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Re: .screenfonts

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jul 2009 08:07:02 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907170607y8b7e2c6v387d49506c0bf609@mail.gmail.com>
To: Gustavo Ferreira <gustavo.ferreira@hipertipo.net>
Cc: Tal Leming <tal@typesupply.com>, Erik van Blokland <erik@letterror.com>, www-font <www-font@w3.org>
On Fri, Jul 17, 2009 at 5:35 AM, Gustavo
Ferreira<gustavo.ferreira@hipertipo.net> wrote:
> 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.

It seems more likely that this is an issue that should be addressed
either in the font itself or in @font-face.  A wrapper format seems
like precisely the wrong place to express this sort of thing.

~TJ
Received on Friday, 17 July 2009 13:08:00 GMT

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