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Re: [css-fonts] proposal needed for synthesizing oblique fonts in vertical text

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Wed, 15 May 2013 20:18:54 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <129472371.15736250.1368674334226.JavaMail.root@mozilla.com>

Koji Ishii wrote:

> > > Good point, I missed this case, and I agree this is an issue for
> > > (2).
> > >
> > This is why I'm saying I don't think there's a "correct" behavior,
> > only options that all have undesirable side effects.
> I agree with you. I don't think I ever said there's an option that
> works perfectly without any issues. I'm sorry if I sounded so
> before.
> I'm trying to say, authors want Italic (slant), but there's no
> perfect answer, so let's find the most reasonable option. Is this
> point agreeable?

>From the use cases and examples you've described, authors want some
form of obliquing (斜体、shatai). That's *not* italics, as Taro and your
other font designer friends have pointed out. These are two different
traditions and it's a bad idea to try to jam them together.

What you're proposing is *very* limited support for obliquing in
vertical text runs by hacking on the *fallback* behavior for italic
face selection.  Jamming this into 'font-style' behavior will give
different results when an actual italic face is present.

Look at the Harry Potter example you provided:


This is *not* italics, it's obliqued text, note how the glyphs slant
down to the *left*, not to the *right*, which is the MS Word /
Internet Explorer behavior you've proposed:


Notice how the MS Word behavior you're advocating for is down and to
the right.

> > What is the use case of italic dashes in Japanese vertical text
> > runs?!?!?
> Issue #2.4 of the post[2] is talking about Italic dashes in Latin text
> within Japanese vertical books. You agree on this use case, don't you?
> 2em-dashes are common in Japanese as you know. When they appear in
> Japanese books, that's the issue #2.5. Is this reasonable when combine
> with examples above?

Dashes may be common in Japanese text but do you have examples of
where they are used in vertical runs of *italic* Latin?!?  Or are you
thinking about Japanese shatai examples?

There are already better ways of doing this.  Meiryo from Microsoft
has an italic face that contains italic glyphs for Latin characters
and normal glyphs for other codepoints.  So in vertical runs of
upright Latin italics, the italic Latin glyphs will be used in
conjunction with the normal vertical alternates for dashes.  This
avoids the parallelogram effect produced by the synthetic obliquing
you're proposing.  Publishing fonts (e.g. the Hiragino and Kozuka
families) support an OpenType feature, 'ital' that functions
similarly; with 'ital' enabled italic glyphs are selected but only for
Latin characters.

As I've said previously, CSS transforms already provides a way of
obliquing short runs of vertical text.  Authors can control the slant
angle to fit their needs. That's a better solution for obliquing than
hacking something into 'font-style' behavior.

> > In particular, I think it's not a good idea to try to achieve
> > Japanese obliquing text effects by shoehorning a very limited
> > version of these effects into the behavior of 'font-style'. We
> > both agree that it causes an inconsistency for vertical text runs
> > of Latin italics and that's something I can imagine non-Japanese
> > authors actually using.
> >
> > In his comments on synthetic italics, Taro makes a similar distinction [1]:
> Allow me to confirm, are we arguing which is better in your
> picture[3]? Or, are we arguing whether to slant or not?
> I assume the former when you proposed the picture[3]. If the latter,
> we need to discuss that first.

I'm proposing that synthetic italics have behavior that's consistent with
real italics and the synthesized glyph is in no way dependent on writing-mode
or text-orientation.  In the illustration I posted, that would be option #1:


> I heard Taro's opinion from him too, and I also know other two font
> designers I know agree with him. I know other typographers also
> agree. Whether slant should be allowed or not is an issue where font
> designers/typographers do not agree with authors. I prioritize
> authors over professionals. You agreed on that point when you
> proposed the picture[3], didn't you?

You need to understand the use cases authors have and consider the
mechanisms available to satisfy those, rather than pushing for a
particular mechanism because an author advocates it.  You need to
understand why those font designers/typographers are telling you
conflating italics and obliquing is a bad mechanism.  Arbitrarily
prioritizing one over the other is a recipe for poor design.

In this case, for actual use cases there are better ways of supporting
obliquing in vertical text runs without resorting to hacking crude
versions of this feature into the fallback behaivor of 'font-style'.


John Daggett
Received on Thursday, 16 May 2013 03:19:21 UTC

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