Displaying "Trebuchet MS" font

  • Hi,

    I am working on an application which will display Same font (Trebuchet MS) throughout the Application. I have changed in all places except the following ones

    Window Tool bar items text
    Text in NSAlert panels
    Tooltip text

    I tried to fix this by overriding NSFont class methods (which is not recommended), but not succeeded. I am able to change the Message text in NSAlert with this.

    Is there any way to achieve this?  If not, I will place custom views in Toolbar items to display the text.
    For NSAlert Panels — Need to write a custom NSAlert, but Apple docs  say not designed for subclassing.
    Tooltip text —  toolTipsFontOfSize override is working. But need to see some other solution.

    - Apparao

    This email and any attachments are confidential, and may be legally privileged and protected by copyright. If you are not the intended recipient dissemination or copying of this email is prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify the sender by replying by email and then delete the email completely from your system. Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender. This communication is not intended to form a binding contract unless expressly indicated to the contrary and properly authorised. Any actions taken on the basis of this email are at the recipient's own risk.
  • On May 13, 2013, at 4:07 PM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...> wrote:
    > Is there any way to achieve this?  If not, I will place custom views in Toolbar items to display the text.
    > For NSAlert Panels — Need to write a custom NSAlert, but Apple docs  say not designed for subclassing.
    > Tooltip text —  toolTipsFontOfSize override is working. But need to see some other solution.

    Not a good idea to change the standard system font for alerts 'n stuff.

    That said, for NSAlert, you could probably just walk the view hierarchy of the alert and call -setFont: on all views you encounter that respond to that selector.

    Cheers,
    -- Uli Kusterer
    "The Witnesses of TeachText are everywhere..."
    http://www.zathras.de
  • On May 13, 2013, at 7:07 AM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...> wrote:

    > I am working on an application which will display Same font (Trebuchet MS) throughout the Application. I have changed in all places except the following ones
    >
    > Window Tool bar items text
    > Text in NSAlert panels
    > Tooltip text

    Please don’t do this. Unless you actually want your app to look like a careless port, and give lots of people a bad first impression of it.

    —Jens
  • Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS"?  I faced some issues with the few components (ilke Table Header cell, NS Button) text vertical center alignment except that Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.

    - Apparao

    From: Jens Alfke <jens...><mailto:<jens...>>
    Date: Mon, 13 May 2013 10:35:33 -0700
    To: Apparao <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>>
    Cc: "<cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>" <cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>>
    Subject: Re: Displaying "Trebuchet MS" font

    On May 13, 2013, at 7:07 AM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>> wrote:

    I am working on an application which will display Same font (Trebuchet MS) throughout the Application. I have changed in all places except the following ones

    Window Tool bar items text
    Text in NSAlert panels
    Tooltip text

    Please don’t do this. Unless you actually want your app to look like a careless port, and give lots of people a bad first impression of it.

    —Jens
    This email and any attachments are confidential, and may be legally privileged and protected by copyright. If you are not the intended recipient dissemination or copying of this email is prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify the sender by replying by email and then delete the email completely from your system. Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender. This communication is not intended to form a binding contract unless expressly indicated to the contrary and properly authorised. Any actions taken on the basis of this email are at the recipient's own risk.
  • On 13.05.2013 20:37, Appa Rao Mulpuri wrote:
    > Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS"?  I faced some issues with the few components (ilke Table Header cell, NS Button) text vertical center alignment except that Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.
    >
    > - Apparao
    >

    The reason to this is quite simple. Do not force a font to the System
    instead use the System defaults. Use special fonts for special purposes,
    but stay with the defaults for all other cases. It's not so much an
    issue of different sizes or something. It's good citizenship if an app
    respects the system defaults. The defaults are there for a simple
    reasong - to ensure a consisten user experince.

    Not everyone will notice, not every one will care, but there are some,
    that take this stuff quite seriously ;).

    > From: Jens Alfke <jens...><mailto:<jens...>>
    > Date: Mon, 13 May 2013 10:35:33 -0700
    > To: Apparao <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>>
    > Cc: "<cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>" <cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>>
    > Subject: Re: Displaying "Trebuchet MS" font
    >
    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 7:07 AM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>> wrote:
    >
    > I am working on an application which will display Same font (Trebuchet MS) throughout the Application. I have changed in all places except the following ones
    >
    > Window Tool bar items text
    > Text in NSAlert panels
    > Tooltip text
    >
    > Please don’t do this. Unless you actually want your app to look like a careless port, and give lots of people a bad first impression of it.
    >
    > —Jens
    > This email and any attachments are confidential, and may be legally privileged and protected by copyright. If you are not the intended recipient dissemination or copying of this email is prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify the sender by replying by email and then delete the email completely from your system. Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender. This communication is not intended to form a binding contract unless expressly indicated to the contrary and properly authorised. Any actions taken on the basis of this email are at the recipient's own risk.
    >

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  • On May 13, 2013, at 2:59 PM, Michael Starke wrote:

    > On 13.05.2013 20:37, Appa Rao Mulpuri wrote:
    >> Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS"?  I faced some issues with the few components (ilke Table Header cell, NS Button) text vertical center alignment except that Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.
    >>
    >> - Apparao
    >>
    >
    > The reason to this is quite simple. Do not force a font to the System instead use the System defaults. Use special fonts for special purposes, but stay with the defaults for all other cases. It's not so much an issue of different sizes or something. It's good citizenship if an app respects the system defaults. The defaults are there for a simple reasong - to ensure a consisten user experince.
    >
    > Not everyone will notice, not every one will care, but there are some, that take this stuff quite seriously ;).

    A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial, and to people who have expected a uniform appearance in apps coming from Apple, this is a drastic departure from what is expected.  I'm sure you've heard the cries about people hating the new iTunes GUI.  This is a big part of it.

    It will look foreign and unexpected to the users.
  • On May 13, 2013, at 11:37 AM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...> wrote:

    > Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS”?

    No technical reasons.

    In general, using a different font for those UI elements is against Apple’s HI guidelines. It’s going to make your app look gratuitously different and inconsistent for no good reason. I can’t think of other apps that use nonstandard fonts for alerts/toolbars/tooltips, except for (as I said) badly-done ports that use some custom framework to draw those and don’t get the fonts right.

    In specific, Trebuchet is kind of dated. It was trendy about 10-15 years ago when it became available on enough platforms that people could use it in websites, but I haven’t seen it used that much lately. Also, it’s the default font in some default Windows UI themes, so if you use it for UI elements it’s going to remind a lot of people of Windows apps. That is generally a bad idea if you’re trying to make the app appeal to Mac users :-p

    One way that I think of this: The Mac UI is designed by some of the best UX and visual designers in the world. If you want to deliberately go against the way they want all apps to look, you have to consider whether you really know better than them. (I’m not saying they’re infallible, and I definitely argued with them about details of apps I worked on at Apple, but you do have to respect their skills and experience.)

    —Jens
  • On May 13, 2013, at 12:29 PM, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:

    > A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial

    Arial? Really? I can’t imagine Apple deliberately using a cheap Helvetica knockoff, especially one that’s strongly associated with Windows.

    (You sure you didn’t mean “from Lucida to Helvetica”?)

    —Jens
  • On May 13, 2013, at 14:29, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:

    > A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial, and to people who have expected a uniform appearance in apps coming from Apple, this is a drastic departure from what is expected.  I'm sure you've heard the cries about people hating the new iTunes GUI.  This is a big part of it.

    You sure about that? Looks like Helvetica to me, and it used to be Lucida Grande, same as everything else, didn't it? Regardless it's the reason why iTunes 11 looks like hell. If they needed to fit more information in, just use a smaller font size, not an uglier font that doesn't match the rest of the OS.

    Steve via iPad
  • On May 13, 2013, at 11:59 AM, Michael Starke wrote:

    > On 13.05.2013 20:37, Appa Rao Mulpuri wrote:
    >> Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS"?  I faced some issues with the few components (ilke Table Header cell, NS Button) text vertical center alignment except that Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.
    >>
    >> - Apparao
    >>
    >
    > The reason to this is quite simple. Do not force a font to the System instead use the System defaults. Use special fonts for special purposes, but stay with the defaults for all other cases. It's not so much an issue of different sizes or something. It's good citizenship if an app respects the system defaults. The defaults are there for a simple reasong - to ensure a consisten user experince.
    >
    > Not everyone will notice, not every one will care, but there are some, that take this stuff quite seriously ;).

    It can also lead to bad localization and accessibility experiences.
  • I think we're going off topic, but I think iTunes uses Helvetica Neue these days. It seems like iTunes is generally the forerunner of changes to come in the OS X GUI. Stuff seems to happen *there* before it happens to the OS at large.
    --
    Bryan Vines

    On May 13, 2013, at 2:43 PM, Steve Mills <sjmills...> wrote:

    > On May 13, 2013, at 14:29, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:
    >
    >> A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial, and to people who have expected a uniform appearance in apps coming from Apple, this is a drastic departure from what is expected.  I'm sure you've heard the cries about people hating the new iTunes GUI.  This is a big part of it.
    >
    > You sure about that? Looks like Helvetica to me, and it used to be Lucida Grande, same as everything else, didn't it? Regardless it's the reason why iTunes 11 looks like hell. If they needed to fit more information in, just use a smaller font size, not an uglier font that doesn't match the rest of the OS.
    >
    > Steve via iPad
  • On May 13, 2013, at 3:38 PM, Jens Alfke wrote:

    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 12:29 PM, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:
    >
    >> A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial
    >
    > Arial? Really? I can’t imagine Apple deliberately using a cheap Helvetica knockoff, especially one that’s strongly associated with Windows.
    >
    > (You sure you didn’t mean “from Lucida to Helvetica”?)
    >
    > —Jens

    I'll have to boot up a device that has the newer iTunes on it, but when I made the mistake of installing iTunes 11 over the winter, I think I did a font comparison.  It's possible it it Helvetica, but at a larger point size, but something really seemed off.

    I'll check, but I'll have to find a device that has the newer version on it.
  • According to Bryan Vines, it is Helvetica, but the iOS default font, Helvetica Neue.

    On May 13, 2013, at 3:43 PM, Steve Mills wrote:

    > On May 13, 2013, at 14:29, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:
    >
    >> A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial, and to people who have expected a uniform appearance in apps coming from Apple, this is a drastic departure from what is expected.  I'm sure you've heard the cries about people hating the new iTunes GUI.  This is a big part of it.
    >
    > You sure about that? Looks like Helvetica to me, and it used to be Lucida Grande, same as everything else, didn't it? Regardless it's the reason why iTunes 11 looks like hell. If they needed to fit more information in, just use a smaller font size, not an uglier font that doesn't match the rest of the OS.
    >
    > Steve via iPad
  • To clear the iTunes font discussion – it's Helvetica Neue. Same as the iOS system font.

    On 13.05.2013, at 22:21, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:

    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 3:38 PM, Jens Alfke wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> On May 13, 2013, at 12:29 PM, Alex Zavatone <zav...> wrote:
    >>
    >>> A perfect example of this is in the new iTunes.  The main window display font was changed from Helvetica to Arial
    >>
    >> Arial? Really? I can’t imagine Apple deliberately using a cheap Helvetica knockoff, especially one that’s strongly associated with Windows.
    >>
    >> (You sure you didn’t mean “from Lucida to Helvetica”?)
    >>
    >> —Jens
    >
    > I'll have to boot up a device that has the newer iTunes on it, but when I made the mistake of installing iTunes 11 over the winter, I think I did a font comparison.  It's possible it it Helvetica, but at a larger point size, but something really seemed off.
    >
    > I'll check, but I'll have to find a device that has the newer version on it.

    ___m i c h a e l  s t a r k e____
          geschäftsführer
          HicknHack Software GmbH
          www.hicknhack-software.com

    ___k o n t a k t____
          +49 (170) 3686136
          <contact...>

    ___H i c k n H a c k  S o f t w a r e  G m b H____
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          sitz - dresden
  • On 13 May 2013, at 1:37 PM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...> wrote:

    > Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.

    If it's that "equivalent," then there's no value to you in hacking AppKit to defeat its font handling.

    If it's only approximately equivalent, people will react even if they can't put their finger on what's wrong, by analogy to <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley>

    I venture that you're under pressure from a marketing manager who thinks a uniform cross-platform appearance is just the sizzle* your app needs. It doesn't work that way. Your marketing manager knows your product on both platforms. That's his context — and almost nobody else's. The context your customers have is what's already on their computers. In that context, Trebuchet is unprofessional.

    * (Fact: Every software company I worked for in my early years went bankrupt within six months of management's taking "sizzle" seriously. It starts an enzymatic cascade to corporate apoptosis.)

    — F

    --
    Fritz Anderson
    Xcode 4 Unleashed: 4.5 supplement for free!
    http://www.informit.com/store/xcode-4-unleashed-9780672333279
  • On May 13, 2013, at 2:23 PM, Fritz Anderson <fritza...> wrote:

    >> Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.
    >
    > If it's that "equivalent," then there's no value to you in hacking AppKit to defeat its font handling.

    Exactly. If you can’t tell the difference, why go to the trouble of doing it?

    Maybe I’m a font geek, but I can easily tell the difference, and Lucida is a better-looking font than Trebuchet (which has some intentional weirdnesses that call attention to itself; not what you want in a system font.)

    Also, they’re not going to have the same metrics. Maybe they’re approximately the same in text you’ve tried, but that doesn’t hold for all characters and all text.

    Did anyone bring up Unicode issues yet? I’m not sure how broad the Unicode support in Trebuchet is. If someone is using the app in a language Trebuchet doesn’t have characters for, those letters will be substituted from Lucida, which will look ugly.

    Ultimately, Appa, we can’t stop you from making an app with an ugly nonstandard UI (although the Mac App Store reviewers might.) But it doesn’t sound like anyone here is interested in helping you do it, so I think you’re on your own. Sorry.

    —Jens
  • On May 13, 2013, at 6:32 PM, Jens Alfke wrote:

    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 2:23 PM, Fritz Anderson <fritza...> wrote:
    >
    >>> Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.
    >>
    >> If it's that "equivalent," then there's no value to you in hacking AppKit to defeat its font handling.
    >
    > Exactly. If you can’t tell the difference, why go to the trouble of doing it?
    >
    > Maybe I’m a font geek, but I can easily tell the difference, and Lucida is a better-looking font than Trebuchet (which has some intentional weirdnesses that call attention to itself; not what you want in a system font.)

    Well, I'm sure he was considering using something reasonable - like Comic Sans.
  • On 14.05.2013, at 00:32, Jens Alfke <jens...> wrote:
    > Ultimately, Appa, we can’t stop you from making an app with an ugly nonstandard UI (although the Mac App Store reviewers might.) But it doesn’t sound like anyone here is interested in helping you do it, so I think you’re on your own. Sorry.

    Please speak for yourself only. Thanks. He asked a valid technical question, we shortly pointed out it's a bad idea, I even provided a suggestion how he might make something work, let's move on.

    Cheers,
    -- Uli Kusterer
    "The Witnesses of TeachText are everywhere..."
    http://www.zathras.de
  • On 14 May 2013, at 04:37, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...> wrote:

    > Any specific reason not to use "Trebuchet MS"?  I faced some issues with the few components (ilke Table Header cell, NS Button) text vertical center alignment except that Look and feel wise its equivalent to "Lucida Grande". And also both the fonts is taking the equal size for the same text.

    Yes there is now a confusion of very similar fonts. Many were done by Microsoft with tweaks to original fonts made to make them look 'good' (in someone's opinion, or was it just marketing) on the computer screens of the 1990s. This shows the MS philosophy of bending the natural world to suit their technology, not improving technology to suit the world. So they designed fonts to look good on crappy screens. Apple on the other hand came along and said "we like these beautiful fonts, we don't want to change them, so let's make the screens better".

    Another reason MS designed all these wacky fonts was licence fees. While bleating on about people stealing software with copies and depriving them of fees, they copied fonts, subtly changing a few pixels and the name to avoid licence fees.

    Arial it should be noted is just Helvetica, but you will notice some of the tops of letters are sloped instead of straight, actually making Arial less readable. Arial is now everywhere, it's a horrible font:

    http://www.marksimonson.com/notebook/view/the-scourge-of-arial

    There was another site screenfont.ca but it seems to have disappeared. I suspect trebuchet (a medieval catapult) is in the same category, and is a font, like Arial that will take years to kill off.

    We need to put font design back into the hands of artists, not technical people... or artists (like Matthew Carter) constrained by technologists.

    >
    > - Apparao
    >
    > From: Jens Alfke <jens...><mailto:<jens...>>
    > Date: Mon, 13 May 2013 10:35:33 -0700
    > To: Apparao <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>>
    > Cc: "<cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>" <cocoa-dev...><mailto:<cocoa-dev...>>
    > Subject: Re: Displaying "Trebuchet MS" font
    >
    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 7:07 AM, Appa Rao Mulpuri <apparaom...><mailto:<apparaom...>> wrote:
    >
    > I am working on an application which will display Same font (Trebuchet MS) throughout the Application. I have changed in all places except the following ones
    >
    > Window Tool bar items text
    > Text in NSAlert panels
    > Tooltip text
    >
    > Please don’t do this. Unless you actually want your app to look like a careless port, and give lots of people a bad first impression of it.
    >
    > —Jens
    > This email and any attachments are confidential, and may be legally privileged and protected by copyright. If you are not the intended recipient dissemination or copying of this email is prohibited. If you have received this in error, please notify the sender by replying by email and then delete the email completely from your system. Any views or opinions are solely those of the sender. This communication is not intended to form a binding contract unless expressly indicated to the contrary and properly authorised. Any actions taken on the basis of this email are at the recipient's own risk.
  • On May 13, 2013, at 6:43 PM, Ian Joyner <ianjoyner...> wrote:

    > Yes there is now a confusion of very similar fonts. Many were done by Microsoft with tweaks to original fonts made to make them look 'good' (in someone's opinion, or was it just marketing) on the computer screens of the 1990s.

    Most of what you say in this email is simply not true. (Watch out, I worked in font technology in the late ‘80s through 1990, and have kept tabs on it since.)

    The initial fonts in Windows were existing ones licensed from Bitstream, including Arial (which is indeed a legal knockoff of Helvetica; for some weird reason typeface designs are not protected by copyright law.) I’m not sure why they went with these instead of getting the originals from Linotype the way Adobe did; cost was probably a factor, also Bitstream had a lot of font technology that Microsoft would have needed at the time.

    > This shows the MS philosophy of bending the natural world to suit their technology, not improving technology to suit the world. So they designed fonts to look good on crappy screens. Apple on the other hand came along and said "we like these beautiful fonts, we don't want to change them, so let's make the screens better”.

    Um, no. Everyone worked on adjusting fonts to crappy screens and low-resolution printers. “Hinting” was one of the hardest parts of font technology; Adobe tried to keep their algorithms in PostScript proprietary, forcing people to buy very expensive licenses, until Apple did an end-run around it by developing TrueType which had its own hinting scheme.

    In the 1990s you simply could not get away with rendering unhinted fonts, because most people’s displays didn’t support enough color depth to use antialiasing. OS X 10.0 made a break with the past by requiring 16-bit or higher color depth, in part because that was necessary for good antialiased text.

    Another factor that allowed good-looking antialiased unhinted text was sub-pixel antialiasing, aka ClearType, invented by … Microsoft.

    > Another reason MS designed all these wacky fonts was licence fees. While bleating on about people stealing software with copies and depriving them of fees, they copied fonts, subtly changing a few pixels and the name to avoid licence fees.

    Bitstream did that, not Microsoft, back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They’re far from the only ones who did: other big vendors like Compugraphic made knock-off fonts too, and it goes on today — any of those CD-ROMs with zillions of cheap fonts are loaded with badly-drawn imitations of famous designs.

    Microsoft has since developed/published a lot of original high-quality fonts including Georgia, Verdana, Trebuchet, Calibri, etc. Most of these were designed by very competent highly-regarded type designers like Matthew Carter. Yes, they were designed to look good on low-resolution computer screens with hinting. There’s nothing wrong with that — type has always been designed around the limitations of printing/display technology. Newspaper fonts like Times Roman are specially tweaked to be legible at small sizes on crappy newsprint. Older fonts had tweaks like “ink traps” to work around the way that ink smears around the edge of the glyph during printing. Georgia and Verdana were indispensable in the ‘90s for onscreen use.

    I am no fan of Microsoft overall, but they’ve made a lot of contributions to digital typography in the past 20 years, and they’ve been generous in making a lot of the fonts they sponsored available for free on all platforms.

    > Arial it should be noted is just Helvetica, but you will notice some of the tops of letters are sloped instead of straight, actually making Arial less readable. Arial is now everywhere, it's a horrible font:

    Arial is indeed bad, but there are a lot worse. I’m not especially worked up about it (partly because I’ve never been fond of Helvetica either.)

    —Jens
  • On 14 mai 2013, at 00:32, Jens Alfke wrote:

    > Ultimately, Appa, we can’t stop you from making an app with an ugly nonstandard UI (although the Mac App Store reviewers might.) But it doesn’t sound like anyone here is interested in helping you do it, so I think you’re on your own. Sorry.
    >
    > —Jens

    Jens,

    I agree with all that you said, but I am unsure about that. One can disagree (I do) but still be willing to help.
    Anyway, sounds like one (possibly working) answer has already been given by Uli Kusterer.
    Should I be willing to take a bad design decision like this one, I too would try to walk down the view hierarchy and send a setFont: message to any responding view.

    Jean

    -----------
    Jean Suisse
    Institut de Chimie Moléculaire de l’Université de Bourgogne
    (ICMUB) — UMR 6302
  • Thanks for the clarifications Jens, but I don't think what I was saying is so far removed from your more detailed story. I did realise after I posted that MS probably was somewhat justified in avoiding Adobe's outrageous licence fees. And it is certainly true that Matthew Carter is highly regarded and made good contributions. Perhaps my concerns are about the careless ways people use fonts and just lazily use Arial by default (when they should use a serif font). I think there is something of a war between Monotype and Linotype, so this seems to have blurred the situation somewhat. Although designed by Carter, I don't really like Georgia or Verdana (too wide and blocky), and I think he has done better. But like Arial they seem to just be everywhere because too many people just do what MS says.

    I do think we now have too many fonts and many of these have been designed around technological constraints that are disappearing, but they will continue to be used by default. I'm continually researching for good fonts and what should be used where (a taste I got while working in music publishing, also in the late 80s).

    So if you have any suggestions of good resource sites making such recommendations please pass them on. The many books on typography I have don't actually make this very clear.

    Ian

    On 15 May 2013, at 05:46, Jens Alfke <jens...> wrote:

    >
    > On May 13, 2013, at 6:43 PM, Ian Joyner <ianjoyner...> wrote:
    >
    >> Yes there is now a confusion of very similar fonts. Many were done by Microsoft with tweaks to original fonts made to make them look 'good' (in someone's opinion, or was it just marketing) on the computer screens of the 1990s.
    >
    > Most of what you say in this email is simply not true. (Watch out, I worked in font technology in the late ‘80s through 1990, and have kept tabs on it since.)
    >
    > The initial fonts in Windows were existing ones licensed from Bitstream, including Arial (which is indeed a legal knockoff of Helvetica; for some weird reason typeface designs are not protected by copyright law.) I’m not sure why they went with these instead of getting the originals from Linotype the way Adobe did; cost was probably a factor, also Bitstream had a lot of font technology that Microsoft would have needed at the time.
    >
    >> This shows the MS philosophy of bending the natural world to suit their technology, not improving technology to suit the world. So they designed fonts to look good on crappy screens. Apple on the other hand came along and said "we like these beautiful fonts, we don't want to change them, so let's make the screens better”.
    >
    > Um, no. Everyone worked on adjusting fonts to crappy screens and low-resolution printers. “Hinting” was one of the hardest parts of font technology; Adobe tried to keep their algorithms in PostScript proprietary, forcing people to buy very expensive licenses, until Apple did an end-run around it by developing TrueType which had its own hinting scheme.
    >
    > In the 1990s you simply could not get away with rendering unhinted fonts, because most people’s displays didn’t support enough color depth to use antialiasing. OS X 10.0 made a break with the past by requiring 16-bit or higher color depth, in part because that was necessary for good antialiased text.
    >
    > Another factor that allowed good-looking antialiased unhinted text was sub-pixel antialiasing, aka ClearType, invented by … Microsoft.
    >
    >> Another reason MS designed all these wacky fonts was licence fees. While bleating on about people stealing software with copies and depriving them of fees, they copied fonts, subtly changing a few pixels and the name to avoid licence fees.
    >
    > Bitstream did that, not Microsoft, back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. They’re far from the only ones who did: other big vendors like Compugraphic made knock-off fonts too, and it goes on today — any of those CD-ROMs with zillions of cheap fonts are loaded with badly-drawn imitations of famous designs.
    >
    > Microsoft has since developed/published a lot of original high-quality fonts including Georgia, Verdana, Trebuchet, Calibri, etc. Most of these were designed by very competent highly-regarded type designers like Matthew Carter. Yes, they were designed to look good on low-resolution computer screens with hinting. There’s nothing wrong with that — type has always been designed around the limitations of printing/display technology. Newspaper fonts like Times Roman are specially tweaked to be legible at small sizes on crappy newsprint. Older fonts had tweaks like “ink traps” to work around the way that ink smears around the edge of the glyph during printing. Georgia and Verdana were indispensable in the ‘90s for onscreen use.
    >
    > I am no fan of Microsoft overall, but they’ve made a lot of contributions to digital typography in the past 20 years, and they’ve been generous in making a lot of the fonts they sponsored available for free on all platforms.
    >
    >> Arial it should be noted is just Helvetica, but you will notice some of the tops of letters are sloped instead of straight, actually making Arial less readable. Arial is now everywhere, it's a horrible font:
    >
    > Arial is indeed bad, but there are a lot worse. I’m not especially worked up about it (partly because I’ve never been fond of Helvetica either.)
    >
    > —Jens
    >
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