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Gerry Kowarsky
05-16-2005, 08:11 AM
It seems to me that Avant Garde offers one of the great unrealized opportunities of the OpenType format. To my knowledge, the ligatures in the original Avant Garde were never included in Type 1 and TrueType versions of the font, at least not in the ones that are widely distributed. Even if the ligatures had been available, using them would have required a great deal of hand setting. I would love to see an OpenType version of Avant Garde with the full complement of ligatures along with contextual substitution rules that would automate the ligatures' use.

ktinkel
05-16-2005, 08:44 AM
It seems to me that Avant Garde offers one of the great unrealized opportunities of the OpenType format. To my knowledge, the ligatures in the original Avant Garde were never included in Type 1 and TrueType versions of the font, at least not in the ones that are widely distributed. Even if the ligatures had been available, using them would have required a great deal of hand setting. I would love to see an OpenType version of Avant Garde with the full complement of ligatures along with contextual substitution rules that would automate the ligatures' use.Not sure that would have the intended result. The ligatures were designed for a specific purpose (for the nameplate of Avant Garde magazine) and on the few occasions where I have seen them used elsewhere, they kind of stand out as awkward.

Coincidentally, Frank Romano wrote about Avant Garde (http://ep.pennnet.com/articles/article_display.cfm?Section=ARTCL&C=Depac&ARTICLE_ID=226985&KEYWORDS=romano%20avant%20garde) in the April issue of Electronic Publishing.

Among other points, Romano quotes Ed Benguiat (who designed the condensed version of Avant Garde for ITC):
The first time Avant Garde ligatures were used was perhaps the only time they were used correctly … Type designer Ed Benguiat said, “The only place Avant Garde looks good is in the words ‘Avant Garde.’ Everybody ruins it. They lean the letters the wrong way.”

Stephen Coles
06-08-2005, 10:01 PM
FontShop now offers the Avant Garde Ligatures (http://www.fontshop.com/showfont.cfm?fid=EF.101895.0.0) via Scangraphic/Elsner+Flake. The announcement. (http://www.fontshop.com/virtual/newsletters/feb2005/)

ktinkel
06-09-2005, 11:33 AM
FontShop now offers the Avant Garde Ligatures (http://www.fontshop.com/showfont.cfm?fid=EF.101895.0.0) via Scangraphic/Elsner+Flake. The announcement. (http://www.fontshop.com/virtual/newsletters/feb2005/)Thanks, Stephen.

I didn’t realize E+F was associated with Scangraphic. Sounds like pretty good news to me. I have some old SG fonts (Zapf Renaissance, Today Sans), but didn’t realize the library was being updated.

ktinkel
06-19-2005, 09:40 AM
I would love to see an OpenType version of Avant Garde with the full complement of ligatures along with contextual substitution rules that would automate the ligatures' use.FontHaus offers AG ligs from E&F in OT, but I would bet they are not sophisticated ones.

I scanned Avant Garde Medium ligs from the ITC specimen book (see the attachment). For comparison, look at E&F AG Medium (http://www.fonthaus.com/products/fonts/view.cfm/sku/EF10533.cfm) at the Fonthaus site.

The crucial CO lig seems to be missing from the E&F set, as well as SS and LL; and to the extent I can see from a screen shot, the KA is not correctly drawn.

Interestingly, although my Letraset catalogs do not show it, Keith Tam has posted scans from sheets of Letraset AG (http://www.fonthaus.com/products/fonts/view.cfm/sku/EF10533.cfm) (click on Avant Garde at the left and scroll through the pages). His scans show an extra, very distinctive SS on page 3 of that set (evidently only in the heaviest weight, though).

Silly me — I gave two huge piles of transfer type, including various weights/sizes of Letraset Avant Garde, to a grammar school art teacher a few years ago. I have been kicking myself ever since.

Anyway, just noodling on Avant Garde. I’m not sure it is a good font for mere mortals to use (it may require Herb Lubalin’s brilliance).

Gerry Kowarsky
06-21-2005, 10:07 AM
I’m not sure it is a good font for mere mortals to use (it may require Herb Lubalin’s brilliance.

I agree with you there. That's why I'd like to see an OpenType version with the substitutions preprogrammed, just as they are in script fonts such as Adobe's Bickham Pro, Linotype's Zapfino, and (most recently) P22's Cezanne. But maybe greater capability would foster greater misuse.

ktinkel
06-24-2005, 12:39 PM
I'd like to see an OpenType version with the substitutions preprogrammed, just as they are in script fonts such as Adobe's Bickham Pro, Linotype's Zapfino, and (most recently) P22's Cezanne. But maybe greater capability would foster greater misuse.I imagine it will happen, one day. But you wouldn’t want every Co to be replaced by the Co ligature, surely? Nor would you necessarily want every A to incline one way (or another). Sounds like a tricky programming task to me — and using it might not be much less work than just schlepping the glyphs around as needed.

There are so many more ways to screw up with this font than to use it effectively …

Christoph
06-25-2005, 11:14 AM
It seems to me that Avant Garde offers one of the great unrealized opportunities of the OpenType format. To my knowledge, the ligatures in the original Avant Garde were never included in Type 1 and TrueType versions of the font, at least not in the ones that are widely distributed. Even if the ligatures had been available, using them would have required a great deal of hand setting. I would love to see an OpenType version of Avant Garde with the full complement of ligatures along with contextual substitution rules that would automate the ligatures' use.

Just another unrealized opportunity of OTF, as a lot of T1 add-ons from the past that are discontinued now (MM, for instance).

A good bunch of those ligs did exist in the QuickDraw GX® version, now defunct as many things that are missing from OTF (that, anyway, in its PS flavour, is fully supported only by Adobe apps so far, in any case not by Microsoft). A pity!

Thus, it's not that much, as some seem to pretend, that those ligatures had a very particular and restricted use (which is true for most ligs, BTW) but rather, AFAIK, the fact that OTF is already rather poor (besides of Unicode support) and really poorly supported outside of InDesign® (even in Corel 12, one can't easily use real Small Caps, although the package claims to be Unicode-savvy and indeed is for foreign and exotic scripts, but not for ligs or other style refinements). Why not just having kept MM, GX and other possibilities in OT format? A mystery… The more as "OTF"extension may also refer to TT-flavoured fonts, where MS doesn't seem to have any problems!

Try to get a QuickDraw version of AvantGarde, thus! I had samples on a ten-year-old Linotype CD. Dunno if one can still buy the fonts.

Hope that helps (but of course the statement of good things disappearing with the latest technologies doesn't help at all — just makes you sad or even drives you crazy; anyway, me on my PC never could use QuickDraw, besides of reading the demo PDF into Acrobat Reader 3, turning the machine off, converting the remaining *.TMPs into something readable, implying their renaming, and eventually resizing, before recompiling all of that into a new OTF, a thing I never did, luckily, because I don't want to get into trouble with U.S. Justice <g>).

On the other hand, first part of the described method works, and who could blame you if you just want to retreive features of software you already paid for, sometimes a couple of times, and that no one would sell you any more, even if you'd pay lots of money? The more the roughly described method is tricky enough (the files in the temporary folder have totally arbitrary names, and you'll have to de-compile, text-edit and re-compile resulting fonts a couple of times) to make you merit the results of your work — almost like re-creating a font from scratch, implying a fairly good knowledge of PostScript® programming, BTW. Also BTW: other features disappeared with QuickDraw, as ornated drop caps for some fonts such as Linotype Didot ®. Anyway, other than Mac users never legally had them… And, last but not least, some ligatures don't even appear in Unicode (e.g. the very German(ic) "f-t" variants).

Regards,

Christoph


Disclaimer: I don't intend, in any way, or by any means whatsoever, to encourage software piracy. Anyway, contemporary PDFs usually don't contain any more but very restrained partial character sets, and with the newer software since Windows 95 and Acrobat Reader 4.x, the described method doesn't work that well any more. And, of course, turning your computer off pushing the "start" button may cause serious hardware hazard. Furthermore, the described method has only been and only partially tested on DOS/Windows-based systems and nothing else, and only by curiosity and never for any commercial-oriented use. Resulting font files may have very arbitrary scaling and aren't, of course, legally usable. All mentioned Trade Marks are property of their owners, even where I forgot to add the "®" sign.


P.S.: Big companies force us sometime to become "hackers" without even wanting it. Crazy, isn't it? And they open broad up the way to do that. They could secure their software as much as they want, I wouldn't mind, if only features that worked in the past still worked, and if they didn't make you pay sometimes twice, and often twice as much the second time, for things you already bought a couple of times, and of course, if those lost features were simply still available. Use of commercial software implies a certain degree of crazyness and/or (misplaced) altruism, even masochism (® or © <vbg>?) . I think it's better to use free software where you can without loss of quality and spend your money on more useful things, e.g. really altruist and humanitary works. But the most funny, maybe: some big foundries copy each others' fonts, sometimes just renaming them, and sell them for only a fraction of the initial price, or just giving them away for free. MS TT clones often don't contain any kerning information, but it's easy to add it using original AFM files' metrics. Of course, that would be illegal, too, as long as you don't rename the font family and pretend having re-built it scanning sample printouts (what, of course, almost no one really does). But if one pretends it, one will never have any trouble… URW has a lot of original font layout files, as they created the initial digital designs… and give them away for free, using different naming schemes! Fonts they sell, in the same time and in parallel, for lots of money, totally legally.

Christoph
06-25-2005, 11:33 AM
I imagine it will happen, one day. But you wouldn’t want every Co to be replaced by the Co ligature, surely? Nor would you necessarily want every A to incline one way (or another). Sounds like a tricky programming task to me — and using it might not be much less work than just schlepping the glyphs around as needed.

There are so many more ways to screw up with this font than to use it effectively …

Kathleen,

Do you really think this font could still be screwed up much more ;-(? I like it a lot, although I prefer by far Futura, but it's a lot misused, starting from PageMaker design hints for the Mac about 20 years ago that recommended use of Palatino for text body and AvantGarde for titles (and they really did it themselves!)?

What do you mean talking about effective use? And, despite of what you quote, the mentioned ligatures did exist in a QuickDraw version ten years ago (see another message from me in the thread), just like Futura had ligs and OsFs initially, that completely disappeared in any commercial version, besides of parts implemented in recent Berthold issues (prohibitive pricing, though).

Think the main problem is Unicode and its degree of adaptation to real world's needs, as well as its implementation in commercial software those days.

Kindest regards,

Christoph

Stephen Owades
06-26-2005, 10:06 AM
... A good bunch of those ligs did exist in the QuickDraw GX® version, now defunct as many things that are missing from OTF (that, anyway, in its PS flavour, is fully supported only by Adobe apps so far, in any case not by Microsoft). A pity!
Interestingly, I have found one strange situation in which a Microsoft application takes advantage of some of the advanced features--non-standard ligatures and contextual alternates--of PS-based OpenType fonts. On my Windows XP machine, if I specify a fancy Adobe OpenType font like Brioso Pro (a bonus for CS2 buyers) in Notepad (the most basic of text editors supplied with the OS), the text is displayed and printed using a range of ligatures and alternates. The ligature substitution is quite intelligent--the "sp" ligature will be used if the following letter is an "e," but not if it's an "i"--and letter pairs like "ll" or "dl" will show a shorter alternate glyph for the first character in the pair. I get what appears to be a ligature (but which may be a combination of alternate glyphs) for combination like "Th" as well as the expected "fi," "fl," "ff," and "ffi." There are also some letter-pairs that appear to be kerned, like "We," although "Te" is not. The basic ligature substitutions, at least, work with other Adobe OpenType fonts like Adobe Garamond Pro and Myriad Pro, but not with any of the TT-flavored OpenType fonts that I have available (like Times New Roman or Palatino Linotype).

I've been puzzling over this for some time, and I don't know whether the presence of DLLs from InDesign CS2 might be affecting how Notepad displays text. None of this stuff works with Microsoft Word or other more typographically-savvy Microsoft apps, or with QuarkXPress 6, by the way.

Michael Rowley
06-26-2005, 12:08 PM
Stephen:

Microsoft Word or other more typographically-savvy Microsoft apps

Word is typographically awaren that it will insert any glyph that has a Unicode code position to itself.

combination like "Th"

Minion Pro, one of the Adobe standard fonts that everyone with an Adobe application has, has a distinctive Th ligature that quite distinct from a T and an h. Can you see it in Notepad?

You never know, but Microsoft often tries out some advanced features in odd applications, and Notepad would be a good place to try out automatic replacement of individual glyphs. Adobe fonts too would be a good subject, because most of the more recent ones have duplicates of alternate ligatures in the PUA.

Christoph
06-26-2005, 12:21 PM
Interestingly, I have found one strange situation in which a Microsoft application takes advantage of some of the advanced features--non-standard ligatures and contextual alternates--of PS-based OpenType fonts. On my Windows XP machine, if I specify a fancy Adobe OpenType font like Brioso Pro (a bonus for CS2 buyers) in Notepad (the most basic of text editors supplied with the OS), the text is displayed and printed using a range of ligatures and alternates. The ligature substitution is quite intelligent--the "sp" ligature will be used if the following letter is an "e," but not if it's an "i"--and letter pairs like "ll" or "dl" will show a shorter alternate glyph for the first character in the pair. I get what appears to be a ligature (but which may be a combination of alternate glyphs) for combination like "Th" as well as the expected "fi," "fl," "ff," and "ffi." There are also some letter-pairs that appear to be kerned, like "We," although "Te" is not. The basic ligature substitutions, at least, work with other Adobe OpenType fonts like Adobe Garamond Pro and Myriad Pro, but not with any of the TT-flavored OpenType fonts that I have available (like Times New Roman or Palatino Linotype).

I've been puzzling over this for some time, and I don't know whether the presence of DLLs from InDesign CS2 might be affecting how Notepad displays text. None of this stuff works with Microsoft Word or other more typographically-savvy Microsoft apps, or with QuarkXPress 6, by the way.

Stephen,

That's indeed very interesting but, first of all, very, very strange! Well, I'm not unable to imagine that it doesn't work with Publisher, that sometimes seems even poorer to me than Word. Not with Quark either? And that's even not an MS app (on the other hand, I suppose Quark, that, BTW, was the first to propose a quite intelligent lig substition at least for the standard "f" stuff, should at least be able to retrieve true Small Caps from a Unicode font)!

I'm even not sure any more that this is deliberate obstruction. Maybe just another bug or another prove of incapacity or negligence, just like the layout that changes, with the same borders (even when much smaller than the physical printer's ones), if one changes the printer driver in Word, using the same fonts, same kerning, etc.

Ah, if just InCopy wasn't that expensive and if one could reasonably hope that it'd do such a good job as Word on multi-language documents, including automatical language recognition, application of corresponding typographical rules, etc.!

Did the Adobe guys realize the danger when they decided to cooperate with Microsoft to establish a new Unicode-based and multi-platform font standard? Not sure about that! And why obstinate to integrate lousy layout functions into a word processor that should be, first of all, be a text editor and not so much more?

Right now, Microsoft makes a quite good word processor stuffed with useless and badly mastered layout capabilities (for all the rest of the Office package programs, OpenOffice is a good substitute and free) and a lousy low-end DTP program that is even unable to create interchangeable rich-format output (even not PDF without third-party programs). Adobe proposes not less than three different DTP programs, which of only InDesign seems to fit almost all the needs, but with rather rudimentary text editing capabilities. Who still cares of FrameMaker, as ID perfectly copes with long texts (even "books"). Who needs PageMaker any more, besides of nostalgic or sentimental reasons?

Corel/WP/Ventura? Only the first seems really convincing and, for me, still unbeatable compared to Illustrator I never got used to. And now it turns out that the poor text editor from ancient times not only reads and creates RTF output for a couple of years now but also is capable of a very intelligent ligature management… Crazy, isn't it? Thus, maybe one should type text in Wordpad and then read the RTF in from ID. But the multi-language possibilities of Word would still be missing, although the formatting options don't count anyway — a multi-column set document from Word won't show up in ID (at least in the old 2 version) as one of this type, whether you import it as a *.doc or an *.rtf. Well, now we have Unicode, and it's not a headache any more to convert a complex exotic document between Mac and Win or even Unix/Linux. It seems a lot harder to read a file on one platform into a different app correctly. God save Ubu, who seems the eternal King, thanks to Billy the eternal Kid!

Christoph

Christoph
06-26-2005, 12:36 PM
You never know, but Microsoft often tries out some advanced features in odd applications, and Notepad would be a good place to try out automatic replacement of individual glyphs. Adobe fonts too would be a good subject, because most of the more recent ones have duplicates of alternate ligatures in the PUA.

Michael,

What the hell is a PUA? Public Unbelievable Adventure? Post-Useless Artefacts? Pre-Understanding Analytics? Publishing Unknown Ads? Poor Undercover Agents? PostScript Unreadable Automatisms? Picasso's Undiscovered AOL address? Please tell us more <g>!

Christoph

Michael Rowley
06-26-2005, 01:08 PM
Christoph:

What the hell is a PUA?

Sorry: private use area in Unicode, where you can put the special glyphs made up for use by a limited number of people. Code positions in this area is not encouraged for general use, but Adobe duplicates a lot of alternative glyphs there, presumably for the use of people that haven't got a program such as InDesigh, which can sort out the alternative glyphs available.

If you've got Windows, you can see all the glyphs available in CharMap: just choose the Unicode group 'private use characters'.

Stephen Owades
06-27-2005, 07:04 AM
I don't seem to have Minion Pro on my system, and I normally allow Adobe apps to install all available fonts. So I can't test whether the Notepad glyph substitution works in that font.

I don't understand what you mean by "Word is typographically awaren that it will insert any glyph that has a Unicode code position to itself." Perhaps there was something omitted in that sentence? Word 2003 doesn't appear to do any automatic ligature substitution, with any font that I've tried. I did a book in Word a few years ago--it has extensive footnotes, and no DTP application handled that as well as Word did at that time (I'd use InDesign CS2 now)--and I manually replaced the standard fi-fl-ff-ffi-ffl combinations in Times New Roman with their unicode ligature equivalents. Nothing automatic about it, though, while this mysterious ability of Notepad takes no special effort.

Michael Rowley
06-27-2005, 07:53 AM
Stephen:

Word is typographically awaren that . . .

Sorry: that was supposed to have been, 'Word is typographically aware in that . . .'. Sloppy typing. In other words, Word will insert any ligature, small capital, or old-style figure that's present in the font, but it won't do the thinking for you. I have a macro that will replace 'fi' etc., but only if you first find the fi-combinations (and In Minion, for instance, you first replace 'ffi' combinations), but it's time-consuming to do it.

I've never used Notepad to write anything, so I've never noticed the very interesting behaviour you describe.

Christoph
06-27-2005, 02:12 PM
Sorry: private use area in Unicode, where you can put the special glyphs made up for use by a limited number of people. Code positions in this area is not encouraged for general use, but Adobe duplicates a lot of alternative glyphs there, presumably for the use of people that haven't got a program such as InDesigh, which can sort out the alternative glyphs available.

Michael,

You don't have to excuse. I just didn't think of this famous Private User Area when I read "PUA", although I've already seen it a couple of times, for instance in FontLab. So, it was my fault, and now I understand ;-). But I start to hate abreviations yet more intensely <g>.

A thing I understand much less is why MS (and thus not necessarily Adobe-friendly) apps should themselfs understand "private" stuff of a font rather than Unicode-established and well-known standard. But for a long time already, I even don't try so much any more to understand anything from Microsoft. I think one shouldn't, as there isn't any logic. Just like "start" to stop the system (now even imitated by KDE).

If you've got Windows, you can see all the glyphs available in CharMap: just choose the Unicode group 'private use characters'.

That, on the other hand, is something I already knew and pretty well. Trouble is: using this method in order to type in text is very, very awkward and time-consuming. Set a block of Greek text? Or even just a name in real SC (and not the fake stuff Word produces, as well as Publisher or even Corel Draw, ugly and never fitting the real weight, sometimes being adjustable using a slightly bolder one for the small caps), or simply type all your numbers in Old Style… A headache! BTW, most fonts from Adobe do contain OsFs, too, when existing, also in the famous "PUA" (thus twice). I used to believe naively that Adobe apps used this one, while the others relied on documented Unicode. Now, I'm even more confused than before ;-o.

Regards,

Christoph

Michael Rowley
06-27-2005, 03:36 PM
Christoph:

But I start to hate abreviations yet more intensely

I dislike 'uncommon' abbreviations and think that they should be explained at least on first mention; but of course, what is common in one language may be unknown in another.

why MS . . . apps should themselfs understand "private" stuff of a font rather than Unicode-established and well-known standard

The private use area (PUA) of Unicode may be used for any glyph; it is there for anyone to use. Adobe uses it as I have described for the benefit of those applications that cannot 'see' more than one glyph per code position (or code point)—such as Word. The latest versions of Word recognize any code position, and will enter the glyph (one only) that it finds at that position if you give it the Unicode number. But, like all word-processing and layout programs, it has to deal with fonts that only have the 256 ASCII numbers; how it and other programs do it is too complicated for me, though I know it is through the obsolescent code-page system.

InDesign can recognize more than one glyph per code position (again through a system that I don't understand), but I don't believe any word-processing program does yet, or ever will; it must entail some programming overhead.

using this method in order to type in text is very, very awkward

Yes, it is: I use CharMap only to identify where glyphs are to be found (if at all). For things such as old-style figures and ligatures I use the macro, since they occur in isolation usually, but for small capitals, often used for lines of words (headings!), I must confess that I just switch fonts.

My macro works by substituting a small capital for any letter in the roman alphabet, an old-style numeral for any numeral, or a ligature for a defined number of letter combinations. And it is designed for selected Adobe fonts only. If I use any of the usual fonts I can only use the macro for the limited number of ligatures that there are recognized Unicode code points for (FB00–FB06), and usually only fi and fl.

I used to believe naively that Adobe apps used this one, while the others relied on documented Unicode

InDesign uses the same code points for OS & lining numerals, and for small letters & small capitals; I don't know what it does for ligatures for which there is no recognized code point (Unicode just has codes for seven ligatures). Most other programs have to rely on switching fonts for OS, SC, and ligatures.