Tracking

aku_ankkuli's picture

If a typeface designed for 10 pt size is used at 12,5 pt size, the correct tracking setting in Indesign is -25. Could this be right?

seanglenn's picture

That doesn't sound right to me. I would think that the tracking wouldn't need to change that much for such a small size increase. Generally, unless I move from text size to headline/subhead size, I do not decrease the tracking at all.

However, below 8pt, I usually add a little, to open it up a bit.

hrant's picture

> Could this be right?

Yes, but:
1) Minus 25 seems like too much.
2) If you're using InDesign you might as well turn on its optical spacing (at least for "non-intended" sizes), which is nicely size-aware.

hhp

aku_ankkuli's picture

Thanks.

polypica's picture

Questions:
Leaving out Founder's Caslon and the Fell types, how do you know what is the intended size for the face?

Doesn't turning on 'Optical Sizing' in InDesign turn off all those laboriously kerned pairs.

John

hrant's picture

I guess you never really know Intent... And the type's designer might even not! Or he could be off. So it might be better to consider something like "optimal" size for a given font. Which would however depend on other things too, like line length...

You could get a grasp of a font's optimal size "deterministically", by actually setting a paragraph at different sizes and deciding which looks best; or you could do it "mathematically", by looking at the glyphs: their proportions, color, spacing, etc. The former method is more subjective, the latter more prone to being way off. The good news is that a font will work well at more than just one single point size, so you're really just looking for a ballpark number.

And yes, InDesign's optical spacing over-rides all -or almost all- the designer's spacing decisions. But I've found that its results end up better almost all the time. Don't use it on fonts by Carter for example (unless you're deviating greatly from the ideal size range), but do use it on your average digital font.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

I wouldn't recommend using "optical spacing" on traditional serifed faces. It upsets their rhythm.

It's much better with sans serifs.

aku_ankkuli's picture

I was experimenting with FF Clifford Nine, and I assumed that it is intended for 9 pt size. I ended up (?) with the following setup: Clifford Eighteen (intended for big sizes) in 12 on 15 pt size and Plus 10 tracking. Optical scaling looked looked awful. I returned quickly back to metric scaling.

By the way, does anyone know a good Jannon typeface which is somewhat heavier than Monotype Garamond? Not Abobe Garamond.

John Nolan's picture

"By the way, does anyone know a good Jannon typeface which is somewhat heavier than Monotype Garamond?"

Storm's Jannon is good.

Nick Shinn's picture

>how do you know what is the intended size for the face?

When a foundry indicates, by the name of a typeface, a specific size which it will look good at, the typographer should approach that as a "ball-park" suggestion, ie with a lot of leeway, open to personal interpretation, and dependent on the particular circumstances of the job it will be used for.

If I am producing size-adapted variants in a typeface, I'll distinguish them by broadly descriptive names such as Headline or Fine.

The biggest difficulty for the typographer is, as Aku has noticed, at the intermediate size between display sizes and basic text, ie 12-18 ish, and there you really have to experiment and use your powers of discrimination to figure out the best setting.

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