Accessing OpenType features

Former Typophile moderator Zara Vasquez-Evens has written an interesting article on Medium (https://medium.com/@CommandZed/thoughts-on-an-improved-opentype-ui-c6748...), prompted by the recent petition for a better user interface for accessing OpenType features in design software (http://ilovetypography.com/2014/10/22/better-ui-for-better-typography-ad...).

A few selected quotes:

Better term for "Virtual Typefaces"? Wikipedia category

Hey guys,

So, somebody on Wikipedia has been fairly successfully propagating the label "virtual typefaces" for what I would call digital typefaces or digital fonts. That category has been getting applied to many typefaces, apparently the distinction being that they are *only* available in digital form, and were not phototype or metal typefaces.

So, two related questions:

1) I might argue that every typeface that is available in digital form should also get the same label (whatever that label is). Agree or disagree?

2) I think the label "virtual typeface" is silly. Nobody uses that term that I am aware of, except this one person. The actual link redirects to "computer font." Some possible labels:

  • Computer typeface
  • Digital typeface

Typefaces, font organisation and terminology

I am wondering if italic isn’t more a style than small capitals: what italic really is if you need to define it precisely?
In CSS, italic is called a "font-style" such as in the dedicated page on this website. Can we imagine that italic is the same type than a rounded or outline version of a font? If italic is just another font, it stays related to a typeface, such as weights isn't it?
Another result of my research tells that "angle", "weight" and "width" are separated characteristics.
If I need to make a typeface database, should I order fonts like:

Case 1

"Pi" fonts

Where does the term “pi fonts” come from? And who was the first to use or popularize it?

I always assumed it was an odd abbreviation of “pictogram”, but it was never clear because the term is sometimes used to describe any non-alphanumeric/symbol font. If pi does indeed stand for pictogram, that would limit its relevance to a specific subset of symbol fonts – for example, mathematical symbols aren't pictograms.

That doesn't really match up with the kinds of fonts I typically think of when I hear the term “pi” either, which tend to be be more technical and abstract than they are pictorial. Maybe there's a connection to the mathematical concept of pi?


Eng or engma (majuscule: Ŋ, minuscule: ŋ) is a letter of the Latin alphabet, used to represent a velar nasal (as in English singing) in the written form of some languages and in the International Phonetic Alphabet.
Lowercase eng is derived from n with the addition of a hook to the right leg, somewhat like that of j. The uppercase has two variants: it can be based on the usual uppercase N, with a hook added (or “N-form”); or it can be an enlarged version of the lowercase (or “n-form”). The former is preferred in Sami languages that use it, the latter in African languages.
Early printers, lacking a specific glyph for eng, sometimes approximated it by rotating a capital G, or by substituting a Greek eta (η) for it.

Typophile Threads:

What is a terminal, really?


Wiki Categories: 

A classic workhorse typeface, a workhorse typeface or just a workhorse are descriptions given to a font tool that performs dependably (i.e., trustworthy and reliable) under heavy or prolonged use.

In a nutshell, a font is a workhorse if it performs well whether it is used in a few paragraphs or in a 600-pages novel.

A workhorse- or “easy-to-use”- type means that no matter what size, leading, letter-spacing, etc., the setting just “feels” right. It looks professional, it looks appropriate.