Symbol Fonts

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Dave Crosby
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Symbol Fonts

Post by Dave Crosby » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:42 pm

Monotype seems (to me) to have introduced confusion into the symbol font classification by occasionally calling it "Pictorial" instead of Symbol.

I have many "Pictorial" fonts that are not Symbol fonts (Common Bullets really bugs me!) and verse visa.

http://www.monotypeimaging.com/Products ... /pan5.aspx
Copyright ©1991, 1992, 1995-97 Hewlett-Packard Corporation.
5.0 Latin Pictorial

5.1 Family Kind

Sub-digits

0-Any
1-No Fit
2-Latin Text
3-Latin Hand Written
4-Latin Decorative
5-Latin Symbol

Description

Latin Symbol is where all the nonalphabetic fonts reside. These are fonts that can be loaded like normal text fonts, but do not contain readable characters. Dingbats and specialized symbol fonts are two examples.

5.2 Kind

Sub-digits

0-Any
1-No Fit
2-Montages
3-Pictures
4-Shapes
5-Scientific
6-Music
7-Expert
8-Patterns
9-Boarders
10-Icons
11-Logos
12-Industry specific

Description

Montages are symbol sets in which no single type of symbol is more that 50% of the total set. Picture sets are made up of pictures like hands, feet, religious symbols, hardware, flowers, buildings, clocks etc. Shape sets are made up of abstract shapes like arrows, boxes, squares, dots, stars, etc. Scientific sets contains specialized scientific symbols like math Greek letters, differential segments, etc. Music sets contain notes and specialized music symbols like clefs, sharps, flats, trills, etc. Expert sets are extensions to text fonts containing groups of specialized ligatures, groups of small caps, etc. Pattern sets contain line fill symbols, textures, etc. Boarder sets contain various kinds of simple or fancy boarder sections and corners. Icon sets contain block illustrations, symbolic shapes, etc. Logo sets contain copyrighted logos, registered artwork, etc. Industry Specific sets contain symbols specific to different fields, like medicine, law, engineering, etc.

Montages are the most common type of symbol set. The categories used to determine whether any one symbol type is dominant are the following:

Arrows, Fraktur Characters, Mathematical Set Operators, Mathematical Symbol Parts (large integral, etc.), Other Mathematical Equation Operators, Zodiac Symbols, Card Suit Symbols, Exaggerated Numbers, Exaggerated Letters, Exaggerated Punctuations, Circled Characters, Currency Symbols, Special Ligatures, Ornaments, Border Art, Boxes, Xes
Dots, Stars, Faces, Hands, Religious Symbols, Miscellaneous
From the FC Manual:
When a font has a Microsoft Unicode BMP only platform, the font is a normal font. When a font has a Microsoft Symbol platform, the font is a Symbol font.

Symbol character sets have a special meaning: all of the characters in the Unicode range 0xF000 - 0xF0FF (inclusive) will be used to enumerate the symbol character set. All glyphs in this range are mapped to the range 0x0000 - 0x00FF.

Symbol fonts do not form words so line breaks can occur after any character code. A spell checker should not check symbol font-formatted material.

Note: only the first 224 characters of symbol fonts will be accessible, a space and up to 223 printing characters.
Any ideas, comments, questions, suggestions on this topic?
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Dick Pape
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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by Dick Pape » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:48 pm

I would guess Monotype was using the word "pictorial" as an alternate word for Symbol. It's not a Family Kind name and was only used once. The Webster's definition "of, relating to, or consisting of pictures" would include all symbol fonts and vice versa.

I had forgotten about that Monotype article which misspelled "borders" ("a plain or decorative margin around printed matter") to be "boarders" (one that is provided with regular meals or regular meals and lodging")... One of those definitions that gets propagated through history ...

Dave Crosby
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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by Dave Crosby » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:28 pm

5-3 gives us a place to park all our "standard fonts" on the standard platform with pictures in place of a, A b, B etc. BUT ...

They FEEL out of place with most of the 5 fonts being built on the symbol platform.

Perhaps 0040000000 wasn't all that bad of a location (except for all the "real" fonts stuffed there too)Image after all.Image
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metalfoot
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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by metalfoot » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:34 pm

I think in general the original term was "pi fonts" and referred to any assortment of random typographical symbols. Pictorial or symbol both work as descriptors for such fonts.

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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by William » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:30 pm

metalfoot wrote:I think in general the original term was "pi fonts" and referred to any assortment of random typographical symbols. Pictorial or symbol both work as descriptors for such fonts.
Thank you for the information.

I had not known the term "pi fonts" until I read it in your post.

I searched at http://www.yahoo.com for "pi font" and got lots of results, including the following.

http://www.linotype.com/8329/universalm ... -font.html

I remembered the term "Printer's pie" from many years ago, with the recollection that it referred to a collection of individual metal type pieces that were all muddled together, as if someone had dropped some type and the various sorts were piled as if a pile of matchsticks.

I searched for "Printer's pie" and found the following.

http://www.metaltype.co.uk/stories/story35.shtml

http://www.victorianlondon.org/professions/printers.htm

Searching for "pie" on the above web page leads, after a couple of clicks, to an explanation of the term.

I wonder whether the term "pi font" came from pie as in Printer's pie or from the Greek letter pi or maybe from somewhere else.

Some readers might like the following link regarding the magazine "Mathematical Pie".

http://www.mathematicalpie.com/

William Overington

3 March 2009

gregors
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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by gregors » Mon Apr 06, 2009 3:15 pm

Code: Select all

Where do military symbols (such as MIL 2525B) fit in? How should they be organized/named?

Dick Pape
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Re: Symbol Fonts

Post by Dick Pape » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:28 am

From a pdf copy of DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE INTERFACE STANDARD COMMON WARFIGHTING SYMBOLOGY Date 1 July 2005 (which apparently documents Mil2525B) it appears for most of the tables there would be no problem converting the symbols to fonts. Of course, the caveats of no color and must be framed might make it impossible to fully convert all.

They say: "... the Graphic column provides a concise description of each tactical graphic using operational terminology including its unique identifier code, an indication of whether the tactical graphic’s size is fixed or changes in proportion with the background projection and any parameters required to correctly draw the graphic. The SIDC portion of each Image column (Template, Example) presents the 15-character alphanumeric identifier necessary for automated systems to create each specific graphic."

So they give help in the design and also suggest automated systems can do it so you should be able too also (except for no color and framed).

They are shown in an order (presumably alphabetical within subject) and should be drawn in the same sequence. There are the 15-character alphanumeric identifiers which could be entered into the Postscript name field.

ESRI has issued a set of symbol fonts (ESRI MilSym 01 - 05 and some others) which appear to contain designs similar to those shown in the current document. The fonts are dated 1999 while the spec is 2005 so there would be differences. They are not specially named. Here's a sample of one of them:
Attachments
ESRI MilSym Sample.jpg
ESRI MilSym Sample.jpg (60.54 KiB) Viewed 7534 times

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