresponding font files to be used for each pixel  
size.

Finally, browsers would recognize the flag from the font resource and  
match the [Ctrl+/Ctrl-] text scaling steps to the available fonts  
inside the font resource.

And that's it. Things would continue to work exactly the same way for  
scalable outline fonts, but we would have a cross-plattform way to  
address the representation of typefaces under different low-resolution  
PPEMs.

#--- The End

Thanks for reading all this.

I'm curious about any comments you and others might have.

Best regards,
Gustavo.
Received on Friday, 17 July 2009 10:36:02 GMT

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