Free Clarendon, a campaign to make Clarendon open-source

charles ellertson's picture

...and all he want is US$ 32,000. Maybe we could start a bidding war?

Thomas Phinney's picture

It's already raised $10!

quadibloc's picture

Well, the money is asked by a professional type foundry that's already making money from the version sought, so it isn't as if there's anything dubious about the project.

It's quite true that designing a new Clarendon from scratch shouldn't cost that much.

As far as the claim that "you've probably seen it before" is concerned, that's highly true - it's the favored typeface for the letters on *alphabet blocks*.

russellm's picture

"But all versions of Clarendon since its inception have been proprietary."

So what?

Thomas Phinney's picture

Canada Type has a Clarendon typeface with 20 regular-width styles and 10 condensed faces. This would open-source a standard 4-member family (regular, italic, bold, bold italic) from that set. Each font has ~ 580 glyphs, with extensive typographic features.

> It's quite true that designing a new Clarendon from scratch shouldn't cost that much.

[shrug.] That's about what I would expect to pay to commission a new 4-font typeface with that many glyphs, designed from scratch by a very competent but not super-famous type designer.

We could debate about whether we expect a direct revival to be a bit less than an original design, but any difference between those rates would be less than the variation between type designers in pricing, and hence lost in the noise, IMO.

charles ellertson's picture

Here's another one.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1954507197/alice-in-wonderland-book-...

Must have included the cost of giving the model the Botox lips so the artist could draw Alice?

JamesM's picture

The "perk" for donating $50 to the Clarendon project is a free copy of the font. Isn't the whole point of the project to make it free for everyone?

MDrucker's picture

I'm the campaign manager. It's so you'll be one of the first.

quadibloc's picture

@russellm:
"But all versions of Clarendon since its inception have been proprietary."

So what?

So no version of Clarendon is included with Linux distributions, for example. If one feels that somehow Clarendon is a very basic typeface, which should be routinely used (as it once was when most typefaces didn't have boldface versions) then given that Helvetica and Palatino have open-source imitations available, but Clarendon doesn't could be perceived as a problem.

Myself, I'd view Century Expanded and Schoolbook as higher priority... hmm, though, in my search for a particular open-source font page, I see that this may already exist.

Nick Shinn's picture

It’s impossible to make Clarendon open source, because it’s a pre-digital typeface design—which has already become a standard reworked by many foundries in many media—not font software. As intellectual property goes, the “Clarendon” design has been in the public domain for a long time.

However, it would be possible to publish an open source font version of Clarendon.

The idea that mean and greedy type foundries have been keeping poor old Clarendon locked up for their own nefarious purposes is a bit of a stretch!

There is already this:
http://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Domine

quadibloc's picture

@Nick Shinn:
There is already this:
http://www.google.com/fonts/specimen/Domine

Looks more like Melior to me than Clarendon...

But you are quite right that nobody is holding Clarendon prisoner merely because they want to be paid for their work. Projects like the TeX Gyre collection have not done Clarendon simply because it was not a priority. There isn't an open-source version of Cheltenham that I know of either, but I think we'll live.

EDIT: A revival of Cloister Oldstyle would be nice... the open-source face Accanthis claims to have been inspired by it, but it looks different to me.

EDIT: Well, if not Domine, there's this from Google Fonts.

abattis's picture

The "perk" for donating $50 to the Clarendon project is a free copy of the font. Isn't the whole point of the project to make it free for everyone?

Funding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good is tricky; the Indiegogo/Kickstarter model isn't good for these kinds of works for this reason.

https://snowdrift.coop and especially http://www.fund-io.com are different funding models that can work much better.

Co-funding from large organizations who will benefit from libre fonts is my preferred way though, such as Google and Adobe and Intel and so on.

hrant's picture

"Redefining FREE one crowd at a time."

hhp

johnbutler's picture

My religious beliefs prohibit me from buying any product whose advertisements employ a ukelele and toy piano.

hrant's picture

I propose liberating the computers of people who want to liberate typefaces.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

Given that the project in question does not involve font piracy in any form whatever, I find a comment about "liberating" people's computers in poor taste.

Intellectual property has value, but it does differ from physical property.

Thus, the scene in Atlas Shrugged where an architect whose rights were not respected in the building of housing for the poor takes a bulldozer to the construction... depicts wasteful behavior which makes the world poorer.

The main reason, though, that the distinction between intellectual property and physical property must be kept in mind is this:

Intellectual property rights exist because they have been granted by the government. They result from a covenant between the people of a country and authors, inventors, artists, and so on, to agree to give them a limited property right in their creations to encourage them to contribute to the benefit of the country and humanity by producing them.

So the rights given by copyright and patent laws are something society chose to grant, because it saw that it would benefit from the bargain.

Rights in physical property, on the other hand, are natural law rights. There is no choice in the matter: a country that lets some people's property be stolen is engaging in a human rights violation.

Why is this important?

Because when representatives of the film industry or the music industry come forwards to legislators asking for extensions of the copyright law - either extensions in the term of copyright for past works, or laws like the DMCA - the legislators need to clearly understand that they are not under any moral obligation to grant such requests, and instead should only do so if there is a net benefit to society as a whole, not content owners.

abattis's picture

Hrant, physical computers aren't like digital works.

hrant's picture

Yes, unlike ideas, computers can be replaced.

hhp

Martin Silvertant's picture

I don't quite see the relevance of "setting Clarendon free". Do we really want amateur designers to abuse more quality typefaces? No, I rather keep the better choices for myself. Not that I remember ever using Clarendon before though. Which, to me personally makes it even less relevant to liberate Clarendon.

If I can help it I would like to limit the amount of typefaces amateur designers have access to to a minimum. Let them first learn how to use type properly before advancing to other typefaces. I'm aware I'm being callous, egocentric and perhaps a tad narrow-minded, but I simply tire too much from typefaces used incorrectly and becoming stigmatized because people who know nothing about type have opinions based on those incorrect uses. Keep Clarendon reserved for people who understand type. Let the amateurs chew on Helvetica for another 40 years.

PabloImpallari's picture

I like the idea :)

BTW, AFAIK, Besley's Clarendon originally looked a bit more like this http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/redrooster/consort-rr/ and not so much as the wide bold version that everybody know today as Clarendon.

hrant's picture

Yes, better than freeing a typeface would be freeing people from hubris of total freedom.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

@Martin Silvertant:
In educating a typographer, it indeed makes sense to start with simple tools before overwhelming the beginning student with choice.

Although that's a sound principle, I take your comment as something offered in jest rather than anything that should, or, for that matter, could, be implemented in the real world.

Now, limiting access to typefaces could be a mechanism for providing job security to Licensed Professional Typographers, but I hope the profession will not stoop to that.

Richard Fink's picture

@quadibloc

who wrote:

"Rights in physical property, on the other hand, are natural law rights. There is no choice in the matter: a country that lets some people's property be stolen is engaging in a human rights violation."

In case somebody were to stumble upon this thread and give credence to the comment from which I've quoted, I decided to post.
Please check your facts.
All property rights are created by law. No laws, no property rights.

charles ellertson's picture

Please check your facts.
All property rights are created by law. No laws, no property rights.

Ah, no. Once you allow separating "right" from "law" in any context, as is done with basing a society on "inalienable rights," you remove the fact-checking option. There is no one-to-one correlation between "legal" and "true," and "true" is needed for "fact," minimally as matter of language.

All religious truths are "revealed," rather than "discovered" or "proven." To deny a religious truth simply means that particular truth hasn't been revealed to you. Counterarguments from science, or another religion, count for nothing to the holder of that truth. That's the source for both the strength and weakness of religious truths, and why it can get downright messy, in a law-based society, deciding as a matter of law just what is a religion and what isn't.

At their core, all satisfactory explanatory systems are based on faith, either you accept the system or not. Mixing explanatory systems midstream is convenient but correctly opens you up to a charge of inconsistency.

Nor can you use the tenant of a system to prove it's "truth." Using "because it works" can be a reason, practical or otherwise, for someone to adopt an explanatory system, but is not evidence for it, not an argument for or proof of it's truth.

Example: empiricism (encompasses science) is so complete it can explain why someone becomes a mystic. But a system based on mysticism can be just as complete and can explain why someone becomes a scientist (Plato, for one, does).

Once you allow inalienable rights, you need to decry quadibloc on moral rather than logical grounds. Alternative is to give up on "inalienable rights."

Richard Fink's picture

@ellertson and anybody else who wants to argue that property rights somehow exist separately from the laws that create them:

Once again: no laws, no property rights.
That's just the fact of the matter.

And I'm done talking about it - didn't have anything to do with Clarendon anyway.

Regards,

rich

charles ellertson's picture

Mr. Fink: you forgot to add

"And don't confuse me with either facts or logic !!!"

JamesM's picture

An early discussion of property rights from the "Dawn of Man" sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The guy on the ground lost the argument.

I agree with Richard on this. Property rights are enforced through laws.

hrant's picture

Charles, if you're lucky you'll figure this out around the time you figure out what typefaces really do.

hhp

quadibloc's picture

@Richard Fink:
Please check your facts.
All property rights are created by law. No laws, no property rights.

I have to admit this is more of a matter of opinion than of fact at this time.

However, it is a fact that governments do exist, and have existed, other than democratically-elected governments.

Thus, some governments have failed to respect basic human rights. They have done things that were cruel and unfair to innocent people. Both the Holocaust and Negro slavery are facts of history.

Thus, to make it intelligible that we can criticize governments from a moral point of view, it is necessary to adopt a view such as we see written in the Declaration of Independence: that it is inherently obvious that all human beings are equal in terms of their rights, these rights are not given to them by any government or human authority, but are either a logical consequence of their inherent nature, or, if endowed, are endowed by no less an authority than God Himself, and these rights cannot be bartered or sold, and they include the rights of life (including bodily integrity and security of person), freedom, and the ability to pursue one's goals in one's own way subject to respecting the rights of others (including the right to the property one has legitimately earned, freedom of religion, and so on).

For it is written, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".

JamesM's picture

> Both the Holocaust and Negro slavery are facts of history.

True, and in fact slavery was practiced throughout history all over the world — Greece, Rome, Europe, even in Africa. Prisoners of war were commonly made slaves, also debtors, criminal prisoners, and some who were just kidnapped.

It's hard to believe today, but this cruel practice was considered normal through much of history.

hrant's picture

In fact during a certain period in Ancient Rome slaves were cheaper than food, so they let them starve to death.

hhp

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