Re: Redefining Serif and Sans Serif

On Fri, May 8, 2009 at 6:40 PM, L. David Baron <> wrote:
> 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
> ?  (Or
> are is there another spec you saw that also needs to be fixed?)

That's the one.

> 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.

Probably "with little or no flaring" would be good. Optima could be
explicitly added to the list of sans serif examples.

> 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?

I think that would do it. Thanks for taking my criticism and helping
mold it into a useful modification.  :)



Received on Saturday, 9 May 2009 03:04:52 UTC