Questions on hinting

anonymous's picture

In your experience as type designers, how important is the practice of hinting, especially for a PostScript or TrueType font intended for print applications?

Further, can you offer suggestions on good systematic ways to accomplish effective hinting?

The reason I ask is that I have noticed that some of my own fonts print perfectly well when I send them to a service bureau, but they can jump and bounce when I print them in small sizes on my 600 d.p.i. laser printer -- sometimes producing jarring results. I'd really like to solve this problem before I begin marketing them.

Any help, suggestions or references would be most appreciated!


hrant's picture

I'm no expert on hinting (I've just finished my first serious project with VTT), but hinting is very important for ensuring quality on medium-res output. By medium-res I mean like between 200 to 1000 dpi. As you say, in hi-res it's not important. Where I disagree with most hinting people is in the area of low-res (below ~200 dpi): I'm yet to be convinced that good old-fashioned bitmaps don't make more sense for text (if not display) at those resolutions. Basically, the only way to get good results at like 12-20 PPEM using hinting is to resort to delta hints, and that makes no sense at all. And then there's the area of grayscale rendering, and at that point delta hinting totally falls apart, in terms of cost-effectiveness.

So, to me, "global" hinting (like to make the stems of a lc "n" equal across the range of PPEM sizes) is very important (and it will be for another few years), but pixel-specific hinting (like for screen display) is just backwards.

BTW, take note that the auto-hinting in Fog4 is flawed.


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