Thursday, March 18, 1999

Future Sans

I again worked on the Future Sans bitmap fonts. I Straightened out some of the curves and created an italic for the 18 pt font. It's starting to look like the future :-)
Future Sans 18pt

Tuesday, March 16, 1999

In the future, all fonts will be hard to read

I worked on the Future Sans bitmap fonts some more. This time, I came up with a regular weight at 18 pt (double 9 pt Espy Sans - which was supposed to be the default font view under Copland). The result is OK, but needs some more polishing:

In the future, all fonts will be hard to read.

I'm thinking of eliminating some of the curves. At 18 pt, they don't really add much readability and they tend to close up the letters. I'll post the results later...

Sunday, March 14, 1999

Future Sans

As I was working on Tiny (a new bitmap font at 6, 7, and 8 pt, available in regular and bold), I got to thinking in the other direction; as monitors and video cards start supporting higher and higher resolution, the problem of the very fonts we use to navigate the system become more accurate. Most Mac monitors are set to 72 ppi by default. Imagine the effect of doubling the ppi (to 144 ppi - about half the resolution of a 1st generation laser printer). Everything is now half as big as it used to be. Heck, I need to put my glasses on when I'm running 1024x768 right now on my iMac!

So I came up with a solution: Future Sans. This is another bitmap font (I've got bitmaps on the mind these days!) that is meant to be used as a system font at 24 pt. My goal was to take the 12 pt Espy Sans and interpolate it up to 24 pt. As I was working on this, I discovered that the result was a bit different than 24 pt Nu Sans (my scalable version of Espy Sans). Looking at other fonts (such as Charcoal, Helvetica Bold, etc.), I found that most fonts are not optimized for 24 pt display.

Now maybe you don't think that this is much of a problem - after all, there's anti-aliasing, right? The problem with anti-aliasing is that it "fuzzes" the edges of the letters to achieve an effective doubling of the resolution. My studies have shown that fuzzy text is harder to read at text sizes than non-fuzzy text.

So here's an example of how I see Future Sans being used as a system font:
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