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Re: How should one handle condensed etc., variants?

Subject: Re: How should one handle condensed etc., variants?

I wrote:
>> The issues with weight and width are actually fairly well covered in
>> _The LaTeX Companion_ (page 190) where it explains how the two parts
>> are to be combined (weight is concatenated width, dropping any `m's,
>> unless weight and width are both m, in which a single `m' is used).

... to which Rowland replied:
> I see - thanks.  Erm, to save me getting a copy out of the library (which
> takes a few weeks), and then finding that it doesn't have the information I
> need, is there a standard list of abbreviations used to width?

You're not the only person who has to take _The LaTeX Companion_ out of
the library. Sometimes it seems to be the only place that things are
properly documented, however. (My earlier comments about my preference
for having documentation available for free as well as for money apply
to this case too.)

In any case, Table 7.10 on page 190 of the book lists the following.

	Weight Classses			Width Classes
	Ultra Light	ul		Ultra Condensed	(50%)	uc
	Extra Light	el		Extra Condensed	(62.5%)	ec
	Light		l		Condensed	(75%)	c
	Semi Light	sl		Semi Condensed	(87.5%)	sc
	Medium (normal)	m		Medium		(100%)	m
	Semi Bold	sb		Semi Expanded	(112.5%)sx
	Bold		b		Expanded	(125%)	x
	Extra Bold	eb		Extra Expanded	(150%)	ex
	Ultra Bold	ub		Ultra Expanded	(200%)	ux

Rowland continues (reformatted):
> I'd say the NFSS needs at least three more selection axes:
>     weight: to allow for the selection of bold, light, etc., separate
>             from the informal/other variants there might be.
>     angle:  to allow italic/slanted/upright/etc to be selected separate
>             from shape (small caps, or whatever)
>     width:  to allow condensed/extended to be selected separate from series.

Hmm, I'm not sure about having `angle', but I'd agree that if we were
redesigning NFSS, I'd advocate separating `series' into `weight' and
`width'. (I believe that we could then do away with series, since it
only represents a combination of weight and width.) I'd also recommend
adopting a *set* of attributes for shape, including italic, roman, serif,
sans-serif, small-caps, swash, old-style digits, etc.

But, for all this, I think it may be a little late to be trying to revise
the font selection scheme.

Rowland also writes:
> [My proposal] doesn't take into account old style variants, which I've
> never used and never really thought about.

Well, from what I've learned about typography, they seem to be pretty
essential if you're setting numbers in a text paragraph. The `titling
figures' usually found in fonts are much to big to do anything other
than accompany ALL CAPS titles or fill tables of digits.

Thoughts welcome,