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Re: CSS3 @font-face / EOT Fonts - new compromise proposal

From: Brad Kemper <brkemper.comcast@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2008 13:30:10 -0800
Cc: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, Gustavo Ferreira <gustavo.ferreira@hipertipo.net>, www-style@w3.org
Message-Id: <834E1A89-A282-4727-8163-2F6E61914AE9@gmail.com>
To: "Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)" <P.Taylor@Rhul.Ac.Uk>


On Nov 11, 2008, at 12:24 PM, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) wrote:

>
>
>
> Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>
>> Well, that's another issue making me reluctant to point any out - I  
>> know that I don't have a critical eye in this subject.  Thus it's  
>> fairly likely that I'll point out something which is merely "nice"  
>> and have my point dismissed out-of-hand.  I simply don't know what  
>> qualities a font must possess to qualify as "professional", nor am  
>> I willing to put in the time to crash-course myself and then search  
>> for fonts that satisfy this.  I *do* know that there are many which  
>> I am glad to use for my own purposes, and that I'd love to have  
>> available for webdesign purposes.
>> I also suspect that there qualities that would mark a font as  
>> "professional" which are largely irrelevant to making a font  
>> "useful" or "nice".  Thus I doubt that an exhaustive search for  
>> "professional" free fonts, even had I the skills to make it, would  
>> actually be useful here.
>
> Yes, I agree with your analysis.  Fonts may well be both
> useful and nice, yet still lack the features that one
> would expect in a font created by a master typographer
> such as Herman Zapf.  In particular, fonts created by
> non-professionals may well lack hints (important when
> rendering on low-resolution devices) and the kerning
> pairs may be either lacking or noticeably sub-optimal.
> Neither of these would prevent the font from being useful
> (in some circumstances), and quite probably it could appear
> nice to many who read text set in it, but there would
> still almost certainly be some aspects which a professional
> type designer could legitimately point out as defects.
>
> Philip TAYLOR
>

I can tell you that as a professional Web designer/developer, that  
there are many free fonts that I would consider good enough, and that  
I would prefer them over non-free fonts from large foundries, if it  
was not crystal clear that using the professional fonts would not  
entail significant legal risk, or if it was cumbersome or burdensome  
to prepare the professional fonts for use on the multiple servers  
(including outsourced or co-branded servers from other companies that  
I have no direct control over, other than to provide a CSS file).

A lot of free fonts might be lacking in accented characters,  
ligatures, special characters, etc., but that is not a big problem for  
me, especially if there is a mechanism for character-by-character  
fallbacks to a different font. For instance, I don't really care if  
the emdash or bullet character is in Arial or Helvetica as a fallback  
for some free font that didn't have it. What's more important is that  
the font has the design qualities I am looking for, that there are not  
significant (noticeable) spacing/kerning problems onscreen, and that  
it take up roughly the same amount of space as my fallbacks (similar x- 
height and relative width, for instance).
Received on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 21:30:54 GMT

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