Re: New FAQ page

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu Oct 11 2007 - 12:13:38 CDT

  • Next message: John D. Burger: "Re: New FAQ page"

    Jukka K. Korpela wrote re. the .notdef glyph:

    > Some designs are better than others, especially since some of them (like
    > "?") can easily be mistaken as real characters and some of them (like a thin
    > vertical bar) might escape the reader's attention and might be interpreted
    > just as some kind of dirt, if noticed at all.

    > But this cannot be solved at the character code level. The "missing glyphs"
    > should be clearly indicated as distinct from glyphs representing characters,
    > but by its very nature, this requires something external to the character
    > level (and fonts), such as the use of colors, which is not always possible.

    Automatically displaying the .notdef glyph in a distinct colour would certainly be a
    welcome feature. Adobe InDesign colours the typespace behind the .notdef glyph pink, which
    is also its convention for missing fonts and other unsupported elements, which means that
    whenever you see a pink background in an InDesign document you know something is wrong.
    Very helpful.

    Regarding the design of the .notdef glyph, Microsoft provides some specific
    recommendations in the OpenType spec.

    I believe I invented the ? in a rectangle form, although perhaps others had the same idea.
    Recently, I've started using a reversed ? in a black rectangle, as this stands out better
    in text.

    ? is used by many Windows apps (and elsewhere?) to indicate an unknown character, as
    distinct from a known but unsupported character. So, for instances, non-Unicode apps may
    display any 16 bit Unicode character as ??

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    Do not begin to paddle unless you intend always to paddle.
              - St Jean de Br├ębeuf, instructions for missionaries, 1637

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