[nc] Technical: Light/Medium/Regular/Bold, investigate /etc/fonts.d/ to map bold to next level up for each

Bug #673949 reported by Paul Sladen on 2010-11-11
14
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu Font Family
Medium
Paul Sladen

Bug Description

Ascension of the weights is Light→Regular→Medium→Bold.

Designers seem to prefer selecting one Typeface from a list, and then selecting between all the styles and weights offered within that. In this case two entries would be seen in the Font selection menu:

  1. Ubuntu (+ 9 choices)
  2. Ubuntu Mono (+ 4 choices)

Non-designers may wish to see a list that looks more like:

  1. Ubuntu (+4 choices)
  2. Ubuntu Condensed (+1 choice)
  3. Ubuntu Light (+ 4 choices)
  4. Ubuntu Medium (+ 4 choices)
  5. Ubuntu Mono (+4 choices)

In this case, the idea would be to have each of the lighter fonts "up weight" _two_ steps to the next-but-one in the family; applying bold weight to Light skips Regular and actually maps to Medium:

  Regular→Bold
  Regular Italic→Bold Italic
  Light→Medium
  Light Italic→Medium Italic

It should, hopefully be possible to effect this purely with a mappings file dropped into /etc/fonts/conf.d, rather than needing to mess with the actual files themselves in a way that might potentially upset designers later or at a stage when the basic font dialogues have been improved.

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye (moyogo) wrote :

> Non-designers may wish to see a list that looks more like:

What do you base this assumption on?
I don't see why a non-designer user wouldn't benefit from having all the styles in the same family.

Either way, the proposed families are already implemented in the OpenType 'name' table in the files.
Legacy applications/libraries can only handle 4 style variants (i.e. Regular, Bold, Italics and Bold Italics) and up-to-date applications/libraries can handle more style variants. It just seems weird to want the user to be stuck with the legacy behaviour.

See http://www.microsoft.com/typography/otspec/name.htm

Name ID 1 and 2 are for Family name, and Subfamily name (only the 4 style variants), what you refer to as non-designer's preference.
Name ID 16 is for Preferred Family name and ID 17 for Preferred Subfamily name, what you refer to as designer's preference.

Name ID 21 and 22 could also be used if there are more style variants (like Caption, Display or more fantasy like Stencil, etc.)

In 0.69, there are already name ID 1, 2, 16 and 17.

On 11/11/10 18:09, Denis Jacquerye wrote:
>> Non-designers may wish to see a list that looks more like:
> What do you base this assumption on?
> I don't see why a non-designer user wouldn't benefit from having all the styles in the same family.

High-end design apps tend to allow for the selection of a specific
weight, like Light or Medium, whereas most typical desktop apps just
know about "regular and bold". So arranging the fonts in such a way that
they show up as "Ubuntu" in the high end app, with custom weight
selection, and as "Ubuntu", "Ubuntu Light" etc in the normal
wordprocessor, sounds smart to me if it can be achieved in a
standardised way.

Mark

Denis: thank you for adding to this. This bug report is here because (as it stands) I am aware of a difference of opinion, in how the family name/subfamily name should be configured in the Light/Medium/Condensed cases. This bug report itself is a synopsis/paraphrasing of the situation (as I understand it), and I myself do have a clear answer or preference at the present time.

Hopefully input (such as yours) and the various parties contributing to this bug report will bring some clarity to the ideal outcome, and how it can be achieved.

On Thu, Nov 11, 2010 at 8:35 PM, Mark Shuttleworth <email address hidden> wrote:
> On 11/11/10 18:09, Denis Jacquerye wrote:
>>> Non-designers may wish to see a list that looks more like:
>> What do you base this assumption on?
>> I don't see why a non-designer user wouldn't benefit from having all the styles in the same family.
>
> High-end design apps tend to allow for the selection of a specific
> weight, like Light or Medium, whereas most typical desktop apps just
> know about "regular and bold". So arranging the fonts in such a way that
> they show up as "Ubuntu" in the high end app, with custom weight
> selection, and as "Ubuntu", "Ubuntu Light" etc in the normal
> wordprocessor, sounds smart to me if it can be achieved in a
> standardised way.
>
A possible set up would be:
Name ID 1=Ubuntu Light
Name ID 2=Regular
Name ID 16=Ubuntu
Name ID 17=Light
weight=300
width=100%

Name ID 1=Ubuntu Light
Name ID 2=Bold
Name ID 16=Ubuntu
Name ID 17=Medium
weight=500
width=100%

Name ID 1=Ubuntu Condensed
Name ID 2=Regular
Name ID 16=Ubuntu
Name ID 17=Condensed
weight=300
width=75%

As long as the fonts have proper legacy names (IDs 1, 2), preferred
names (IDs 16, 17), weight and width values, then it's a matter of how
each app choses to group fonts.
If some apps can't display or use some variants then it's really a bug
that needs fixing in those apps (width seems to be the most
problematic).

Denis

Our usual approach, unless the client asks for something different, is
to have the preferred names such that all the weights link sensibly in
design applications, and then have legacy names which link only the
basic four weights together, and the uprights/italics of others
together. For example:

Preferred Name -> Legacy Name
(FamilyName) Light -> (FamilyName Light) Regular
(FamilyName) Light Italic -> (FamilyName Light) Italic
(FamilyName) Regular -> (FamilyName) Regular
(FamilyName) Italic -> (FamilyName) Italic
(FamilyName) Medium -> (FamilyName Medium) Regular
(FamilyName) Medium Italic -> (FamilyName Medium) Italic
(FamilyName) Bold -> (FamilyName) Bold
(FamilyName) Bold Italic -> (FamilyName) Bold Italic

 From a logic point of view, it would be nice to have the Light and
Medium family-link in legacy applications too:

Preferred Name -> Legacy Name
(FamilyName) Light -> (FamilyName Light) Regular
(FamilyName) Light Italic -> (FamilyName Light) Italic
(FamilyName) Medium -> (FamilyName Light) Bold
(FamilyName) Medium Italic -> (FamilyName Light) Bold Italic

But from experience we can say that this confuses people greatly. They
installed a Medium weight, so expect to see a FamilyName Medium in their
font list - most don't even think to look for it as a "Light Bold".

We have in the past engineered duplicate fonts with different names at
the request of clients, so they get both a Medium and a Light Bold, but
this then creates problems for the preferred naming.

Dave

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye (moyogo) wrote :

On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 4:04 PM, David Marshall
<email address hidden> wrote:
> But from experience we can say that this confuses people greatly. They
> installed a Medium weight, so expect to see a FamilyName Medium in their
> font list - most don't even think to look for it as a "Light Bold".
>
> We have in the past engineered duplicate fonts with different names at
> the request of clients, so they get both a Medium and a Light Bold, but
> this then creates problems for the preferred naming.

It's probably easier for the users to find Medium in a family Ubuntu
Medium if the app is limited to legacy names (4 variants).

Applications that can handle preferred family names and weights should
use Regular when Light is bolded, and Bold when Regular or Medium are
bolded. So my earlier suggestion of having Medium as the "Light Bold"
would be inconsistent with that.

On the other hand having a Light and a Medium legacy family names,
would mean the user would get faux bold in apps only supporting legacy
names.
Which is why I think having all apps handling preferred names is the
way to go. But I guess it is why one would want to jump through loops
with fontconfig.

On 15/11/10 15:31, Denis Jacquerye wrote:
> Applications that can handle preferred family names and weights should
> use Regular when Light is bolded, and Bold when Regular or Medium are
> bolded.

Really? We've been testing it the other way entirely: Medium is "Light
Bold", and that seems to work well.

> Which is why I think having all apps handling preferred names is the
> way to go. But I guess it is why one would want to jump through loops
> with fontconfig.
We can't fix all the apps in one cycle, and we can't fix proprietary
apps, and we want the font widely used. So assuming a perfect app
landscape is not a good starting point for the plan of record :-)

Mark

[Sorry for duplicates forgot to reply to all]

On Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 6:19 PM, Mark Shuttleworth <email address hidden> wrote:
> On 15/11/10 15:31, Denis Jacquerye wrote:
>> Applications that can handle preferred family names and weights should
>> use Regular when Light is bolded, and Bold when Regular or Medium are
>> bolded.
>
> Really? We've been testing it the other way entirely: Medium is "Light
> Bold", and that seems to work well.

I meant when a "bold" button or keyboard shortcut is used, or if a
markup property 'font-weight="bolder"' is used.
In apps using legacy names (ID 1, 2) that should work.
But if using preferred names where they are all in the same big family
it's more problematic.
For example CSS2 specifies that bold should be the larger weight
(beyond 100). So Light (weight=300) will have Regular (weight=400) for
bold. CSS3 has some other scale in the works, but Light still has
Regular for bold.

>> Which is why I think having all apps handling preferred names is the
>> way to go. But I guess it is why one would want to jump through loops
>> with fontconfig.
> We can't fix all the apps in one cycle, and we can't fix proprietary
> apps, and we want the font widely used. So assuming a perfect app
> landscape is not a good starting point for the plan of record :-)

Then you probably don't want Condensed in the same preferred family as
the others.
With DejaVu, DejaVu Sans Condensed is just not available in apps like
the Gimp, but it is in Inkscape and others.
The Gimp just doesn't handle width variants for now, or we have a
problem in DejaVu that Inkscape, Gtk fontselector, etc. seem to
ignore.

Denis Moyogo Jacquerye (moyogo) wrote :

One application on Linux that still uses the legacy names (Name ID 1
and 2) for organizing fonts instead of preferred names (Name ID 16 and
17) is Opera (even 10.63). I'm not sure about other platforms, altough
in Windows Notepad should do.

You can go in Menu > Settings > Preferences > Web Pages > Choose a font.
You'll see large families like DejaVu Sans split into DejaVu Sans,
DejaVu Sans Condensed, and DejaVu Sans Light. Each of those families
is limited to 4 variants.

At DM we are close to releasing the first hinted versions of Light, Light Ita, Medium, Medium Ita. Unless I have missed it, is this naming issue still undecided?
Although these fonts will still be in beta (and have 'Beta' in the font name) it would be a good time to decide how they are to be style-grouped. I guess the final decision will ultimately be made by Mark?

Full Name Family Style Pref Family Pref Style
Ubuntu Light Ubuntu Light Regular Ubuntu Light
Ubuntu Light Italic Ubuntu Light Italic Ubuntu Light Italic
Ubuntu Medium Ubuntu Medium Regular Ubuntu Medium
Ubuntu Medium Italic Ubuntu Medium Italic Ubuntu Medium Italic

or

Ubuntu Light Ubuntu Light Regular Ubuntu Light
Ubuntu Light Italic Ubuntu Light Italic Ubuntu Light Italic
Ubuntu Medium Ubuntu Light Bold Ubuntu Medium
Ubuntu Medium Italic Ubuntu Light Bold Italic Ubuntu Medium Italic

Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2010-12-22
description: updated

OK, if I read this correctly, we should ship legacy family names of
"Ubuntu", "Ubuntu Light", "Ubuntu Medium", etc. (as is our usual
practice) with smarter apps using preferred names, and intelligent
linking for legacy apps being done through another mechanism?

Dave

Malcolm, I /think/:

  Fullname: Ubuntu Light, Ubuntu Medium, Ubuntu Light Italic, Ubuntu Medium Italic, Ubuntu Condensed

  Family: Ubuntu Light, Ubuntu Light. Ubuntu Light, Ubuntu Light, Ubuntu Condensed
  Style: Regular, Bold, Italic, Bold Italic, Regular

  Preferred Family: Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu
  Preferred Style: Light, Medium, Light Italic, Medium Italic, Condensed

If I understand correctly, this should mean that in the menus should appear:

  Traditional user/simple app: Ubuntu (x4), Ubuntu Light (x4), Ubuntu Mono (x4), Ubuntu Condensed (x1)
  Designer/advanced app: Ubuntu (x9), Ubuntu Mono (x4)

This would give us something to test and if it doesn't (I very much take David's comments in #5 on board) we can re-assess. The use-case for the above is that a user starts setting in Ubuntu, finds it a bit heavy and wants to ratchet back a notice, so selects-all and switches to "Ubuntu Light" and the bolds gets knocked down proportionally.

description: updated
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
milestone: 1.00 → light
Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

David: Initially legacy font names of only:

  Ubuntu
  Ubuntu Condensed
  Ubuntu Light
  Ubuntu Mono

Futuristic (preferred) font names of only:

  Ubuntu
  Ubuntu Mono

(to be tested in the wild and adjusted/refined if need be).

summary: - Technical: Light/Medium/Regular/Bold, investigate /etc/fonts.d/ to map
- bold to next level up for each
+ [nc] Technical: Light/Medium/Regular/Bold, investigate /etc/fonts.d/ to
+ map bold to next level up for each
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
importance: Undecided → Medium
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