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Re: Serif vs. sans serif

From:Boudewijn Rempt <bsarempt@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 27, 1999, 17:13
On Wed, 27 Oct 1999, Don Blaheta wrote:

> > Legend has it that studies have been done showing that serif fonts are > easier to read. I would guess this has something to do with providing a > more distinctive shape for the eye to grok. >
For Latin script this is marginally true. We subscribe to Trouw, a Dutch newspaper that used a sans-serif fount (but with thick-thin alteration in the stems) for everything, and it was quite easy to read. Helvica or Arial on the other hand (and Univers, too), are horrible founts, completely unreadable for any book-length text. There's also an anthroposophic fount some publishers in the Netherlands use, which is quite readable, but which draws the attention to the shape of the glyphs a bit too much after a while.
> But as I think about it, very few real-world scripts (that I know of, > always a big disclaimer) have such a distinction. The Latin alphabet > does, of course, and Cyrillic and Greek; Hebrew I've not seen true > serifs on, but in the rabbinic variety it has well-defined widening and > narrowing of certain bits of each character, which probably serves the > same purpose. However, I've never seen serifed versions of, for > instance, Chinese or Japanese. I can't even imagine how one would add > serifs to Arabic. >
That's because Arabic is a cursive script, basically without a printed variant. But I've seen varieties with or without some thick-thin variation in the glyphs. Chinese characters on the other hand do come in serif and sans-serif, the serif variant being standard. Sans-serif Chinese characters are quite offensively ugly. Normal Chinese characters have thicker 'blobs' at the beginnings or endings of strokes.
> Does anyone have serif/sans-serif (or similar) distinctions within their > own conscripts?
Not really, since Denden Chancery script was inspired by hPhags-pa, which is also bland and ugly. (After having seen Iisem's script, I've started to think seriously of scrapping it - that's a beautiful script if there's one.) Boudewijn Rempt |