Font Design and Font Rendering in Windows® 7
The availability of higher resolution font rendering techniques like ClearType in Windows 7 has had an important effect on the design of fonts for onscreen reading. As new technologies and printing styles were developed from the early days of the printing press, typefaces were redesigned to take advantage of those technologies. Many of the popular typefaces are still in use today included ink traps into the design so that ink would not stop up key features of a glyph. This is a factor of making particular design choices in the font in order to work the best with the technology.
The term “font” refers to a typeface at a given size in traditional typeface design. So a 10 point Times New Roman would be an isolated font from a 24 point Times New Roman.
Microsoft Windows has taken the more sequential approach to digital outline fonts and we attempt to optimize each size for the medium for which they were intended through a combination of font hinting and new typeface design. The traditional typefaces Times New Roman, Arial, and Courier New were used as core fonts with Microsoft initial release of TrueType for Windows 3.1. One master size was chosen for the outline data, usually something around 10 or 12 point in the creation of these fonts and similar to the technique used in photo-typesetting, the outlines could be scaled to any requested size for a given display resolution. But, each size was carefully examined and changes were made to the basic design through font hinting according to the traditional ways which includes changes to critical features like stem contrast, x-height or glyph spacing.
Even if we tune the typefaces to the display medium, 96 PPI pixels on a screen are still larger than most of the features that we would like to show in a typeface and that is where ClearType helps in Windows 7. So, it made sense to commission a new set of fonts that were optimized for this new medium with ClearType. Now, the current fonts for Windows 7 still work well with the technology, but this is an attempt to get the very best design for onscreen reading using ClearType. This led to a new set of fonts that shipped and were tuned for Windows 7 & Windows Vista. The ClearType Collection Fonts of Cambria, Consolas, Corbel, Candara, Calibri, Constantia, the new user interface font Segoe UI and the Japanese font Meiryo were designed for Windows 7. As part of the engineering work on these font projects along with the default setting of ClearType, Microsoft decided in the hinting process to do the fine, size-specific hinting only for ClearType and not for bi-level rendering. This allowed to focus efforts on the fine levels of detail and quality for the huge majority of customers.
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