Thank you Google, for the fonts!

Despite being primarily an advertising company, which tries to monetise you in every way possible, Google has gotten into the good books of typophiles by making some really beautiful fonts available for free (do the fonts have any embedded advertising codes?). In a world disfigured by Comic Sans and Arial, fonts like Lato, Lora, Roboto etc. provide immeasurable relief to the eyes of typophiles! Lato will become an Arial at some point I guess, but not for a few more years. WordPress.com websites seem to support many of these fonts seamlessly: hence the visual upgrade for this blog too.

The Master of them all…

He [Knuth] was deeply disappointed when saw the typesetting from Addison-Wesley for the second edition of volume 2, because in 1973 Addison-Wesley had replaced its mechanical typesetting technology with computerized typesetting that did not reproduce the high quality of the original printings of volumes 1-3.

donald_ervin_knuth
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Consequently, in 1977 Knuth began developing a new typesetting system to enable high quality computerized typesetting, in particular for TAOCP. This system was announced in his 1978 American Mathematical Society Gibbs Lecture entitled “Mathematical Typography” and published in the Bulletin (New Series) of the American Mathematical Society, volume 1, 1979, pp. 337-372. Knuth had two goals for his system:
(1) achieving the finest quality printed documents
(2) creating a system that would be archival in the sense that it was independent of changes in printing technology to the maximum extent possible.

Knuth’s system, developed with help from Stanford students and colleagues, had three primary components: the TeX typesetting engine, the METAFONT font design system, and the Computer Modern set of type fonts [4].  Combined, these revolutionized digital typesetting. Knuth made his code publicly available, and it has been widely adapted by commercial typesetting systems.

Knuth put hooks in his TeX engine so that others could make additions, with the condition that any resulting system be give a different name. That produced a vibrant, worldwide community of users and developers for TeX and related systems like LaTeX, ConTeXt, LuaTeX. Knuth’s TeX was an early success story for the free and open-source software movement.

From: Turing Award Citation for DEK (1974)

Special thanks to Knuth for the Computer Modern typeface; every article written in TeX looks professional and beautiful, thanks to this font. Especially in the ages when Times New Roman was the default font in Microsoft Word!

For those tired of Computer Modern, Palatino is another beautiful font.

Thank you, Microsoft too!

Microsoft has also scaled heights in the last decade with their typesetting: undoubtedly, Segoe UI (and the mobile version) is beautiful. Calibri, Cambria, Constantia, Consolas are all nice in their own way — any day better than Arial and company — and are thankfully the default fonts in Office since the last 9 years!

My Favourite Google Fonts

Droid Sans | Droid Sans Mono | Droid Serif | Inconsolata | Lato | Noto Sans | Noto Serif | Open Sans | Open Sans Condensed | Roboto | Source Sans Pro

Cricket typography

Every World Cup and major ICC event comes with a nice upgrade of the interface for display of score panels, scorecards etc. I thought the fonts used in the recent World T20 were rather nice, but the current IPL fonts are an abomination (more so than IPL itself? :j)

The fonts appear to be a hideous Monospaced font, the stereotype of the 2030s science fiction fonts as conceived by 1990s designers! Not to mention, the ugly batsman on strike indicators that keep blinking (wow, sci-fi FTW!) To catch a glimpse of these fonts, head over to Match 2 – a slashed zero too!

Ah, IPL has indeed fixed the monospace font at least: see IPL Match 8 Video — but the blinking marker remains!

Some interesting links:

 

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