CSS3 Fonts Module briefing/dialogue pre-TypeCon

John Hudson's picture

John Daggett from Mozilla, who is the editor of the CSS3 Fonts Module, will be in Los Angeles for a few days preceding this year's TypeCon conference. I'm working with John and the TypeCon organisers to hold a briefing/dialogue session on web typography in CSS3 on Wednesday 18 August, at the conference venue in LA.

The purpose of this session is for John to explain the new typographic features in CSS3 — including access to a large number of OpenType Layout features — and to get feedback from font developers and from typographically aware web designers. This is a good opportunity for members of the type community to help improve the CSS3 Fonts Module standard. Previous criticisms of the draft standard from font developers have noted that the terminology used in the specification differs from that commonly used by type designers and typographers, and hence is confusing, so one thing that could be achieved at this session is review of that terminology. As other browser makers will be present in LA for the preceding W3C Web Fonts Working Group meeting, there may also be an opportunity to discuss CSS3 implementations

I'm currently thinking in terms of a half-day session, most likely in the afternoon, but this plan has not been finalised. In order to determine logistics for this event, the TypeCon organisers need to get a sense of how many people to expect. If you are interested in attending this session, please indicate so in this thread or, if you prefer, contact me at tiro[at]tiro[dot]com.

Please note: this session is not for discussion of web font formats or licensing. There will be at least one session devoted to web fonts during the main conference programme. This session is focused on CSS3 typography.

Please also note that this session will take place at the same time as some of the pre-conference workshops. Please be aware of a possible conflict if you have signed up for a workshop or are planning to.

The intention is for this session to be free, but for planning purposes we really do need to know in advance if you are planning to attend.

Si_Daniels's picture

I'll point them over here.

paul.irish's picture

I'll come down on Wednesday to join the fun. :)
Looking forward to it.

k.l.'s picture

Unfortunately no TypeCon/ATypI for me, as curious as I am to see type on Kindle.

sii -- hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting

Interesting. I am curious for details too.
As regards the hand-built, custom fonts and font-hinting, I assume that PDFs which come with their own fonts are a another story though.
(Hand-built is lovely. I don't know of any font that is not hand-built.)  :)

hrant's picture

> PDFs which come with their own fonts are a another story though.

Well, any type that can be rendered at a predictable PPEM can be "hand-made" (more below) and Kindle has a -very useful- "Actual Size" zoom level, so...

> I don't know of any font that is not hand-built.

Of course you're right, but the fact that an outline is only ever merely a "request", with software deciding what bitmap the viewer actually sees... It is only when you directly control the pixels* that what the viewer sees is truly hand-made.

* At least to their maximum technical potential - nobody is going to be able to design for the organic blobs that make up a Kindle screen deep down.


Thomas Phinney's picture

@KL: The Kindle renders the embedded fonts in PDFs at the appropriate size, yes.

@Hrant: I am pretty sure they did not do the new fonts in-house.



Christopher Slye's picture

I think this was a great success. Thanks to Johns D and H for the time and effort they put into it. I'm sure it was a bit deep into the weeds for some, but it was great to have everyone in the same room to discuss it.

k.l.'s picture

Will there be a summary (in case that the discussion has lead to anything new)?

jdaggett's picture

I've posted the slides from Wednesday's CSS3 Fonts discussion at Typecon. Dave Crossland also posted a nice summary with commentary on his blog. Others with comments and/or feedback are welcome to send me mail directly, there's a link to my email listed on the spec.

Many thanks again for Christopher Slye and John Hudson for helping set this up.

k.l.'s picture

Many thanks!

dberlow's picture

I too would like thank the John D & H for putting this session together, and Dave for taking such copious notes. Have a great rest-o-'con and by the time everyone gets back to their own desks, I'll still be at mine, addressing the pop-corning issues we have discovered by actually doing it.


Si_Daniels's picture

Closing the loop the Kindle. From Monotype Imaging's most recent earnings call...

“We continue to be encouraged by the opportunities we see in e-book readers. As the importance of easy to read text continues to be endorsed. Last month, Consumer Report gave its top rating to the Amazon Kindle, which uses our font solution. Readability was a key factor in the evaluation with the Kindle being recognized for its crisp readable text.”

MTI confirmed that they've not made any additional technical details public at this time.

Cheers, Si

hrant's picture

Thanks Simon.


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