[scribus] How to tell a font is print worthy?

Jean Basile jean.basile at yahoo.fr
Thu Apr 7 02:56:38 CEST 2011

--- En date de : Mer 6.4.11, Hirwen HARENDAL <harendalh at hotmail.com> a écrit :
> Bonsoir  Jean

Salut Hirwen,

Thank you so much for the advice. Yes, no matter how technical I get it's back to the paper. Want to make a design? Draw it on paper than draw the sqares on the screen. Want to check if the text flows well? Print it, turn the page upside-down and examine the whitespace. Want to choose a good photo or illustration? Print it and than choose. No matter how digital and absolute life seems the senses are still analogic and relative.

> ** A font isn't a summation of draws only, but check
> concerting font 
> generation I make, like font info tables, opentype script
> inserted, then 
> kerning and hinting. In a font editor you just can see a
> number of glyphs.

That is so true.

> Font validator like ADFKO cmd line tool, Fonlab or FF, can
> check the
> Ghyphs and some errors but not tell you if works fine or
> not.

Yes. So far I could only check if the signs are well represented and in the right place according to the Unicode tables. Given that most fonts I have around are Latin 1 sprinkled with some other more or less random characters this is an excellent filter to cut down the amount of work. After all, if a font can't be used, it's pointless to check how beautiful it can be.

> The best way is to test the font directly.

I will.

> Test the font directly. Scribus is very interesting for
> that, since you 
> can use font sampler script and second use a new document
> and false test.

I've just found a nice way to do that: take a larger Wikipedia article in the language of the future document, go to the print version, cut and paste in a text editor to lose all the formatting and links, do some cosmetic editing (no empty or short lines, no text that keeps misaligned like the bibliography section, even some moving around for the paragraphs if needed to be more uniform in size) and that's it! Ready to fill up the pages.

> Here, the aim is to see how the font work on screen,
> playing with font 
> size and zoom. It's possible to find Hinting problems or
> kerning and 
> adjustments need.
> Hinting problem comes from bad few hinted glyphs or bad
> private PS 
> dictionary values, sometimes not possible to see in the
> font editor.

True. It's like trying to retouch a film frame. After spending some time with the magnifier glass you start to miss the picture as a whole. You have to rest and come back later to examine the big picture. The editor is pretty much like the detail under the glass.

> A font as it is in the editor is a baby in the womb. 

Wonderful comparison! Just wonderful!

> when it appears for the first time on screen in a text is
> its first breath, 
> on the paper's first steps. (ouch ! c'est beau non ?)


> In general that concerning the font on the paper, because
> there is a big
> difference how the font appears on screen and how you get
> it by printing.

Oh, I remember the shock I have had when Linux Libertine was released. On screen it was a blur, so bad I used some other font for the editing. On paper it was the cleanest free font I've seen. Over the time I've seen a few go the other way: nice on screen, quite unimpressive on paper. It's probably a matter of taste, but for the main body I prefer a font with fine serifs.

> It's possible to have a font working fine on screen,
> revealing troubles after
> printing, but, to be honest, offsets, misalignment are
> rares.
> The same document can be use, since the text haven't any
> importance.
> Body text is fixed at 11 points for a standard reading and
> printer magnifying 
> glass allows to perform glyphs on the paper.

I have just read in another post, here on the scribus list, that low res mediums need hinting up to say 300dpi, but from 600dpi it does not matter. What's the relation? Also, I find 9 or 10 quite usable for size. Why 11?

> It's just to be sure that  rasterizer not alters real
> rendering, or by other
> screen adjustments made by user and how you will get it to
> the printer. 
> One more time I'm speaking about font generation, but it's
> possible
> to do so to test font you want use.

It does make a lot of sense. Also, some changes in formatting (a few words at a time) would help seeing how two fonts can coexist on the same page for emphasis.

> Before use a font try it. Too late when your work is to the
> printer.

:( That is so true!

> Scribus is very punctilious or pernickety with font
> and for me a very wonderful tool to test or see fonts in
> action; sure not
> only ! :-)

Scribus also makes a nice catalyst for helpful people as the Tex/Latex groups used to be.

Merci bien Hirwen

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