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Re: Redefining Serif and Sans Serif

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Fri, 8 May 2009 18:40:07 -0700
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <20090509014007.GA10798@pickering.dbaron.org>
On Friday 2009-05-08 18:28 -0700, Thomas Phinney wrote:
> I was intrigued that the CSS spec decided to redefine sans serif vs
> serif. Typographers will be interested to discover that flared
> typefaces such as Optima (or my own Hypatia Sans) are categorized as
> "serif" in CSS.
> I'll certainly concede that it's simplest to take an absolutist stand
> and say that if there's any flaring at all, it should be considered
> serif. However, I'd argue that this is a case of CSS over-reaching
> itself. Or do people think there's value in considering Optima to be
> in the same category as Times rather than the same category as Arial
> and Helvetica?

Are you referring to the definitions in 
http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/fonts.html#generic-font-families ?  (Or
are is there another spec you saw that also needs to be fixed?)

It sounds to me like the wording in the spec should be changed to
make the definitions given more of an example (e.g., "serif fonts
tend to ..."), to defer more to the metadata in the font itself that
indicates whether the font is serif or sans-serif (or is that
problematic for the other types CSS defines?), and perhaps also
weaken the "without any flaring" in the definition of sans-serif.

Is that roughly the change you were hoping the group would make
based on your comment, or are there other changes to the spec that
you think are necessary?


L. David Baron                                 http://dbaron.org/
Mozilla Corporation                       http://www.mozilla.com/
Received on Saturday, 9 May 2009 01:40:45 UTC

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