[Scribus] Font isue

jwminer at accessvt.com jwminer
Sat Apr 7 19:45:49 CEST 2007

Nigel wrote:
> Where can I get a [free] copy of helvetica that will work with
> Scribus?
> I'm running Kubuntu edgy.
> Is verdana just as good?

Helvetica is a trademarked font owned by Linotype. You can't legally
download Helvetica for free anywhere. You have to buy it from
Linotype or a dealer legally selling it. Helvetica is built into all
PostScript printers. It used to be available only as a PostScript
Type 1 font, but I see that Linotype now has a TrueType version and
there are OpenType versions for many individual members of the
Helvetica family.

Due to US law that doesn't allow a font's design to be copyrighted,
there are numerous clones and knockoffs of Helvetica. Some are good
quality, many are not. A legal clone is produced by printing the
font's characters at a large size, scanning them, and tracing with a
program such as Fontographer. Hints and kerning would have to be
added; they cannot legally be copied from the font that was scanned
because they are considered part of the computer *program*, not the
font design, and thus are subject to copyright. If a cloner would
bother at all with hinting and kerning, it would probably be done
automatically and thus the quality would not be as good as what
you'd get with careful manual hinting and kerning.

Many of the Helvetica-inspired fonts like Arial differ in details,
subtle and not subtle, from Helvetica, and thus are not clones. Most
readers would never notice. Remember that most readers can barely
distinguish a serif font from a sans serif--if that.

Type mavens generally avoid Helvetica--and Arial and Times Roman or
Times New Roman--because they are so overused. However, some
well-known logos use Helvetica, and if a company's style sheet
demands it, you have no choice.

Arial uses the same metrics as Helvetica, so substituting Arial for
Helvetica should not result in page reflows. That depends to some
extent on the output device, however. With clones and knockoffs, all
bets are off.

Verdana is quite different from Helvetica. It was designed by
Matthew Carter specifically for screen display and is open and
spacious in appearance. It is available only in TrueType. For
printed text, you usually want something less spacious and open,
though most readers probably wouldn't notice. Verdana is owned by
Microsoft and is included with Windows and other Microsoft software.
At one time Microsoft offered Verdana for free download but no
longer does. It seems it can still be freely offered under the terms
of the original license. It is, however, a proprietary font.
--Judy Miner

Registered Linux User #397786

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