Re: Chromatic font research

From: William Overington (
Date: Sat Jun 29 2002 - 06:05:32 EDT

Marco Cimarosti wrote as follows.

>William Overington wrote:
>> The occurrence of red words raises an interesting aspect of
>> this discussion in that a chromatic font would be needed
>> for the full stop character when decorated [...]
>A chromatic font in *conjunction* with markup, of course.

Well, actually, I was thinking of a chromatic font in use with a plain text
file, but chromatic fonts could be used with either plain text or markup as

>You are talking abut *decorative* color, and there is no need to have any
>decorative elements in *plain* text, if I understand the meaning of the
>English adjective "plain".

Well, yes, plain can mean undecorated in English, yet I was using the word
plain in the sense of a file containing just Unicode characters having the
meanings in the Unicode code charts, as contrasted with a file that contains
markup or fancy text of some manufacturer's proprietary file format where
some of the codes are assigned meanings specific to that markup or fancy
text system which meanings are not included in the Unicode code charts. So,
in the sense in which I used the word plain in the phrase plain text I was
intending to convey the notion of a sequence of code points where the only
meanings are those in the Unicode specification, so, for the Ethiopic full
stop it would be in a plain text file and would also be decorated.

>A decorated full stop should only appear within a piece of text marked up
>some special way, e.g.:
> <chromatic main="black" decoration="red">
> This is my colorful text.
> </chromatic>
>Therefore, color decoration is an issue only for *fonts* and/or *rich* text
>systems, not for Unicode or *plain* text encoding.

Well, why? Surely a decorated full stop could be in a plain text file being
displayed in a program which has a background colour of white, a foreground
colour of black and a decoration colour of red set as the colours in which
the program works.

Certainly for the Ethiopic text the colours are always white, black and red
and the matter may be more complicated for lettering and symbols of a
general nature. Yet I feel that a presumtion that markup is obligatory is
not necessary. The colours need to be decided in some way. Those ways
could be markup; or setting of colours by the end user pushing buttons to
alter the default colours of the program displaying the file; or by the font
offering guidance as to the colours to use; or some interacting combination
of those methods.

It seems to me that various people have contributed various good ideas as to
how chromatic fonts could be produced and applied and the way that they
could also contain items such as text to help a speech synthesiser and
software subroutines which could be obeyed. I wonder if the topic could now
move forward with a view to defining a format for these and any other
features so that hopefully an advanced font format which can encompass them
all can arise. What is the correct, polite way to proceed please? Is there
a committee that would need to be approached or what? Does anyone know

William Overington

29 June 2002

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