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[Publications] [Digital Typography]

Next Generation Typeface Representations: Revisiting Parametric Fonts

T. Hassan, C. Hu, R.D. Hersch

ACM DocEng 2010 conference, Sept. 2010, Manchester, UK, pp. 181-184

Abstract Outline font technology has long been established as the standard way to represent typefaces, allowing characters to be represented independently of print size and resolution. Although outline font technologies are mature and produce results of sufficient quality for professional printing applications, they are inherently inflexible, which presents limitations in a number of document engineering applications. In the 1990s, the topic of finding a successor to outline fonts was a hot topic of research. Unfortunately, none of the methods developed at the time were successful in replacing outline font technology and this field of research has since then declined sharply in popularity. In this paper, we revisit a parametric font format developed between 1995 and 2001 by Hu and Hersch, where characters are built up from connected shape components. We extend this representation and use it to synthesize several characters from the Frutiger typeface and alter their weights by setting the relevant parameters. These settings are automatically propagated to the other characters of the font family. To conclude, we provide a discussion on next-generation font technologies in the light of today's Web-centric technologies and suggest applications that could greatly bene fit from the use of flexible, parametric font representations.

Download the full paper: PDF 750 KB


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