[lucida] Lucida fontset nits

Volker Kuhlmann list0570 at paradise.net.nz
Sat Nov 25 20:36:33 CET 2006

On Sat 25 Nov 2006 05:21:06 NZDT +1300, Michael H. Prager wrote:

> Colleagues and I have been using the Lucida font set (originally from 
> Y&Y) for close to 10 years now. We appreciate the variety and legibility 
> of the family.  Still, a few nits have been bothering us:

> So what *do* others think?  Are these nits troublesome enough, and is 
> potential for problems with existing documents small enough, that 
> changes would be worth making?  I know that I would vote FOR such changes.

I doubt as well that changing the actual fonts would be a good idea, but
(La)TeX could probably be used to make this kind of change. That would
allow to make the change optional, with new documents using another
class option if they wish and existing documents being unaffected.

Here are some of my niggles:

\rightarrow etc are far too small. I use these not only in maths, but
also interspersed with normal text, usually in some tabular or
display-style arrangement. Their size, esp when compared to cm, is so
tiny, the result typographically unacceptable by some margin. I have to
resport to macro trickery to bump up the font by two sizes, and to keep
some compatibility with cm so the document can be compiled without
lucida if need be.

The normal size of the 10pt lucida is blown way overboard and is much
larger than any of the other commonly used fonts like cm, PS Times,
Palatino. If this is intentional design then I plain disagree, it gives
me unexpected results and makes interoperability hard. There are some
options in lucidabr which switch the overall size of lucida around, I
take it I'm not the only one then who found \normalsize troublesome.
Yet each time I play with lucida, I am missing the make-lucida-cm-size
package option.

Right from the start of using the lucida fonts, I've found the lucidabr
package not so well designed and especially missing in features.
Considering lucida is a flagship fontset with few, if any, alternatives,
I've felt astonished and disappointed. I've thought about improving
lucidabr but there's not much point in that unless it gets included by
the current maintainer(s). The alternative is to keep my own lucidahack
with all my lucida documents. Not an ideal situation for a flagship

Contrary to popular opinion, I don't share the ecstasy about the lucida
fonts. They're good, they're an alternative, but I can't find them
undonditionally well-designed. The numerals keep on catching my
attention as sticking out in a sore way. It's both their glyph shape,
which I find doesn't totally match the letter shapes in style, and their
width. Especially for the "1" I always think oh no, there's a full space
again between the number and unit. Tables of numbers quickly run out of
space, and I find it doesn't look good against the surrounding text. The
digits are just too big. Obviously the glyphs won't ever change, but the
LaTeX package could knock down their overall size a bit against the text

So yes, I agree with the OP that it's time for a more than cosmetic


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