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04.05.2014

How and Why We Designed Lucida Bigelow Holmes

Canada Goose online 2014 is the 30th anniversary of the first showing of Lucida, the first family of original, digital typefaces for laser printing and screen displays, so we think it is time to write more about our approach to the design. We first wrote about “The Design of Lucida” in 1986, and on “The Design of a Unicode Font” (Lucida Sans Unicode) in 1993. To observe the 30th anniversary of the family, we offer these notes on salient features of the original Lucida fonts, and what we thought when we designed them in the early 1980s. the past 30 years, some of our reasons have been proven well founded, while others have been irrelevant to trends in typography, and some remain inconclusive. After these initial paragraphs, we offer further notes including pros and cons, alternative views, personal recollections of our teachers, and a bibliography. BIG Canada Goose online

Canada Goose Outlet The x height of Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans, and all other Lucida fonts is large, approximately 53% of the body size. Lucida’s large x height has two functions that canada goose outlet sale help it adapt to reading on screens and printing on modest resolution canada goose outlet uk fake devices. First, a big x height makes the typeface appear perceptually bigger, aiding legibility when text is viewed at greater than average reading distances or at small sizes, or both. canada goose victoria parka outlet Text on monitors was read at distances 50% greater than on paper, according to ergonomic recommendations of the 1980s. Second, the big x height provides more pixels for better definition of features in the x height region, which typically carries more information than ascenders and descenders, thus helping distinguish letter shapes for better recognition. The x height always seemed most important for letter recognition. We produced a series of bitmap fonts, which we called “Pellucida” for screen displays, including on a Smalltalk workstation and on the operating system Plan 9 from Bell Labs. Canada Goose Outlet

canada goose coats 2. GENEROUS SPACINGLucida spacing was influenced by the generous spacing of early roman typefaces, like Jenson’s roman of 1470, which remained legible despite the canada goose outlet online uk “noisy” environment of rough paper, easily worn types, and uneven pressures of early printing technology. Also, Lucida spacing is partly based on adjustments for three visual phenomena: “optical scale”, a traditional craft adjustment of letter shapes for different sizes, which included wider spacing for small sizes; tuning the base spatial frequency, the alternation of black strokes and white spaces, to the peak sensitivity of the human visual system; and compensation for “crowding”, canada goose jacket uk a problem recognizing letters set close together. Beyond these global adjustments, generous spacing also prevented some local problems when errors in rasterization and fitting make adjacent letters accidentally merge, as often happened with a popular grotesque sans serif in early laser printers, when ‘r’ touched a following ‘n’ and made a spurious ‘m’, turning words like “fern” into “fem”. canada goose coats

canada goose deals Counter forms are the spaces inside letters; some are totally enclosed as in ‘b’, others non enclosed as in ‘c’. A few letters have both enclosed and non enclosed counters, as in roman ‘a’, ‘e’, and ‘g’. Enclosed counters can Canada Goose Outlet clog up in printing, so we tried to make enclosed areas big. The nearly enclosed counter forms of ‘c’ and ‘e’ in “grotesque” style faces, while stylish at big sizes, appear to close up if the gap (aka channel or aperture) separating the two terminals of ‘c’ gets clogged or blurred, making ‘c’ confusable with ‘o’. DISTILLED LETTER FORMS canada goose deals

canada goose store Lucida Grande, Lucida Sans, and original Lucida seriffed have forms and thick thin proportions derived from pen written letter shapes written and read in the 15th century by Italian Humanists, whose handwriting was the model for the first roman typefaces. We had studied Humanist handwriting as students of Lloyd Reynolds and others. The Humanists based their writing on what they thought was the most legible ancient handwriting, written by scribes in the court of Charlemagne 600 years earlier. Early Humanist letter forms were simple and unadorned, crafted to be easy to write and easy to read, even by older scholars with declining vision, in an era when eyeglasses were rare. The Humanist style was therefore extensively “user tested” in two canada goose outlet houston different historical eras. Of course, nearly all roman types descend from one or another era in the long evolution of type forms that began with Humanist bookhands, but Swiss designer, Hans Ed. Meier, showed us that a modern sans serif type could be created by going all the way back to Humanist forms. DIFFERENTIATED DETAILS canada goose store

canada goose clearance sale A problem at low resolutions is that letters start to look alike because there often isn’t canada goose outlet washington dc enough information to distinguish shapes easily. Type styles that assimilate forms, like geometric and grotesque sans serifs, are particularly prone canada goose uk site to this problem, especially along the upper region around the x height, where traditional typefaces rely on details of shaping to differentiate letters. Even in an ostensibly simple sans serif ‘n’, there is a white cut or crotch where the arch joins the left stem. This cut, along with the square corner of the left stem, helps keep ‘n’ from being confused with ‘o’. At low resolutions, these differentiating details can be obscured, so, we lowered the arch join, cutting more deeply into the shape than in normal grotesque sans serifs. This also tended to increase the thickness of the arch, further distinguishing ‘n’ from ‘o’. We cut off terminals of curved strokes and diagonals vertically, to align with the vertical axes of digital rasters. However, we kept the serif like terminal on ‘a’, to differentiate it from other letters. We tried to use the elegant Humanist ‘g’ with closed lower loop, but our bitmap tests showed that the letter shape did not survive at low resolutions and small sizes, so we settled on the “grotesque” style ‘g’ in Lucida Sans and Lucida Grande. As in Aldine humanist typefaces, we drew ascenders taller than capitals, to distinguish lower case ‘l’ from capital ‘I’, and also to de emphasize capitals slightly so that all capital composition like acronyms, common in high tech prose, and texts with frequent capitals, as in German orthography, did not unduly interrupt the pattern of text. ADJUSTED CONTRAST OF THICK/THIN STROKES canada goose clearance sale

Canada Goose sale In the original Lucida seriffed faces, the canada goose outlet store near me thickness ratio of main stems to hairlines is 2 to 1, thicker than in a face like Times Roman. We observed that in early laser printing and screen displays, thin hairlines were often “broken” by white gaps because of errors in rasterization. Such breaks made letters difficult to recognize and text annoying to read, so we thickened hairlines and serifs to canada goose outlet toronto address avoid breaking or loss. Yet, for Lucida Sans, and Its twin sibling, Lucida Grande, we maintained some thick thin contrast, roughly 4 to 3, following canada goose outlet vancouver the ductus of pen written roman and italic. We felt that near monoline sans serifs like some “grotesque” styles tended to look a bit stolid and dull. canada goose outlet near me We wanted to give our sans serif slightly more graphical modulation in its lines, canada goose outlet eu and the slightly thinner lines also helped keep the text from darkening too much on write black laser printers. REGULARIZATION/REPETITION Canada canada goose factory outlet toronto location Goose sale

canada goose coats on sale We drew Lucida by hand but digitized it with the Ikarus software system developed by Peter Karow. We edited the digital outlines to achieve precise regularity of base line, x line, capital line and other alignments, and to ensure that repeatable letter elements like stems, bowls, and serifs were digitally identical. This made it easier for software to recognize and adjust outlines, as was first done in Peter Karow’s Ikarus programs, and later in the “hints” of PostScript Type 1 and “instructions” of TrueType font rendering. Following research by Philippe Coueignoux, we experimentally decomposed Lucida letter shapes to a small set of repeatable component parts from which all the letters could be assembled, in case extreme data compression was needed for some implementation. This extreme data reduction was never needed in commercial font formats for Latin fonts, so we didn’t continue it. WEIGHT canada goose coats on sale

Canada Goose Jackets The ratio of vertical stem thickness to x height in Lucida normal weight fonts is 1 to 5.5. This is slightly heavier than most seriffed text faces. Although Times Roman has about the same stem to x height ratio, it has thin hairlines and serifs that lighten the overall tone. The normal or regular weights of some popular grotesque sans serifs are slightly lighter than Lucida normal or regular weights. When we designed the first Lucida fonts, we chose a slightly dark weight to compensate for erosion around the edges of black letters on white background screens and on write white laser printers, which visually reduce weight, making text look weak in small sizes. The slightly dark weight made Lucida well adapted to most screen displays for almost 30 years, but printing on 300 dot per inch write black laser printers had a slightly darker tone than we desired. When printer resolutions increased to 600 dpi, this darkness was mostly corrected because the percentage of weight added by write black laser technology was reduced at the higher resolution. As screen and printer resolutions increased we wanted to offer a broader gamut of tones for the medium weight range, to adapt text to different conditions, colors, and backgrounds. We finally did so in 2014, producing Lite (1:7.3), Book (1:6.3), Text (1:5.9), Normal (1:5.5), Thick (1:5.2), and Extra Thick (1:4.9) weights for Lucida Sans, Lucida Casual, Lucida Calligraphy, and Lucida Handwriting. To complement the extended gamut of text weights, we also produced a broader range of bold weights. For example, the “Retina” weight of Lucida Grande Bold is 4% bolder than the original Lucida Grande Bold, to give the bold weight more visual emphasis on high resolution LCD screens. [see Lucida Basic Font Weights and Visual and Semantic Functions of Typeface Weight] Canada Goose Jackets

cheap Canada Goose A full showing of Lucida Sans weights is in the Lucida Fonts store. cheap Canada Goose

buy canada goose jacket 1984 FIRST SHOWINGToday, new, original typefaces are released every day, so it may be hard to believe that three decades ago, there were nearly none. As typography shifted from analog to digital technology in the 1970s and 1980s, typefaces for digital typesetters and printers were, with very few exceptions, digitizations of existing typeface from the previous eras of metal or photo typography. (Among the few instances of original designs for high resolution digital typesetters were the Marconi (1976) and Edison (1978) news face type families designed by Hermann Zapf for the Hell Digiset firm, which had invented and demonstrated the first digital typesetter.) In the article “Digital Typography” by Charles Bigelow and Donald Day in Scientific American, August 1983, we wrote that the initial, imitative phase of digital typography would eventually be followed by a creative phase of original design, but that had not happened in laser printing and screen displays by 1984, so one reason we developed Lucida was to show that original digital designs could be effective and successful. In 18th century France, Pierre Simon Fournier cut faces of different x heights on the same body sizes, demonstrating how x height influenced the perceived size of type, and the Caslon foundry in England began to offer selected fonts with larger x heights. In the 20th century, newspaper economy led to typefaces of successively larger x heights. Stanley Morison, co designer of Times New Roman for The Times newspaper, proposed in a 1963 essay “On the Classification of Typographical Variations” that the history of type design involved the reduction of the real size of letters while maintaining their apparent size. Harry Carter, in an canada goose outlet real influential on the “Optical Scale in Type founding” first published in 1937, canada goose outlet ontario observed that x height, as a proportion of body size, was greater for small sizes of type, less for larger. Decades after the design of Lucida, Gordon Legge, a reading psychophysicist, and Charles Bigelow summarized several arguments in favor of x height as the main canada goose outlet 2015 indicator of perceived type size. In a paper in the Journal of Vision: “Does print size matter for reading? A review of findings from vision science and typography” https://www.canadagooseonline.org (J Vis 2011;11 8.), Legge and Bigelow cite a preponderance of large x heights in newspaper and computer screen typography, environments where visual “real estate” is at a premium, for the former, because of the cost of newsprint, and for the latter, because of limitations on screen sizes and resolutions. Other scientists, however, (cf. Aries Arditi) have argued that capitals are more legible than lower case. Independently, typographic measures in in Germany often assume capital height as a standard, presumably because of the frequency of initial capitals on nouns in modern German orthography. roman types of the Renaissance, in particular those of Nicolas Jenson in Venice in the 1470s, canada goose outlet winnipeg address are generously spaced. This equalization of spaces between letters to counter spaces inside letters makes a regular and enjoyable rhythm of alternating strokes and voids in the pattern of text. A technical bonus was canada goose outlet legit that generous letter spacing maintained distinctiveness of letters when ink squash, rough paper, type wear, and uneven printing pressures tended to degrade the text image. We thought that generous spacing would likewise help in the early days of digital type, when coarse resolutions and laser printing tended to degrade the look of well known printing types. As type technology improved in the Renaissance, letter spacing was slightly reduced in printing by Aldus Manutius with the types of Francesco Griffo at the end of the 15th century. Spacing was slightly reduced again in the second half of the 16th century and in the 17th century, as paper costs became an important factor in the printing business, and when publishers and readers began to favor economy over luxury. In the second half of the 20th century, tight letter spacing became common in advertising typography, not for economy but for fashion. Although tight spacing of grotesque style typefaces had occasionally been done by hand trimming of sidebearings, photographic typesetting technology enabled much easier tightening letter spacing. At display sizes, tight letter spacing attracted attention, and this trend eventually affected text typography. A common rationale for tight, “sexy spacing” was that when letters were crammed together, they made distinctive word images that were easier to read, based on an hypothesis that reading is done word by word. Numerous reading studies have since shown, however, that words are read by recognizing letters, not as unitary chunks or gestalts, so the up tight rationale is demonstrably false. The actual situation is more complex and still not fully understood. used generous spacing for Lucida fonts not only because of humanist and typographic antecedents, but also because of some findings in vision science. first interesting, to us, finding was the contrast sensitivity function (CSF) explained by Campbell and Robson in “Application of Fourier analysis to the visibility of gratings,” published in 1968 in the Journal of Physiology. Determinations of the CSF by Campbell and Robson, and other researchers, indicated that the human visual system is most sensitive to spatial frequencies in the range of three to six cycles per degree of visual angle. The contrast sensitivity function also indicated that the highest perceivable spatial frequencies are around 50 to 60 cycles per degree of visual angle. This upper threshold comes up in discussions about whether the 300+ pixels per inch resolutions of recent smart phone screens are above the resolving limits of the human eye. typographic points, because visual size at the retina varies according to the eye’s distance from the text, whereas degree of visual angle is constant. Reading on paper was more often done in the range of 12 to 20 inches, with 16 inches a common standard. Hence, type on screens would, on average, seem only two thirds as big as the same size on paper, assuming different reading distances for the different media. We tried to adjust the stem to space (black stems white counters or spaces) frequency of Lucida to be in the range of three to six cycles per degree of visual angle, in the size range from 10 point to 14 point at screen and print reading distances of 16 to 24 inches. What we actually achieved for Lucida Sans and therefore Lucida Grande was, at a reading distance of 16 inches, nearly optimal frequencies of approximately 7 cycles per degree at 10 point, 6 cycles per degree at 12 point, and 5 cycles per degree at 14 point. At reading distance of 24 inches, we got 10.5 cycles at 10 point, 9 cycles at 12 point, and 7.5 cycles at 14 point. Higher than the optimal range in the CSF, but better than most fonts. In comparison, a popular grotesque sans serif had spatial frequencies around 11% higher than Lucida and thus was further below the optimal range of the CSF. it is reasonable to ask if the more generous spacing of Lucida really makes it more legible. Anecdotally, yes. Lucida Grande functioned well as system screen fonts on Macintosh OS X for 14 years, at sizes ranging from 10 to 14 point. Also, a variant, Lucida Console, has been used a terminal font in Windows for 20 years. But, the jury is still out on whether the hypothetical advantage of generous spacing actually improves reading speed and comprehension. It is also reasonable to point out that the contrast sensitivity function is not the same as the modulation transfer function for human vision, so using the CSF may not be the optimal way to determine the ideal stroke frequencies for a font. buy canada goose jacket

Canada Goose Parka Another finding from vision science was termed a “visual crowding effect” by Herman Bouma In a paper entitled “Interaction Effects in Parafoveal Letter Recognition”, published in 1970. Bouma investigated canada goose outlet online store the crowding effect further in another paper, “Visual interference in the parafoveal recognition of initial and final letters of words”, in 1973, Bouma found that the ability to perceive fine details is impaired when contours are close to the details to be recognized. In particular, recognition of letters is impaired when flanking letters are close by, and impairment worsens the farther the letters to be recognized are from the fixation point of central vision. Bouma’s observation that perception of details was impaired by close contours caused us to think that generous spacing could ameliorate some problems in recognizing type on screens. We already thought that the tight letter spacing of popular grotesque faces was a hindrance to reading at text sizes, and Bouma’s papers reinforced our visual impressions. In the 30 years since we designed Lucida, there has been a great deal more research on crowding, including by Denis Pelli and other vision researchers. It now appears that loose letter spacing is not a cure canada goose uk all for crowding; the more space is added between letters, the farther the outlying letters are from central fixation, and thus the worse the crowding effect, which is proportional to distance from central fixation. Although there have been some studies suggesting that wide letter spacing is helpful for dyslexic readers, other studies have not found this benefit. Still, the slightly more generous spacing of Lucida has seemed to be helpful on screens. it should be possible to to improve readability by adjusting letter spacing automatically, depending on parameters of type size, design, and reading distance. But, in 1984, it was hard enough to make digital type at all, frankly, so we spaced Lucida to work reasonably well within the probable text size range. It was intended to be a text face, and that’s how we spaced it. It is possible to create optical size masters to tune a design to different size ranges, as has been effectively done for a few families of digital fonts. We experimented with optical masters in the 1990s, but instead of releas Canada Goose Parka.

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