Re: Using M-dash and N-dash

Subject: Re: Using M-dash and N-dash
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: Mailing List <mlist -at- ca -dot- rainbow -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 19:16:29 -0800

Mailing List wrote:

Other than consistency across characters, and a large enough
character set represented, what are the main traits that
define the "quality" of a font.

That's far too large a topic to possibly cover in a single e-mail. However, in this case, what I meant by "quality" was the care and the originality that went into the design. The reason why em dashes and ampersands are indicators of these qualities is that many font designers simply put a generic glyph in for them. Designers who are really thinking about all aspects of a font will have some interesting variations, even in characters like these.

And how would your answer differ if I'd said "type-face"?

In this case, it wouldn't differ at all.

However, to speak generally, I'd examine carefully the differences between the roman and heavier (or light weights). Just as blowing up a font to a larger size isn't enough in many cases, so thickening or thinning the strokes of a character aren't enough. In both cases, the change often needs to be accompanied by at least a partial redesign of the letter. In fact, that's why I tend to avoid using bold weights - too often, the letters aren't redesigned, and the result looks ill-proportioned.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177

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