Broken stencil font in the news.

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Brian 'Jarai' Chase

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Sep 12, 2002, 2:59:38 PM9/12/02
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The BBC are using a military flavored stencil font throughout their
"Conflict with Iraq" web pages. They screwed up their capital `Q'.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2002/conflict_with_iraq/default.stm

If it weren't for a.r.k, and my dad being a graphic designer, I'd never
think about this stuff.

-jarai.
--
--- Brian Chase | b...@world.std.com | http://world.std.com/~bdc/ -----
"Captain, we're experiencing a high rate of packet collisions!" -- K.

Adam

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Sep 12, 2002, 3:17:51 PM9/12/02
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On Thursday 12 September 2002 19:59, Brian 'Jarai' Chase wrote:

> The BBC are using a military flavored stencil font throughout their
> "Conflict with Iraq" web pages. They screwed up their capital `Q'.
>
>
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2002/conflict_with_iraq/default.stm
>
> If it weren't for a.r.k, and my dad being a graphic designer, I'd never
> think about this stuff.

I'm no expert in graphic design, but I think that's one hell of an ugly Q,
and it doesn't look at all like a real stencilled Q either.

Rose Marie Holt

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Sep 12, 2002, 8:07:51 PM9/12/02
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In article <H2CA...@world.std.com>,

b...@world.std.com (Brian 'Jarai' Chase) wrote:

> The BBC are using a military flavored stencil font throughout their
> "Conflict with Iraq" web pages. They screwed up their capital `Q'.
>
> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/middle_east/2002/conflict_with_iraq/defaul
> t.stm
>
> If it weren't for a.r.k, and my dad being a graphic designer, I'd never
> think about this stuff.
>
> -jarai.


JARAI IS SON OF KIBO!

Adam

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Sep 13, 2002, 3:10:05 AM9/13/02
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On Friday 13 September 2002 06:20, Brian 'Jarai' Chase wrote:

> Unfortunately, it would seem that I still have many lessons yet
> to learn. Kibo pointed out to me that the stencilled Q in
> question is, in fact, a legitimate Q from AG Book Stencil:
> http://www.bertholdtypes.com/bq_library/90036.html

But is it a real stencil font or just a stencil-style font?


> I was fooled by an overly hasty assement of the Q's tail
> combined with my general hate for stencilled lettering. I've
> always thought Kibo's prejudice against serifless fonts was a
> bit irritational. But then today, for the first time, I became
> truly conscious of my distaste for stencilled lettering. And
> now, for the shame it brings upon me by having outwitted me, I
> truly despise stencilled lettering with every fiber of my being.

I don't dislike stencilled lettering, but I hate sans serif fonts,
especially Arial and Geneva. Arial is particularly nasty because "I" and
"l" look the same, so "I'll" looks particularly offensive.

James Kibo Parry

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Sep 13, 2002, 6:04:38 AM9/13/02
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Brian 'Jarai' Chase (b...@world.std.com) wrote:
>
> [...] I've always thought Kibo's prejudice against serifless fonts
> was a bit irritational.

It's especially irrational because I don't even HAVE a "prejudice against
serifless fonts". I've drawn some of them, I print things using many of
them, and I only read my E-mail and alt.religion.kibology in them. I have
several on my screen right now. I have them all over my business cards.

Where did you get that silly idea?

I just think that the world of graphic design would be vastly improved
if a moratorium was called on the use of two specific sans-serifs,
Helvetica and Arial. There are tens of thousands of other, better
sans-serif fonts out there. Whenever anyone uses one of those two
(which are among the fonts included with every computer, every printer,
every Web browser, etc.) it's usually a sign that someone isn't even
trying to make anything look good. It usually means someone couldn't
even find the "Font" menu, or didn't think about choosing something
that looked good or was comfortable to read.

I have absolutely nothing against (to name a few) Futura, Univers,
News Gothic, Franklin Gothic, Syntax, Charlotte Sans, Lucida Sans,
Avenir, Ocean Sans, Myriad, Meta, Kabel, Frutiger, Optima, Radiant,
Folio, AG Old Face, Alternate Gothic, Claude Sans, Delta, Gill Sans,
Nobel, Hermes, Gothic #13, and the zillions of other sans-serifs suitable
for printing text or headlines, quite a few of which look as good or
better than Arial and Helvetica, and all of which are used only about
.0001% as often as Arial and Helvetica.

Helvetica was a nice design before it was printed on every single
piece of printed matter since 1985, but Helvetica and Arial have had
their interestingness completely destroyed by being the default fonts
on most computers, and because most people cannot tell apart fonts
in vaguely similar styles, the ease of access to the overused two fonts
has caused people to avoid the ones like Univers. (Much the same
way that easy access to Times Roman and Times New Roman has caused
the Caslons and Baskervilles to become rare.) Univers (which is similar
to Helvetica, but with better spacing, better stroke contrast, and
clearer distinctions between similar letters) was common as a text font
until the Apple Laserwriter was introduced in 1985, and then, bang,
Univers became rare, and Helvetica was everywhere. (And laser-printed
Helvetica is really hard on the eyes.)

Even the best graphic designer can't typeset everything in one specific
kind of fonts. Serif fonts, sans-serif fonts, script fonts, and
many other styles are appropriate or even necessary for various tasks.
However, when something is printed in Arial or Helvetica, it's very
likely that no actual designer was applied to that project. Almost
anything containing those two can be massively improved just by switching
to a more interesting sans-serif. Most of the others are either more
interesting-looking, or have greater legibility, or have greater
readability (those are not the same thing.)

The world has been given 50,000 crayons. I'm not asking that they
throw 25,000 of them away. There's thousands of good ones in that
half of the box! I'm just saying that many people never seem to find
the 49,998 crayons behind the two boring gray ones in the front.
It would be no great loss to humanity if those two crayons fell behind
the radiator and melted, leading people to actually make design decisions.

Or, for a different silly analogy, imagine if most movies starred
William Shatner and Barbara Bain, and every once in a while you could
glimpse one of 49,998 other actors.

So I have nothing against sans-serifs, it's just that two of the
dullest ones have become so overused that they give bad designs a
tedious blandness. I really like some of the others. Is that what
you meant to say I said?

-- K.

Oh, and I really detest "MS Comic Sans",
which is not comic and is not even
a sans, but just a REALLY atrocious
attempt at doing something that looks
like a blurry, smoothed-out version
of sloppy lettering representing some
non-artist's idea of what a comic-book
artist's letting would be. It's a bad
design which manages to be simultaneously
too sterile in some ways and too sloppy
in others, and it has an "a" that looks
too much like an "o". As handwriting
fonts go, it's one of the very worst,
and oh-so-overused because it comes
free with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

NOTE TO AMATEUR DESIGNERS: THE FONTS
THAT ARE INCLUDED WITH INTERNET EXPLORER
ARE NOT TEXT FONTS! (Microsoft apparently
thinks Web pages are circus posters.)

Message has been deleted

Stacia

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Sep 13, 2002, 10:46:03 AM9/13/02
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ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) writes:
>Brian 'Jarai' Chase (b...@world.std.com) wrote:
>>
>> [...] I've always thought Kibo's prejudice against serifless fonts
>> was a bit irritational.

>It's especially irrational because I don't even HAVE a "prejudice against
>serifless fonts".

>Where did you get that silly idea?

I had the same idea, but I think it may have been a previous rant about
Comic Sans Serif. A brief, furtive, illicit Googling showed you did
indeed rant about Comic being a font no one should use because it comes
with every computer in the world, and it's over-used to boot. Oh, and you
ranted about it in your little end blurb, too.

>I just think that the world of graphic design would be vastly improved
>if a moratorium was called on the use of two specific sans-serifs,
>Helvetica and Arial.

Recently I updated an Excel doc I created back when I was in Steno and I
had used Arial on it, because, frankly, I didn't care. it wasn't too bad
but I'm concerned the I's look like 1's. Then when I tried to select all
and change the font it didn't work.
Fine, I changed the font, to Verdana, which isn't half bad. I did try
Lucida Console for a moment, but it took me straight back to 1984 and my
Commodore 64, so I decided against it.

> Oh, and I really detest "MS Comic Sans",

We gathered. I don't have MS Comic Sans, just Comic Sans Serif, which I
imagine is the same or similar.

> of sloppy lettering representing some
> non-artist's idea of what a comic-book
> artist's letting would be.

Oh, is that why it's called Comic? I never knew. It's not a
handwriting font in my opinion, because it doesn't look like handwriting
at all, and it slants the wrong way to be comic book-like.
For a long time I liked the Trebuchet font, but that's a whole different
story.

This post is about the thunderstorm brewing outside.

* * *
Stacia * sta...@world.std.com * http://world.std.com/~stacia/
"Perhaps it was the spring. And something in her eyes
that was much older than Manhattan, Kansas."

talysman

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Sep 13, 2002, 1:36:56 PM9/13/02
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sta...@world.std.com (Stacia) writes:

> ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) writes:
> >Brian 'Jarai' Chase (b...@world.std.com) wrote:
> >>
> >> [...] I've always thought Kibo's prejudice against serifless fonts
> >> was a bit irritational.
>
> >It's especially irrational because I don't even HAVE a "prejudice against
> >serifless fonts".
>
> >Where did you get that silly idea?
>
> I had the same idea, but I think it may have been a previous rant about
> Comic Sans Serif.

I *didn't* have the same idea, because I had a vague recollection
of a kibo rant about people who use serif fonts when they should
use sans serif and vice versa. also, I knew about the specific kibo
hatred of arial and ms comic sans, although I thought he liked
helvetica (perhaps because when he mentions arial, he condemns it
as a bad version of helvetica. now we understand how bad arial
*really* is!)

side note: if arial is the evil sans serif font, is mok the evil
serif font?

thanks to this latest rant, we now know that kibo's favorite sans
serif font is univers. I suggest this would make a good name for
your daughter, kibo, should you choose to accept that mission.
you should name your son after a serif font, of course.

Glenn Knickerbocker

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Sep 13, 2002, 5:20:34 PM9/13/02
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James Kibo Parry wrote:
> It's especially irrational because I don't even HAVE a "prejudice against
> serifless fonts". I've drawn some of them, I print things using many of
> them, and I only read my E-mail and alt.religion.kibology in them.

I read alt.religion.kibology in one of them at home, but I don't think
Kibo wants to hear which one it is. And it's not Arial or Helvetica.
Or even Trebuchet. I am quite partial to Gill Sans, but I find it a
little too reminiscent of a high-school girl's super-neat handwriting to
fit anybody's posts but Stacia's.

> Oh, and I really detest "MS Comic Sans",
> which is not comic and is not even
> a sans,

Wait, do the crossbars on the "I" really count as serifs? Also, I'll
repeat my old question: Is there a better casual handwriting font I can
get for free or even cheap? Because most of the ones I've looked at are
way MORE atrocious. Also also, the "MS" comes at the end of the name.

This post has inspired me to make Gill Sans and Lucida Console my
default fonts at work. I think. I'm not so sure about Lucida Console
yet (which also has crossbars on the "I").

ŹR

Lleah

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Sep 13, 2002, 7:14:34 PM9/13/02
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"James "Kibo" Parry" <ki...@world.std.com> wrote in message
news:kibo-13090...@ppp0b147.std.com...

>It usually means someone couldn't even find the "Font" menu, or didn't
think about choosing something
> that looked good or was comfortable to read.

I happen to LIKE Arial, you fishskin goober.

Anyhow,
So Kibo bought some bubbles at the Super 88 that were supposedly some sort
of wacky (I'm using my fingers as quotes for this word now) "candy". After
he mixed the ingredients together to cause some sort of chemical (fingers
again) "reaction", he blew some bubbles. He maintained that they didn't
taste like soap until about five minutes later when he remarked that they
did, indeed, taste like soap after all.

And that's the end of my story.

Tim for shower candy!
-L


talysman

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Sep 13, 2002, 7:32:33 PM9/13/02
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"Lleah" <leah...@attbi.com> writes:

> Tim for shower candy!

Tim for the dead!

Joseph Michael Bay

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Sep 13, 2002, 7:56:31 PM9/13/02
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ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) writes:


> NOTE TO AMATEUR DESIGNERS: THE FONTS
> THAT ARE INCLUDED WITH INTERNET EXPLORER
> ARE NOT TEXT FONTS! (Microsoft apparently
> thinks Web pages are circus posters.)


Then Algerian would be the default.

WELCOME, LADIES AND GENTLE-MEN
TO THE AMAZING DEATH-DEFYING
WORLD-WIDE INTER-NET WEB-PAGE!!!

--
Joseph M. Bay Lamont Sanford Junior University
www.stanford.edu/~jmbay/ DO NOT PRESS

Matt McIrvin

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Sep 14, 2002, 2:25:22 AM9/14/02
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In article <wkofb1d...@globalsurrealism.com>,
talysman <taly...@globalsurrealism.com> wrote:

> I *didn't* have the same idea, because I had a vague recollection
> of a kibo rant about people who use serif fonts when they should
> use sans serif and vice versa.

Half of the beginners' tutorials on Web design in the world say
you should use serif fonts only for headings and other large text,
and sans fonts for body text. The other half say the opposite.

--
Matt McIrvin http://world.std.com/~mmcirvin/

Matt McIrvin

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Sep 14, 2002, 2:35:56 AM9/14/02
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In article
<Pine.OSF.4.10.102091...@cassius.its.unimelb.edu.au>,
Jonathan Benney <j...@student.unimelb.edu.au> wrote:

> It's pretty depressing here in Taipei (and I assume over in mainland China
> as well) at the moment. It used to be that most of the English signs and
> text were in various local fonts which I haven't really seen otherwise
> (mostly because they were distorted ripoffs of ones like Helvetica. The
> Sinolingua textbooks that I used to teach myself Chinese had an especially
> distinctive font, which was generally typeset very unevenly and said
> things like "Table Of Initials And Finals In The Common Sqeech".)

I've noticed that East Asian typesetting of Roman letters often uses
monospaced character sets designed to fit into a grid with the other
characters. In countries that primarily use the Roman alphabet,
monospaced fonts are typically either typewriter-like or sans (or
something even more specialized like an old DOS PC screen font), but
the Asian ones are usually designed to look sort of like Roman serif
text fonts, except squished into a monospaced grid. The result looks
odd and wobbly.

Glenn Knickerbocker

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Sep 14, 2002, 8:39:00 AM9/14/02
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With Donna.

Message has been deleted

Phil (the Extreme One)

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Sep 15, 2002, 4:41:41 AM9/15/02
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On Fri, 13 Sep 2002 23:14:34 GMT, after hours of intense interrogation,
"Lleah" <leah...@attbi.com> finally admitted that:

>
>"James "Kibo" Parry" <ki...@world.std.com> wrote in message
>news:kibo-13090...@ppp0b147.std.com...
>
>>It usually means someone couldn't even find the "Font" menu, or didn't
>think about choosing something
>> that looked good or was comfortable to read.
>
>I happen to LIKE Arial, you fishskin goober.

And I'm reading the ark in Helvetica! 10-point! So there.

And do you know what else? I LIKE IT THAT WAY!

--
Phil
nolemurz-at-earthlink-dot-net
http://www.acmeforces.com <=== chronically incomplete
"Just once I'd like to go to a party and not be set on fire" -Dilbert

James Kibo Parry

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Sep 17, 2002, 12:43:37 AM9/17/02
to
"Lleah" (leah...@attbi.com) wrote:
>
> Anyhow,
> So Kibo bought some bubbles at the Super 88 that were supposedly some sort
> of wacky (I'm using my fingers as quotes for this word now) "candy". After
> he mixed the ingredients together to cause some sort of chemical (fingers
> again) "reaction", he blew some bubbles. He maintained that they didn't
> taste like soap until about five minutes later when he remarked that they
> did, indeed, taste like soap after all.

Well, it was time-release soap.

Candy is never very good soap, and this candy really didn't taste like
high-quality soap. Plus for some reason the bubbles bounced when they
hit things. I think this is a candy that requires another person's
assistance to eat it, because if you use it indoors it will stain the
wallpaper, and if you use it outdoors the bubbles blow away, so you
have to find a wind tunnel and have your friend stand at the other end
so that you can blow bubbles and then faintly hear someone yelling
"OKAY, THEY DO TASTE LIKE SOAP! NOW PLEASE TURN IT OFF!"

And they were blueberry bubbles, because all Japanese candy is now
blueberry flavored, peach flavored, or melon flavored, because they
only just discovered blueberries last year and so now Japan is in
the midst of an artificial blueberry flavor craze. Blueberrymania
is sweeping the Pacific Rim! Don't ask me to explain the melon, though.

I wish the Japanese would hurry up and discover raspberries. They don't
even know about the red ones, let alone the black or blue ones.

-- K.

I have a theory that the
recent discovery of blueberries
is why the new version of
Ultraman turns purple whenever
he gets into a fight.

Darla Vladschyk

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Sep 17, 2002, 8:38:12 AM9/17/02
to
ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) wrote:


>Candy is never very good soap, and this candy really didn't taste like

>high-quality soap. ...


You tried THIS, and you haven't yet tried the bacon bubbles?! Waht up
wif dat, Mistah KyBeau?

-=Darla=-

_________________________________________________
"...But you've always had the power to go home!" --- Glinda
_________________________________________________
http://www.yougotta.com/Darla
_________________________________________________

James Kibo Parry

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Sep 17, 2002, 10:09:17 PM9/17/02
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"talysman" (taly...@globalsurrealism.com) wrote:
>
> [...] I had a vague recollection of a kibo rant about people who use

> serif fonts when they should use sans serif and vice versa. also, I
> knew about the specific kibo hatred of arial and ms comic sans,
> although I thought he liked helvetica (perhaps because when he
> mentions arial, he condemns it as a bad version of helvetica.
> now we understand how bad arial *really* is!)
>
> [...]

> thanks to this latest rant, we now know that kibo's favorite sans
> serif font is univers. I suggest this would make a good name for
> your daughter, kibo, should you choose to accept that mission.
> you should name your son after a serif font, of course.

ARRRRR! Stop pushing my buttons, you fishskin goober!

You know, telling me what my favorite typefaces are, and being wrong
about it, is a lot like running up to Fonzie and saying "I hear you
love Datsun motorcycles!" except that instead of me scattering your
freckles around Arnold's parking lot, I'm going to give you another
long lecture on the history of typography. You people should learn
to pay more attention to my long boring lectures so I can stop giving them.

I didn't say that Univers was my favorite sans-serif; I don't even think
I have a favorite sans-serif, given that there are so many different
sub-categories that are used for different purposes. I just said that
Univers was in the same style as Helvetica, except better. It comes closer
to being an actual text font (the spacing is better), the extrabold and
condensed styles are more interesting (for headlines), and in general
the modelling (the thicks and thins) is more sophisticated. (Note that
I am referring to the good versions of Univers -- such as Bitstream's
"Zurich", a very faithful but unlicensed clone -- not the bad ones, such
as Adobe's Univers. Adobe was working from a version of Univers which
had already been deformed to fit a Linotype machine, and they were too
lazy to digitize the italics, preferring to just warp the upright fonts.)

Univers might be my favorite font from the "fonts very much like Helvetica"
sub-category, but that's a pretty small domain. I probably like Futura
(again, the real version, not the later bastardizations) just as much,
but there are some tasks where Futura would be inappropriate, and others
where Futura would work much better than Univers. Other fonts I like
just as much would be News Gothic (once again, the original, not the
mashed-together Adobe version), Kabel (original, not ITC), Syntax,
Ludlow's Stellar, and several others. Different ones are appropriate
for use in different places, so it would be silly to prefer one to all
others, unlike roman fonts (where if you like a particular roman font,
you can use it pretty much anywhere a roman font can go. A good roman
font can go anywhere, sans-serifs are more specialized.)

The fonts in the Univers-to-Helvetica range and the ones like News Gothic
are for when you want to print something where people focus on the content
(or ignore it automatically, as in the case of a list of ingredients)
because they're designed to be very personality-less -- not strictly
geometric, but not humanist either, with letter shapes that are very
uniform from letter to letter but with no particular overall distinctiveness
other than this uniformity. For a poster or a headline, you might want
something with more personality (but which would not be as good for
small text) such as Futura or Kabel or Block or Radiant or Bernhard Gothic
or Avant Garde or any of many other choices (most sans-serifs can be
used as headline fonts.) For a business letter, if you chose to do it
in sans-serif, you'd want something "normal" yet with some humanist
qualities that make it seem less mechanical, such as Gill Sans or Syntax
or Optima or Meta or anything else that has a little more emphasis on
classical letterforms than the bland fonts like Helvetica or the stylized
fonts like Futura.

Which brings me to the second thing I'm required to complain about:

I didn't say Arial is a "bad version of Helvetica". Arial was intended
as a substitute for (and alternate to) Helvetica. Because Microsoft
didn't want to have to license the core PostScript font set -- Helvetica,
Times Roman, Avant Garde, etc. -- they commissioned Monotype to design
some fonts that had the same spacing -- Arial, Times New Roman,
Century Gothic -- but allegedly based on older designs in the Monotype
library, so that they could feel all warm and ethical inside. As a result,
although Arial has the same spacing as Helvetica, it's a different design --
Univers is far more like Helvetica than Arial is. They're different
sub-categories of sans-serifs. (Helvetica and Univers are twentieth-century
"neo-grotesques", also called "Swiss", while Arial is a nineteenth-century
style "old grotesque", like Akzidenz Grotesk or AG Old Face.) In places
where Helvetica has details that obsessively match -- such as the two ends
of the "c" which have both been wrenched around to be exactly horizontal
(in most versions) -- Arial has deliberately mismatched details.
(Arial's "c" has two ends that slant diagonally, but the tail of the
"g" slants the other way around relative to the stroke.) Arial also
has more of an emphasis on roman-style letterforms (such as the long
diagonal leg of the "R") while in Helvetica the letters have been made
as uniform as possible (hence the "R" with the rounded, vertical leg
to make the letter appear closer to the same size as an "H" or "O".)

Arial and the other old grotesques are somewhere in between the
neo-grotesques like Helvetica and the fully humanist designs like
Syntax. You could sort of make a spectrum from fully humanist to
fully geometric, starting with Optima and Syntax and passing through
Arial and then Helvetica and then Futura and ending up at Avant Garde.
There are many other sans-serifs that wouldn't fit anywhere in that
spectrum.

I think Helvetica is a better design than Arial, but keep in mind
that they're in somewhat different categories. I dislike the bland
effect both of them produce on the page, but in Helvetica it's a
deliberate, engineered blandness, while Arial just looks like the
design was somewhat accidental. Just as Univers is a (subtly) better
design than Helvetica with regard to that particular style, there are
fonts better than Arial in Arial's style -- I like Berthold's AG Old Face
(a deliberately "oldened" grotesque) better than Arial. (The family
trees of the two styles converge on the original grotesques, such as
Akzidenz Grotesk. Helvetica is what happened when someone cleaned
Akzidenz up as much as possible, removing much of the personality
but adding a new kind of rhythm, while AG Old Face exaggerates
Akzidenz's existing irregularity and personality.)

Of course, because Arial was designed within the constraints of
having the same spacing as a different font, it suffered as a
result -- the Helvetica "a" has a tail that sticks out to the right
(in the light weights), and that's a feature not found in most
old grotesques, so the Arial "a" doesn't have that tail, and thus
has to be extra-wide to fill up the same space. As a result, the
"a" in Arial is wider than it wants to be. It would have either
been better if they had tried to do an exact plagiarism of
Helvetica, or if they had done a grotesque that didn't space like
Helvetica, but trying to straddle this line between fonts that
don't look like Helvetica and fonts that work just like Helvetica
resulted in what just looks like a sloppy design. Helvetica is
sterile because it was meant to be sterile, while Arial is bland
because it was designed under legal and technological constraints,
not from any designer's inspiration. Helvetica would be
interestingly avant-garde if you hadn't been seeing it a
thousand times a day for your entire life, while Arial is
wholly uninteresting.

Of the other Microsoft/Monotype core fonts in Windows (the ones
that space like, but don't look quite like, the standard Adobe
PostScript fonts) most are better than the ones they're intended
to be substituted for. Century Gothic (based on Monotype's knockoff
of Futura called "Twentieth Century Gothic") is more pleasant as a
text face than ITC Avant Garde Gothic, although it doesn't have
that severe, mechanical look that Avant Garde was designed to have,
so the two are again very different fonts in a vaguely similar
style. Monotype's Bookman Old Style is also a more comfortable
text font (especially in the italic) than ITC Bookman, but again
at the expense of being less clean. The one oddity in the Windows
font set is Monotype's Book Antiqua (formerly "Z-Antiqua") which
is an absolutely exact knockoff of Adobe's Palatino (the Linophoto
version.)

When talking about Palatino I have to be very precise, because
the version most often seen -- the Linophoto one -- looks very
different from the original Stempel one. Zapf designed Palatino
to be a headline font, with a relatively low x-height and small,
soft serifs, and that's the Stempel one. The Linophoto one has
been turned into a text typeface by making the lowercase a little
larger, and the serifs are bigger and blockier. Many of the most
distinctive features of the original Palatino have been eliminated
in the modern version, such as the round, calligraphic digits and
the "S" that has an exuberant twisty swoop in its spine. There's
also a third intermediate stage of Palatino, the Linotype hot-metal
version, which has an italic about fifty percent wider than it
was intended to be, due to the way old Linotype machines worked
(another case of a typeface being distorted to fit into the space
occupied by something else.) Around the corner from where I live,
there's a Harvard Medical School building that standardized on
Palatino for their signage, but they didn't say which Palatino, so
"1633 Tremont" is in Linophoto Palatino and "1637 Tremont" is in
Stempel Palatino, and they're clearly different, even down to the "1".

So why is there one exact plagiarism among the Windows fonts if
they worked so hard to make all the others ones visibly different
from the standard Adobe PostScript fonts? And why is it Hermann
Zapf's Palatino, given that he used to go around complaining that
everyone was selling knockoffs of Palatino? (He called them
"Palatinellos".) It's probably partly because Palatino is such
an original, unclassifiable design that nothing else looks like
it -- many people don't notice the difference between Helvetica
and Arial, even though they're quite different, but a mutated
Palatino wouldn't look like Palatino. It's a very distinctive
design. The few things that are meant to look kind of like
Palatino but different, such as Letraset's Elysium and Scangraphic's
Zapf Renaissance, couldn't pass for Palatino. (Zapf Renaissance
is Zapf's own attempt to improve on Palatino, it's quite beautiful.
Elysium is like Palatino except with enough details changed to
ruin it, like an "m" with serifs in bizarre places.)

And it's also probably partly because Hermann Zapf stopped
complaining about font companies ripping off Palatino when the
font companies started paying him to shut up about it. As a
result, he openly endorsed Bitstream's "Zapf Calligraphic"
over the legit Palatinos, and rumor has it he also got paid off
for Book Antiqua, although doing either would mean that he's
screwing over Linotype, the people that licensed the real
Palatino from him. (Because of this, some designers feel that
Zapf is not a paragon of ethicality.)

Ethic in the typeface-selling business are a fluid thing. Designers
generally consider it to be a bad thing to clone someone else's
typeface (even in cases where it's technically legal, which would
involve redrawing the thing on paper, changing the name, and not
exporting it outside the United States.) However, font companies
usually sell these knockoffs of typefaces like Palatino because
it's very hard to get a license for some of these fonts (Linotype
charges a lot for a license for Helvetica or Palatino) and because
those fonts are so overused that everyone demands them, most vendors
have to choose between paying a fortune to Linotype to be able to
sell the same fonts you could buy more cheaply elsewhere, or just
selling unlicensed plagiarisms (which are 100% profit.) While I
don't think Adobe did a good job of digitizing most of their
library (particularly with respect to the sans-serifs such as
Helvetica and Futura) they're one of the few companies which will
not sell imitation fonts. Bitstream, on the other hand, does
sell cloned fonts ("Zurich" is their Univers, "Swiss 721" is their
Helvetica, "Zapf Calligraphic" is their Palatino) but they add
value in that Bitstream's fake fonts are actually far more
faithful to the real ones than Adobe's licensed ones. So this
is an interesting question: Which is more respectable, a company
which pays the designer a small royalty for selling a low-quality
version of their font, or a company which doesn't pay the designer
but honors the designer's artistic intent? Bitstream tried to have
it both ways by paying Zapf directly, but I'm sure that didn't make
Linotype happy.

(A note about royalties: Depending on who sells the font, the
designer may receive anywhere from a penny to ten dollars from a
font that sells for twenty dollars. The biggest companies sell
the most fonts, but pay a pittance compared to some of the little
companies. The worst cases are the companies that license fonts
to other companies that license fonts, in which case the designer
sometimes winds up with 10% of 10% of 10% of the selling price.
This may be why people like Hermann Zapf can be induced to look
the other way when they get paid some actual money. Needless to
say, typeface designers, even famous ones, would be pretty impoverished
even if end-users weren't stealing "warezed" font files via the Internet.)

So, to sum up:

Univers is NOT my favorite sans-serif, even though it's one of
the best designs in its class.

Arial is NOT an imitation of Helvetica, it's just a lame design that
was intended to look only vaguely similar to Helvetica.

Book Antiqua IS Palatino, although it's not the good Palatino.

Hermann Zapf has designed some great typefaces BUT he went
over to the dark side.

Fonzie does NOT drive a Datsun.


-- K.


Glenn Knickerbocker (No...@bestweb.net) wrote:
>
> James "Kibo" Parry (ki...@world.std.com) wrote:
> >
> > Oh, and I really detest "MS Comic Sans" [...]
>
> [...] Is there a better casual handwriting font I can get for free


> or even cheap? Because most of the ones I've looked at are way MORE
> atrocious.


And as far as what you should use instead
of MS Comic Sans when you want something
that looks like casual handwriting for free:

HELLO GLENN! THIS IS A PENCIL!

Because it's trivial to actually write on
things, and because actual sloppy hand-letting
has a spontaneous charm that "sloppy" fonts
usually can't capture, I only recommend
"handwriting" fonts in cases where the
fake handwriting looks better than what
you could do with your very own Magic Marker,
that is, the ones that are usually called
"calligraphy" instead of "handwriting". If
it isn't really precise handwriting, it will
look completely fake in font form. (My writing
looks good in font form, but only because
I'm special.)

If you want something with a real spontaneous
wackiness to it, and you're too lazy to
actually write some words on paper, then
you might as well just use MS Comic Sans,
because you're also too lazy to get your stuff
published where I might have to look at it.

Glenn Knickerbocker

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 12:00:43 AM9/18/02
to
On Wed, 18 Sep 2002 02:09:17 GMT, James "Kibo" Parry wrote:
> you might as well just use MS Comic Sans,
> because you're also too lazy to get your stuff
> published where I might have to look at it.

Put MY stuff in Comic Sans MS? Wouldn't that be like trying to mask
durian scent with my brother-in-law's broccoli-and-garlic breakfast? No,
no, no, I'm looking for fakety-fake handwriting to let me pretend YOUR
stuff is delivered to us written in pencil on paper by scribes hidden in
a telegraph room in the basement of the Post Office! Besides, every time
I try to wipe the pencil off the screen in order to write the next post,
I see sparks and have to go eat Wint-O-Green Lifesavers in the bathroom
with the lights turned out.

> look completely fake in font form. (My writing
> looks good in font form, but only because
> I'm special.)

Um. This would not necessarily even have to be cheap. At least, not
VERY cheap (I am a Knickerbocker, after all).

http://users.bestweb.net/~notr "The notion of objecting to a fake Web
ŹR site on the grounds that it might possibly incite other people
to do bad things is so dangerous to our constitutionally protected
freedoms that it must never be mentioned, even in jest." --Matt McIrvin

Dag Right-square-bracket-gren

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 8:37:35 AM9/18/02
to
In article <kibo-17090...@ppp0c027.std.com>, James "Kibo" Parry wrote:

> Arial and the other old grotesques are somewhere in between the
> neo-grotesques like Helvetica and the fully humanist designs like
> Syntax. You could sort of make a spectrum from fully humanist to
> fully geometric, starting with Optima and Syntax and passing through
> Arial and then Helvetica and then Futura and ending up at Avant Garde.
> There are many other sans-serifs that wouldn't fit anywhere in that
> spectrum.

Funnily enough, my favourites are right on the edges of that spectrum. I
like Avant Garde, and now that I looked up Optima, I must say I really
like it, too.

HOWEVER!

What is your opinion on the recent font changes at Apple? They used to use
this Garamond-derived font that I kind of liked, since hey, who wouldn't
like Garamond? It is still used at their developer page:

http://www.apple.com/developer/

But with Mac OS X 10.2, they have switched to a sans-serif one, which just
bores me - Myriad, maybe?

http://www.apple.com/software/
http://www.apple.com/buy/

--
Dag Agren <> d...@c3.cx <> http://www.abo.fi/~dagren/ <> Legalize oregano
The time is nigh / I dreamed a lake
It's greek to me / Your pants are down

Jorn Barger

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 9:46:16 AM9/18/02
to
ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) wrote in message news:<kibo-17090...@ppp0c027.std.com>...

> usually can't capture, I only recommend
> "handwriting" fonts in cases where the
> fake handwriting looks better than what
> you could do with your very own Magic Marker,
> that is, the ones that are usually called
> "calligraphy" instead of "handwriting". If
> it isn't really precise handwriting, it will

(Sweet!)

Jim Vandewalker

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 10:36:35 AM9/18/02
to
In article <slrnaogs...@toxic.magnesium.net>,
Dag Right-square-bracket-gren <d...@c3.cx> wrote:

> What is your opinion on the recent font changes at Apple? They used to use
> this Garamond-derived font that I kind of liked, since hey, who wouldn't
> like Garamond? It is still used at their developer page:
>
> http://www.apple.com/developer/
>
> But with Mac OS X 10.2, they have switched to a sans-serif one, which just
> bores me - Myriad, maybe?
>
> http://www.apple.com/software/
> http://www.apple.com/buy/

Izzat Charcoal, the replacement for Chicago as the system font? And if
so, is Charcoal a version of Optima or Univers or similar?

--
Jim the Qrnq Thl

Sometimes I really hate the environment of endless
troll-paranoia we've created for ourselves here.
--Jeremy Impson in alt.religion.kibology

Joe Manfre

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 12:37:20 PM9/18/02
to
Dag Right-square-bracket-gren (d...@c3.cx) wrote:
>Funnily enough, my favourites are right on the edges of that
>spectrum. I like Avant Garde, and now that I looked up Optima, I must
>say I really like it, too.

Nobody should like Avant Garde when they can like Futura instead!
Futura isn't geometric, it just looks that way because PAUL RENNER IS
SMARTER THAN YOU!

Kibo needs to be fair and balanced and talk about fonts in different
classes, but I don't have to because I am not a graphic designer and
thus I don't have to live with my stupid decisions!


JM

Ben Wolfson

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 3:19:54 PM9/18/02
to
On Wed, 18 Sep 2002 02:09:17 GMT, ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry)
wrote:

>Ethic in the typeface-selling business are a fluid thing.

I think this sentence should be entered in the Lyttle Lytton contest:
<http://adamcadre.ac/lyttle.html>.

--
BTR
You're going to set me up as a kind of slovenly attached pig that
Jack Kornfeld can slice down in his violent zen compassion?
-- Larry Block

Joe Manfre

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 5:06:24 PM9/18/02
to
James "Kibo" Parry (ki...@world.std.com) wrote:
>I didn't say Arial is a "bad version of Helvetica". Arial was
>intended as a substitute for (and alternate to) Helvetica. Because
>Microsoft didn't want to have to license the core PostScript font set
>-- Helvetica, Times Roman, Avant Garde, etc. -- they commissioned
>Monotype to design some fonts that had the same spacing -- Arial,
>Times New Roman, Century Gothic -- but allegedly based on older
>designs in the Monotype library, so that they could feel all warm and
>ethical inside.

Waah, does that mean this guy lied to me?

http://www.ms-studio.com/articles.html

But you still won't convince me that Times New Roman wasn't really
invented by Stanley Morison in the thirties. No way.

Also, Kibo, can you tell me anything about the "R bizarre"?


JM

Matt McIrvin

unread,
Sep 18, 2002, 11:27:30 PM9/18/02
to
In article <jim.vandewalker-62...@news.fu-berlin.de>,
Jim Vandewalker <jim.van...@verizon.net> wrote:

> In article <slrnaogs...@toxic.magnesium.net>,
> Dag Right-square-bracket-gren <d...@c3.cx> wrote:
>
> > What is your opinion on the recent font changes at Apple? They used to use
> > this Garamond-derived font that I kind of liked, since hey, who wouldn't
> > like Garamond? It is still used at their developer page:
> >
> > http://www.apple.com/developer/
> >
> > But with Mac OS X 10.2, they have switched to a sans-serif one, which just
> > bores me - Myriad, maybe?
> >
> > http://www.apple.com/software/
> > http://www.apple.com/buy/
>
> Izzat Charcoal, the replacement for Chicago as the system font? And if
> so, is Charcoal a version of Optima or Univers or similar?

The general consensus is that it's some variant of Myriad (which was/
is a Multiple Master font, so it has a continuous parameter space).
Myriad is not a Mac OS system font.

Charcoal was adopted as the default system font for Mac OS 8/9 (but
others were available). With OS X the font changed again to Lucida
Grande, which is more boring than Charcoal but looks pretty good with
the new anti-aliasing.

Charcoal looked a little like Myriad, but they'd never use it for large
text because it would look pretty misshapen that way; it was designed
to rasterize well at the system size.

Dag Right-square-bracket-gren

unread,
Sep 19, 2002, 6:30:25 AM9/19/02
to
In article <slrnaohau0....@shell01.TheWorld.com>, Joe Manfre wrote:
> Dag Right-square-bracket-gren (d...@c3.cx) wrote:
>>Funnily enough, my favourites are right on the edges of that
>>spectrum. I like Avant Garde, and now that I looked up Optima, I must
>>say I really like it, too.
>
> Nobody should like Avant Garde when they can like Futura instead!
> Futura isn't geometric, it just looks that way because PAUL RENNER IS
> SMARTER THAN YOU!

But Futura just isn't thin enough! Avant Garde is the THINNEST FONT
EVER! I hear scientists in Japan have been able to create a version of
Avant Garde just three atoms thick!

Jim Vandewalker

unread,
Sep 19, 2002, 11:51:40 AM9/19/02
to
In article <mmcirvin-A995BF.23273018092002@[192.168.123.4]>,
Matt McIrvin <mmci...@world.std.com> wrote:

> Charcoal looked a little like Myriad, but they'd never use it for large
> text because it would look pretty misshapen that way; it was designed
> to rasterize well at the system size.

Wow. Did all that rub off from Kibo?

David DeLaney

unread,
Sep 19, 2002, 9:22:57 PM9/19/02
to
Jim Vandewalker <jim.van...@verizon.net> wrote:
> Matt McIrvin <mmci...@world.std.com> wrote:
>
>> Charcoal looked a little like Myriad, but they'd never use it for large
>> text because it would look pretty misshapen that way; it was designed
>> to rasterize well at the system size.
>
>Wow. Did all that rub off from Kibo?

Hivemind. It's powerful stuff.

Dave "soon you too will etc blah blah POST NONESUCH TO USENET" DeLaney
--
\/David DeLaney posting from d...@vic.com "It's not the pot that grows the flower
It's not the clock that slows the hour The definition's plain for anyone to see
Love is all it takes to make a family" - R&P. VISUALIZE HAPPYNET VRbeable<BLINK>
http://www.vic.com/~dbd/ - net.legends FAQ & Magic / I WUV you in all CAPS! --K.

James Kibo Parry

unread,
Sep 22, 2002, 1:58:19 AM9/22/02
to
Ben Wolfson (wol...@midway.uchicago.edu) wrote:

>
> James "Kibo" Parry (ki...@world.std.com) wrote:
> >
> > Ethic in the typeface-selling business are a fluid thing.
>
> I think this sentence should be entered in the Lyttle Lytton contest

I THINK MY GRAMMAR IS BEING MOCKED SLIGHTLY.

First off, I remember clearly that when I was typing the end of the
word "ethics", the bus I was on hit a pothole, causing me to accidentally
leave off the "s" for extra sleaziness, and my computer thinks "ethic"
is a word even though we know better.

Secondly, because I am smarter than Archimedes Plutonium and tj Frazir
combined, even if they're combined with several other crackpots who
insist they don't need to try to find their computer's spell-checker
because we don't deserve spelling because they're geniuses, I am entitled
to force you puny semi-evolved simians to puzzle out my new Genius Grammar,
where I can glue together any words I want in any order I want to make
sentences a long and awkward as I want, which I do want, because the
period key on my keyboard is worn all shiny-smooth so I need to use all
the other keys significantly more often compared to the period if I want
to even out my keyboard's glistening areas. <-- See? I made a sentence!

I'll try to make my sentences more loquacious in the future in order to
fix my period problem while maintaining my perfect level of Genius Grammar.
Perhaps I shall go beyond loquacious and prolix into a realm of
stylistic baroquery so byzantine that it requires a nine-syllable word
just to mention how big the sentences are. In fact, the complexity
of my sentences shall be the smallest value that cannot be specified
using only as many words as there are in this sentence.

Also, the "A" is wearing off my "A" key, which makes it match the
others in an abstract sense because none of them have "A"s except
for "TAB" and "ALT", but still I need to use the other 25 letters
more frequently, therefore I am going to go compile a list of words
that are like "aardvark" except with "q" or "z" as the vowel.

-- K.

P.S. My spell-checker says the
only thing wrong with this article
is that you spelled your name wrong,
Mr. Boylston.

Ben Wolfson

unread,
Sep 22, 2002, 2:07:33 AM9/22/02
to
On Sun, 22 Sep 2002 05:58:19 GMT, ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry)
wrote:

>Ben Wolfson (wol...@midway.uchicago.edu) wrote:


>>
>> James "Kibo" Parry (ki...@world.std.com) wrote:
>> >
>> > Ethic in the typeface-selling business are a fluid thing.
>>
>> I think this sentence should be entered in the Lyttle Lytton contest
>
>I THINK MY GRAMMAR IS BEING MOCKED SLIGHTLY.

Even if you had written "ethics", I think it would still qualify for the
Peter Berman Prize.

Dean Lenort

unread,
Oct 6, 2002, 1:13:43 PM10/6/02
to
On Wed, 18 Sep 2002, ki...@world.std.com (James "Kibo" Parry) wrote:

[Snip 200+ lines of "Fonts: Designers and the women who love them."]

This discussion on fonts made me decide to scroll through the random fonts
that I have installed on this machine to see if anything interesting might
present itself. Other than the odd comical stylings of the "Andy" font and
the absence of Helvetica on this machine there wasn't much to note. That
is until I got to the font "MS Reference 2". So does the need to type out
the 6th root of 39 or the 4th root of 12 arise so often that these terms
deserved there very own character string?

If you haven't seen this font and you don't have any idea what I'm talking
about, there is an actual dedicated character string that looks like:
___
6)39

But not only that, the font "MS Reference Specialty" repeats these
particular mathematical marvels while dumping a one portion of the whacky
fractions and random ratios for a different random set (while 1 over n goes
away when switching from one font to the other, 1 over 243 thankfully
remains). Madness!

One can only assume that there must be a font out there somewhere to
describe ever possible fraction and root.
--
Dean Lenort | Usenet is an opportunity to empathize with people.
dean.lenort | If you can't feel the other person's pain,
@att.net | then you're not inflicting enough. -Eb Oesch

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