Re: Re: Quest text font now available.

From: William Overington (
Date: Thu May 08 2003 - 06:55:53 EDT

  • Next message: John Cowan: "Re: Discussion/Notices re: fonts"

    John Hudson wrote as follows.

    > What aspect of William's font is an 'expression of his creativity'?

    Well, the collection of ligatures is one item. The use of the U+E700 STAFF
    character to set the height precisely is another. The design of the .notdef
    glyph, though that is not exclusive to this font. The design of the
    lowercase e is a good example of design creativity. The design of the f and
    long s ligatures so that the baseline ligature line clearly shows the
    presence of a ligature. The inclusion of a glyph at U+EBEF to support the
    use of a eutocode typography file for constructing and deconstructing
    ligature glyphs from constituent parts as explained in the web page. The design of
    the glyphs for yogh and ezh. The implementation of U+2000 through to U+200B
    in relation to the height from the U+E700 character so that metal type
    justification skills may be simulated using SC UniPad and WordPad using the
    Quest text font.

    > It is an inept copy of a style of display lettering c. 1980 based on
    'computer' type.

    That is totally untrue. Quest text is designed on the basis of being as if
    a caligrapher were drawing the letters with a pen 256 font units wide by 168
    font units high, upon guidelines on a 256 font unit by 256 font unit grid,
    locking a line edge to a grid line wherever possible.

    I imagined having contours made out of wire and imagined placing them onto
    courtyards paved with square slabs.

    The slabs are 128 font units for 12 point, 85.3 font units for 18 point and
    so on. So I used lines 256 font units wide and 168 font units wide wherever
    possible, locking the lines onto the edges of the square paving slabs. The
    168 aligned on the grid gives 128 plus 40 at 12 point, so a black pixel and
    a white pixel. At 18 point, 168 font units aligned on the grid gives 2
    black ones and a white one. And so on for various sizes.

    This was designed on the basis that Microsoft Word 97 and WordPad on the
    Windows 98 platform which I am using uses 16 pixels for 12 point, so the 256
    font units for the grid spacing is from 2048/16, where 2048 is the number of
    font units in whatever point size is being used to display the font.

    The intention of this design strategy was to produce a font which looks very
    clear and distinct at 12 point and reasonable at 18 point yet at larger
    sizes shows a distinctive style. So I rounded some of the corners with
    curves 128 font units in curvature distance.

    > The only novel aspect of it is that William doesn't appear to understand
    even the most basic principles of consistent contrast, as evidenced by his
    lowercase k.

    Well, the lowercase k did give me a lot of problems. I realize that it
    looks a bit darker. I am thinking that perhaps I might be able to compute
    some better positions for the positions of the points so that the design
    looks good at various sizes.

    > If William wants to express his creativity by composing a song or writing
    a poem, I would expect people who are knowledgeable about songwriting and
    poetry to point out if his song or poem sucks, especially if he insists on
    shoving his creativity in other peoples' faces.

    Well, I have posted song lyrics to in the past
    and there are some of my song lyrics available in our family webspace. Yes,
    I do dream that one day they may be recorded on a CD. I feel that if
    someone is expressing criticism of a potential action which has not happened
    that it is better to express that criticism in a generalized manner using
    the word "someone" and the phrase "he or she" rather than attribute those
    potential actions which are prefaced by the word "if" to some identifiable
    person. I have not insisted on shoving [sic] my creativity in [sic] other
    peoples' faces [sic] at all in relation to songwriting or poetry and not
    even in relation to typography: for example, I did not attach a copy of the
    Quest text font to my posting and the posting was short, informative and not
    in any way pompous or forceful.

    > I happen to be knowledgeable about type and typography, and I'm not about
    the pretend that all typefaces are equal or that some don't suck just
    because some misguided person thinks that type design is a legitimate outlet
    for his creativity. William has produced a typeface. It is unoriginal, badly
    constructed, culturally and aesthetically inappropriate for the use to which
    he intends it, and clearly demonstrates that he doesn't know the first thing
    about typography.

    Quest text is, as far as I know, original. It is not badly constructed as
    great care has been taken for direct drafting with font unit precision. The
    Quest text font has a number of intended uses. It is intended to be useful
    in clearly transcribing old printed books and old manuscripts into a Unicode
    compatible form. There are many ligatures available, including those for
    German Fraktur. If anyone wishes to suggest additional ligatures for
    Fraktur transcription from German or other languages then I will be pleased
    to receive those suggestions and will try to add the ligatures into the
    Quest text font. There are clear glyphs for ZWJ and for ZWNJ to help in the
    preparation of documents. Circled numbers are included so that an unknown
    character in a source document (or indeed one not presently supported in the
    Quest text font) can be expressed using a circled number until the matter is
    resolved. Quest text is also intended to support a science fiction story
    concept of mine which is outlined in one of the pages indexed from the page on the web. I have
    been trying out Quest text in a web format page offline at size=5 and size=7
    using Internet Explorer, both for normal lettering and with a bold tag.
    That with a bold tag gives quite a black letter look. Quest text is also
    intended to help me progress along the learning curve of type design. Also,
    one intended possible use of Quest text is so as to include it at some
    future time in a portfolio of work for application to a college or
    university for a course on type design, so as to show what I have achieved
    so far. I feel that I have learned a lot by producing Quest text, including
    becoming aware of some aspects which I did not suspect previously. Becoming
    aware of previously unsuspected aspects of something is a process which
    happens in the learning of many subjects and also in thinking out and trying
    out new inventions.

    > .... and I would be happy to recommend some books and even some exercises,

    Well, you suggested that I design a .notdef glyph, which I did, then you
    publicly claimed that you had been pulling my leg. I was hoping that you
    would review the design, which design is, in fact, the .notdef glyph used in
    the Quest text font.

    > but I am not going to applaud failed efforts or stroke his ego.

    I always regard the word failed as a very strong word.

    In the National Vocational Qualification system in England the concept is
    that either the candidate has produced evidence of competence to the
    required standard or the candidate has not, or not yet, produced evidence of
    competence to the required standard.

    I say that Quest text is not a failed effort. How can it be a failed
    effort? It clearly produces lettering when installed on a PC and used with
    Word or WordPad. It has a character range wider than many fonts, especially
    than many stylish display fonts.

    I am now aware that there are various matters which need improving.
    However, much of the explanation of what you say has been explained to me by
    email correspondents. One problem seems to be that some outside contours
    are counter clockwise. I have started checking the font, going first to the
    grave accent contours as I produced a grave accent contour by horizontally
    flipping a copy of an acute accent contour. I forgot about changing the
    direction of the contour after the horizontal flipping. I do mean forgot as
    I had looked at that issue when I had horizontally flipped something else
    earlier. That should reduce quite a lot of the errors. I have not yet
    found any other contours the wrong way round, but I have not yet checked
    every character. The Microsoft packages did well to correct that on the
    fly when using the font. The lowercase x and the uppercase X both have
    overlapping contours. I had not realized that that was an error. I shall
    try to correct the glyphs. I had noticed that the overlapping contours of
    the lowercase x showed when using the Quest text font with WordArt in
    PowerPoint, so maybe using WordArt in PowerPoint will be a useful tool for
    checking the font.

    The phrase "clearly demonstrates that he doesn't know the first thing about
    typography" is wrong. I know some things about typography, though I do not
    know as much as some people know about typography. It is not some sort of
    egg and spoon race! This reference to egg and spoon race is because in
    England some years ago there was a row because a teacher at a primary school
    somewhere had refused to have an egg and spoon race for the children because
    she said that it was not right for them to have something where someone was
    "the winner". I have come to the conclusion over the years that she was
    right. This placing of people into order and finding a winner pervades our
    culture. Look at television programs. They have talented youngsters and
    then some panel of older people decide who is "the winner" or "the best" or
    whatever. Why not just have a showcase of people each doing their best and
    receiving constructive criticism and appreciation rather than comparing one
    against the other and ranking them? Certainly I am pleased with Quest text
    and I feel that I have learned a lot from producing it.

    How serious are these errors in the font as it stands? I have it in mind to
    add a note to the web page about the problems so as
    to be correct and fair to anyone who chooses to download and use a copy of
    the font. It works well in Word 97 and WordPad on a Windows 98 PC.

    William Overington

    8 May 2003

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