Re: font question: character height-to-stroke ratio

Subject: Re: font question: character height-to-stroke ratio
From: voxwoman <voxwoman -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 7 Oct 2009 21:17:54 -0400

I think you may find some relevant information from this book, which I found
in my local library:

“Exploring Typography: An in-depth guide to the art & techniques of
Designing with Type” by Tova Rabinowitz, Thompson / Delmar Learning, 2006

I've since returned it, so I can't look up anything specific in it, but she
goes into great detail about the various metrics used in font design.

IIRC, the "stroke" is the width of the line used to make the font, and
there's some rule of thumb for variable stroke fonts (like Optima and
calligraphic-style fonts) to arrive at a nominal and/or perceptual stroke
width (which may not be the same number).

Fonts outside this would appear "fat" or "thin"

in this example, a 12 to 16 point font should have a stroke width in the
neighborhood of 2 points.

If I had to determine this metric, and it wasn't published somewhere, I'd
open a drawing program, display a grid behind it and put in some sample
characters, and measure the font widths

-Wendy


On Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 8:27 PM, Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>wrote:

> A quick bit of research with Google, yielding only three hits, leads me
> to the conclusion that the metric is normally associated with sign
> making and with license plates. There's a study from about ten years ago
> that bemoans the poor quality of type appearing on computer screens, and
> says that ten to one is appropriate.
>
> If I were putting something up for bid and I had a preferred vendor, I
> would specify something like this, making sure that my golden boy had
> previously arranged his product to match the specs, and that other
> vendors couldn't even figure out how to get near it.
>
> Is there anything to be lost by proclaiming that the typefaces in
> question actually meet the guidelines, without having to produce proof?
> What if your buddy simply fakes the proof, referring to a handy web page
> that refers to another web page that refers to a study that
> unfortunately wasn't quite published by Springer Verlag? It costs money
> to get copies of those academic papers, and nobody wants to shell out.
> Instead they believe what they see in the abstract on the (faked)
> Springer web page.
>
> jopakent wrote:
> > A colleague is working on a user interface and the human factors design
> > guidelines specify that the font used must have a character
> height-to-stroke
> > ratio of between 6:1 and 8:1.
> >
> >
> >
> > I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't know where this statistic is
> recorded.
> > We checked Wikipedia and a number of other "fonts" of knowledge (sorry,
> > couldn't hep myself), and learned a lot about various aspects of font
> > design, but so far, nothing that talks about this ratio.
> >
> >
> >
> > I guess we could take some representative samples and blow them up to 144
> > points and physically measure them, but this seems silly (and error
> prone).
> > Aren't these stats readily available somewhere?
> >
> >
> >
> > Seems like the manufacturer could provide this info, but who makes fonts
> > these days? We're using the fonts that are part of the standard XP
> install,
> > but who provides the fonts to Microsoft? Kind of a long way to go to
> answer
> > what seems like it should be a simple question.
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks in advance, and plz cc me directly as I'm digest.
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Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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Follow-Ups:

References:
font question: character height-to-stroke ratio: From: jopakent
Re: font question: character height-to-stroke ratio: From: Peter Neilson

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