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- To: zigzag@xxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Fonts
- From: Brent Turcotte <brentt@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 12:59:13
I have looked at the specifications of the Floating World,
it makes interesting reading, it is impressive and I want it.
On the issue of fonts, one font type is required if you want
to display text on a screen. A font type is defined as the
rules on how to display a letter on the screen.
I like the idea of billowing text, it has the potential to maintain
readability while looking at a large body of text. Implied by
billowing text is the elimination of the necessity of specifing
a font size. Which is great. One feature of billowing text is gets
smaller as you get away from the section you are currently reader.
Eventually, the text gets so small that it can't be read. The font
type could be tuned to increase the readability of the smaller text,
up to a point, by perhaps the elimination of serifs.
A book called "The Design Book for Non-Designers" by Robin Williams (not
the actor) sums up how best to use fonts.
There are six families of font types.
- Serif family: Highly readible, used for main body of text. Example:
"Times New Roman"
- Sanserif family: Distinctive, used for heading. Letters are smooth,
without serifs. Useful also for small text. Example: "Arial"
- ??? family: Has non-distinctive serifs. A melding of the serif and
sanserif family. Usually used in children books. Example: "Bookman"
- Modern family: Very distinctive, looks thick around the sides and thin
at the top and bottom of a letter. Example: "Modern"
- Ugly family: All other font types, used sparingly for displaying a unique
look. An example might be making the letters look like they were carved
out of granite blocks.
- Decoration family: The letters are not shaped like letters but as other
objects. Example: "Windings"
A seventh family would be monospaced fonts such as Courier.
Personally, I don't see any point providing a user any more than one font
type in any particular font family except for the optional ugly family.
The decoration family probably shouldn't be included in floating world.
Monospaced fonts would be provided only for legacy purposes.
If a person were to use more than one font type, it is best for them to use
say Times New Roman for the text body and Arial for headings. This has the
advantage of improving the readability of text, particularly if the headings
were bolded and larger at the same time.
Otherwise it is best to stick a font type from the third family, and use it
Graphic designers will likely want the use of most of the font families and
adjust the relative size of letters
adjust the heavyness or the lightness of the font
conventional formatting like italics
unconventional formatting like outlining
adjust where the letters go: the spacing between lines of text and between
, superscripts, subscripts, rotated text etc
and probably more ...
It would be neat if an applitude could take a body of text, and apply
proven graphic design solutions to it that improve the readability of
All this stuff on fonts is insignificant compared to the rest of the
floating world but I thought I would mention it.