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A Serifed Roman

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2005 4:16 pm
by William
Just after 5 pm in England on a Sunday afternoon in Autumn and, noticing that there are no new posts for some time and 4 guests having a look (including me, though I have now logged on) I am writing to ask if there is interest in producing a font which could be "Public Domain Serifed Roman" or maybe some "Creative Commons licensed Serifed Roman" or whatever such that any interested person is free to add, or indeed alter, a glyph already in the font with the idea that lots of people get interested in producing the font and maybe having fun and observing where it all leads.

For example, those people who so choose could write stories, poems and songs and publish them using the font. The font could be used in pdfs and as text in graphics and so on.

Maybe the font could become famous that if someone needs a font with a rare character, then the font would be easily adapted by either that person or someone else to fulfil the need. The public domain or creative commons, whichever participants prefer, font would allow adaptions to be made very fast without the licensing issues with adapting a commercial font.

Could such a font get started and become a valuable aspect of computing simply because of the interest in getting it going and the ability for it to get adapted and also be produced without any hierarchical management, just from interested people adding a few glyphs here and there and figuring out in a thread such as this how to get round problems?

If anyone reading this agrees, please post in this thread and, if you can, please suggest some aspect of the font or upload something to the web or both.

This could be a fun project.

William Overington

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2005 5:52 pm
by William
Well, this thread has eleven views so far, about three of them due to me.

So, let us perhaps try to get the font "A Serifed Roman" started.

How many font units wide should be the verticals of B, D, E, F, H, K, L, M, N, P, R?

Should they all be the same?

How wide should be the verticals of I, J, T?

Shall we have one side of the vertical align at x=256 font units or some other value so that the font has a better chance of on-screen rendering at 12 point and 18 point?

Hopefully, the font will become widely used and have its niche in typographic history, simply because it will be able to be modified quickly by anyone who chooses to do so and thus may become a good choice for implementing lesser-used characters when someone wants a font with those characters for a particular purpose.


Posted: Wed Oct 26, 2005 5:58 pm
by William
Three days into the project and thirty views already, though only two posts thus far, both from me.

Here are some more notes.


The font could perhaps be named A_Serifed_Roman using underscores.
This would mean that search engines could be searched for A_Serifed_Roman as if it is one word, thereby allowing versions of the font which are published on the web in various places to be found more easily.


What shape should the serifs be?
Recently I was preparing the thread named Bologna also in this forum.


While doing that, I found, serendipitously, the following document. ... olume1.pdf

Looking through that document I found a collection of diagrams of various serif designs.
These are on pages 67 to 70 of the pdf document, page numbers as denoted by Acrobat Reader.

Which type of serif design should be chosen for A_Serifed_Roman?
Within that type, could a special, distinctive design be produced for A_Serifed_Roman, perhaps a design which arises from a few off-curve points in the design?
The serif would need to be specified such that it could be used in situations such as a letter H, a letter E and a letter C.


How should a letter o be designed?
Should it go below the zero line a bit? If so, how far, in font units?
How should the inner contour be designed?


What should the font metrics be?
I have used an ascender of 2048 for all of my fonts. Is that what should be used for A_Serifed_Roman or is there a better choice?


Please post your views.


Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 5:59 pm
by William
Forty views so far, though only posts from me as yet!

Yet, even though there are no posts from others, the number of views seems to indicate that there is interest in this thread.

So, some more points to consider.

Which characters should the font contain?

In addition to many of those in the Font Creator 5.0 set, I think that Y macron and y macron should be included, also the alphabetic presentation forms U+FB00 to U+FB06.

An interesting character to include is U+FFFD REPLACEMENT CHARACTER, which is mentiond in a Public Review taking place by the Unicode Consortium. Issue 74 on the following web page.

My thoughts on that Public Review are to keep things as they are and to encourage fontmakers to add U+FFFD into their fonts.
So, adding U+FFFD into A_Serifed_Roman would appear to be a good idea.

I checked various fonts on this system, a Windows 98 PC, so not the latest versions of the fonts perhaps, and found that most lack a glyph for U+FFFD.

As it happens, my Quest text font has had a glyph for U+FFFD for some time, this being because at various times I have added items about which I have learned into Quest text.


However, most of my fonts do not presently have a glyph for U+FFFD.

It seems to me that having a glyph for U+FFFD is perhaps an item in which independent fontmakers may be able to be faster to react than many large font companies.


Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:43 am
by William
Fifty-two views thus far!

I have just uploaded to the web a test font with a few ideas for A_Serifed_Roman.

This font consists of the basic Font Creator 5.0 new font with the metrics changed and space and nonmarkingreturn changed, together with a new notdef glyph, glyphs for H and small l, key points for b, h and o and some extra places for glyphs. These include Y macron, y macron, AE macron, ae macron, Wynn, wynn, Yogh, yogh, hot beverage and U+FFFD.

These designs need not necessarily be used for A_Serifed_Roman. They are put forward as a basis for discussion of font design in the hope that A_Serifed_Roman will become a widely used and important font, simply because of its Public Domain status which makes it quickly adaptable to needs by anyone.

Hopefully by many font designers participating in producing A_Serifed_Roman a useful, adaptable, font can become available.


Posted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 11:43 pm
by William
Seventy-four views so far.

I have uploaded ASRGT003.TTF to the web a short while ago. I produced it this morning.

ASRGT002.TTF, produced yesterday morning, was not uploaded as I was part way through the design of h when I ended the session.

The experimental designs have a characteristic that each of the main arcs of the letters (not including the arcs of the serifs) are constructed using two off-curve points and an on-curve point which lies half-way between them.

The values for the coordinates of the points are calculated using Microsoft calculator, using the following two values.

For one half of the square root of 2, the value used is 0.707106781186547524400844362104849

For the square root of two, minus 1, the value used is 0.414213562373095048801688724209698

One half of the square root of 2 is used for computing the position of the on-curve point and the square root of two, minus 1 is used for computing one of the coordinates of each of the two off-curve points.

Readers interested in studying the designs in detail may like to look particularly at the upper left outer arc of h, where a half-arc has been used, as if it were part of a whole arc from a point which is not included in the design. The on-curve point of the middle of the arc was specified and then the single off-curve point of the half-arc was calculated by first calculating the horizontal coordinate value of the point from which a whole arc which had that half-arc within it would start and then calculating the off-curve point.

For whole arcs, I calculate all of the points, then add in the off-curve points and then add a point between them and check that its location is that of the on-curve point.

However, having produced h and o, most of b, n, e, p and thorn are produced by manipulating parts of copies of already constructed items.

I have noticed that the font has an unusual look in the sense that o and e are wider than h and n with b and p in the middle. This is part of the way I designed the glyphs, designed by rules such that the curve of o goes out wider than the vertical of h. Yet is it too much? I wonder what a page of book text set in the yet-to-be-produced font would be like. There seems to be an almost tightrope of paradox as between making all of the characters have a common theme within a font and making the text readable by making the very difference of the different shapes of the letters of the alphabet help legibility.

I feel that this is an interesting learning experience for me: I hope readers are finding reading about my experiences of interest.

I wonder sometimes about whether having detailed rules about constructing a font is a good thing. Certainly I find that the rules help produce designs, such as the 128 font units of the rounded corners, the 256 font unit wide verticals and 168 font unit wide horizontals in Quest text, the 104 font unit high slopes, regardless of the width, in Chronicle Text, yet I do have a slight concern that the rules should not become an artificial barrier against producing a stylish font.