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View Full Version : ClearType font collection, 20 bucks!


ktinkel
09-16-2005, 02:52 PM
Windows users with a hankering for exceptional fonts for a song can download the Creativity Font Pack (http://www.ascendercorp.com/CreativityFontPack/fontlistings.html), a collection of 30 OpenType font families (“tuned for ClearType”) from Ascender for $19.99.

What really caught my eye was the quality of some of the fonts in this collection. It includes one of the most significant sans serif families of recent times (1988), four styles of Today Sans by Wolker Küster. This is one of my favorite typefaces, and it alone makes this package worth having. (It would be even better if it included the Display set and the small caps for both, but what can we expect for $20? You may be able to purchase those from Elsner & Flake; they are certainly part of my old Scangraphic Type 1 package. You can see the @ sign from that set in my current avatar.)

If you are not familiar with Today Sans (which was the unfortunate victim of poor timing and Scangraphic’s faltering entry into the desktop digital font business), Albert-Jan Pool wrote a short essay about it in Types Best Remembered.

Others in the collection include Skyline Bold Condensed (Font Bureau), Coquette script (Mark Simonson), four weights of Columbus (Monotype), the classical script Brody (ATF/Elsner & Flake), Briem Operina, a lovely script based on Arrighi’s famous writing manual (Gunnlauger SE Briem), and 17 more.

The Creativity Font Pack also includes a set of 40-plus customizable templates for Microsoft Word.

If you have Windows (this is a downloadable 4MB .exe file) and $20, this should be an exceptional deal.

Shane Stanley
09-17-2005, 05:07 AM
Windows users with a hankering for exceptional fonts for a song can download the Creativity Font Pack (http://www.ascendercorp.com/CreativityFontPack/fontlistings.html), a collection of 30 OpenType font families (“tuned for ClearType”) from Ascender for $19.99.

If they're OpenType, they're surely also usable on Macs, the .exe packaging notwithstanding.

Shane

ktinkel
09-17-2005, 06:44 AM
If they're OpenType, they're surely also usable on Macs, the .exe packaging notwithstanding.The fonts should be usable (i.e., installable and recognized). But Macs do not have ClearType and the optimization may make the type unappealing to look at or print (do not actually know much about that, despite my reading of the Microsoft information brochure — it doesn’t say much about non-ClearType environments).

As for the .exe, I have never found a way to open those. It is more than just another archive wrapper, I think.

Michael Rowley
09-17-2005, 08:56 AM
KT:

it doesn’t say much about non-ClearType environments

Windows users that have only CRT monitors are told (if they ask) that there's not much, if any, improvement to be gained by ClearType. On the other hand, there's nothing to lose. But the point is mainly that the pack is a bargain at $20, since it does contain nice fonts (Columbus, for example).

I wonder if Stuffit can deal with EXE files for Mac users? The file is presumably only a self-openable compressed file.

ktinkel
09-17-2005, 01:42 PM
Windows users that have only CRT monitors are told (if they ask) that there's not much, if any, improvement to be gained by ClearType. On the other hand, there's nothing to lose.That’s good to know. What about LCD monitors?

I wonder if Stuffit can deal with EXE files for Mac users? The file is presumably only a self-openable compressed file.No. As far as I know, an .exe file is a Windows program (thus executable). A Windows compressed archive is typically .zip, and Macs open those easily.

Michael Rowley
09-17-2005, 02:52 PM
KT:

What about LCD monitors?

LCD monitors are what ClearType etc. is for: to improve the appearance of fonts on LCD monitors. It shouldn't affect the way fonts print.

an .exe file is a Windows program

Not really: it was a DOS file (I don't know about Unix). But a self-extractable file is a ZIP file that doesn't need another program (PKUnzip, for instance) to extract the contents. If Stuffit will extract ZIP files in the Mac OS, it might work with that sort of EXE file, since the only thing that is executed is self-extraction. You might look at the what the latest Stuffit (v. 9?) version does.

ktinkel
09-17-2005, 06:18 PM
LCD monitors are what ClearType etc. is for: to improve the appearance of fonts on LCD monitors. It shouldn't affect the way fonts print.I understand (from a Microsoft representative) that it requires software on the computer, not available for the Mac. ClearType optimization will either have no effect or a deleterious one.

Not really: it [.exe] was a DOS file (I don't know about Unix).… You might look at the what the latest Stuffit (v. 9?) version does.I have Stuffit Deluxe 9.0.1, and do not believe it can deal with a Windows .exe file.

Shane Stanley
09-18-2005, 04:21 AM
But Macs do not have ClearType and the optimization may make the type unappealing to look at or print

My guess is that if ClearType is not there, it's just ignored. No big deal, especially as these seem to be more display faces anyway.

Shane

ktinkel
09-18-2005, 06:42 AM
My guess is that if ClearType is not there, it's just ignored. No big deal, especially as these seem to be more display faces anyway.But the valuable portion of the collection are Today Sans and Columbus, both text families.

fhaber
09-18-2005, 07:20 AM
Although I'm an ignoramus on the cross-platform usability of OpenType, and can only guess at how a "Designed for ClearType" family will display on a Mac screen, I can offer this.

o Printing should be unaffected by ClearType hinting, however that works.

o The .exe may contain an installer, designed to place the fonts, font manager, and tips software in the proper places and register them (with Windows). The font files may not be accessible as such until installed.

o The licensing seems very liberal. You can put the fonts on a server. You're licensed for two machines (vs. five for a full-priced family). See attached (which itself is an attempt to upload to the board a Windows WordPad .rtf renamed to .doc. It's in Chmn. Gates' best vanilla Times NR, and should tweak absolutely no one's screenfont processing. Lemme know.)

ktinkel
09-18-2005, 08:12 AM
o Printing should be unaffected by ClearType hinting, however that works.

o The .exe may contain an installer, designed to place the fonts, font manager, and tips software in the proper places and register them (with Windows). The font files may not be accessible as such until installed.It does include an installer, and how/whether the fonts would work if installed in our normal (casual) way is a good question.

I have pals at Ascender, and I think I’ll ask them these questions.

See attached (which itself is an attempt to upload to the board a Windows WordPad .rtf renamed to .doc. It's in Chmn. Gates' best vanilla Times NR, and should tweak absolutely no one's screenfont processing. Lemme know.)Probably would cause no problems, but Firefox will not let me change the app to Preview (that is, it seems to, then tries to find Word). So no problem with your file, but Firefox 1.4 beta is flexing muscles I didn’t know it had!

Stephen Owades
09-18-2005, 08:20 AM
I bit the bullet and bought this font collection, and can thus answer some of the questions that have come up in this thread.

It is possible for an exe to be a zip-compressed archive with a small decompressing program stuck on the front, similarly to a "self-extracting" StuffIt archive on the Mac side. Many unzipping utilities can find the embedded zip archive in such an exe and extract the contents therefrom, and I suspect that StuffIt can do this (possibly with a bit of trickery, like renaming the file with a ".zip" extension).

Unfortunately, this exe file doesn't fit that mold. It is a Windows installer program, which extracts and copies the OpenType fonts to the Windows font folder and also installs some additional materials in its own folder--see http://www.ascendercorp.com/creativityfontpack.html for a description. So you wouldn't be able easily to extract the fonts from this package on your Mac, I fear.

As for ClearType optimization, it's just another aspect of TrueType hinting. Since ClearType is not dissimilar to the scheme that Adobe uses in its display engine (for Acrobat, InDesign, etc.), the same hinting approach should be good for Mac users. And to the extent that it isn't, it'll be irrelevant or ignored. I wouldn't avoid buying these fonts for Mac use on that basis.

If you want to buy the font collection, you could order and download it and I can then send you the font files in a form you can read. I don't think that would be violating the terms of the license.

Michael Rowley
09-18-2005, 08:32 AM
KT:

I have Stuffit Deluxe 9.0.1, and do not believe it can deal with a Windows .exe file

Stuffit Expander (for the Mac) will deal with EXE files. That's what they claim, and I can't check it, but the claim is on an Apple site.

You can try out ClearType somewhere on Microsoft's typography site. I don't think it's effects are necesarily deleterious, even for LCD monitors fed by a Mac OS, but it's a case of suck it and see.

Michael Rowley
09-18-2005, 08:48 AM
Stephen:

I can then send you the font files in a form you can read

That's a generous offer, but anyone's next-door neighbour is more likely to have Windows than a Mac. The installer probably looks for Word too, and if it finds it then proceeds to put the templates in the appropriate place for Win Word, but perhaps not for Mac Word.

I wouldn't want the TTF files in the usual Windows place either, because there they remain activated all the time.

ktinkel
09-18-2005, 08:50 AM
[this .exe file] is a Windows installer program, which extracts and copies the OpenType fonts to the Windows font folder and also installs some additional materials in its own folder--see http://www.ascendercorp.com/creativityfontpack.html for a description. So you wouldn't be able easily to extract the fonts from this package on your Mac, I fear.Thanks — that’s how I read it.

If you want to buy the font collection, you could order and download it and I can then send you the font files in a form you can read. I don't think that would be violating the terms of the license.Thanks. Except for curiosity about the ClearType aspects (which will not make any difference to me), I already own virtually all of the fonts. But I figured a Mac user could buy the package then ask a Windows friend to extract the fonts (and, I suppose, assuming they are wanted, even the Word template files).

A type designer friend is grumpy about this deal — believes it will have the effect of further depressing font prices. I am not so sure, especially as it is focused on Word and aimed at Windows business users, most of whom would be unlikely to buy fonts costing $20 to $35 per weight in any event. (One could say that Adobe’s bundling of extensive OT families is more likely to damage font pricing — it ships to designers and others who are logical buyers of fonts.)

In any event, many of these fonts are of commercial/professional calibre, and a very good deal for those who can use them. Selfishly, I would love to see more Today Sans, less Arial used in all walks of life (and more Columbus, less Times would be okay too). So if this accomplishes that, even if only in a small way, I wish all Windows users would rush right over and buy the package! And I think they should make the same fonts available to Mac business users.

fhaber
09-18-2005, 09:11 AM
For Mac users, some background:

The benefits of ClearType are dubious to some. Its intent is to reduce displayed jaggies at the expense of some fuzziness - produced by CT's tricolor antialiasing. Neither applicable nor desirable on CRT screens, of course.

I like it sometimes, on some screens. I generally like less than the default, and there's a "tuner" control panel app somewhere on Microsoft - Win only, of course - that lets you play.

There are those who say CT, uh, builds on some earlier Apple and IBM research.

ktinkel
09-18-2005, 09:20 AM
The benefits of ClearType are dubious to some. Its intent is to reduce displayed jaggies at the expense of some fuzziness - produced by CT's tricolor antialiasing. Neither applicable nor desirable on CRT screens, of course.

I like it sometimes, on some screens. I generally like less than the default, and there's a "tuner" control panel app somewhere on Microsoft - Win only, of course - that lets you play.

There are those who say CT, uh, builds on some earlier Apple and IBM research.Steve Gibson, among them, I believe.

Michael Rowley
09-18-2005, 01:36 PM
Stephen:

Unfortunately, this exe file doesn't fit that mold. It is a Windows installer program, which extracts and copies the OpenType fonts to the Windows font folder and also installs some additional materials in its own folder

I've also installed the fonts, and although the fonts are put in the Windows font folder (i.e. 'installed' on a computer running Windows), they're also sitting there in C:\Program files\Ascender\Help folder\fonts.

I've installed the fonts with ATM Deluxe too, but because I had some of them already, presumably not ClearType fonts, I used 'New for old'.

Ascender gives some inaccurate and misleading information: you do not have to open a zip file, for none of the zip-extraction programs is invoked. Ascender also opens an extremely awkward Readme file in rtf, which of course requires something to open it (e.g. Word); when Word finally appears, you see that the Readme is not even one whole page, as badly formatted as ever I've seen.

A Mac program can open the exe file (e.g. with Stuffit Expander), but what happens after that on a Mac i don't know: is there any Mac user that wants to offer $20 in the cause of science?

Stephen Owades
09-18-2005, 04:34 PM
Today Sans looks like a cross between Gill Sans and Meta--a sort of modernized Gill Sans--and I'll have to use it a bit before deciding how much I like it. But it was certainly worth buying.

The purchaser of this package gives Ascender a fair bit of information in the course of the transaction, and they may see this deal as a way to build a mailing (or emailing) list of potential customers for the rest of their business.

Stephen Owades
09-18-2005, 04:49 PM
Stephen:

Unfortunately, this exe file doesn't fit that mold. It is a Windows installer program, which extracts and copies the OpenType fonts to the Windows font folder and also installs some additional materials in its own folder

I've also installed the fonts, and although the fonts are put in the Windows font folder (i.e. 'installed' on a computer running Windows), they're also sitting there in C:\Program files\Ascender\Help folder\fonts.

I've installed the fonts with ATM Deluxe too, but because I had some of them already, presumably not ClearType fonts, I used 'New for old'.

Ascender gives some inaccurate and misleading information: you do not have to open a zip file, for none of the zip-extraction programs is invoked. Ascender also opens an extremely awkward Readme file in rtf, which of course requires something to open it (e.g. Word); when Word finally appears, you see that the Readme is not even one whole page, as badly formatted as ever I've seen.

A Mac program can open the exe file (e.g. with Stuffit Expander), but what happens after that on a Mac i don't know: is there any Mac user that wants to offer $20 in the cause of science?
I tried examining the exe file with PKZip under Windows, which can normally see a zip archive embedded in a self-extracting file (even if that self-extractor was created with another zipping utility like WinZip), and it reported that it found "errors" in the file. That's usually a tip-off that there isn't a straightforward zip archive inside the exe, and it makes me suspect that StuffIt Expander on the Mac won't be able to view or extract the font files from it. I was unable to extract the files on my older Mac (OS 9.2, StuffIt Deluxe 5.5 + StuffIt Expander), but I can't guarantee that the latest software will produce the same outcome.

John Nolan
09-19-2005, 09:43 AM
Bill Davis at Ascender tells me there will be a Mac version next week. He emailed me:
"The Mac version won’t be done until early next week (we need to complete the testing of the installer)."

ktinkel
09-19-2005, 10:05 AM
Bill Davis at Ascender tells me there will be a Mac version next week. He emailed me:
"The Mac version won’t be done until early next week (we need to complete the testing of the installer)."Brilliant! Thanks.

John Nolan
10-05-2005, 06:03 AM
The Mac version is now available. People should note that the fonts appear to have extended language support, but as far as I can tell, do not have any Opentype feature such as smallcaps, choice of figure style and the like.

ktinkel
10-05-2005, 07:20 AM
The Mac version is now available. People should note that the fonts appear to have extended language support, but as far as I can tell, do not have any Opentype feature such as smallcaps, choice of figure style and the like.Thanks, John. Appreciate the heads up!

Now: Has anyone bought this package?

John Nolan
10-05-2005, 07:39 AM
Yes, I did, but I haven't had too much time to look at it.

Michael Rowley
10-05-2005, 08:23 AM
John:

do not have any Opentype feature such as smallcaps, choice of figure style and the like

No, they don't (but I haven't examined all of them). Because a font is OpenType though, doesn't mean it has extended language support or alternate Latin glyphs: it just could have them.

dthomsen8
04-29-2006, 06:02 AM
Windows users with a hankering for exceptional fonts for a song can download the Creativity Font Pack (http://www.ascendercorp.com/CreativityFontPack/fontlistings.html), a collection of 30 OpenType font families (“tuned for ClearType”) from Ascender for $19.99.

What really caught my eye was the quality of some of the fonts in this collection. It includes one of the most significant sans serif families of recent times (1988), four styles of Today Sans by Wolker Küster. This is one of my favorite typefaces, and it alone makes this package worth having. (It would be even better if it included the Display set and the small caps for both, but what can we expect for $20? You may be able to purchase those from Elsner & Flake; they are certainly part of my old Scangraphic Type 1 package. You can see the @ sign from that set in my current avatar.)

If you are not familiar with Today Sans (which was the unfortunate victim of poor timing and Scangraphic’s faltering entry into the desktop digital font business), Albert-Jan Pool wrote a short essay about it in Types Best Remembered.

Others in the collection include Skyline Bold Condensed (Font Bureau), Coquette script (Mark Simonson), four weights of Columbus (Monotype), the classical script Brody (ATF/Elsner & Flake), Briem Operina, a lovely script based on Arrighi’s famous writing manual (Gunnlauger SE Briem), and 17 more.

The Creativity Font Pack also includes a set of 40-plus customizable templates for Microsoft Word.

If you have Windows (this is a downloadable 4MB .exe file) and $20, this should be an exceptional deal.

How did I miss this inexpensive font collection? I am going to buy it.

Please excuse my response to an old thread, but I find this is a great collection, with useful fonts for both image use and paper posters.

ktinkel
04-29-2006, 07:10 AM
How did I miss this inexpensive font collection? I am going to buy it.

Please excuse my response to an old thread, but I find this is a great collection, with useful fonts for both image use and paper posters.It is very good value and I think you will find it useful.

Gerry Kowarsky
04-30-2006, 02:09 PM
Now: Has anyone bought this package?

Yes, when I got a PC for home with ClearType. The only ones I've used to any extent are Columbus and Today Sans, which look good at text sizes.

Does the Mac have a rendering technology comparable to ClearType?

ktinkel
04-30-2006, 02:41 PM
Yes, when I got a PC for home with ClearType. The only ones I've used to any extent are Columbus and Today Sans, which look good at text sizes.

Does the Mac have a rendering technology comparable to ClearType?Not that I know of, though most type looks pretty good on my LCD. Nor will ClearType be available for the Mac, according to MS.

I bought the Mac set, mainly because Today Sans was optimized for the screen. Unfortunately, it is only a subset of the family I already have (with display and small caps), and I am not sure this looks any better on-screen than the old ones do.

But it has a couple of other nice fonts, so I am content with it.

Gerry Kowarsky
04-30-2006, 06:37 PM
because Today Sans was optimized for the screen

What does "optimized for the screen" mean on a Mac. Is there subpixel rendering or just TrueType delta hinting?

I had Today Sans as my default font in Notepad for a while, but I found the ampersand distracting in html source code.

iamback
04-30-2006, 10:48 PM
I had Today Sans as my default font in Notepad for a while, but I found the ampersand distracting in html source code.As a (programming) text editor font I practically always use Lucida Console which is a monspaced font designed - as its name suggests - for screen display. Much, much better than the default Courier New in most editors, and extremely legible even at a small 8pt size on a high-res screen (which means you can see many long lines of code!).

ktinkel
05-01-2006, 06:14 AM
As a (programming) text editor font I practically always use Lucida Console which is a monspaced font designed - as its name suggests - for screen display. Much, much better than the default Courier New in most editors, and extremely legible even at a small 8pt size on a high-res screen (which means you can see many long lines of code!).I do not have Lucida Console but do use Andale Mono as my monospaced screen font. It isn’t fabulous, but is much, much better than Courier or Courier New, both of which are really wretched on-screen.

Why, oh, why do browser makers (and others) choose such icky default fonts: Times, Courier, Arial? I assume they don’t want to shock people too much, but most people are more resiliant than that!

dthomsen8
05-01-2006, 06:40 AM
I do not have Lucida Console but do use Andale Mono as my monospaced screen font. It isn’t fabulous, but is much, much better than Courier or Courier New, both of which are really wretched on-screen.

Why, oh, why do browser makers (and others) choose such icky default fonts: Times, Courier, Arial? I assume they don’t want to shock people too much, but most people are more resiliant than that!

Why do browser makers and others choose icky default fonts?

Maybe because they are cheap, and won't pay license fees? Microsoft, of course, has developed some of its own fonts to give away with products, and avoiding license fees, but I doubt that they get much in license fees.

ktinkel
05-01-2006, 07:22 AM
Why do browser makers and others choose icky default fonts?

Maybe because they are cheap, and won't pay license fees? Browser makers are simply specifying default fonts — they do not have to license anything (unless, of course, they actually supply fonts to users).

No, I believe it is more a matter of not upsetting the apple cart. They got people used to Times, et al, and do not want to shock them by changing to, say, Verdana and Georgia.

Gerry Kowarsky
05-01-2006, 01:58 PM
I've used Lucida Console on occasion, and I prefer it to Courier and Courier New. For a darker Courier, I go to Bitstream's Courier 10 or HP's Dark Courier. My favorite monospaced font is Bitstream's Letter Gothic 12 because I like the weight, the 12-pitch proportions and the true italics. When easily distinguishing between capital O and zero is essential, I use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono or Andale Mono.