[thelist] Breaking away from "Standard" Fonts

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 10:51:19 CST 2006

> Not at all what I meant. Sure, I might like a book where I could choose
> the font, but if I'm the *author* of the book, and I choose the font for
> the cover and spine, I feel it diminishes the artistic integrity of my
> book if you can set it to Arial Bold. As for the font I chose for the
> inside, maybe; maybe not. Sometimes it's an artistic choice; sometimes,
> it's a practical choice. Both are valid, if used responsibly.

I am in the middle of writing my book, and I have no real saying about
the cover I think :-)
Or do you think Stuart Langridge really wanted a hang glider on his
DHTML Utopia book ?

I just thought of another incidence where books got bad because of
business or design decisions. I am commuting a lot (50 minutes one way
in London, and London stands united as there are no seats left) and I
like Harry Potter. Now, if you want a new Harry Potter book you have
to buy the hardcover which has the size of a 1 bedroom flat and weighs
more than your laptop (and all those kilobytes of data should add
something) or wait 6 months till you can buy the paperback. This is as
annoying as a "you need MSIE and you have to read my 8px Times" web
site. And yes, no ebook of that is available

> I'm not advocating taking control away from the user agents - I can
> already do that by making my text an image, which allows me to use any
> font I want. But I do that sparingly, and only where the client and I
> agree that it's important. Having column after column of Carolingia
> would be insane; using it in my band's logo is absolutely vital.
> Shouldn't I be able to use that font elsewhere, for artistic reasons,
> without taking the time to create an image, and using up the visitor's
> bandwidth and time while they download said image?

You can, you cannot expect the user to see it though. Isn't that what
the whole image replacement discussion is about?

> As for the 450K font download - that's exactly the opposite of what I
> was saying. I want to embed a font, and *not* break usability or
> efficiency in any way. (When I open a local document in a word
> processor, I don't suffer any loss of efficiency if it's in a 'special'
> font instead of Times New Roman.) If I can create an image that's 10k,
> the embedded font concept has to be less than that, and function just as
> well (or better) or, of course, it's not an advancement.

I don't get that... If you embed a font, the browser has to load the
font. If the TTF is 10k, fine, if it is 450k, not that fine. If you
need to embed a 450k font to avoid the download of 3 5k header images,
is that worth the effort? Furthermore, I have the choice to load the
images, I wouldn't have the choice to download the font - unless I
turn off all the CSS.

> The fact that you remember the days of text only on the internet helps
> explain your depth of knowledge (and passion) re: this stuff. How 'bout
> an analogy that comes closer to what I meant - the switch from hand
> copied manuscripts to the printing press. I don't think we (okay, not
> me; I wasn't there, whatever you've heard about my age) condemned
> readers to a diminished experience by making books easier to create,
> less expensive, and more usable.

Didn't that lead to the web as it is? Instead of pages of footnotes we
insert a link into a document :-)

> I wasn't advocating the egregious misuse of these technologies we often
> see today, I was advocating exploration of ways to give designers and
> developers a way to be even more efficient and responsible to both
> visitors and their clients. I want my cake, and I want to eat it.

Your answer is called SVG or HTML5 Canvas. Or, hey, Flash! You can
have your texts in XML and create both HTML and Flash or SVG from the
same document.

And don't do cake:
Maul: It's a new Czechoslovakian drug called Cake. And luckily the
story involves these people: Free the United Kingdom from Drugs and
British Opposition to Medically Bi-sterbile Drugs. [Morris holds up a
T-shirt with the acronyms F.U.K.D and B.O.M.B.D and a series of
interviews with concerned celebrities follows]:

Bernard Ingham: ...this is a piece of Cake [points to enormous yellow
disk in his hand]

Bruno Brookes : ...we all like to party, right? Absolutely. But only
the fool would say, 'Yeah, I'll enter the nightmare of Cake.' [points
to large yellow disk in hand] And this is it.

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