Re: Single Unicode Font

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue May 22 2001 - 18:18:47 EDT

At 01:08 2001-05-22 -0500, David Starner wrote:

>At 09:12 PM 05/22/2001 +0500, N.R.Liwal wrote:
>>I think Fonts grouped by script will be more usefull and approperiate.
>It all depends on your audience. For fine typography, yes, of course.
>For Joe Sixpack, who just wants to write email to his grandmother,
>he's best off saving the memory and harddrive space needed for the big
>font. But for people who want to view a wide variety of scripts in one
>screen, with consistency being more important than typography
>(like many of the people on this list), a single Unicode font is perfect.

But the text display problems raised by combining scripts with diverse
proportions are considerable. The kind of hinting models employed by
today's outline font technology are not really designed to handle more than
a limited range of stem weights and distances. So for Joe Sixpack's e-mail,
the screen display across multiple scripts in a huge font will inevitably
involve many compromises and, generally, poorer results than smaller fonts
properly hinted for single scripts of for groups of scripts with related
design features.

>In any case, some scripts just go together. Mathematicians and
>linguists frequently use Latin and Greek together (cf. IPA) in ways
>that require consistent font looks.

Here I agree with you completely. There are natural groupings of scripts
that occur because of historical contact during their development,
resulting in similar design features. Latin, Greek and Cyrillic can be
easily harmonised without any one of them suffering indignities, and some
styles of Armenian and Georgian letters can also be combined with them.
This makes it relative easy to produce quality pan-European fonts, at least
for the modern forms of these scripts.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks |
Vancouver, BC | | |

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