Strange Helvetica Rendering in Windows XP?

Syntax Error's picture

Hello Typophile, I've been looking for a problem for my Helvetica-attempts in integrating the font over the impostor, Arial.

I've been having some strange results; Helvetica looks fine in some cases, but in other cases, looks awkward. I mean this by strange pixel densities, character spacing, and just plain awkward-looking characters (r's too short, e's look awkward, etc).

Here's a sample picture of what I'm talking about:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v150/aznhomig/Strange.png

As the picture details, there are some sections (including the typed text I added myself in Helvetica, of course :)) that look fine, but other parts that don't. I mean this in often short characters, especially in "x"'s, "e"'s, and "r"'s and numbers that just doesn't match up.

I've heard that Windows XP just has bad font rendering when it comes to PostScript or OpenType, so I'm looking for any information regarding what I need to do to fix this. Perhaps I need to get myself a Helvetica font file in a different format? (Right now it's in TrueType, but I also have OpenType versions that also look awkward when I use them).

Any help would be appreciated! :D

dberlow's picture

" I’m looking for any information regarding what I need to do to fix this. "
You have several options:
1. you can go into the outline font and make the characters you want to be the same ht. in bitmaps ,exactly the same ht. in the outlines.
2. you can turn off all hinting when you generate your existing font, and take another look.
3. you can manually hint the existing font as it stands. Windows still respects y hints and this will fix it.

Cheers!

loremipsum's picture

Yes, it's hinting. If you want to avoid manual hinting of your existing files, get Helvetica Com OpenType font from Linotype which is optimized for best screen quality (an XSF, excellent screen font). Then switch to ClearType, instead of standard smoothing, in Windows XP.

www.linotype.com/12753/neuehelvetica55roman-font.html?#format

Syntax Error's picture

Thanks for the feedback, fellas. :)

@ dberlow: How would I go about turning off hinting on Windows XP or while I "generate" the font? How would I also go about manually hinting my existing Helvetica .ttfs as well?

@ loremipsum: Would your post mean I would have to buy Helvetica again? All of this is all very expensive, and perhaps you can tell me how to convert my current files in a manner that would not look strange on my screen? I have had ClearType on constantly, and turning it off doesn't do any good either.

dberlow's picture

"How would I go about turning off hinting on Windows XP or while I “generate” the font?
If you are using FontLab, you can go to the truetype specific hinting preferences in the font generation window and select, don't hint, whatever that is called...I'm not looking right now. You can also edit the "gasp" table which can tell MS apps what to do, including ignoring the hints, also in Fontlab, I think.

"How would I also go about manually hinting my existing Helvetica .ttfs as well?"
Learn the TT instruction language MS.com/typography, get Visual TrueType MS.com/typography, learn how to use it, and then hint the y direction of your font.

I have no idea how serious you are, but my general experience is that users seeking better screen output are more likely to deal succesfully by selecting another font.

Cheers!

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