Rendering Problem at Text Sizes

cubanica's picture

I've recently finished designing a three weight, sans serif typeface and I've run into a problem when printing at text sizes (10pt and below). My laser printer (HP 5MP) seems to add a little weight to some strokes, like lc "l" and "t", "e". It also does weird things like add weight to the "l" half of the "fl" ligature and to the second quote of the double quotes. It's a very subtle thing, but when you look at text, it affects the "color", giving it kind of a spotty texture.

I've been told that it might have something to do with hinting, but I'm not sure. I don't know much about hinting. I've tried printing other similar faces (VAG Rounded and DIN) to see if the same problem happens, and those faces seem to print fine.

My next step is to see if the same problem happens on my inkjet. I've also thought about getting a high-resolution match print.

I created the font in Fontlab as Type 1, which I've been told has very good hinting capabilities.

Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated.


as8's picture

I just know that hinting is for screen typography
and it is about "lots of bubbles" which reconstruct
the image of the letters on a certain size on screen.

William Berkson's picture

I'd like to know about this as well. I have an HP laserjet 2100 (1200 dpi). My problem was that at 12 pt the serifs were distorted and didn't print the same consistently - I could see this clearly with a magifying class. When I did Fontlab's automatic hinting and exported it as a type 1 font, this seemed to cure it. Exporting it earlier with automatic hinting and as a true type font didn't do the trick.

(I have read on these boards that hinting does affect laser printers at small type sizes, so the serif problem makes sense.)

But I still don't know how much distortion there is as compared to when it is properly hinted and/or printed offset.

William Berkson's picture

oops, duplicate

cubanica's picture

I will try looking into the automatic hinting function, and post my results.

William Berkson's picture

Pablo, you should probably post your question to the 'build' section, and you will get more in-depth answers.

malcolm's picture

Pablo, If you have a particularly light design, and your HP printer is printing at 600dpi in 10pt, your lowercase stems may be only 4 pixels wide. Without any hinting to hold the stems to consistent widths you may get some stems printing as 3 pixels or some as 5 pixels. This amount of difference of plus or minus 25% is going to be noticeable as you have seen.

Try using FontLabs

cubanica's picture

Wow, that's fantastic, I will try that!

cubanica's picture

So I went ahead and generated the auto-hinting. It definately helped, but it's still not perfect. There are still a few inconsistencies in small text size stroke widths. I imagine I would have to hint manually (ughhh) if I want it any better. Any further comments and/or responses would be appreciated.


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