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Subject: Re: "A Letter To An Imaginary Friend"
From: Ron Koster <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:TYPO-L Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 14 Nov 1996 18:23:13 -0500

text/plain (109 lines)

>X-From_: [log in to unmask]  Tue Nov 12 13:05:42 1996
>Date:  Tue, 12 Nov 1996 13:04:23 -0500
>Reply-To: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting"
<[log in to unmask]>
>Sender: "The Book Arts: binding, typography, collecting"
<[log in to unmask]>
>From:  Richard Minsky <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject:      Re: "A Letter To An Imaginary Friend"
>To:    Multiple recipients of list BOOK_ARTS-L <[log in to unmask]>
>Ron Koster's query is certainly not "too oddball"-- it addresses an issue
>germane to contemporary book art in its www incarnation. I've looked at the
>page in question
>        <>
>and it is a reasonable approach to creating a literary work in period style.
>>the standard Times font that people use is
>>"close enough" to at least get the flavour of the era. Please keep in mind
>>that I'm trying to do *web* design in a historical style, not merely copy a
>>*book* style (which would be an entirely different thing in itself).
>>if I should receive enough suggestions to do the whole thing as graphics
>>that's easily enough accomplished as well
>>but that would have meant
>>doing the whole thing as graphics (which would take forever to load)
> For me, seeing the type in Times New Roman (Courier, Gill Sans, Bembo,
>Helvetica... or whatever happens to be the font of the day) doesn't work
>with the title page format or the initial letters. It immediately sweeps me
>out of the "period" flavor that has been established.I enjoyed the use of
>type in the "title" part of the "letter", but wish it was at a higher
>resolution, as it seems to break up like low-res computer imaging, rather
>than breaking up like worn foundry type. That also pulls it out of the
>Victorian period.
>It is possible to use "modern" types to create new works based on earlier
>models, and in such cases the work created is intended not to reproduce the
>style of another era, but to refer to it. Even so, or particularly so, it is
>necessary to control not only what font is used, but the typography as well
>(size, spacing, ligatures, etc.).
>I doubt that instructing people to change their font preferences is
>practical, as even if anybody would want to do it, and a lot of people don't
>know how,  they might not have the font you want. You could script a font
>download into your site, but still.... Also, every browser displays web
>pages differently. My biggest problem in designing web pages is very
>different from traditional book design, because with"real" books I choose
>the paper, the method of printing, and the binding. I watch the pages come
>off the press, and control the color.
>Surprisingly few people calibrate their monitors, so no matter what you do
>things will look different on different systems. And that's the least of it.
>I use and have used several internet connections and browsers, including
>aol, compuserve, pipeline, netscape, and msn (internet explorer). Millions
>of people don't upgrade their software and operate on old systems. Even
>versions 3.0 of Netscape and Intyernet Explorer read the same html pages
>differently. I try to run every page I do thru several browsers, to be sure
>that each gives an acceptable, though different, appearance. People who
>design in one browser and don't check with others would be shocked to see
>how some of their beautiful designs are wrecked.
>So although it may be possible to script a html page for period effect, I
>believe a jpeg works better.
>In my own work I do this by printing the page on handmade paper (which may
>involve hand coloring and gilding), scanning it, and posting the jpeg to a
>website. I had some _Minsky in Bed_ pages up a year or two ago, but took it
>down because I was unhappy with the scan. There is still a reduced fragment
>of a page from that at
>                <>
>but Colophon Page has rescanned the original pages and is putting up a
>_Minsky in Bed_ exhibit in its virtual gallery, which will have a few
>complete stories with full page graphics. The scans are beautiful--the
>problem is compressing the jpegs so that people with modem connections don't
>have to wait forever. My concept now is to have 100K files for modem clients
>and larger (200K-400K, perhaps 1 M) files for isdn and faster clients. I
>find Corel Photopaint does a good job of shrinking jpg filesize while
>maintaining definition. Take a look at the medieval illuminated manuscript
>in a chemise binding at
>                <>
>which is less than a 60K file to download, and comes in fairly quickly (a
>few seconds) on a 28.8 modem (pops right up on an isdn line). It's
>remarkable sharp despite the compression.
>I'll post a note when the MIB pages are accessible.
>> I could also decrease the font size to
>>squeeze more text into a smaller space
>Be sure it remains readable at different monitor resolutions. Don't assume
>your favorite resolution is anyone else's. I use 800 x 600 on my 15" and
>1024 x 760 on the 17", though I like to check pages at 640 x 480 and 1280 x
>1060 before posting to the server. Some people with big screens like the
>1600 x resolution.
>All that being said, I'd rather design (and intend to when I learn how) or
>look at shockwave pages with JAVA scripting, in which a traditional format
>(like the initial letter) has an animated initial, perhaps one which draws
>itself on the page and is historiated with a cartoon, or inhabited by
>animals which swing from the letter, and background music plays while
>reading, ....
>            Richard

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