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Old 02-15-2006, 09:37 AM   #1
dthomsen8
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Default Buying a Font

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Phil Shaw, the guy whose CodeStyle site tracks which fonts are available on which platform (so you can hope to spec fonts on
The CodeStyle site is very helpful. I have been looking over the fonts, and thinking about how I specify fonts in Dreamweaver.

Suppose I would like to see how something looks in Helvetica, which is mostly a Mac font, but I am developing in Windows. Apparently I need to buy Helvetica rather than expect it somehow for free, which is the case with many Windows fonts supplied with WinXP or MS Office products.

file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Setting...notype.com.URL

is a reference to the Linotype page for Helvetica Roman type.

If I buy the $22 or $29 individual font, rather than a whole family for several hundred dollars, I have questions:

1) Will I get a font called helvetica.ttf, or some variation on that?

2) If I specify "helvetica" in HTML, do I get whatever font name I just bought, for sure?

3) Suppose I specify "helvetica" but also bold, or italic, elsewhere in a style sheet, does that font I bought produce an apparent bold or italic helvetica, or should I have otherwise bought that whole family, or some part of it, to get those to appear on a web page?

Fonts can be confusing, but fortunately for forum members, we have people here who know far more than I ever will about fonts.
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Old 02-15-2006, 11:04 AM   #2
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'Helvetica, which is mostly a Mac font'

Since Helvetica is a standard font in the Mac OS, I'd expect it to be a TrueType font earlier, but perhaps it's an OT font now; in either case it could be used by Windows. Windows 2000 or XP can also use the T1 Helvetica fonts.

Windows applications will automatically choose 'bold', 'italic', or 'bold italic' if they're installed; otherwise it'll fake them, which I haven't tried, but Helvetica has only a sloped roman anyway.

   
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Old 02-15-2006, 11:37 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8
2) If I specify "helvetica" in HTML, do I get whatever font name I just bought, for sure?
Just in case: you will get Helvetica if that's what you specify and that's what you've got installed. Everyone else will only get Helvetica if they have it installed. That's why you should always specify a generic font family as an alternative in your stylesheet (or HTML), to hint the browser what style you're looking for.

   
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dthomsen8
Suppose I would like to see how something looks in Helvetica, which is mostly a Mac font, but I am developing in Windows. Apparently I need to buy Helvetica …

1) Will I get a font called helvetica.ttf, or some variation on that?

2) If I specify "helvetica" in HTML, do I get whatever font name I just bought, for sure?

3) Suppose I specify "helvetica" but also bold, or italic, elsewhere in a style sheet, does that font I bought produce an apparent bold or italic helvetica, or should I have otherwise bought that whole family, or some part of it, to get those to appear on a web page?
A few points about this:

Helvetica was one of the original LaserWriter 35 fonts, and very common on Macs and PCs in the early days of laser printing. But the standard Helvetica is not all that common on any platform today — it has pretty much reverted to being a typographer’s font.

If you want to know what it looks like, specify Arial and look at that — it was a knockoff of Helvetica and has only a few subtle differences that would not be apparent in text sizes reading on the screen. Once upon a time, Mac users had Helvetica and Windows users had Arial, but now something like 95% of all computer users on any platform have Arial (unfortunately).

Neither of these fonts is good for online use as they are hard to read on the screen.

I am pretty sure that if you specify any font in CSS you need to use the name found on a viewer’s system if you expect to have that font used. For example, if you wanted to be as sure as possible that people saw Times you would have to specify: Times, "Times New Roman", "TNR", "Times Roman" — then you might get most of them. (Another font that should never be used on-screen, even though most browsers default to it to this day.)

If you want to see bold, italic, and bold-italic fonts with any reliability, you need to buy all of those styles as well as the base weight.

If you want advice, don’t waste your money.

   
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:50 PM   #5
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>>Suppose I would like to see how something looks in Helvetica, which is mostly a Mac font, but I am developing in Windows.

If your main concern is how the type sets ... width and depth ... use Arial instead.
The glyphs aren't the same but unless the layout is extraordinarily critical, you shouldn't see that big a difference between the two. And if the layout's all that fussy, you probably shouldn't expect it to work on the web anyhow. ;-)

   
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