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Re: What's an em

From: Prof. Erik Spiekermann <erik@metadesign.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 03:29:02 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <B4BDA95C.C80%erik@metadesign.com>
To: Just van Rossum <just@letterror.com>, Erik van der Poel <erik@netscape.com>
CC: Karlsson Kent - keka <keka@im.se>, <www-style@w3.org>, "'www-font@w3.org'" <www-font@w3.org>
on 02.02.2000 00:16, Just van Rossum wrote:

> You can't measure the *optical* size of any shape by simply looking at it's
> bounding box. Trust me, you're shooting yourself in the foot. Pointsize
> Pointsize Pointsize. It's the only thing that means *anything*.

I think it's time that some real type designers (thank you, just) had a word
in this: just van rossum is absolutely right. Programmers may and will do
what they want, but measuring the optical or visual parts of a typeface will
not work and has never worked (i already tried to explain to all the young
people out there what we went to in the 70s with all that cap-height
measuring discussion - clive bruton alluded to that as well). Whatever you
measure, you'll never get the subtleties. You cannot even measure the
x-height accurately, as it'll be mechanically different on most characters,
to allow for optical correction. A lower case "o" will measure much taller
than a lower case "x", and where do you measure the "n"? On the straight bit
at the right or on the curve to the left?

Yes, erik van der poel has finally got it:

>Is the "optical size" (as you call it) the same
>as the "subjective apparent size"?

Optical is what we see, not what we measure. And readers look, they don't

erik  FF Meta, ITC Officina (all with considerable help from Just van
Rossum and Erik van Blokland), FF Info, Block, Berliner Grotesk, LoType, etc


= 8-) 

| Prof. Erik Spiekermann | erik@metadesign.com |

| MetaDesign | Berlin | London | San Francisco |
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Received on Thursday, 3 February 2000 10:25:06 UTC

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