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typesetting pet peeves
rants Posted 2002-07-17 02:16:40 by Jim Crawford
Image of a "fl" taking up one character in a monospaced font.

Here's my latest complaint. I've been reading books lately, and on the whole, I have to recommend them... but look... look at what I have to put up with. Ligatures in monospaced fonts. What's next, you punks? Kerning? This is not just a crime against humanity, it's ugly.

It's hard to tell in this image, because you can't see the line edges in this scan, but note that this text is also justified. Which admittedly is not ugly, just stupid.

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Posted by AdamMil on 2002-07-21 11:27:56
Yeah, that's ridiculous! I can only hope that was a printing mistake because it looks so bad. The worst part is that the font designer (who's probably never used a display with a monospaced font) was so proud of himself when he created that abomination.
re: Hey!
Posted by Jim Crawford on 2002-07-22 12:48:57
It's no mistake. I've seen it many different times in several different books, always to indicate that "this text is being displayed on a computer", regardless of whether the text is being written with a word processor, or when it's the 2150, when you'd think computers would be fast enough to display email with proportional letters.
2150 AD
Posted by Anonymous (craig timpany) on 2002-07-23 19:24:50
In 2150 we'll be nostalgic for monospaced fonts. They'll be ultra-traditional and classy.
Posted by Anonymous (Darien) on 2002-08-22 03:40:38
"In 2150 we'll be nostalgic for monospaced fonts. They'll be ultra-traditional and classy."

We already reached that point, I think.

On the subject of the ligature though, I thought at first 'hey, that is strange' but then I realized something funny... the original purpose of ligatures WAS because the characters looked too far apart due to the individual 'stamps' or whatever they would be called... so if anything, ligatures make more sense in monospaced fonts than they do in, say, Times New Roman. But... that doesn't cahnge the fact that it's ugly, I admit.
Posted by Jim Crawford on 2002-08-22 04:50:32
This is true, but in the context of a monospaced font, the 'F' and the 'L' DON'T look like they're too far apart when rendered independently.

Not in comparison to any other pair of letters, anyways.

In the case I'm complaining about, the opposite is true. The 'F' and the 'L' look far too close together. I guess that's what it all comes down to... that a rule created for purposes of making text look good is being blindly applied, making text look bad as a result.
antique typesetting
Posted by Anonymous (craig timpany) on 2002-08-26 06:25:38
>>"In 2150 we'll be nostalgic for monospaced fonts. They'll be ultra-traditional and classy."
>We already reached that point, I think.

People don't yet use monospacing when they want to evoke age. Imagine it on a whiskey label. It's used because people think it's futuristic and computery.

At least they've stopped using that weirdly bulging OCR font to do it.
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