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Re: [css3-fonts] Behdad's Feedback on CSS Fonts Module Level 3 Editor's Draft 5 April 2010

From: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 16:29:27 -0700
Message-Id: <A06E1970-B697-400E-B50F-2A804BEC69B9@gmail.com>
Cc: Behdad Esfahbod <behdad@behdad.org>, John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
To: Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>
On Aug 13, 2010, at 11:25 AM, Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu> wrote:

> On Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 11:16 AM, Behdad Esfahbod <behdad@behdad.org> wrote:
> On 08/13/10 14:08, Thomas Phinney wrote:
> >
> > - that you do not *encourage* agents to synthesize font-stretch ("allow"
> > is okay I guess, though you should understand the results will always be
> > crap)
> Come on, it's not more crap than synthesized *bold*!
> behdad
> Well, I didn't say I was in favor of synthesized bold, either, did I?  :)  And that horse already left the barn in the 1980s. This, on the other hand, is a newer proposal.

Well, I guess we wouldn't need to synthesize bold, italic/oblique, condensed, ultra-condensed, expanded, ultra-expanded, light, superbold, italic, etc. if all computers came with typefaces that each contained 50 different varieties, or allowed you to select any value along multiple axes (of weight, stretch, slant, x-height, etc.), and if all fonts were sold that way. But that's not the world we live in. On Windows, pretty much ALL type looks like crap, and bold text is only slightly heavier than normal. At the sizes body text is typically seen, the stroke are only a pixel or two wide, so not many readers (other than purists) would notice the difference between Helvetica Narrow and Helvetica Condensed. In fact, the transformed text John Sent didn't seem that bad. 

> As a side note, whether it's better or worse would depend on the degree of stretch,

That's true. It's also true that one typeface's condensed can look more like the ultra-condensed variety of another face. It would be nice to say 'font-stretch: 75%', and let the UA pick the closest one for that family. 

> whether one is condensing vs expanding (condensing is usually more problematic) and a number of other variables. But typically, IMO, yes it is worse.

To you, as a purist, sure. Look, I like typographic beauty as much as the next guy, but sometimes it's more important to get a narrow font than to get a perfect narrow font. 

> When Adobe converted the Adobe Type Library to OpenType, the one and only typeface that was not converted was Helvetica Narrow. Those of us on the Adobe type team welcomed the opportunity to phase it out, even though it had been one of the core 35 PostScript fonts, because its very existence was an embarrassment. We didn't get many complaints about it going away.

...from those who even noticed?

Received on Friday, 13 August 2010 23:30:50 UTC

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