(x) Not Rotis...

cchs's picture

I'm prepared to accpet ridicule for being stumped by this. I KNOW that I know it.

type sample

Thought it was Rotis, but not quite. Not quite Aroma either.

Anyone know?

And yes, I'll talk to them about the kerning.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Adobe Sans --- generic preview font

Miss Tiffany's picture

although it looks similar to news gothic in a few ways too. but, the trap on the v is what gives this away, amonth other things like the weird stroke irregularity.

cchs's picture

Hmmm... guess there that's why I've seen it before. What a dumbass.

Thanks

hrant's picture

> the trap on the v

What's really funny is that this crappy generic font has that great feature, but Adobe's only remaining resident designer, the great Slimbach, never puts traps in his work! Even the smallest, darkest sizes of Minion don't have any. In contrast, Miriad does have traps - I guess that was Twombly's doing - and maybe one reason they didn't get along... Even Twombly's earliest designs (like Mirarae) have wonderful traps.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

What are traps?

Inktraps. This term originally referred to those parts of a letter in which there was a tendency for ink to build up. Tight angles, such as the inside of the bottom of the letter v can be inktraps. The problem is exacerbated in some printing processes, by ink consistency, and also by the heaviness of coverage; it is particularly problematic in heavy types such as black sans serifs. Nowadays, the term is often used, as Tiffany and Hrant are using it, in reference to the technique used to correct letterforms to avoid this problem. This typically involves taking a nick out of the ink trap area to compensate for the build up of ink, or otherwise lightening that part of the letter, e.g. by tapering stems as in the v shown above.

Adobe Sans is a Multiple Master font that includes a weight axis from very light to extremely black. The inktrap correction becomes much more obvious as the weight increases.

hrant's picture

http://www.themicrofoundry.com/ss_trapping1.html

BTW, what's really interesting about traps is that they don't just counteract gain (which is often not pronounced enough to fret about), they also compensate for human optical strangeness (at small sizes).

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Look at that. Tiffany shoots her mouth off again and then John swoops in like Superman and cleans up the mess will an articulate and erudite answer.

If I'm not mistaken, this typeface along with Adobe Serif weren't ever designed to be actually used. Were they? In the same sense that I use Garamond. They are strictly replacement fonts, right? Especially in display sizes. I would assume anyway. At smaller sizes the trap in the v would compensate and actually make the v look visually correct. At least that is how I understand it.

cchs's picture

Okay, so, in addition to being more than a little drunk, I am now also officially ashamed of myself. Adobe Sans?? Did I really ask for that to be identified? Shoot me now and give HRant all my type books, including About Face, my newest purchase and my new #1 fav. Practically bedtime reading.

Bald Condensed's picture

Anyone interested in showings of Adobe Sans and Serif gets my accompanying rant for free in this thread.

And I stumbled onto a Type ID where Cheshiredave foiled Stephen, I kid you not!

Bald Condensed's picture

Tiffany, 3 minutes! You get ranked up there with Stephen and Cheshiredave.

cheshiredave's picture

Sometimes masters make mistakes intentionally just to see whether their students are paying close enough attention. Such a moment is a classic scene in The Chosen, by Chaim Potok, and Steven Spielberg has said he sometimes engages in such misdirection with his children, so that they learn to challenge him. Coles, of course, will deny employing such a method; it is in this way that we know his munificence as a teacher.

Bald Condensed's picture

You're cool, Stephen. ;)

BTW Tiffany, the link to my rant was actually meant for you, as most of the answers to your question "...weren't ever designed to be actually used. Were they?" are in there.

In a way.

Somewhere.

Burried beneath the shouting and the cursing.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Yves. Thanks. I remember reading that and laughing. Sounds like your level of angst toward those two faces matches mine of incorrect apostrophes and quote marks.

:^)

Bald Condensed's picture

I'm glad my obsessive compulsive disorder is of some use to somebody...

hrant's picture

BC could get away with that because it was designed for that exact use. In fact when it's used these days in phone books with better paper, the traps show! And for some reason the traps in Retina* are a bit too pronounced even for its specific target use. As for general use, it's a tricky balance how large to make traps, and when not to put them in at all.

BTW, the grand master of trapping is Mandel**. On the other hand, I'm working on an expose of de Macchi's "Nomina", and it's totally out of this galaxy.

* http://www.typophile.com/forums/messages/30/1083.html

** http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/mandel.gif

hhp

Isaac's picture

the glaring notches in meta show up when it's used for display,
which is ugly if you ask me. not that it's inherently ugly, just
that it was meant for small sizes on poor quality paper. i don't
understand why dodge and a few other car companies have
been using it for their ads. here's another example of ink traps:
not very pretty, but you can't see the trap at 7 points on newsprint.
it remains extremely readable though.
meta.gif

hrant's picture

I think that trap is gentle enough that laymen don't notice it, so it's OK. In fact I think it could be slightly bigger.

hhp

hrant's picture

The trap is the deformation at the inside-bottom of the "v" part. That's exactly where ink gain would gather most.

It's there at all sizes because there's only one outline file! That's one reason an optical MM axis is so nice: you can vary trap size (among other things).

hhp

karen's picture

I still don't get it.

Inktraps: Where?

So which is it? Green arrow or red arrow?

John Hudson's picture

The green arrow. If you look closely, you'll see that the descending insides of the v-shape curve slightly here, creating extra space between the two than there would be if they continued straight.

If you think traps are fun, wait 'til you find out about nicks.

hrant's picture

You could say that that overly sharp corner on the tail is in fact a nick*. In the photo days they used to make really explicit ones - which made letterforms look like miniature devils! And actually if you look at the initial sketches of Meta (which can be seen in David Earls's new book), you'll see very sharp nicks all over. Even Optima can be said to have subtle nicks (although Optima Next has had them all shorn off).

* BTW, I prefer the term "thorn".

hhp

bieler's picture

Bit confused about the nick term.

The larger-sized metal version of Sistina (the Palatino titling), 72-point, had visible "nicks" cast into and along the physical "outline." The smaller sizes don't exhibit the feature. I'd always assumed these were ink "drains" rather than ink traps.

Different animal?

Why would they make nicks in the photo days?

karen's picture

I hate to ask, but what is a nick? These terms don't exactly turn up well on Google.

kentlew's picture

>Why would they make nicks in the photo days?

Gerald, nicks were used in photofilm for essentially the same reason that "ink traps" were used in metal, only in reverse. If you project light through an open shape with an acute angle, the light will tend to make the corner round. My recollection of physics and optics is a little fuzzy, but I think the phenomenon is called "diffraction" (or is it "diffusion"?). This is basically the same principle that causes dappled light filtered through trees to appear as round, circular projections on the ground, even though the openings between leaves are random polygonal shapes. I believe the degree of rounding varies depending upon the thickness of the film substrate.

You can try this experiment: Take a piece of card stock (a 3x5 index card works well) and cut a square opening in it, say half and inch or so. Place the card on a piece of paper and shine a desk lamp directly over it. Now, lift the edge of the card just slightly so that you can peek under and see the projected square of light on the paper. You'll notice that the corners of the projected square are not sharp. The closer the card is to the paper the sharper the image, but there will still be slight rounding in the corners. Nicks were used to compensate for this rounding.

Karen, a "nick" -- Hrant's "thorn" is a little more descriptive -- is where an outside corner is exaggerated in its sharpness. It's basically the negative image of the "trap" discussed above.

I hope that's clear.

-- K.

hrant's picture

> Bit confused about the nick term.

Exactly. Use "thorn" instead, it's ten times better.
Oh, and what Kent said.

BTW, thorns are not as obscure in digital as one might think. This morning I was looking at Nick Shinn's catalog, and some of his work has subtle thorns. The physical and optical loss of sharpness at smaller sizes makes them eternally useful.

hhp

Bald Condensed's picture

I don't know if I'm gonna get shot at for admitting this, but I already surviced confessing I didn't like Zapf's work, so I guess I'll push my luck.

I quite like the integration of ink traps as an artistic statement in some contemporary typefaces. The inner shapes in some charaters of Citizen, thought they have nothing to do with ink traps, remind a bit of them, and a recent type family which uses them to great effect and which I'm absolutely smitten with is of course Eunuverse.

Isaac's picture

eunuverse is a great example of allowing function
to have nice form. way to go barry! meta, on the
other hand, has high performance thorns, or ink
drains i think someone called them, but when it's
used for headlines, etc, it turns into a different
beast. not so pretty.

(hey, i'm regular! i guess the metamucil has been working.)

i have to admit, i was refering to the thorn in the
meta y i posted as a trap. thanks for the education.

hrant's picture

Yves, one person who's been getting serious about using traps aesthetically is Christian Shwartz.

> thorns, or ink drains

No, you were right! Karen's green arrow is a trap. A thorn is a protrusion from the letterform (much more rare).

hhp

Isaac's picture

good, i feel better. this whole discussion has got my interest up.

karen's picture

I did something so that it would be even clearer to newbies like me.

Ink Trap 2

The traps ARE really subtle. I would never have noticed them.

bieler's picture

Karen

Great minds must think alike. dfTYPE once provided a PDF of their ink traps on Rialto Pressa

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PPLetterpress/files/How-to/

and they did the very same thing.

Bald Condensed's picture

Isaac, you got promoted to Regular because you crossed the 100-posts mark. Congrats! Feels good, innit? ;)

Gerald, the dfTYPE PDF is perfect didactic material. Great stuff!

Hrant, I admit I'll have to take a closer look at Mr. Schwartz' work. I really do like what he does though: tFB's Pennsylvania and Emigre's Los Feliz spring to mind, but he did so many good types it's getting difficult to keep track of his work.
BTW last week I received the House Industries Catalogue No. 31 which extensively shows the Neutraface collection and it's a beauty to behold. I must say I wasn't really impressed when I first saw it online. Seeing it in print in extensive text settings completely reconciled me with considering using a Futura-like geometric sans as a text face though. Gorgeous work.

anonymous's picture

What are traps?

Stephen Coles's picture

Very wise, Cheshire-san.

Under breath: I'm unworthy of all your flattery, boys.

Jared Benson's picture

The most obvious example of compensating for ink
traps is Bell Centennial. Someone will elaborate I'm
sure, but Bell Centennial was built for very small
sizes in phone books with coarse (newsprint-like)
paper.

Bell Centennial Bold Listing
Bell Centennial Bold Listing

I like Spiekermann's approach to Meta, where it's
built for small sizes but there are no glaring notches.

anonymous's picture

I don't see the trap on the Y? Is it the little nip near the bottom? Surely ink doesn't gather there even without the gap?

Officina has it too. But I never thought it was anything other than the design of the font. I shows up at all sizes doesn't it?

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