Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 19th Oct 2011 18:27 UTC
Google So, somewhere in the middle of the night (at least for me) Samsung and Google held a joint event, in which they announced both the new Nexus phone, the Galaxy Nexus, and Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. While the Galaxy Nexus is a pretty impressive phone, what we got to see from Ice Cream Sandwich surely didn't drop too many jaws.
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RE[6]: random thoughts
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Fri 21st Oct 2011 09:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: random thoughts "
Torbjorn Vik Lunde
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When readability changes significantly (like, say, when the holes in the "e" and the "a" are barely distinguishable and characters width looks random), I see a difference between fonts. But most of the the time font design discussions just feel like people are nitpicking a lot about nothing significant. Maybe taste plays a role, but I don't understand where there's even room for taste in good font design.

Small changes can have a big influence on readability. While body text with decorative bold details is horrible to read (try reading a novel in Curlz MT), small details can make difference in how easy they are to read. Times New Roman and Adobe Minion are very similar typefaces, but Minion is much easier to read. (Unfair to compare them though, Times is a little less readable because it is slightly narrow, and the reason it it is more narrow is to save space.) Some type families actually have different fonts optically optimized for different sizes.

in common 12pt text, you only have a few dozens square dots at hand, readability puts strong criterion on how you must use them, so what room is left for change ? Cannot font design only affect large text, such as that of ads and logos ?

Arial and Helvetica at 10 pixel (without sub pixel rendering) probably looks more or less the same. However, at 10 pixels with sub pixel I think there can be a bit of a difference, especially the bold versions. Will most people consciously be able to tell the difference? Probably not, but I think they will feel it.

A more important point though is that mobile screens have such a high resolution density that they are beginning to rival magazines. (They got higher res than newspapers a while ago.) Combine this with sub-pixel rendering and you actually have a resolution that is rivaling printed magazines.

You also mention spacing: this is not something the designer set’s each time the use a typeface. All fonts come with pre-defined spacing. The actual spacing of letters (kerning) is a big part of what makes a typeface feel the way it does.

Some blog posts discussing Arial and Helvetica

One day, I found a book about typography at my local book shop and thought "well, maybe I'll finally understand ?". But reading the first few pages, where they described an overloaded page of an old version of Apple's website as the paramount of graphic design, I just had to stop and put the book back on the shelf. They couldn't be serious. There's nothing elegant about a bunch of tightly packed rounded boxes fulled with ads, where one must chase real content in order to find it.

Sounds like a bad book. Our interaction design teacher used an older Apple site as example for absolutely horrid (90s) design only yesterday, so I don’t think that is a common view. Thinking with Type (by Ellen Lupton) is a good and easy-to-read if you want to get a basic understanding of typography.

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