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  #1  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:42 AM
california jobcase california jobcase is offline
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Why sans serif fonts suck

The capital I and lowercase l look identical. This makes, for example, Kim Jong Il look like Kim Jong the second on many web pages. If illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate start a sentence, it looks like they start with three lowercase l's. I find this annoying.

This is why sans serif fonts suck. Opinionated rant over.
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:46 AM
Dendarii Dame Dendarii Dame is offline
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My mother gave me a book on a topic which interests me, but I haven't been able to make myself read it yet because it's printed in a sans serif font.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2011, 09:03 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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The you should love the movie Helvetica.
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  #4  
Old 12-20-2011, 09:29 AM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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It can be a problem, but really it almost never is. I've been seeing Kim's name all over the board the past several days, and never felt confused. Of course that could be because message text shows up as Trebuchet and has a little curved footer on the
l. Your font may vary.

Serif type sucks because the serifs clog up on some monitors, and those weird g's and a's are just too complex to display cleanly at small sizes.

(Kidding. The are no bad type faces, just inappropriate ones. Although admittedly some fonts are only appropriate for conveying the idea of ugly and incompetent.)
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2011, 11:42 AM
Hermitian Hermitian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
The capital I and lowercase l look identical. This makes, for example, Kim Jong Il look like Kim Jong the second on many web pages. If illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate start a sentence, it looks like they start with three lowercase l's. I find this annoying.

This is why sans serif fonts suck. Opinionated rant over.
I agree. San serif fonts will be first up against the wall when the revolution comes I am ruler of the world.
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2011, 11:52 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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And let us not forget the number "1," which means that in some typefaces, there are three letters that can be confused. And that's not counting the cap "O" and the zero.

This is why graphic designers (should) take courses in typography, so they're able to avoid fonts that can be problematic. Fonts were never intended to be interchangeable.

Yes, there are bad fonts. But much more common is a good font in the wrong hands.
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  #7  
Old 12-20-2011, 12:03 PM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is online now
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I am in a mixed marriage: Mr. Mallard worships at the altar of Gill Sans. We get along well in 99% of our lives, but we don't set type together. Ever.
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  #8  
Old 12-20-2011, 12:58 PM
markdash markdash is offline
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Funny, I was just grousing about this the other day, since the font used on Twitter makes upper case I and lower case L look identical. I ended up typing "Kim Jong-iL."
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2011, 01:11 PM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
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Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
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  #10  
Old 12-20-2011, 01:16 PM
Dr. Drake Dr. Drake is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
Tahoma? I / l / 1 are all distinct, and the O is noticeably fatter than 0. Yet it is otherwise sans-serif.
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  #11  
Old 12-20-2011, 04:01 PM
Rigamarole Rigamarole is offline
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Originally Posted by Baal Houtham View Post
It can be a problem, but really it almost never is. I've been seeing Kim's name all over the board the past several days, and never felt confused.
Clearly you're an exception, as at least one of the Republican candidates for president was quite confused. What's even more hilarious is that George W. made exactly the same gaffe during his campaign.
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  #12  
Old 12-20-2011, 04:05 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Bodoni is a fine serif font. Not that I'm biased or anything.
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  #13  
Old 12-20-2011, 04:17 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baal Houtham View Post
(Kidding. The are no bad type faces, just inappropriate ones. Although admittedly some fonts are only appropriate for conveying the idea of ugly and incompetent.)
There are bad typefaces. Really really bad ones.
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  #14  
Old 12-20-2011, 08:44 PM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Eye agree.

Eye work with a software app where Lots of variabLes begin with the Letter ELL, written in a Language that is case-insensitive. Eye initiated a tradition at the company of using CapitaL ELL instead of Lower-case eLL for aLL of these, which everyone eLse at the company picked up on.

In the city of BakersfieLd, CA., the downtown streets have Letters for names. But the street in between H and J is caLLed EYE Street.
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  #15  
Old 12-20-2011, 11:45 PM
B. Serum B. Serum is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
Sure. Base Nine and Twelve is the first example I could think of off the top of my head. Moreover, as Baal Houtham mentioned, lots of designers have gotten in the habit of incorporating a finial onto the lowercase "l" DIN is a good example.

Regarding whether there are bad fonts or not, of course there are. The first one I tried designing in my Typography 1 class SUCKED (and I feel like I'm a halfway decent typographer).
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  #16  
Old 12-21-2011, 12:15 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
There are bad typefaces. Really really bad ones.
I disagree. The problem with Comic Sans is its inappropriate application and overuse, and not the font itself, which is perfectly decent and well made.
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  #17  
Old 12-21-2011, 04:37 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
This is why sans serif fonts suck.
You missed a word. That should have been, "This is why SOME sans serif fonts suck." Not all of them are poorly-designed, as several other people have already pointed out.

I would also be happy to introduce you to some serif fonts that suck, if you'd like.
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  #18  
Old 12-21-2011, 04:42 PM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friedo View Post
There are bad typefaces. Really really bad ones.
Hi friedo. My comment was a joke, but also true. At least as true as the OP's comment that "san serif fonts suck."

If I wanted to illustrate an article about how some type designers don't understand character spacing or visual flow or consistency of weight and attitude then the perfect headline font could well be what you might call a "bad" font. It would be exactly the right font.

However, a font can certainly be bad in that it doesn't match the apparent ambitions of the designer, and has extremely limited applicability.

Last edited by Baal Houtham; 12-21-2011 at 04:42 PM..
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  #19  
Old 12-21-2011, 05:08 PM
VOW VOW is offline
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[REALLY BAD pun]

So instead of Kim Jong-iL, he's now Kim Jong-Ded?

[/REALLY BAD pun]


~VOW
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  #20  
Old 12-21-2011, 05:13 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by california jobcase View Post
The capital I and lowercase l look identical. This makes, for example, Kim Jong Il look like Kim Jong the second on many web pages. If illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate start a sentence, it looks like they start with three lowercase l's. I find this annoying.

This is why sans serif fonts suck. Opinionated rant over.
When would you ever use illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate to start a sentence?
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  #21  
Old 12-21-2011, 05:16 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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In my junior hight Civics class, we once had a project to do a write-up on some head of state and the type of government. We were provided a list to choose from, and one of the was Great Leader Kim Il Sung. One of my classmates said, "What's this cat's name? Kim Two Sung?"
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  #22  
Old 12-21-2011, 05:36 PM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
When would you ever use illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate to start a sentence?
Illustration: Illiterate fools use illiterate at the start of a sentence. Illuminating, is it not?
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  #23  
Old 12-21-2011, 06:08 PM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Not all san-serif fonts are created equal. I prefer sans-serif when I design, but there's a time and place for any style.

The default font here on my browser (Safari/Mac) has a little curl at the bottom end of a lower-case "l" to differentiate it from a cap "I".

Also, some sans-serif faces do include such markers, like bars at the top and bottom of a cap I, or the "ear" on the numeral "1".
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  #24  
Old 12-21-2011, 06:15 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
I disagree. The problem with Comic Sans is its inappropriate application and overuse, and not the font itself, which is perfectly decent and well made.
No, it isn't. Inconsistent descenders, weird spacing, bizarre inconsistent angles on vertical strokes, and the number forms look like ass. It is objectively bad.
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  #25  
Old 12-21-2011, 06:57 PM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Yeh, Comic Sans is one of those cutesy fonts not really designed with heavy diligence or a really refined eye. This also might explain why it's one of those "free" fonts, since there's not a lot of work put into it, like ligatures, kerning pairs, etc.

Also, fonts that mimic "handwriting" are pretty difficult to get right, as they tend to look so artificial intrinsically. The good ones cost a fair price.

I put it among the ranks of Hobo and Trajan.
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  #26  
Old 12-21-2011, 07:09 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
Optima would probably work for you. It's technically classified as a sans serif, but it's right at the cusp. The little bulges at the ends straddle the line between serif and sans serif. The letter "O" and the number "0" should be distinguishable in most sans serifs by their shape and design (the number is narrower than the letter.) Slash-zeroes are fugly to me.
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  #27  
Old 12-21-2011, 07:30 PM
cmyk cmyk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
Despite not having the bars on the cap I (and being a hardcore Mac user), I'm quite fond of Microsoft's Trebuchet for computer stuff / web browsing.

Adobe's Myriad (used ubiquitously by Apple) is really nice too.
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  #28  
Old 12-21-2011, 07:59 PM
BigT BigT is online now
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If you want one that has serifs on I and J, try Verdana. If you have it, it's what's used in the text boxes on this site.

I don't know why the posts themselves use something different (Trebuchet MS).
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  #29  
Old 12-21-2011, 08:11 PM
friedo friedo is offline
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I'm a big fan of Verdana.
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  #30  
Old 12-21-2011, 11:43 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
When would you ever use illuminate, illiterate, or illustrate to start a sentence?
Illuminate and illustrate are commonly used in imperatives in educational environments or lab instructions.

* Illuminate the workspace well for best results.
* Illustrate the following paragraph.

Illiterate, being an adjective, can easily start sentences about people who can't read or write:

* Illiterate people typically don't qualify for higher-paying jobs.
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  #31  
Old 12-22-2011, 01:18 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is offline
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
No, it isn't. Inconsistent descenders, weird spacing, bizarre inconsistent angles on vertical strokes, and the number forms look like ass. It is objectively bad.
But it's a casual handwriting font.
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  #32  
Old 12-22-2011, 01:40 AM
friedo friedo is offline
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Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
But it's a casual handwriting font.
Yeah, but there are better handwriting fonts out there that retain the casual look-and-feel without the jarring inconsistencies of Comic Sans. (There are even some good comic-like ones.)

Dom Casual is an all-time classic.
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  #33  
Old 12-22-2011, 06:18 AM
Malacandra Malacandra is offline
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Originally Posted by VOW View Post
[REALLY BAD pun]

So instead of Kim Jong-iL, he's now Kim Jong-Ded?

[/REALLY BAD pun]


~VOW
Yes, he is. sic
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  #34  
Old 12-22-2011, 07:13 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Is there a font that's only mostly sans-serif, except where it relieves ambiguity? I like the clean look of Arial, but it would be nice if a capital i had the little bars on top and bottom, and a number 1 had the little hook on top. And maybe a slash in the number zero to differentiate it from the letter O.
There is one, but I can't remember the name of it. It's just like a "normal" sans-serif font, but the cap "I" has serifs. It's used in kids' books.
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  #35  
Old 12-22-2011, 08:35 AM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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Originally Posted by friedo View Post
No, it isn't. Inconsistent descenders, weird spacing, bizarre inconsistent angles on vertical strokes, and the number forms look like ass. It is objectively bad.
Well you're just objectively wrong. (Kidding. I'm my humble opinion you're being silly.) Your objections above ignore context. If I wanted a font that looked like a comic book created by an 11 year old, then Comic Sans would objectively be a better font than Dom Casual.

I almost never have a need for a "handwritten" font, and therefore view fonts like Dom Casual as useless -- and I view Comic Sans as more useless than Dom. For one thing, it's uglier. For another thing, my own "imitation kid's writing" would be more visually interesting (but would lack the convenience of set type.)
----------------------
Some Wikipedia Stuff About Comic Sans
Vincent Connare (born 1960 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a former Microsoft in-house font designer. Amongst his creations are the Comic Sans font, and the Trebuchet MS font, (...) Besides text typefaces he finalized and hinted the font Marlett (...) and created portions of the font Webdings (...).

Connare (....)gained a master's degree in Type Design at the University of Reading.
Well that's impressive, but...
Microsoft designer Vincent Connare says that he began work on Comic Sans in October of 1994. Connare had already created a number of child-oriented fonts for various applications, so when he saw a beta version of Microsoft Bob that used Times New Roman in the word balloons of cartoon characters, he decided to create a new face based on the lettering style of comic books he had in his office, specifically The Dark Knight Returns (lettered by John Costanza) and Watchmen (lettered by Dave Gibbons).
(...)
Comic book artist Dave Gibbons, whose work was one of the inspirations for the font, said that it was "a shame they couldn't have used just the original font, because [Comic Sans] is a real mess. I think it's a particularly ugly letter form.
If Connare's goal was really to imitate the lettering done by professional comic book letterers, then he failed spectacularly.

Last edited by Baal Houtham; 12-22-2011 at 08:37 AM..
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  #36  
Old 12-22-2011, 11:23 AM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuanoLad View Post
Illustration: Illiterate fools use illiterate at the start of a sentence. Illuminating, is it not?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Illuminate and illustrate are commonly used in imperatives in educational environments or lab instructions.

* Illuminate the workspace well for best results.
* Illustrate the following paragraph.

Illiterate, being an adjective, can easily start sentences about people who can't read or write:

* Illiterate people typically don't qualify for higher-paying jobs.
Ill, I am feeling...
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  #37  
Old 12-22-2011, 11:50 AM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Ill, I am feeling...
Shall we see who can compose the sentence with the most consecutive intertwined upper-case I's, lower-case l's, and numeral 1's?
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  #38  
Old 12-22-2011, 11:58 AM
Baal Houtham Baal Houtham is offline
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Originally Posted by Gary "Wombat" Robson View Post
Shall we see who can compose the sentence with the most consecutive intertwined upper-case I's, lower-case l's, and numeral 1's?
I. Good idea!
II. But really I'm feeling a little sick today!
III. Ill I'll illustrate the idea poorly, so I won't participate.

That might work better in title case:
III. Ill, I'll Illustrate the Idea Poorly!

Last edited by Baal Houtham; 12-22-2011 at 12:00 PM..
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  #39  
Old 12-23-2011, 12:36 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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When I worked at Hallmark Cards, we had an amazing font for in-house use that was based on Charles Schlutz's lettering from Peanuts. I wish I took a copy of it with me, as it was the most complicated font I've ever seen. There were something like 12 variations of the letter E depending on what letters were preceding and following it.

Later I worked with an animator who was working for Jim Davis who had a font based on the Garfield lettering, but I don't give a damn about that one as Garfield is one of the worst comics ever. I would love a font based on R. Crumb's lettering.

What tool do people working on fonts use these days anyway? Is there a successor to Fontographer?
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  #40  
Old 12-23-2011, 12:01 PM
TheBori TheBori is offline
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As a professional narrator I often receive scripts written sans serif. As these are typically technical training scripts there are ofen a number of acronyms...containing either an "I" or and "l" and...in the course of narrating... I often have to stop, select and change the font just to figure it out. If it's a hard copy, I'm screwed. Context doesn't help either..."After completing the entry the data is sent to the I-cap or lTrL". ug.
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  #41  
Old 12-23-2011, 12:08 PM
Gary Robson Gary Robson is offline
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Originally Posted by gaffa View Post
What tool do people working on fonts use these days anyway? Is there a successor to Fontographer?
Good question! I used to use Fontographer back in the old days, and I was just wondering what's a good replacement for Mac now. I've been wanting to build a custom logo font.
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