Standardize Font Appearance

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Wed Sep 14 13:42:06 EDT 2022

Neville wrote:

 > You can see screen grabs of the resulting Mac and Windows standalones
 > at

Thank you for the screen shots. If a picture is normally worth a 
thousand words, in discussions of visual details they're worth a million. :)

I did a quick search for "font baseline difference mac windows" on 
DuckDuckGo and found several discussions across a great many tools 
around this issue of vertical drift, e.g.:

The last two may be especially interesting, as commenters suggest using 
Google fonts for common faces sometimes yield better results than fonts 
from other foundries, with apparently more detail in the font code to 
account for fractional ascenders/descenders.

A couple of suggestions also point to software tools like FontForg or 
the web app to make adjustments to the font metrics.

And of course with web devs we see some conditional CSS to account for 
the difference, similar to what you're doing with LC margin properties.

It would be helpful to get Mark Waddingham's view on this, since of 
course he knows the interaction between LC's rendering engine and the 
underlying text renderers in the OS better than anyone.

But given how widespread the issue is across some of the most 
heavily-financed apps in the world (Microsoft, Adobe, web browsers), my 
hunch aligns with the comments in those discussions linked to above: 
variances in both OS renderers and in the code of the font files 
themselves would make it perhaps cost-prohibitive to attempt to address 
all possible combinations.

If you find that using an embedded font from Google solves it, or at 
least reduces it, please let us know.

Beyond that, where fine-tuning is needed for non-HIG GUIs it may be that 
carefully-crafted margin adjustments are as good as we get. Small 
comfort, but such tediousness would still leave us no worse off than pro 
designers using Adobe tools or web browsers.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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