– Mark E. Smith

Would everyone please stop linking to that Poynter article by Anne Van Wagener about the upcoming Microsoft ClearType fonts?

First of all, while I cannot claim to have broken the story, I was there weeks in advance, as dedicated readers will be aware.

Van Wagener’s article is so full of mistakes that even her correction has a mistake. Let’s get fisking!

the structure and the clarity of the letter forms. Basically, that means a story will be easier to read because the letters and words won’t be as soft and mushy looking.

That’s not what it means at all. You don understand that antialiasing is blur, which is “soft and mushy[-]looking”?

The Microsoft collection includes two serif, three sansserif, and a monospaced face

two serif and three sansserif faces, and a monospaced face

If you’re using a Mac, like me, you may have already figured out that these new fonts usually won’t work on your machine.

Of course they will.

The fonts can be viewed on Macs only if the operator of a Web site has licensed them for embedding or if an individual user has licensed them for personal use.

What, if anything, are you talking about here?

Microsoft has announced no plans whatsoever to distribute the ClearType fonts to “the operator of a Web site” or to individuals.

Although it’s not likely that many sites – or individuals – will take such costly steps,

because Microsoft shows no indications of making it possible.

I hope you’ll keep reading. These fonts are worth looking at regardless of platform – and you never know when someone will take your baby away and replace it with a PC.

Only out of my cold, dead fingers.

Helvetica. It is also the one typeface in the collection that is appropriate for use both in text sizes and larger headline sizes.

That’s rather broad.

Calibri is a sans serif with soft rounded corners. It has a warm, friendly personality that isn’t found in fonts like Arial and Helvetica. It is also the one typeface in the collection that is appropriate for use both in text sizes and larger headline sizes.

In Microsoft’s promotional booklet, Now Read This, Calibri’s designer Lucas de Groot says, “Its proportions allow high impact in tightly set lines of big and small type alike.”

It’s Luc(as) de Groot.

Candara is my least favorite of the six typefaces. One feature of this “informal sans serif” is a “slight flare” of the stems, or vertical strokes. The stroke is reminiscient of calligraphic forms, which I find to be less reader friendly.

You’re saying, for example and by comparison, that Optima is “less[-]reader[-]friendly”?

Consolas is a monospaced typeface, like Courier, that is used mostly in programming environments. The main characteristic of a monospaced face is that all the letters are the same width, as they were on old typewriters.

The defining characteristic.

If Candara is my least favorite, then Constantina is my favorite. It’s really a beautiful typeface that is very clean and readable.

Ah, yes, the use of the word “clean” to describe a typeface. Always a sign of typographic acumen.

Also: Are you not talking about a different typeface? Watch your ns.

Designer John Hudson says, “I would be thrilled to see Constantia being used for both the print and electronic media versions of a publication. Until recently, it has not been possible to use the same typefaces in print and electronic media without compromising either the readability or the attractiveness of one or the other.”

Um… Georgia and Miller? John, you know better.

And didn’t Van Wagener just finish name-dropping Arial and Helvetica?

Designer Jeremy Tankard describes Corbel as “less cuddly, more assertive.” This sans serif would be a nice alternative to Arial, Trebuchet or Verdana.

Arial’s getting a lot of press here. I thought we were talking about fonts that are not abominations.

More and more content is being viewed on a screen. From computer monitors to PDAs and cell phones, reading comfort is a big issue. If type isn’t easy to read then people won’t visit sites or buy the devices.

Demonstrable only in extreme cases. People will put up with anything.

In late Novemember 2004, Poynter brought together type designers
to talk about the future of onscreen reading. To read about the conference click here.

“Click here”– a sure sign of acumen in Web development.

Also, what month is “Novemember”?

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article reported incorrectly that these new fonts could not be displayed on Macs. In fact, they can be – but only if the operator of a Web site has licensed them for embedding or if an individual user has licensed them for personal use.

See above. The correction is still incorrect.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2005.03.27 10:12. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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