RE: Single Unicode Font

From: Carl W. Brown (
Date: Wed May 23 2001 - 13:50:46 EDT


>In any event, what do people perceive as being the advantage of
>having a single font that covers the whole standard as opposed
>to a small suite of fonts that cover it?

I don't understand why people would want a single font either. If you link
a set of fonts it will operate as a single font.

There are many reasons not to have a single font.

Suppose I have to buy a Unicode Myanmar font because I can not find a free
one. I could then link it with the other fonts.

Adobe for example, has resolution limits to their Far East fonts. I must
pay for hi-res fonts and they are not cheap. To keep costs down I only want
to pay for what I use.

I may want simplified Chinese for the han because I like smaller font sizes.

One user may want to link Farsi then Urdu then Arabic. The Urdu would cover
missing letters and the Arabic would handle Arabic Presentation forms that
may be missing in the other fonts. Another might want the Arabic font first
for more consistent presentation even if it might be a uglier font. Fonts
also affect things like character ligatures.

Small font sizes are usually rendered with bitmaps. CKJ glyphs usually
render better with maps that consist of an even number of pixels. Latin
scripts usually render better with maps that are an odd number of pixels.
Mixing different bitmap grids creates the problem of different size
characters for the same point size. The alternative is nasty looking
characters. The choice of which is the lesser of two evils is a matter of
personal preference.

Lastly how do you accommodate Private Area characters? Do you make the font
customizable? I think that it is better to support linking a private font
to standard fonts.

Personal preferences would make the number combinations of font groupings
considerable. By the time you add in all the new Unicode 3.x characters the
size of each font becomes considerable.


-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of John Jenkins
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 8:06 AM
To: ''
Subject: Re: Single Unicode Font

On Wednesday, May 23, 2001, at 01:07 AM, Graham Asher wrote:

> But I guess this is obvious. I just wanted to chime in with the view
> that a
> single Unicode Font would be useful, and a whole lot better than some
> people suggest.

Bear in mind that it is now impossible to produce a single TrueType font
cover all of Unicode.

In any event, what do people perceive as being the advantage of having a
single font that covers the whole standard as opposed to a small suite
of fonts that cover it?

(I'm also speaking from a prejudiced position, because Apple's font
fallback mechanism makes it unnecessary to explicitly set the font for a
particular character in order to see it.)

John H. Jenkins

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