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Subject: Re: Condensation
From: Jorge de Buen <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 4 Feb 2003 10:44:43 -0800

text/plain (54 lines)

Tijuana, B. C., 4 de febrero del 2003

From Hrant Papazian:

> So narrower columns in newspapers cause condensation to become more
effective (or less ineffective).

>> I tend to think there will be a formula, albeit not a highly accurate

> Right, it can only estimate, simply because the actual text -and more
specifically the proportion of paragraph breaks in the text- is

It is a good idea for the font suppliers to provide a set of numbers about
the fonts they sale: Arithmetic relations among x-height, caps-height, body,
width average, etc. With these figures one can make some very useful
correlations. For instance:

If we make the mean width of Univers 55 equal to 1.0, we have the following
figures: Palatino 0.982, Elegant Garamond 0.846, Times New Roman 0.885. With
these data, for instance, we can apply the following formula: 

     C f
L = -----,
     P R


L = sum of lines,
C = sum of characters,
f = width of the font when Univers 55 equals 1.0
P = sum of paragraphs,
R = characters per line in Univers 55

Suppose that you have a 93,000 characters-150 paragraphs text (titles apart)
to be set in lines 28 picas long. That means around 72 characters per line
in Univers 55. Therefore, you can expect the following performances:

Univers 55 = 8.61 => 9 lines per paragraph = 1350 lines total.
Palatino = 8.46 => 9 lines per paragraph = 1350 lines total.
Elegant Garamond = 7.29 => 8 lines per paragraph = 1200 lines total.
Times New Roman = 7.62 => 8 lines per paragraph = 1200 lines total.

We can use many other factors to estimate how the font will behave (I
discuss many of them in my _Manual de diseño editorial_). With Univers 55
and a good set of numbers given by the providers, we wouldn't need to have
the actual fonts to test their performances.


Jorge de Buen U.
[log in to unmask]
Tijuana, México

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