# [OS X TeX] Bickham Pro - weights

Sat May 12 06:01:53 CEST 2012

On May 11, 2012, at 10:42 AM, Richard Seguin wrote:

>
> On May 10, 2012, at 11:49 PM, Michael Sharpe wrote:
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>>
>> On May 10, 2012, at 9:13 PM, Richard Seguin wrote:
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>>> Michael,
>>>
>>> As I've mentioned before, the Bickham Pro regular weight is slightly light, though not objectionably so, for Minion Pro, and the semibold is definitely too heavy, except when I use it in a subscript type of situation where the heavier weight suits the smaller displayed or printed size. Ideally, it would be nice to have a medium weight version, maybe 1/3 of the way from regular to semibold in weight, but Adobe does not supply one. I've noticed that FontForge apparently has some kind of interpolation mechanism for producing intermittent weight fonts, assuming the two weights in question have the same control points in each glyph. Have you ever used this feature? I've never used FontForge, and documentation I've seen is a little vague. I'm not even sure if this processes an entire set of two fonts automatically or if you have to step through the glyphs one by one. (Actually, there is some variation in apparent weight from glyph to glyph, with the Y, for example, distinctly heavier than others.)
>>>
>>> Maybe I don't really want to wander off into this swamp in pursuit of perfection. I'm also not sure if Adobe allows such modifications.
>>>
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>> Richard,
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>> I'm not a font lawyer, and I've never even played one on TV, but I'm pretty sure the license does not allow such modification unless you can do it via a virtual font mechanism, which seems impossible given my understanding of virtual fonts. I have used FontForge to try such interpolation in other cases, and it has never succeeded because there needs to be a 1-1 correspondence between the control points of the different sizes, which seems rare in real fonts. FontForge is tricky to comprehend, but utterly brilliant in what it does, and the documentation is rather sparse for beginners. Considering what it has allowed masters like Khaled Hosny to achieve (eg, Neo Euler, XITS, the technical work on the Lucida OpenType fonts) it is most definitely a major font tool.
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>> The MinionPro package makes no allowance for a scale parameter, but the mathalfa package does. have you experimented with reducing the scale of the semibold Bickham to get a lighter weight?
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>> Michael
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> Michael,
>
> I tried regular weight scaled at 1.0 and semibold weight scaled at 0.85, and they both look better than regular weight scaled at 0.93, with the semibold at 0.85 possibly the best choice. I guess with the distinctive style of the characters the head height isn't necessarily of primary importance. I'll be doing some more experiments with this later today.

Michael,

With Bickham scaled at 1.0, I did this experiment:

$\overline{X}\overline{\mathscr{X}}$

The two "overlines" line up exactly. Then I set the scale at 1.05 and printed a number of test pages. This seems to give me excellent overall match in apparent weight with the other fonts, and the apparent increase in weight is greater than the actual (almost imperceptible) increase in height with the scale change 1.0 --> 1.05. I noticed the same when changing the scale from 0.93 to 0.85 and from 0.93 to 1.0: greater change in apparent weight than you would expect. The only character that seems to benefit somewhat from the 0.93 scale is the Y which is a little bit more "outsized" than the rest.

So, the ability to scale fonts with your mathalpha package is even more useful than I realized! I've decided to go with regular weight scaled at around 1.05, and continue using the semibold weight at subscript sizes (which makes them more readable). Thanks for encouraging me to do this!

Richard