logos, symbols, and ligatures (RE: Encoding Personal Use Ideographs)

From: Philippe Verdy (verdy_p@wanadoo.fr)
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 22:10:02 CST

  • Next message: James Kass: "Re: logos, symbols, and ligatures (RE: Encoding Personal Use Ideographs)"

    James Kass wrote:
    > ZWJ requests a more joined form from the rendering system
    > if one is available.
    > Consider "ASSOCIATED PRESS SYMBOL", which is essentially a
    > typographic ligature of "A" and "P".
    > Would inserting a ZWJ between an "A" and a "P" in order to
    > get a ligature of "AP" to use for representing that symbol
    > in plain text be a Bad Thing?

    There's a big difference between your example and a true ligature: ligatures
    when they are enabled in a font style, do not change the semantic of the
    characters they are representing; they can also be used freely almost every
    where, independently of the context of surrounding letters. And they don't
    prohibit a line break between the letters, if this ligature is joining two
    syllables (for example the ligature of "ffi" or "ffl" does not prohibit the
    syllable break between the two f; the linebreak does not occur between "f"
    and "i" or "l", just because there's no syllable break.

    In the "AP" symbol, it will be inappropriate for use in any word also
    containing the two letters "AP". This is in fact an unbreakable logo that is
    formed from the initials of the organization. So this is not a ligature; if
    it was encoded, it should be usable for any words, not just by Associated
    Press that has registered it as a logographic trademark. So as long as this
    is protected by Associated Press, and there's no other legal occurrence of
    this ligature in actual texts without any forced link to Associated Press,
    there's NO chance it will be encoded.

    A font that would be designed to contain the ligature would propably violate
    the Associated Press copyright and trademark on its logo; that's the same
    issue with the Apple logo, despite it is used in its legacy 8-bit charset
    encodings: it is then mapped to a PUA, and the implementation of the glyph
    in a font requires a permission by Apple.

    The same would be said about the Windows logo used on PC keyboards and in
    documentations, however there's an Unicode-encoded glyph that is very close
    to it (the Unicode version is a black diamond with a thin white cross
    splitting it into 4 equal squares). The Windows logo is not even present in
    any font shipped with Windows.

    On the opposite, the glyphs found in the "Marlett" font for Windows (used to
    build GUI interface decorations and elements like: radio buttons,
    checkboxes, or slider buttons, or icon buttons at the corner of GUI windows
    and dialogs) are quite generic, and could be encoded as generic symbols, as
    they are not trademarks (some of them are already encoded, but the "Marlett"
    font is not Unicode encoded, but just mapped on a specific 8-bit symbol
    charset. They were inserted in a font, just because it's a convenient
    distribution format for resizable vectorized glyphs, and they can be
    rendered with the existing OpenType renderer, including for creating 3D
    effects like shadows; they allow these control buttons of the GUI to be
    easily resized, without requiring many bitmaps at various resolutions.

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