[pdftex] Surprising opinion about hz-type features

Johannes Kuester jk at typoma.com
Mon Feb 25 11:40:56 CET 2008

Hi all,

what I don't understand about this discussion is that for hz and
microtype one always refers to Gutenberg -- but there are much better

Namely in the private presses at the beginning of the 20th century.
For example, the "Bremer Presse" in Germany published in 1925
Augustinus, "De Civitate Dei", Libri XXII.

( A beautiful double page spread from this book is shown in
  Kurt Weidemann,
  "Wo der Buchstabe das Wort führt",
  Cantz-Verlag, 1st ed, 1994,
  pp. 256 / 257. )

For this book, a Venetian Antiqua was specially designed and cut,
with variant glyphs to allow for perfect justification
(samples are shown and some explanation given in Weidemann on p. 255).
Of course, modest glyph scaling as done by microtype achieves just about
the same effect.

And I suppose there are many other wonderful examples from this era.
So there is no need to go back to Gutenberg, who could use other means
as abbreviations and additional ligatures -- means usually not available
in typesetting tasks today.



Johannes Kuester

mailto:jk at typoma.com

The Thanh Han wrote:
> Hello Damien,
> thanks for bringing the article to discussion here. Here are
> my (perhaps biased) opinions:
> - the article made objections to some of the points claimed
>   by URW, Hermann Zapf and others. I more or less agree with
>   the objections in the article.
> - however I do not agree with main intention of the article, ie
>   to show/prove that glyph scaling leads to reduced quality.
>   The objections in the article are not convining enough to
>   me. It only showed that there are some inaccuracies in
>   what URW/Zapf/Adobe claims. Given the fact that those
>   claims are made by the authors of the technique, it's
>   quite normal that the effect/usefulness has been
>   exaggerated a little bit.
> - glyph scaling is only one of the techniques used by
>   Gutenberg and the hz-program; it's not meant to be the
>   single silver-bullet that would solve the problem with bad
>   interword spacing. The hz-program does much more than just
>   glyph scaling.
> - like other techniques, glyph scaling is also a double
>   edged sword: it can help and also hurt. The users should
>   be aware of that.
> - I use glyph scaling myself and find it useful, especially
>   when you want to give a bit more flexibility to paragraph
>   formatting and there is no other possibilities to do so.
>   The limit I find useful is +/- 2%, but when looking
>   closely I can also see the effect of glyph scaling at that
>   limit. I guess -1% to +2% is a better choice.
> Regards,
> Thanh

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