Saturday, December 17, 2011


Searching through maze books on Amazon, I found Auldroon in use.

Monday, October 24, 2011


This past summer I spent a week in Glenwood Springs, Colorado and, while there, walked around Saint Stephen Catholic Church. The church has a statue of Pope John Paul II with inscriptions on the base in English, Spanish, and Polish.
At the time I had spent many hours adding Central European diacritics to my typefaces, so I was startled to see the E ogonek on the inscription.
Does it jump out at you that the ongonek is backward? The hook should point to the right, not the left.

In addition, the slashed L is not correctly drawn--the slash is far too low. It should be about halfway up the stem.

I did not get all my Polish letters correct according to the instructions that are here. I tried to make them look aesthetically pleasing and sometimes I violated the rules. However, I do not think I ever had the ogonek backward.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Kerning game


I scored 91, but do not know if that is good or bad.

Update: And also a shape game, where you play with control points.

I am very impressed with the programming that must have gone into this. It is way beyond what I was capable of.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fontographer 5.1

A bug fix for Fontographer 5 has been released. I look forward to giving it a spin and see if they have fixed the problems I found in the program.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The benefit of dropping out

On February 8 The Wall Street Journal had a quote from Steve Jobs about his decision to drop out of college. (Entire quote is open only to subscribers.) Speaking at the commencement at Stanford in 2005, he described how after dropping out, he stayed at Reed and sat in classes that he thought were interesting. One class that fascinated him was a class on calligraphy, and his interest in calligraphy came from the beautiful lettering he saw around the campus. In the course he learned about typography. The result of that course was that when the Macintosh was being developed, he insisted that it include beautiful typography, with a selection of fixed-space and proportional fonts. Windows, which he said was just a copy of the Macintosh interface, followed the lead. He implied that without that course, computers might still be using typewriter fonts for display. I suspect that they would not, but the move to decent typography on the computer would have come much later. Certainly, without the Macintosh, the user interface that we have would be far more primative.

I never realized how much I owed to Steve Job's decision to drop out of school and pursue and education rather than a degree. My interest in typography developed from using a desktop publishing program called Ventura Publisher on the PC and then a year or two year later, Pagemake on the Macintosh. On the Macintosh I discovered a primitive but effective program that allowed one to construct bitmapped fonts. I did a couple, and then found Fontographer. I bought it, and it was one of the very few programs that I purchased back then. The first font I produced with Fontographer was Zirkle.

Monday, January 24, 2011


The Unicode Standard version 6 released in 2010 has characters for a variety of emoticons. Apparently these and a great many other additions come from the telephone world of Japan, where they are common on cell phones. I decided to do my version of them when I was updating my picture font Ingy Ding. Here are the results:

 The first three, the smiles and the frown, have been Unicode characters for some time and are at 2639-263B. The others are new, found in the unicode range 1F600-1F640.

More recently I updated a font called AllSmiles, and thought that it might be appropriate to add some emoticons to it. Here they are.
The emoticons at the end are supposed to be cat faces. I have no idea why they are there, but apparently they are in use in Japan.

One of the problems I had in designing these is that because the characters are so new, I could not find any typefaces that had them except for the reference font used by the Unicode Consortium. It is easier to design when there are several different interpretations of a symbol to use as guides.

It is rather interesting how even small changes in position or emphasis changes the impression one gets from these little images. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What do you see?

I have been playing a lot with various unicode characters recently. (For a result, see Ingy Ding MCD, a font with over 1400 characters.) Among the thousands of symbols with assigned unicode numbers are these three:

What are they?

Sometimes what you see depends a great deal on what you expect to see. What do you see in these symbols? Some people see gun sights or cross hairs. These happen to be unicode characters:
Circled plus ⊕ unicode 2295
Position Indicator ⌖ unicode 2316
N-ary circled plus operator ⨁ unicode 2A01
as they appear on my computer.

The position indicator is meant to show exact location. Given that there is a symbol meant to show exact location, one should not be too surprised to see it used on a map. But there are exceptions, and those exceptions may tell us more about what people expect to see than anything else.

(If you want eliminationist rhetoric on a map, a delete right or a delete left, the ERASE TO THE LEFT ⌫ unicode 232B or ERASE TO THE RIGHT ⌦ unicode 2326 seem more appropriate. As for a gunsight, I think a symbol that looks like a gun sight is unicode 2324 ⌤ The "UP ARROWHEAD BETWEEN TWO HORIZONTAL BARS" or enter key symbols fits.)

A great place to explore unicode other than is