Re: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces?
Serifs began as a mitigation by stonecutters for the
problem of irradiation--the tendency of cracks to extend diagonally
For what it's worth, the legend I heard is that serifs
began as guides for spacing. The stonecutter would say
"I have to carve AVE ATQUE VALE and I have three cubits. That's about a quarter cubit per letter. So the A will go from HERE to HERE and the V will go from HERE to HERE..."
The sort of investigation that can distinguish between plausible inference and bubbameissa is usually conducted by archaeologists who try to reproduce artifacts using chronistic technology. This kind of investigation has been applied to everything from flaking stone to make arrowheads to punching tin to make a lantern, the point being to see how a person of ordinary intelligence might have made the artifact in an economic way. These studies often end up with new insights into what tools might have been used, how they were used, and what level of skill was needed to use them so as to avoid starvation. (If it takes a month of hard work to craft a working arrow, you'd be better off eating nuts than shooting squirrels, right?)
I think if you talk to anyone who works with stone and chisel (there are still sculptors and craft artisans who do that, even though grave markers aren't made that way anymore), you'll find that irradiation is a real phenomenon and serifs do indeed help. The physics is pretty convincing, too.
I'm reasonably certain that the "legend" you heard is pure fantasy concocted by some graphics instructor offering a speculation in response to a student inquiry and has no basis in fact. It is fairly safe to assume that the artisan who had to carve AVE ATQUE VALE first sketched the letters--perhaps with chalk or some other soft marker--before proceeding to cut, and made any needed size and spacing adjustments in the erasable medium.
SEE THE ALL NEW ROBOHELP X5 IN ACTION: RoboHelp X5 is a giant leap forward
in Help authoring technology, featuring Word 2003 support, Content Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more! http://www.macromedia.com/go/techwrldemo
From a single set of Word documents, create online Help and printeddocumentation with ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 7 Professional, a new yearly
subscription service offering free updates and upgrades, support, and more.
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.
- Re: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces?, Ned Bedinger
RE: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces?: From: nosnivel -at- netvision -dot- net -dot- il
Previous by Author:
Re: proposal writing
Next by Author: Re: Withdrawal of "proposal writing" thread
Previous by Thread: RE: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces?
Next by Thread: Re: Usability: Serif and Sans-Serif font faces?
Search our Technical Writing Archives & Magazine