W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > November 1999

RE: font-size and accents, again

From: Karlsson Kent - keka <keka@im.se>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 19:43:23 +0100
Message-ID: <C110A2268F8DD111AA1A00805F85E58DA68459@ntgbg1>
To: www-style@w3.org

> "The three main parts of letters are ascenders, descenders,
> and the 'x' height. The size of a type face is the measure of
> the metal body, not the image of the printed letter. Thus a 48
> point size letter may measure only 42 points from the top of
> the ascender to the bottom of the descender.

The "size" (still) does not measure the size of the
printed/displayed image is a problem.  Not everyone
doing typesetting (now word processing) these days is
a typographer, or has even the vaguest notion of typography.

Then to maintain subtleties like measuring the size of an
imaginary metal body makes things hard for todays average
user.  Likewise for units that are generally unknown
to the average user (see also below on Didt points).

Some Scandinavian(?) typographers appears to be arguing
for using what they call p-height instead, to indicate
the size.  The p-height is the height from the bottom
of the descender of a lowercase p, to the top of the
ring above of an  (capital A with ring above). (This
of course assumes that nobody misplaces, like too high,
or oversizes the ring above.) This kind of rule needs
some tweeking for ultra-bold (or even for bold) and
fonts that use extra-low descenders.  

Side remark: Traditionally in Europe (except England)
the size is measured in Didt points (1 dpt = 0.376 mm,
with a Cicero being 12 Didt points), but there is also
a move to use millimeters instead, with at least quarter
of mm steps for "common" sizes.

Second side remark: It appears that different systems
unfortunately interpret absolute sizes differently,
which leads to problems with documents that must be
viewable on different systems, like web documents...

		Yes, I'm new to this list
		/Kent Karlsson
		(I'm not a typographer,
		but bad computer typography
		has forced an interest)
Received on Wednesday, 24 November 1999 13:45:28 UTC

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