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.
Thread beginning with comment 493582
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE[4]: random thoughts
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Thu 20th Oct 2011 20:25 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: random thoughts "
Torbjorn Vik Lunde
Member since:
2009-09-04

The shape of words are put together of letters, thus, the shapes of the letters influence the shapes of words. Font designers as quickly as they can test their fonts with words and body text when designing.

Of course, sometimes it’s simply about style. Arial is quite readable, but really ugly (some argue that it is more readable in body text than Helvetica, since it has more variation in it’s letters.)

If you want to know more about typography I highly recommend the movie Helvetica. (It’s about a lot more than only Helvetica.)

Like you mention: how the font is set it important as well. Badly set Georgia will look bad, and but a well set horrible font will usually look horrible as well.

Edited 2011-10-20 20:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: random thoughts
by Neolander on Fri 21st Oct 2011 07:18 in reply to "RE[4]: random thoughts "
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I don't believe that typography, as a whole, is irrelevant and unimportant. As said before, I agree that some aspects of it as important. I just don't understand some other parts like, say, what's so great about Helvetica and what's so bad about Arial. I use both interchangeably depending on what I have at hand, and don't see the difference.

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 : 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 ?

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.

I'll try watching that movie, maybe it will do ! ;)

Edited 2011-10-21 07:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: random thoughts
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Fri 21st Oct 2011 09:59 in reply to "RE[5]: random thoughts "
Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:
2009-09-04

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
http://ilovetypography.com/2007/10/06/arial-versus-helvetica/
http://www.ms-studio.com/articlesarialsid.html

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.

Reply Parent Score: 2