[3 mod] Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too small/difficult to see at 16 PPEM

Bug #861062 reported by Gary Poster on 2011-09-28
14
This bug affects 2 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu Font Family
High
Shiraaz Gabru

Bug Description

The mono font looks nice, but the small size of the punctuation (I noticed it with colon, period and semicolon) make it difficult to see. I'm using 12pt mono in Emacs, and a colon in particular is two very small pixels that are very hard to distinguish particularly when they are at the beginning of a line adjacent to whitespace. I find Inconsolata's punctuation weight to be much easier to notice.

Thank you

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Gary: please can you screenshot showing exactly what you're seeing on your screen. Please could you paste the two magic characters '' and '' on the same line before taking the screenshot. These give information about the version number and hinting configuration.

Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
status: New → Incomplete
summary: - mono colon, semicolon and period difficult to see
+ Mono: colon, semicolon and period difficult to see

Here it is Paul. Thanks for taking a look.

Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-09-28
summary: - Mono: colon, semicolon and period difficult to see
+ Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period too small/difficult to see at
+ 16 PPEM
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
milestone: none → 0.81
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-09-29
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
milestone: 0.82 → 0.81
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-10-02
summary: - Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period too small/difficult to see at
+ Mono: Hinting: colon, semicolon and period too small/difficult to see at
16 PPEM
Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-10-02
summary: - Mono: Hinting: colon, semicolon and period too small/difficult to see at
- 16 PPEM
+ Mono: Hinting: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too
+ small/difficult to see at 16 PPEM

Thank you for your screenshot Gary. It's interesting that you mention Inconsolata (which has the same metrics). The following screenshot is quite revealing. It shows the hinted bitmap for Ubuntu Mono, and the auto-hinted (I believe) bitmap for Inconsolata, along with the antialiased full outline forms below.

From this comparison it's notable to see that although Ubuntu Mono is heavier than Inconsolata, there are far few pixels being allocated for the baseline punctuation in the hinted form. Here are the pixel counts:

  Letter Form ; . , ' "
  Ubuntu Mono 4 1 3 4 8
  Inconsolata 8 3 5 4 9

I think it would be a good idea to bump the hinting of '.' full-stop up to at least the three-pixel triangular arrangement. Sloping in that direction it won't be mixed up with ',' comma. For the comma it would seem prudent to try and adopt the same/similar hinted form too that shows the typewriter serif hook.

Paul Sladen (sladen) wrote :

Ubuntu Mono and Inconsolata punctuation: 16 PPEM black-and-white hinting vs. 64 antialiased grayscale outline.

Gary Poster (gary) wrote :

That is interesting. The triangular arrangement looks good for black and white. I don't quite understand why the antialiased text in my emacs window is affected by this, but I don't really need to as long as you are confident of the connection.

Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-10-04
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
status: Incomplete → Triaged
importance: Undecided → High
assignee: nobody → Shiraaz Gabru (shiraaz)
Marius Gedminas (mgedmin) wrote :

For the record, this also affects 17 PPEM (I'm assuming that's what the magical  debug character shows), see screenshot.

Paul Sladen (sladen) on 2011-11-24
summary: - Mono: Hinting: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too
+ Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too
small/difficult to see at 16 PPEM
Shiraaz Gabru (shiraaz) on 2011-11-27
Changed in ubuntu-font-family:
milestone: 0.81 → 0.9x-hinting
summary: - Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too
+ [3 mod] Hinting: Mono: colon, semicolon and period undersized and too
small/difficult to see at 16 PPEM
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