Alinea Sans: weirdly spaced numerals

IceHand's picture

A while back I bought Alinea Sans (Présence Typo) and am quite happy with it. But one thing irritates me: the weirdly spaced numerals.

I mean the spacing isn't supposed to like this, is it?

For comparison this is what the Monotype version of Alinea Sans looks like (which I didn't buy):

Any idea how to fix the spacing? (I use LaTeX and typography is only a hobby of mine.)

Trevor Baum's picture

Those are two different styles of numerals. The first is tabular figures, which are mono-spaced, and designed for accounting/spreadsheet purposes.

The second is called lining figures, which are an update on old-style figures, and are proportionally spaced.

IceHand's picture

Yeah ok, I get that. But why are tabular figures the default in Alinea Sans? I've looked through the font with FontForge and there are no lining figures available. Why not? I can't imagine the primary purpose of Alinea Sans being accounting/spreadsheet.

Nick Shinn's picture

@ Trevor: … lining figures, which are an update on old-style figures, and are proportionally spaced. …

Actually, lining figures may be have either proportional or tabular (monowidth) widths. So may oldstyle (lower case) figures.

Tabular figures have traditionally been the default figures, and many foundries still follow this practice. One reason is that many applications do not support OpenType figure alternates, in which case tabular figures have a lesser chance of "failure", as they will not fail quite so catastrophically in a situation where proportional figures would be better, as proportional figures will fail when tabular figures are called for.

I don't know what the overall default situation is for OpenType fonts with multiple figure styles, but in my recent OpenType fonts I've made the default proportional, unless the figure style is particularly suited to being tabular (e.g. in the Modern Suite, a 19th century revival).

I don't know LaTeX, but would imagine there is some clever way to solve your problem by custom kerning.

IceHand's picture

I feared as much. I'll do some manual kerning then. Thanks for the replies!

kentlew's picture

Why don't you just contact Thierry and ask if you can get a version of the font with proportional lining figures as default?

IceHand's picture

Hm, I have a hard time finding contact information. Présence Typo's internet address is no longer working. Maybe I should contact MyFonts? (That's where I bought the fonts.)

kentlew's picture

Yes, I would contact MyFonts and see if they can help you get in touch with Thierry. (They gotta send his checks somewhere, right?)

This page does list a phone number:

Do you speak French? ;-)

IceHand's picture

Heh, no, unfortunately not. I contacted MyFonts, maybe they can help.

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