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Old 03-25-2005, 10:42 PM   #23
Stephen Owades
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Cambridge, MA USA
Posts: 179

Originally Posted by marlene

I did vary the spacing on the last level of subheads -- added just a point or two between them and the text.

Most of my clients can't see differences between Helvetica and any other sans. Same with Times Roman and any other serif.

I almost went crazy working on a book a year or two ago. It was done in Helvetica (it had to match the previous edition), and when we got the proofs from the printer, SOME of the Helvetica text had output as Arial. The client couldn't see the difference, the printer couldn't see the difference, but I could, and I was livid.

It was some sort of weird font substitution problem in their RIP or something, and took days and days to resolve.

The experience really put the hell in Helvetica.

In my directory work for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts, I used to use Helvetica Condensed (now it's Helvetica Neue Condensed), and I deliver PDFs to the client that get passed on to the printer. A few years ago I found that a couple of these books had a mixture of Helvetica Condensed and an Acrobat-simulated font with the same metrics but a subtly different look--even though I'd embedded all the necessary fonts in my PDFs.

It turned out that the imposition software they were using to produce plates didn't know how to deal correctly with fonts. In resequencing the pages to make up each plate, it could end up with the font data after the first page(s) that used those fonts, and Acrobat was forced to create substitution fonts on those pages. The work-around that I advised the printer to use was to print to PostScript from Acrobat--the imposition software knew how to deal with fonts in PostScript files, and the problems disappeared. My guess is that the latest imposition programs handle PDFs better than the earlier versions did, and that this sort of thing doesn't happen often today.
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