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Little teeny license plates for bees - Input Junkie
October 31st, 2011
11:12 am

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Little teeny license plates for bees
What Should I Look For In a UI Typeface?-- a discussion of what makes fonts readable when they're very small and a little short on pixels.

This is interesting for calligraphy-- I hadn't realized that the double-story small a (with a hook on top) and the double-story g (loop on the bottom instead of a tail) contributed so much to legibility, though they'd become habits in most of my calligraphy for no obvious reason.

Chalk up additional reasons for considering the handwriting I was taught in school to be unsatisfactory-- the print a and g were single story.

From The Making of FF Tundra
A typeface has two principle directions: The horizontal, the line, which the eye moves along; and the vertical of the individual characters, defined predominantly by the stems. The stems are responsible for the rhythm of a typeface, while the curves (bowls, instrokes, outstrokes, etc) determine its character.

This is something for me to mull, as is the rest of that article.

The next point in the piece about UI fonts is the x-height, but it doesn't discuss how tall ascenders need to be so that words have distinctive shapes.

Link thanks to Geek Press.

Context for the subject line here.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/510187.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:chomiji
Date:October 31st, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the link about fonts for UIs! A lot of the article is also relevant to selecting fonts for making LJ icons. I was just look over free fonts available online and wondering whether the designers had even considered readability as a priority.

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From:agrumer
Date:October 31st, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
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Most free fonts seem to have been designed for display --- the sort of thing you might use for a magazine headline, or the title on a book cover, or a poster.
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From:nancylebov
Date:October 31st, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
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I expect that whimsical fonts are more fun to design for most people.
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From:agrumer
Date:October 31st, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
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They're also a lot easier, in much the same way that it's easier to draw a wacky cartoon face showing a simple, strong emotion than it is to draw a realistic face showing a complex, subtle emotion.
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From:chomiji
Date:October 31st, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
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Understood. If I'm doing an icon with just a single word on it (Yuletide, for example), I can get away with many display fonts. But some were too unreadable even for that.

(I like your points about why it's easier to design a body text font. That's why I actually spent money on a set of Adobe "Web friendly" fonts at one point, so I'd have them if I wanted to use more than a couple of words in a tiny space.)

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From:agrumer
Date:November 1st, 2011 05:57 am (UTC)
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Some places you can get free fonts, many of which looks pretty good:

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