September 26, 2005

Your type can look better

As things get easier and faster, do they have to get crummier? No, but if we’re not careful, it’s easy to sacrifice depth and craft for breadth.
Ten years ago, print designers couldn’t understand why I couldn’t replicate their leading and kerning in HTML. Ten years later, I wonder how many designers bother to kern at all.
But beyond resurrecting these fundamentals, new technology lets us do better. OpenType technology allows for much richer character sets, and numerous faces in the Adobe Type Library support this new functionality. Access to alternate characters can help put an end to the kind of blunder I saw in a national magazine several weeks back, where supposedly handwritten parchment featured three identical “g”‘s in a single word.
To see the benefits in action, check out this tutorial from Russell Brown, and this one from Deke McClelland.
(On related fronts, the new Flash Player features much improved text display. Also, Typetester is a little online utility for comparing screen fonts [link via Newsight]. And Linotype has released FontExplorer X, with an iTunes-like ability to organize, preview, and purchase fonts.)

Posted by John Nack at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2005
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