Re: coloured characters

From: William_J_G Overington (
Date: Mon Dec 27 2010 - 03:18:08 CST

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    On Friday 24 December 2010, Doug Ewell <> wrote:
    > People want to specify text color via style -- CSS or word-processor styling or whatever -- the same way they specify font face and size and bold/italic/underlined/outlined and other non-plain-text attributes.
    Yes, and if a chromatic font system were developed as part of the development of the OpenType specification and if the specification of CSS were extended accordingly and if application packages that could use such chromatic fonts were developed, then they would be able to do that.
    Suppose for example, that such specification work were completed and a font named Venetian Berries were produced. Suppose that Venetian Berries were a titling font with capital letters A through to Z, an ampersand and some punctuation, including a hyphen. Each of the letter characters and the ampersand would have the basic capital letter or ampersand in one colour, some leaves in another colour and some berries in yet another colour.
    Suppose that the font were used with a specially produced desktop publishing package that could use such a font.
    I imagine that the way that it would work would be, in broad terms, as follows. I have used numbers such as seven for the number of leaves just as design examples for the hypothetical Venetian Berries font.
    When the desktop publishing package sent a request to the font for the glyph information for the letter H the font would send back several contours. There would be one clockwise contour in colour 1 (foreground colour), this would be for the H shape itself; seven clockwise contours in colour 2 (first decoration colour), these would be for seven leaves; five clockwise contours in colour 3 (second decoration colour), these would be for five berries.
    The way that text in the Venetian Berries font would display would depend upon the choice of the user of the desktop publishing program, as that person would be able to set each of background colour, foreground colour, first decoration colour and second decoration colour manually from within the desktop publishing package.
    However, for maximum usefulness, the font specification would include the ability to include two palettes of default colours within a font, one palette or RGB (red, green, blue) and one palette for CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) so that the desktop publishing package could use those colours by default.
    This would mean that if an average user of the desktop publishing package simply selected the font Venetian Berries and selected a size and then started keying, say, a title on a poster, the font would display in reasonable colours.
    For example, suppose that Venetian Berries has palettes with background colour as white, foreground colour as blue, first decoration colour as dark green and second decoration colour as red.
    Keying the title HOLIDAYS would produce a display with those colours.
    However, the designer wishes to change things, so he or she changes the background colour to transparent, adds a large, whole of the poster size, filled quickshape in light blue as a background behind the text and uses the Pantone 2011 Colour of the Year for the foreground colour and then uses a slightly lighter green for the first decoration colour and uses orange for the second decoration colour.

    There would be much that would need to be done in order for the facilities written about in the above scenario to become implemented.
    William Overington
    27 December 2010

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