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Fonts & Encodings by Yannis Haralambous

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12.1.

Now we come to the heart of this book: creating fonts. Need one be a Hermann Zapf or a Jean François Porchez nowadays to create fonts? Of course not; otherwise there would be no need for this book. But everything depends on what one wishes to do. If it is merely a question of designing a missing symbol, a logo, or a new letter, one can merely start with an existing font; in this case, a good knowledge of the software tool is probably more important than artistic talent. If one wishes to create a font from a model, such as from scans of printed pages, then knowledge of the tool must be wedded to a certain amount of experience if one is to replace the "black marks of ink" that form the printed glyphs with intelligent vector contours as efficiently as possible. Finally, if one wishes to create a new font from scratch like the great typeface designers of the past five centuries, there is an entire craft to master, either through a specialized school (an École de Beaux-Arts with a typographic workshop or a specialized establishment such as the École Estienne, the Scriptorium de Toulouse in France, or the Universityof Readingin the United Kingdom) or through apprenticeship with a master designer, as is still done in the traditional crafts that industrialization has not succeeded in eliminating.

Between these extremes, then, everything is a matter of degree. The goal of the following three chapters is to give the reader a minimum of technical knowledge to enable her to use the ...

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