Survey: Fonts & Readability
  • ASiegel
    Posts: 1126 from 2003/2/15
    From: Central Europe
    Hi everyone, after many years of development, MorphOS tends to run on a fairly varied group of computer systems by now, which ranges from systems with built-in 12 inch displays up to large desktop computers connected to 2K monitors.

    It would be interesting to see what font settings you use on which display size and resolution to keep things readable. Do you use the default settings? Did you change the font size at all?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback!
  • »29.09.16 - 09:23
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Andreas_Wolf
    Posts: 10261 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany
    > what font settings you use on which display size and resolution

    14px font size (for normal font) on 22" display at 1680×1050 resolution.
  • »29.09.16 - 14:17
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  • MorphOS Developer
    geit
    Posts: 920 from 2004/9/23
    I use 24 pixel size fonts on 2 x 1440x900 recently, but before I used Topaz/11 which was fine, too.
  • »29.09.16 - 21:41
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  • ASiegel
    Posts: 1126 from 2003/2/15
    From: Central Europe
    @ geit

    Wait, you switched from size 11 to size 24? Is this a typo by chance? :)
  • »30.09.16 - 10:58
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  • MorphOS Developer
    geit
    Posts: 920 from 2004/9/23
    @ASiegel

    Well, as you may remember I asked you about what font type you suggest to use and I played around with them and other fonts.

    After playing around with fonts I kept DejaVu Sans Mono/24 pixel. I used topaz/11 before, which is still fine. Using DejaVu at 12 pixel is very bad (font tiny and line spacing huge) and so kind of unreadable while topaz/11 looks twice in height compared directly.

    For now I keep /24, but not sure. GCC-5 dumps alot of lines and on 1440x900 topaz simply shows more information, which means less scrolling around.

    [ Edited by geit 30.09.2016 - 14:13 ]
  • »30.09.16 - 11:12
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  • jPV
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jPV
    Posts: 1487 from 2003/2/24
    From: po-RNO
    I think it should also be mentioned which font you are using, not just size. For example bitmap fonts look much bigger than scalable fonts generally even when they're set to same size. Scalable fonts also have some blurriness on them which make them look even smaller and need bigger sizes to be as readable as bitmap fonts.

    I'm using bitmap fonts myself, XEN/11 for system default text and XHelvetica/13 for screen text (and Titanium/12 for desktop icons and NewRecall/13 for window icons). Mostly on 1920x1080/24" screen. Then I also have some 24 pixels high icon fonts on my 1680x1050/17" PB.. I put them on demonstration purposes, but they're still left there, I kinda like the big clear look if using scalable fonts :)

    If I pick almost any scalable font sized 13, it looks (and is in practise) much smaller than my XHelvetica/13. And there seems to be differences between scalable fonts themselves too. I think a good measurement could be to compare actual sizes of upper case characters. For XHelvetica/13 upper case characters are 8 pixels high, for Bitstream Vera Sans/13 they are 7 pixels high, for Computer Modern/13, Open Sans/13 and Noto Sans/13 etc they're just 6 pixels and VERY blurry, they look almost like half smaller in real life! And that Geit's DejaVu Sans/13 gets only 5 pixels high upper case letters :p

    You don't get the same real life experience by just looking the size value when selecting the fonts...


    [ Edited by jPV 30.09.2016 - 15:55 ]
  • »30.09.16 - 11:50
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  • ASiegel
    Posts: 1126 from 2003/2/15
    From: Central Europe
    Quote:

    jPV wrote:
    I think it should also be mentioned which font you are using, not just size.

    It´s helpful context for sure.

    Quote:

    If I pick almost any scalable font sized 13, it looks (and is in practise) much smaller than my XHelvetica/13. And there seems to be differences between scalable fonts themselves too.

    With TrueType fonts, there is always a bit of padding. In a "best-case scenario", a size 13 vector font gets close to a size 11 with bitmap fonts.

    As you noted, some vector fonts require higher size numbers than others. There are ways to reduce padding by using custom settings with FTManager, for example, but this can negatively affect glyph rendering so one has to be careful about it.

    Quote:

    I think a good measurement could be to compare actual sizes of upper case characters. For XHelvetica/13 upper case characters are 8 pixels high, for Bitstream Vera Sans/13 they are 7 pixels high, for Computer Modern/13, Open Sans/13 and Noto Sans/13 etc they're just 6 pixels and VERY blurry, they look almost like half smaller in real life! And that Geit's DejaVu Sans/13 gets only 5 pixels high upper case letters :p

    I looked into this too. Unfortunately, I do not have size 11 available with topaz so I picked XHelvetica at the larger size 13, which you also used. The letter "h" in Xhelvetica/13 is exactly 9 pixels tall. With Geit´s Deja Vue Sans Mono/24, "h" is 14 pixels. That is a 50% difference in size although it feels even bigger when you compare the font settings side by side.

    Anyway, I was not judging, I was just surprised by the difference in size between the old and the new font settings. Whatever works for any of you is great. The point of this thread is obviously to learn more about it.
  • »30.09.16 - 15:39
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  • pOS
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    pOS
    Posts: 196 from 2003/11/14
    From: Bavaria
    I use Bitstream Vera Sans , size 13 for system text, size 15 for other texts.

    I use a resolution of 2560×1080 on a 29" 21:9 Display
  • »30.09.16 - 21:31
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  • jPV
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    jPV
    Posts: 1487 from 2003/2/24
    From: po-RNO
    Quote:

    ASiegel wrote:
    The letter "h" in Xhelvetica/13 is exactly 9 pixels tall.


    Oops, indeed. "H" in XHelvetica/13 is 9 pixels.. the mistake was because I counted it from my Screen Text string (font.png), but it actually is XHelvetica/11 (which is the 8 pixels), because those fonts get overridden by my statically set MUI settings. Should have counted that from the font requester as I did with other fonts :)

    And to be more exact why I'd prefer comparing upper case letters is that some lower case letters (like "h", "l", etc) can be higher than upper case letters in some fonts, and that makes the general look of the font smaller too. Those few "bigger than other letters for styling" letters are rarely used, but the upper case letters are usually all with same height and define the overall look of the font.


    [ Edited by jPV 01.10.2016 - 12:57 ]
  • »01.10.16 - 08:45
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Sprocki
    Posts: 113 from 2005/2/23
    From: Berlin - Germany
    Before replying: Which settings do you want to know about? MorphOS Preferences/Font? Preferences/Ambient/Icons? One of the MUI settings? All of them? Often Ambient settings differ from MUI settings differ from OWB settings differ from Shell settings (fixed font!). At least they can.

    What about a structured questionnaire? https://www.limesurvey.org/de/
    Ask for the font name/family, styles like bold, italics, underlined, and its size, whether it is a bitmap or vector font, fixed or not. As font size dose not mean pixel size, this information is only useful if given together.
    Pixel size of the screen, maybe also screen resolution if you are interested in it. (No, resolution is not the same as screen pixel size, this is often used mistakenly).

    Topaz/11: http://aminet.net/package/text/bfont/topaz11
    BTW: http://aminet.net/package/text/pfont/Topaz-8

    BTW: In your first post, shouldn't it be 4K monitors instead of 2K monitors? At least the driver is included since MorphOS 3.8. I do not have a fitting graphics board to make use of it, though.
  • »02.10.16 - 13:08
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  • Moderator
    guruman
    Posts: 454 from 2003/7/22
    I use Bitstream Vera Sans Mono/13 for system default text and Bitstream Vera Sans/15 for screen text on the Mac mini with a screen resolution of 1280x720. For Icons I use Bitstream Vera Sans/15 and /11.
    I have reinstalled the OS quite recently on the PowerBook G4 (HD died...) and I found the default setting good enough not to mess with them - default screen on the 17" should be 1680x1050.

    Kind regards,
    Andrea
  • »02.10.16 - 14:37
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 259 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    PowerBook G4, 1440x960:
    System Default Text: Bitstream Vera Sans Mono 15
    Screen Text: Bitstream Vera Sans 17
    Desktop: Lux/17, Lux/13
    Window: Lux/16

    [ Editiert durch ernsteiswuerfel 23.10.2016 - 21:12 ]
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  • »16.10.16 - 00:03
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    boot_wb
    Posts: 874 from 2007/4/9
    From: Kingston upon ...
    Laptop - 1440x960 - (screen very close compared to most other systems - ~0.5m):

    System font - Bitstream Vera Sans Mono 13
    Screen font - Bitstream Vera Sans Mono 15
    Ambient Desktop font - Bitstream Vera Sans 18 (Alpha Shadow White/Black)
    Ambient Window font - Bitstream Vera Sans 18 (Alpha Shadow White/Black)

    If I remember rightly only a few of the supplied fonts look 'modern' and are suitable for use as both screen-font (any font type) and system-font (fixed width only). This might influence choice somewhat.

    Desktop (14" screen, 1280x1024, distance ~1 - 1.5m):

    Same as above, except:

    System font - DeJaVu Sans Mono 20
    Screen font - Bitstream Vera Sans 18

    When the mac-mini was used as a HTPC (40" screen, 1920x1080, distance ~3 - 4m), the screen font size was set to around 30 (possibly bold).

    PS - For desktop fonts I found readability at a distance and/or over a range of colours/contrasts - at least on predominantly dark backgrounds - was best accomplished using the Alpha Shadow mode (after playing about with glow/shadow/outline fonts).

    [ Edited by boot_wb 16.10.2016 - 13:13 ]
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  • »16.10.16 - 10:55
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  • ASiegel
    Posts: 1126 from 2003/2/15
    From: Central Europe
    Thanks to everyone who participated so far.


    @ Sprocki

    Just your standard console (monospaced) font as well as either your normal system font or MUI ('normal') font (listed on the window page in MUI prefs) in case they are different.

    The size of the display in inches as well as the resolution would be interesting but just the font sizes would be fine too.
  • »16.10.16 - 18:26
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    ernsteiswuerfel
    Posts: 259 from 2015/6/18
    From: Funeralopolis
    PowerMac G5, 1920x1060:

    System Default Text: Bitstream Vera Sans Mono 17
    Screen Text: Bitstream Vera Sans 19
    Desktop: Lux/18, Lux/14
    Window: Lux/18

    [ Editiert durch ernsteiswuerfel 23.10.2016 - 21:13 ]
    Talos II Secure Workstation. [Gentoo Linux] | PMac G5 7,3. PBook G4 5,8. [MorphOS 3.11 / Gentoo Linux] | A1200. ACA-1233, Indivision AGA Mk2. [Amiga OS 3.1.4]
  • »22.10.16 - 15:38
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