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Old 04-03-2005, 02:24 PM   #1
ktinkel
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Default “Real type” on the web

Type designer Sumner Stone has set up a web publication called Alphabet Farm Journal. The link is to an article that shows his fonts in use, captured in a GIF file.

Then the plain text is posted several inches lower on the page, out of sight unless you scroll down to it (or view the source file).

Now we have all learned that text in images is a no-no. It makes things difficult for those who rely on screen readers (not to mention the spiders and robots that spread the word about web sites). Most of these mechanical crawlers consider hidden text to be suspect, but in this case it is not really hidden. And since they cannot “read” images, they shouldn’t even perceive it as doubled.

But I can see some uses, like this one. For a designer of text types, this method does allow specimens to appear at appropriate (text) sizes. I think the image could be better — it has a sort of foggy quality. But that raises the other issue, the size of the image; that is more of a problem for those on dial-up connections, but no one likes to wait for an image to load.

Anyway, Stone is a superb type designer. He put together the Adobe type group from 1984 and oversaw the research and design behind Rob Slimbach’s Adobe Garamond. He designed the three-style Stone family, designed to be tolerant (or better) of low-resolution output, directed the ITC Bodoni project, and has created several other fonts — including what may be the very best slab serif display family, Silica; as well as the new ITC Stone Humanist Sans (which you can see at his Stone Type Foundry web site).

Meanwhile, his trick may be useful to someone else.

   
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