Hinting, Printing, and Kerning..

   This foundry's primary concern is with the printed word. What does this mean? It means that while we are aware of such wonderful things as hinting, which is used to enable monitor output to make more visually clear representations on the screen, the primary goal is to make the characters look there best on paper. Hinting is an technique that has differing results depending on the operating system used to create the electronic display and also the effectiveness of the monitor itself at displaying the output, and even more strangely your browser should you be looking at font online. For example each character may have many diagonal components, but the monitor itself is made only of tiny square bits of light that can be turned off and on; so diagonals will be nature look ragged. The process of hinting can use the peculiar limitations of our eyesight to limit this effect. So the foundry is careful to hint things so that they are useable and legible on the screen but we are ultimately concerned with the appearance on the page.
   So how are things on the page created? Well in general there are two major types of electric printing processes used at the moment:, Inkjet, and Laser printer. Inkjets are really essentially tiny spray painting devices that slop ink on the page and are generally pretty good about not getting too sloppy. Laser printing is even more interesting in that a cartridge of toner is heated up on a cylinder and then the cylinder is hit with a Laser causing the toner to melt only where the laser hit it so that when the paper rolls by under the cylinder the hot toner is transfered to the paper in a very precise way. Obviously both formats are very useful and have there merits, but this Foundry prefers laser printing.    So what concerns are there in arranging the glyphes in a font? The most important is making sure the baselines of the glyphs are level. after that the distance between each character must be set. here we introduce a fun and interesting bit of printing technology. It turns out that characters have a weight on the page and that certain characters when set next to each other can look peculiar such as when a "Qu" combination is presented. As this is being typed the font on the screen is Sweynheim Pannartz, which while very old in style, is easy to read. The "Qu" combination must be kerned. so that it looks right. Under certain browsers this article will show up in this font, but I have yet to see a broswer that will apply the kerning data, so here the "Qu" will likely look too stretched out. Kerning, possibly a corruption of the word "cornering," but equally possibly of another word all together is the lateral adjustment of character width. Some fonts need to be extensively kerned because each character varies widely, whereas some fonts do not need to be kerned at all, such as monospace fonts. Mono spaced fonts have glyphs that are all the same widths and the characters are all essentially the same width as far as practible.
   So there you have it. The printed word is still much more satisfying to hold in ones hand than watching tiny effervescent points of light on a computor screen.