How To Find Out If A Font Sucks
By Aqila Xiao Qi, 23 Jun 2015
“Left is correct; on the right, red arrows point to the actual extremes, where there should be an on-curve point. Some errors are subtle to detect, such as the topmost and leftmost points.”
Oregon-based vice president of FontLab and typography enthusiast Thomas Phinney has revealed twelve useful markers to help you get past the superficial beauty of any font, and objectively distinguish a high quality font from one that is poorly executed.
Detect irregularly spaced letters in a font.
“Bad spacing above; passable spacing below. The table indicates the size of each glyph, its total advance width and sidebearings.”
In creating decent fonts, it is crucial to consider the natural shapes of each letter and keep the white spaces in between relatively consistent. “Junk fonts” often neglect the element of spacing, which can easily be revealed via a font metrics software.
Rounded letters should “overshoot” the height of other similarly-sized letters.
“The top O has overshoot and looks the same size as the H. The bottom O does not, and looks smaller than its H neighbors.”
In order for rounded letters to avoid appearing relatively small to other letters in a font, it is necessary to tweak its height to “overshoot” other similarly-sized letters by about 1-2%.
Look out for the “thickening” effect when two strokes intersect in a single letter.
“(top) Curve joining a straight line; join looks heavy when filled. (bottom) Curve join corrected.”
Exemplified in the letter ‘a’, where two strokes meet at sharp angles, causing the intersecting component to appear thicker than its other strokes. A common way to compensate for this effect is to thin out the section that looks heavy.
Find out how fonts experiment with the concept of optical illusions and how else you can judge a font quality here.
[via Communication Arts]