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Re: the alternative?

From: Todd <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1996 19:48:09 -0800
Message-Id: <v03007804ae43e3c4d720@[]>
To: tiro@portal.ca (Tiro TypeWorks), www-font@w3.org
At 14:29 -0700 8/23/96, Tiro TypeWorks wrote:

>Thanks for thinking of us, Liam, but you have no idea how awful 1520
>Garamond looks as a browser font! This leads to another point that hasn't
>been raised amid the technical discussions. What about fonts that are
>simply, byt their design, unsuited for screen use? 1520 Garamond is a case
>in point. If we were to manufacture a TT version heavily hinted for optimal
>low-res reproduction at a wide range of sizes, we would completely destroy
>the whole aesthetic purpose of the design. As it is, the font is next to
>unreadable at 12pt onscreen -- it just about functions for laserprint
>proofing purposes -- but it shines at 2400+ dpi. Now if the 'desktop
>revolution' taught us anything, it is that there are hundreds of thousands
>of 'users' out there just waiting to use fonts in the most inappopriate ways
>possible. Even if a truly secure embedding scheme becomes a reality, I would
>still apreciate the ability to prevent certain fonts from being embedded in
>web pages, as they are simply inappropriate for the purpose and will remain
>so until we have 2400 dpi screens. And, frankly, I don't give a fig for the
>users' democratic right to perpetrate ugliness and unreadability.

What if it's at 14-point on a 180-dpi display with anti-aliasing, for an effective resolution superior to that of some print? Such displays are not so far off, even very cheaply with high-contrast cholesteric liquid crystal displays now in labs. 

The tortuous hinting requirements imposed by low-res 1-bit displays are a passing problem. Between ATM 4 and Win95's services, I'm confident that a year from now system-level anti-aliasing will be commonplace for all who appreciate it (and increasingly for those who don't know the difference). Even at 72 dpi, good anti-aliasing makes for appreciable differences between the letterforms of, say, Simoncini and Stempel Garamond at text sizes. 

I daresay that among those who care about type today, a great many have developed their sensibilities more through the CRT than the printed page. I can still remember realizing with some surprise (and sadness) that Hermann Zapf would probably not even recognize Palatino from Adobe's 12-point bitmap. (I'm sure he'd have no trouble spotting an immaculately anti-aliased knockoff version, however.) 

I think the larger issue is where an artist's performance ends and a subject's reception begins. There's no insurmountable impediment for a sensitive subject, and - do what you will - no sure help for an insensitive one, not even 4800 dpi. If you were a musician, would you refuse to let your performances be recorded for fear that somebody might listen with a cheap radio? Wouldn't that make you more calligrapher than type designer?

Todd Fahrner

The printed page transcends space and time. The printed page, the infinitude of books, must be transcended. THE ELECTRO-LIBRARY.

--El Lissitzky, 1923
Received on Friday, 23 August 1996 22:43:57 UTC

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