ralf h.'s blog

If your work deals with typography in any way, you are very likely familiar with the term ligature. But the definition of this term is often unclear. There seems to be one problem in particular: We usually use the term when we want to talk about a certain kind of ligature, to which cases like fi and fl belong. Their use suggests, that there are “real” letters of the alphabet like a, b, c and then there are ligatures like fi and fl. People then assume, that when something is a ligature, it cannot be a “real” letter of the alphabet. But this is not true …

Read on: http://j.mp/UcJFWz

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From FontLab to Glyphs

Not to dis any other makers of font editors, but here is a short article about my number 1 reason to switch to Glyphs:

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Capital Sharp S explained to Typographers

For those who couldn’t see our ATypI presentation about the Eszett character (ß), here is my part of the talk recorded as a screencast:

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How to draw a capital sharp S

Even though this has been discussed to death here at Typophile, here is a personal summary of this subject:

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Walbaum Type Specimen (hi-res)

I made a hi-res scan of the Walbaum type specimen for Antiqua/Kursiv/Fraktur

At 100% it looks something like this:


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OpenType Wayfinding Symbols

Would love to receive feedback about this work in progress:

With the release of Unicode 5.1 in 2008 the German alphabet got completed and has now a proper replacement for the character ß (called “Eszett” or “sharp s”) when type is set in uppercase letters or small caps. Even in Germany not everyone has ever thought about this missing character, but it usually just takes a couple of minutes to explain, why it is needed. Still, in the typographic community many completely deny the whole idea of this character. In this article I will comment on the typical problems and arguments …


Now that webfonts are supported by all major browsers, more and more professional fonts are available for web linking. These fonts usually contain a large set of OpenType features, which are only accessible in OpenType-savvy applications like InDesign, Illustrator or QuarkXPress. Browsers have barely supported such advanced typographic features so far. But with the latest Beta of Firefox 4 this is about to change …


see also: http://typophile.com/node/73173

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OpenType myths explained

OpenType ist the standard font format of these days. But even 14 years after its introduction, many users don’t really know what the term OpenType implies and how it differs from other font formats. Since I use the domain opentype.info for my weblog, I thought it is time to shed some light on this confusing subject …


The typeface Guia by Tânia Raposo has been her final project at the type]media Master in The Hague. “Guia” is the Portuguese word for “Guide”. In this guest article on opentype.info, Tânia explains the development of her typeface:

With all this hype around the iPad, people keep asking if the iPad supports webfonts. The good news is: Yes, it does. The bad news: the iPad runs Mobile Safari and in contrast to the standard version of Safari only SVG fonts are supported …
Read on: http://opentype.info/blog/2010/04/13/the-ipad-and-svg-fonts-in-mobile-sa...

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Firefox now with webfonts support

The latest beta and the nightly builds of Firefox 3.1 now support webfonts.
Full article: http://opentype.info/blog/2008/10/25/sneak-peek-font-face-in-firefox-31/

BTW: The final release will support Access Control Headers, which can be used to control from which domains the font can be accessed - a kind of server-side URL-binding.

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webfonts.info. A place to bring the people together, who are involved or interested in downloadable webfonts. The site has a forum for discussions and a Wiki with a generous Creative Commons license to collect information, links and code samples.


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Exploring webfont possibilities

Downloadable webfonts are not just about replacing Verdana with a fancy freeware font.
Here is an example where a certain text phrase is automatically replaced with a scalable vector glyph from a downloadable font. The underlying text stays untouched, so indexing and copy&paste work like a charm.

See the full article here: http://opentype.info/blog/2008/05/14/exploring-webfont-possibilities/

Edit: changed "graphic" to "glyph"

Web designers,
please take part in this short survey about @font-face embedding (as introduced with Safari 3.1):


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free fonts for web embedding

Typographic variety is coming back to the Web. With the release of Safari 3.1 for MacOS and Windows, Apple’s web browser now supports font embedding for websites. Now millions of web users can view websites the way they were intended to be.

Safari 3.1 for Windows and Mac supports the embedding of “sfnt fonts” (TrueType, OpenType PS, OpenType TT) using the font-face declaration. Technically the fonts are not embedded in the website, but they are simply linked like an image file. Thus the fonts need to be stored on a public server. Since you cannot upload commercial fonts to a public webserver, you are limited to freeware fonts.

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Rare Type Specimens

I switched my weblog to English. Feel free to have a look:

The most recent article has some great links to digitized type specimens.

Dozens of website report that Mac OS 10.5.2 is not compatible with Linotype FontExplorer X. When FontExplorer is running most apps won't start and the dock will freeze. So be warned!

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The world of fonts in 1991

This 1991 episode from »Computer Cronicles« looks at the »fascinating and sometimes frustrating world of fonts« in the early years of desktop publishing. You can see the introduction of scalable fonts, the Adobe Type Manager, Multiple-Master, the TrueType technology and much more. See how you can change fonts on-the-fly! Fascinating! :-)

(Be patient. May take a while until the video starts playing)

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Securing font when used with font-face

"Font embedding" is coming back to the web! The latest build of WebKit (used by Safari) has it, Opera is expected to follow. But the way they use it is by just linking a regular font file, which has to be placed somewhere on the internet, so everyone can download it.
Of course that doesn't go well with commercial fonts.

So I set up a Proof of Concept to show a way to secure* a font used with the font-face command. Just download the latest version of Safari and open this page:

Font settings for a website always use the least common denominator. Fonts like Verdana and Georgia, sizes between 13 and 16 pixels and so on. This may not be appropriate for your 24 inch screen, but there is nothing you can do about it. You don't have much more influence besides telling your browser to make the type »larger«.

This is fine for a website you visit just once, but on a website you visit day after day you may want to have your OWN settings based on YOUR fonts and YOUR display. Maybe you want to see the headlines in Warnock Pro and use Calibri for the body copy?

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