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Re: the alternative?

From: Todd <fahrner@pobox.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Aug 1996 19:48:09 -0800
Message-Id: <v03007804ae43e3c4d720@[206.245.203.103]>
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
mailto:fahrner@pobox.com
http://www.verso.com

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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