In the spirit of summer blockbusters, I am adding a sequel to my Adventures In Space series. In the second part, about kerning, I mentioned the Optical Kerning setting in Adobe Illustrator. It can improve the spacing of amateur fonts or some typefaces in large display sizes, but – because it ignores the careful manual spacing and kerning of any typeface by a pro-level designer – the setting often creates more problems than it solves. Below are three instances where it will definitely not work. And yes, I am writing this post because I have been there too, scrutinising my screen and wracking my mind trying to figure out why the text looks off. And then go “Argh, of course! Optical kerning…”
There are a lot of abbreviations which are commonly used in the world of typography, and especially digital fonts. Some relate to glyph sets and font formats, others to design traits and foundries, and so on. Their meaning may be obvious for the seasoned type user, but I can imagine that many type novices – and even regular users – can be confused by a good number of them. Here’s a comprehensive overview.
Customary practice when drawing Latin letters is to make the stems — the vertical and diagonal strokes — heavier than those running horizontally. Then there’s reverse contrast, which does the opposite. And then there’s this, which can look like an obvious gimmick, but which also has a rather functional benefit, placing emphasis along the x-height line.
This is the moment to confess I am non-exclusive in my love for all things science fiction. Most of all, I don’t subscribe to the alleged feud between fans of Star Wars and Star Trek. The fact that J.J. Abrams helmed successful reboots of both franchises brought the two universes closer than ever. On September 8th Star Trek will celebrate its 50th anniversary. Yesterday, today and tomorrow the newest cinematic installment of Star Trek premieres in most of the world, with a new television series to follow early next year. Time for a typographic history of the science fiction franchise that spans half a century.
OpenType fonts have some big advantages to older TrueType fonts, or legacy PostScript Type 1 fonts. That’s because OpenType is an updated version of the TrueType font format spec, with improvements you notice, like OpenType features, and those you likely don’t, like the type designer’s ability to use PostScript outlines instead of TrueType outlines in the fonts.