From: William Overington (WOverington@ngo.globalnet.co.uk)
Date: Thu May 08 2003 - 06:55:53 EDT
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
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/ast03300.htm 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
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
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 rec.music.makers.songwriting 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
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
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/golden.htm 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
http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/font7007.htm 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.
8 May 2003
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