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Good type feels good
January 31, 2005 8:42 AM   Subscribe

Thinking with Type The online companion to the book of the same name offers a nice little online primer on the finer points of typography, including my favourite new online game: Dumb Quotes. Remember kids: only you can prevent poor kerning.
posted by Robot Johnny (15 comments total)

 
And before anyone cries, "shill!" I'll assert that the site is unquestionably a nice, fun little resource despite it being a marketing tie-in.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:47 AM on January 31, 2005


I'm a typography geek, so I can dig it. I particularly enjoyed the demonstration of how letter stretching only occurs when "evil" hits it. (Didn't see the "Dumb Quotes" game, though. Where was it?)
posted by miss lynnster at 8:59 AM on January 31, 2005


Unfortunately because the site is flash, I couldn't link directly to any particular page. In the same "Crimes Against Typography" section as the evil stretching you mentioned -- look for the navigation up top.
posted by Robot Johnny at 9:03 AM on January 31, 2005


As someone who has learned to hate "Smart Quotes" because of the way they break so many things, I automatically started to play the "Dumb Quotes" game backwards. I couldn't figure out why I was losing so badly, at first.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:21 AM on January 31, 2005


Robot Johnny, very nice site!
posted by Hands of Manos at 9:23 AM on January 31, 2005


As someone who has learned to hate "Smart Quotes" because of the way they break so many things, I automatically started to play the "Dumb Quotes" game backwards. I couldn't figure out why I was losing so badly, at first.

What do they break besides URLs? Surely you're not writing code in Word. Outside of technical areas where characters are redefined, in regular written English you shouldn't be using hatch marks to replace quotes in the first place.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:43 AM on January 31, 2005


Bligh: One example off the top of my head: copying from Word into email also frequently causes ugly random characters to pop up. I know how to avoid that, but many of my correspondants sure don't. In fact, copying from Word into any program that's not made by Microsoft tends to cause the ugly.

If all you're going to do is print, then curly quotes are fine. If you're going to be working with text online where it will be passed through different types of readers, than there's one " key on the keyboard for a reason, and I'd just as soon have that appear when I press it rather than what some word processor thinks I meant to type.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:56 AM on January 31, 2005


Downconverting text with smart quotes to html can be a bit tricky as well. But that's a major problem with different text encodings.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2005


Everything I have handles them correctly. The ANSI/ASCII text editor I use, Notetab Pro, automatically converts them to hatches when the text is pasted. Adobe apps understand the extended charater set and keep them.

Firefox, too, understands them when pasted into this textbox: “Testing”. But we know that somewhere in this pipeline they're likely to get mangled and, anyway, even if not they won't render properly on many people's browsers. But everything should be using unicode. Failing that, the curly quotes should be converted into their html entities or character codes.

Tidy is a good tool to use to convert everything to character codes.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:18 AM on January 31, 2005


Textile is also handy for converting characters to their code equivalents. It also converts text-based markup to html (e.g. (*bold*,_emphasis_, ??citation??, etc.). It's web based, so there's nothing to download/install.
posted by ThePrawn at 11:28 AM on January 31, 2005


This is a neat enough, despite the font examples being anti-aliased for white and then displayed on brown, which is pretty criminal in its own right. What's the idea, there?
posted by cmyr at 12:41 PM on January 31, 2005


Yeah, RobotJohnny, it is a nice focused little site. It is worthwhile form/content. I shared this site with a number of colleagues when I first came across it.

It did its job as a marketing site, too, because I ordered the book, even though I hardly need another type book. Ellen Lupton rocks, and she should be encouraged to continue making this sort of thing.
posted by KS at 1:42 PM on January 31, 2005


Ah, sweet nostalgia for the demoroniser. Good times, good times.
posted by gimonca at 3:55 PM on January 31, 2005


Robot - It's frames not flash that's the problem.
http://www.papress.com/thinkingwithtype/resources/crimes_scale.htm

and... INTERSTATE is kerned terribly on this page: Good Fonts

Baskerville's kerning is a dog too. Couldn't resist.
posted by hypnorich at 7:35 PM on January 31, 2005


No one is as anal as a typography freak.
posted by HTuttle at 12:25 AM on February 1, 2005


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