W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2011

Re: [css3-font] Extension of font-stretch property

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 17:30:39 -0800 (PST)
To: Koji Ishii <kojiishi@gluesoft.co.jp>
Cc: Brad Kemper <brad.kemper@gmail.com>, MasaFuji <masa@fuji.email.ne.jp>, www-style list <www-style@w3.org>, Thomas Phinney <tphinney@cal.berkeley.edu>, Ambrose LI <ambrose.li@gmail.com>, www-font@w3.org
Message-ID: <77271601.23929.1295400639544.JavaMail.root@cm-mail03.mozilla.org>
> > This is not entirely correct.  While families that include a
> > mixture of widths generally don't exist, newspapers in Japan
> > often use a slightly expanded (i.e. non-square em-box) face
> > such as the one below:
> >
> >   Mainichi Mincho (Morisawa):
> >   http://www.morisawa.co.jp/font/fontlist/details/fontfamily038.html?s=87
> The note section of the page mentions that:
> * This font is designed to be 1em square box. If you want to
> use this font in the same visual as newspapers, please use the
> font by scaling 80% vertically.
> You might see most visual magazines in Japan use condensed
> fonts, but even in such professional design materials, the
> situation is the same as above; designers usually use fonts by
> scaling 80% to 90% to make condensed visuals.
> That says, the situation is a little different from the one in
> English typography. Artificially condensed glyphs tend to be
> considered professional enough in most cases or sometimes even
> better than the original (at least from layout designer
> perspective, I know all font designers hate this though).

You're generalizing too far here, Morisawa has designed the font
for a very specific *print* workflow, one that clearly involves
rasterizer-level support for asymmetric scaling of font glyphs. 

This is precisely my original point, asymmetric scaling of glyphs
won't yield quality results for screen rendering unless the font
rasterizer is involved.  I believe that's possible with
CoreGraphics on OSX or FreeType on Linux but it's certainly not
possible with GDI on Windows XP.

In this vein, I should point out that it would be far more
interesting to support some form of arbitrary font axes, such as
Quickdraw GX variation axes or Adobe Multiple Master fonts. These
formats allow a font designer to design specific
parameterizations into the font data, similar to the way hinting
data allows a font designer to add adjustments for display at
specific resolutions. The Skia font that still ships with OSX
supports 'weight' and 'width' axes, allowing a single font to
support an arbitrary range of weights and widths.  While this
isn't currently widely supported technology and would require a
new version of OpenType, it has a lot of size benefits for web

With such a capability, an arbitrary axis such as 'contrast'
could be supported for a family like Axis Mincho:


Note how the glyphs vary by weight (vertical axis) and contrast
(horizontal axis).  Neat, eh?  

Far better to have something like this that can unleash the
creativity of font designers rather than try and perform imaging
acrobatics with fonts simply not designed for a given effect.


John Daggett

(Adding www-font to the cc: list)
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 01:31:13 UTC

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