Type Slugs 2005-01-27

The Great Compositor in the Sky keeps kicking ‘em out

News briefs this time: Typographic derivation results in a settlement for FSI Fonts, another celebrated typographer passes beyond the veil, Quark 7 public beta gets the shakedown cruise from type lovers, Monotype’s just wild about Saffron, and a regional newspaper’s growing pains are assuaged by…losing Helvetica?

FSI settles the score with…somebody

From a press release:

17 January 2006–typophile.com–FSI Fonts und Software GmbH, (FontShop International) announced today that it had reached a settlement with an internationally recognized strategic brand development firm related to a dispute involving the design, creation and licensing of a typefont developed as part of that firm’s work for one of its clients.

The firm has denied and vigorously defended the allegation that the typeface infringed FSI’s copyrights or that the typeface was an otherwise unauthorized derivative version of FSI’s FF DAX and FF META typefonts. FSI first raised its claims in the beginning of February, 2005.

The terms of the settlement is largely secret, though it is known that FSI was paid USD$17,500 by the Unnamed Company.

The legal imbloglio addresses a certain point of long time contention; is a font that was created by “tweaking” another font within a certain umbrella of derviation such that it constitutes infringement? Though the settlement far from settles the question, it does suggest that making minor changes to a font and subsequently releasing it as one’s own is an ethical, if not entirely legal, out-of-bounds situation.

Typeophile’s posting on the subject has a lively discussion in which views are aired and a thoughtful effort made to figure out just who that Unnamed Company was.

Phil Martin (1923-2006)

Typographer Phil Martin passed away in October, 2005, according to this post at Typographica.

Mr. Martin had a hand in designing 400 fonts, including his own productions of Adroit, Baskerville, Didoni, Garamond, and Helvetica variants cleverly named Heldustry and Helserif.

Some debate over his typographic origniality, but most seem to agree that with his wide variety of life experiences (hinted at in the Typographica posting) and bon vivant style, he was (appropriately) a character unto himself.

QuarkXPress 7 public beta gets the test

In design tech news the big story this month has undoubtedly been the long-awaited release of the public beta version of Quark, Inc’s aggregator flagship, the stalwart XPress. It delivers many new features that the design community is chewing over right now. For typographers, OpenType and Unicode support are of particular interest.

House Industries notes a problem in which XPress 7 does not read their embedding bit correctly, resulting in problems in output of PDFs. XPress 7 will also call some good fonts corrupt.

Quark for its part, has posted an XTension-based fix, which can be had here.

Also, in this post at Typographica, a user seems to be documenting a misunderstanding with OpenType fractions, which he works out eventually (and seems to acknowledge that it was his misunderstanding, and not XPress’s).

Our personal salute to all the typographers who are stress-testing XPress 7. This is what a public beta was meant for.

Monotype’s just mad about Saffron

Saffron is a name you may not have heard, but it’s a technology behind another popular technology. Saffron, owned by Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL), is the technology that renders type in Flash animations. Microsoft Typography notes that Monotype Imaging has concluded an agreement to license Saffront from MERL.

Originally also licensed to Macromedia (now Adobe), Saffron improved text display in files authored in Flash. Monotype Imaging sees a future for Saffron in mobile devices and digital television, amongst other applications.

Surf this link to read Monotype’s press release on the subject.

Everyone has an opinion on Helvetica…

And, finally, again via Microsoft Typography, is the story of the Texarkana Gazette, the regional daily serving that area.

It seems that the newsroom has been upgrading editorial and layout systems. A host of growing pains ensued which may strike some as amusing (at least if one weren’t involved in them). A printer, for instance, refused to work, and it was eventually reasoned that the printer didn’t like having to deal with two operating systems.

But the most remarkable problems happened when headlines started disappearing. Evenutally it was found that when they shifted away from a Helvetica variant the system started producing dependable headlines again.

Seems like everyone has an opinion on Helvetica. Who was it who said that computers hate being humanized?

The Texarkana Gazette‘s story of woe is certain to evoke sympathy and can be read here.