DTP


 
Lively discussions on the graphic arts and publishing — in print or on the web


Go Back   Desktop Publishing Forum > General Discussions > Fonts & Typography

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-10-2006, 04:42 AM   #1
iamback
Member
 
iamback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default What do you call...?

Still at it collecting Chinese fonts (and getting quite handy navigating the Chinese sites and searching for sites with fonts of a foundry that I like...). And I've started to describe/classify the fonts that I find, trying to come up with terminology for these fonts: because of the nature of Chinese script, qualifications like "serif", sans-serif" or "cursive" simply don't apply. Some others do, like "outline", "rounded" or "display". There are "fantasy" fonts as well (for instance characters made up from little sticks - I have one that is a nice bamboo style!)

In a few cases though, I'm having trouble coming up with terms - maybe because of my limited (active) English vocabulary in general, maybe because there actually is a term in fontology that I'm not aware of.


For instance: what do you call a font where all strokes are of equal, even thickness? Some of those are made up of very thin lines, some of which I've called "pencil" - but then I don't know what to call the thicker ones.

Some others are rather "thin" but with variations in thickness that suggest they've been written with a (fountain) pen (rather than a brush - though with some it might be possible to write like that with a brush); I've called those "pen" for now.

But there's something in-between - they look like drawn with a (thick) round felt-tipped pen, for instance: the lines are (mostly) of equal thickness (as in the "pencil" fonts) but I can't call them "pen" either since they don't have the pointed stroke endings of those. So what do I call these?

The next step is of course all the fonts that actually look like written with a brush - that's easy: "brush".

Yet another font I tended to call "outline" but actually it consists of double lines - with the ends of the strokes open.

Some of the "pen"-like fonts, often with very thin horizontals and very marked thick stroke endings, I recognize as a style used in newspapers, often for headlines - so they become "newspaper".

And a completely formalized style, often without even a hint of brush strokes, I've dubbed "computer".

Of course qualifications like outline, rounded or shadow can be added to the other ones.

So I'm getting somewhere, but I'm not happy with all of my terminology yet. Some hints would be appreciated!


I've now also started to translate some of the Chinese font names (mostly more descriptive than actual names), and I'm pleased to find that these descriptions often match my own. For instance many font names use "Song" (the name of a dynasty) apparently for font styles based on letter shapes from the period of the Song dynasty. Many of my "pen" and "newspaper" fonts are called "Song", one of my "newspaper" fonts is even called "big headline Song".

But in another case I'm stuck: the name of one of my "computer" fonts translates something like "flat/level/equal black" - for a font that's rather bold, with all strokes of equal and even thickness... Which brings me back to my first question!

Terms I have so far:
  • brush, pen, pencil, seal/stamp
  • rounded, outline, double line, shadow
  • fantasy, sticks
  • newspaper, computer
  • script, informal handwriting

Any suggestions?

   
__________________
Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
iamback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2006, 11:39 AM   #2
donmcc
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sarnia, Canada
Posts: 1,122
Default

I don't like to send people away from the forum, but this sounds like a job for www.typophile.com. Just be aware that each question you ask will result in a 40 message debate.

I am pretty sure that the single weight fonts are something like monoline. And the two lines are often called incised.
donmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2006, 01:03 PM   #3
iamback
Member
 
iamback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc View Post
I don't like to send people away from the forum, but this sounds like a job for www.typophile.com. Just be aware that each question you ask will result in a 40 message debate.
Hmm - is this a forum or what? When I go there I am greeted by a HUGE "Click here to get the plugin" - and a login box next to that; since when do forums require Flash? If it's not a forum what is it (that requires Flash)? Is type all singing and dancing these days?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc
I am pretty sure that the single weight fonts are something like monoline. And the two lines are often called incised.
Ah, three new terms to me... did some googling.

To start at the end, "incised" seems to be used for several font families, some of which don't have anything like "parallel outlines" (for want of a better term), and some of which look like they have actually been incised (as in stone) which is nothing like my "double outline" - but I found Madison Square Incised (also here) which is actually a pretty good match (given that we're comparing a Chinese and a Latin font). So "incised" it is, for now. Or is the "double outline" I just came up with better?

"Single weight" I understand as a font that occurs in only one weight, not in a family ranging from (say) ultra-light to extra-black. That's not what I'm referring to - what I mean is that all strokes (or every single line making up a Chinese character) in each character are of single, even thickness. No "flaring out" at the end of a brush stroke, but what you'd get if you draw the character with a pencil without varying the pressure of the pencil on the paper.

"Monoline" again seems to be the name of a font (which does have the characteristic of even, equal-width "strokes") but this collection comes a lot closer (apart from the top one and a few others, but most actually have the characteristic I'm seeking to describe).

OK - so I now have "monoline" (I like that term) and "incised" which I'm a bit doubtful about (how would you describe Madison Square Incised? "double outline"? "double line"?). I'm attaching the sample image of the font (from HanYi) I wanted the description for - apart from the double lines, "monoline" applies as well, I think! BTW, the Chinese font name is "double line style".

I'm going to collect some more sample images of the "types" of fonts I see to make it easier to talk about... The thing is, if I don't document somehow the Chinese fonts I'm collecting now, I'll never be able to actually use them! Good descriptive terms will help - but sample images do too. I've been "organizing" all day.

(Oh, and I must check whether I can actually catalog the fonts - together with sample images! - in IMatch, the DAM program I use. That would be awesome.)
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	MB7GJM.gif
Views:	67
Size:	2.6 KB
ID:	752  

   
__________________
Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
iamback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 05:12 AM   #4
donmcc
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sarnia, Canada
Posts: 1,122
Default

Typophile is a forum ... a good one, with many people who work for the major and smaller type houses. You can browse without registering, but will need to register (free) to post a message.

They use Flash for a very small ad from their sponsor. I have never seen flash used within the forum messages itself. (There are a lot of gif/jpg/png images of type, however).
donmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 06:38 AM   #5
iamback
Member
 
iamback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc View Post
Typophile is a forum ... a good one, with many people who work for the major and smaller type houses. You can browse without registering, but will need to register (free) to post a message.

They use Flash for a very small ad from their sponsor. I have never seen flash used within the forum messages itself. (There are a lot of gif/jpg/png images of type, however).
When you go to the home page there is a HUGE Flash that covers everything except the login form and a footer - I definitely cannot browse without registering! (If I could, I would - but I'm not inclined to register when I can't even see what I would be registering for.) Such a big Flash doesn't look like a "very small ad" either, which I wouldn't mind if I could see the rest. And obviously I would not mind images in a forum about type!

What I mind is that big Flash thing on the home page which very effectively prevents me from seeing anything at all unless I register "blindly" - see attachment.

If you hang out there maybe you could give them a hint?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	hsnap245.png
Views:	59
Size:	14.5 KB
ID:	759  

   
__________________
Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
iamback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 08:54 AM   #6
ktinkel
Founding Sysop
 
ktinkel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
Posts: 11,189
Default

I think you are on the right track, using descriptive terms. Our Latin types are classified academically by historic period: blackletter; oldstyle; transitional; modern; grotesque, humanist, and other flavors of sans-serif; connected and disconnected script; copperplate; and so on. This is convenient, as each of those classes includes typical features, so you do not need to describe them one by one. Not much use for Chinese fonts, though.

So description is the way to go. And as in Latin types, the descriptions accumulate. I would call your “pencil” monoline. Then describe its weight (light, medium, bold, heavy). Also describe the ends of the lines (normal or flat, rounded, angled, etc.). So you could have Monoline Heavy Rounded, for example. (For serif faces you can also characterize the serif (bracketed or unbracketed, flared, cupped, angled, etc. Guess this is not an issue for Chinese type.)

By the way, in some digital monoline fonts called “stroked,” the weight is simply one unit of the drawing device. We rarely see this now, but I believe Adobe’s first version of Courier was one of these. (Okay for laser printers — we can see 1/300th of an inch — but not so good for 2540 dpi imagesetter output!)

Beyond that, characters can be shadowed, inlined, outlined, incised, and more; so you could find Monoline Heavy Rounded Inline, for example. (Some of these effects are applied to fonts by the user; some are built-in.)

Fonts that mimic lettering or hand-writing are usually labeled that way, as calligraphic, copperplate, brush, marker, sign-painter, etc.

If you want to chew on the structure of western type classification — with an eye to adapting or borrowing from it — here are a few references:

A Manual of Comparative Typography, the PANOSE System, by Ben Bauermeister. He was aiming at a machine classification scheme that was at least partially implemented in PageMaker and other applications. The book is out of print, but an expanded version of his PANOSE scheme is available at Monotype Imaging’s site. It might be useful (though not riveting!) reading.

We had a longish thread on font classification about 18 months ago. Maybe you will find some nuggets there — and links to further discussion.

The IBM font classification scheme based on class and subclass. (Scroll down a ways. There are other relevant items lurking on this page.)

Rookledge’s International Typefinder
(recent edition, still available) has charts of earmarks that may help your thinking about lineweight, endings, and other aspects of letter shapes.

Maybe this will be of some help.

   
__________________
[SIZE=2][COLOR=LemonChiffon]::[/COLOR][/SIZE]
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
ktinkel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 10:41 AM   #7
donmcc
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sarnia, Canada
Posts: 1,122
Default

Sorry. I never go to the front page ... they do have a huge Flash there. Try this link, which will take you to the forums themselves. There are a couple small Flash on there, but at least you should be able to look around a bit.
http://typophile.com/forums
donmcc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
iamback
Member
 
iamback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
I think you are on the right track, using descriptive terms. Our Latin types are classified academically by historic period: blackletter; oldstyle; transitional; modern; grotesque, humanist, and other flavors of sans-serif; connected and disconnected script; copperplate; and so on. This is convenient, as each of those classes includes typical features, so you do not need to describe them one by one. Not much use for Chinese fonts, though.
Interestingly, I'm finding that the Chinese font names / descriptions work much the same way. There are references to dynasties, like Song and Ming (obviously a particular style used in a dynasty's period), I also see "Wei tablet" (tablet/stele) with a style that looks like brush strokes but was probably inscribed (incised!) in stone. There are references to particular styles of calligraphy (something like "Yan calligraphy"). And while there is no connected script, anything that looks like brush strokes (but not Song) has usually "script" or "writing" in its name. By now I can effortlessly recognize a Song style (some of which I called "pen" and some "newspaper" - the latter confirmed by one "heavy headline Song" font). A couple of fonts are "seal characters".

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
So description is the way to go. And as in Latin types, the descriptions accumulate. I would call your “pencil” monoline. Then describe its weight (light, medium, bold, heavy). Also describe the ends of the lines (normal or flat, rounded, angled, etc.). So you could have Monoline Heavy Rounded, for example. (For serif faces you can also characterize the serif (bracketed or unbracketed, flared, cupped, angled, etc. Guess this is not an issue for Chinese type.)
Indeed, no serif fonts in Chinese but the Song style comes close, with the horizontals always thin and a (sometimes heavy) triangular end to the stroke. When such a font has Latin characters (not all do!) it will normally be a serif style. Similarly, the monoline fonts will use a sans-serif Latin font. There are also styles called "pop" which I think fall in the same class as MS Comic Sans - informal, seemingly handwritten, slightly irregular - and any Latin characters do fall in the "comic" class. Only rarely do the Chinese names deviate from the strictly descriptive, but one has "clouds" in its name (a blobby outline font - the shapes do remind one of white clouds!), another I found was called "yellow grass", a very flowery brush handwriting style!

Like there are different types of serifs, there are different types of "brush" fonts, but I still lack the terminology to describe them (though I can see how they're different). One style was described as "drops" - looking as if written with a brush with a load of ink so you get "blobs" rather than neat thick-and-thin.

I'll drop both my "pencil" and "computer" as nearly all of them are in fact monoline - but in different weights, and sometimes "fancy" or fantasy fonts. (Similarly nearly all of my "pen" are in fact Song.) There is even a style that in Chinese is called something like "synthesised art" - a constructed (as opposed to derived from hand writing or calligraphy) type of display font, often very heavy (relative weights are often mentioned). When the line endings are rounded this is usually mentioned, too - but a "rounded" font tends to have more things rounded that just the line endings: a square box may also become a box with rounded corners, for instance, and "hooks" may become sharp curves (see attachment!)

I do see weights mentioned, light, medium, bold, heavy; also ultra. A font may be "ultra-thick black", for instance. (What is the difference between bold, black and heavy? I'm not quite surfe. But where such terminology is used in the Chinese name I'd like to keep it, even if it is sometimes a bit inaccurate, or only relative in variants in a family: a "black" monoline font that looks like written in pencil may be very light compared to a black display font.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Beyond that, characters can be shadowed, inlined, outlined, incised, and more; so you could find Monoline Heavy Rounded Inline, for example. (Some of these effects are applied to fonts by the user; some are built-in.)
I know incised by now (but I don't think itreally applies to that "double-line" font?); shadowed and outlined I know too - or I thought I did until you mentioned inlined: what's the difference between inlined and outlined?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
Fonts that mimic lettering or hand-writing are usually labeled that way, as calligraphic, copperplate, brush, marker, sign-painter, etc.
No copper plate in Chinese fonts, but there are references to script and writing - for fonts that I'd called "brush". Not sure what to do with the fonts that are in a monoline handwriting style - this is where I came up with "pencil" as opposed to "brush" as it clearly looks like handwriting. And very different from "constructed" monoline fonts, so just "monoline" clearly isn't enough. I've also noted some script styles being called "professional" - I think they're like very fancy calligraphy, as written by a master calligrapher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ktinkel
If you want to chew on the structure of western type classification — with an eye to adapting or borrowing from it — here are a few references: (...)
Thanks for those! I think I can definitely steal some terms, like "decorative" (those "synthesized art" fonts clearly are decorative)!

I note your remark in the thread your refer to: "Most of the fonts you happen to collect — bundled with applications, say — end up not being all that useful anyway unless you complete the family." I can only heartily agree. One reason I'm so diligent in collecting "complete sets" is that I soon found that small sets like the 17 HanDing may for instance have one font only with Traditional Chinese, but when you get the complete set you may find "pairs" (one Simplified, one Traditional Chinese) and small families: not as extensive as for Latin fonts, never italics, for instance, but for some styles there are indeed different weights. So a "family" may consist of four or six files, with two character sets and two or three weights.

My impression is Chinese typography rarely uses different weights of the same font on a page - on the contrary you often find a bewildering variety of fonts - but having a font available in different weights makes it easier to pick one that "goes with" the other fonts used, either by contrasting weight or by varying styles but in similar weights.

But the small collections usually pick only "a few nice" fonts from a complete collection from one "foundry" (for lack of a better word - Chinese "foundry" names tend to be different from company names found in the copyright statements in the fonts). So for each collection that looks promising, I try to get it as "complete" as possible so whatever small "families" are there have a chance of being complete.

Obviously, I still have a long way to go, but I'm still fascinated! I've now started to also download all preview images I can lay my hands on, to make it easier to describe the fonts. Problem is these are incomplete, as some fonts come from FTP sites (files only, no images, no Chinese names), or the image server does not respond most of the time. To make a description of those at all, I first need to "patch" the fonts (if possible!) so I can actually tease some glyphs out of there... And it would be nice to have a tool to easily change these strings (family name, font name... I'm discovering a little of how fonts are constructed!).

For now, I'm concentrating mostly on collecting though (including images), filling holes, recovering from misnamed or missing files, weeding out duplicates, dealing with name clashes... but I'm hoping to eventually come up with some "compilations" of fonts that are usable in only-weakly-Unicode-aware applications, with good descriptions and good preview images (which I'll have to re-make!).

Just for fun, I'm attaching a rounded, shadowed monoline font preview from the WenDing collection - it illustrates nicely how "rounded" here applies not just to line endings but also corners! The middle character actually means "rounded".
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	GYUL00B.gif
Views:	44
Size:	2.1 KB
ID:	760  

   
__________________
Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
iamback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 12:19 PM   #9
iamback
Member
 
iamback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Amsterdam, NL
Posts: 4,894
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by donmcc View Post
Sorry. I never go to the front page ... they do have a huge Flash there. Try this link, which will take you to the forums themselves. There are a couple small Flash on there, but at least you should be able to look around a bit.
http://typophile.com/forums
Well, yes - that's browsable and I poked around for a bit... But each page has at least two Flash at the top (the forum front page has a third one), apart from the sponsor ad (I assume that's the small one near the login form). I suspect there's real information hidden in those Flash things; for instance I can navigate to a forum, but when I get there the name of that forum is nowhere to be seen on the page (and the URL - with merely number - is no help!). And I imagine a search function on a forum like that would not be amiss - that's probably also hidden in a Flash (for no good reason!).

And if there is Home > forums (breadcrumb) is there anything else than forums?

That said there are some interesting discussions there, so I'll consider registering and posting.

   
__________________
Marjolein Katsma
Look through my eyes on Cultural Surfaces (soon!), My ArtFlakes shop and Flickr.
Occasionally I am also connecting online dots... and sometimes you can follow me on Marjolein's Travel Blog
iamback is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2006, 12:19 PM   #10
ktinkel
Founding Sysop
 
ktinkel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: In Connecticut, on the Housatonic River near its mouth at Long Island Sound.
Posts: 11,189
Default

Whew. Take me a while to read all that.

Yes, fonts with rounded ends are also likely to have round-cornered elements. (Or not.)

   
__________________
[SIZE=2][COLOR=LemonChiffon]::[/COLOR][/SIZE]
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
ktinkel is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Now that's what I call service! Robin Springall The Corner Pub 4 03-28-2006 12:51 PM
The Nice Folks at Quark Gave Me a Call michelen Print Design 6 01-25-2006 01:28 PM
What do you call schoolchildren? Michael Rowley On Language & Literature 8 11-11-2005 10:08 AM
Help! What does InDesign call running heads? Michael Rowley Print Design 30 11-03-2005 12:41 AM
San Fran Image Call Out JABTE05 Images 10 07-14-2005 03:33 PM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Contents copyright 2004–2014 Desktop Publishing Forum and its members.