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**To**:*math-font-discuss@cogs.susx.ac.uk***Subject**:**Re: Typesetting rules in physics****From**:*Michael John Downes <mjd@ams.org>***Date**: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:47:08 -0500- Content-Length: 1168
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Does anyone have any idea how the convention developed that in mathematics changing R from normal weight to bold means also changing it from italic to upright? I hypothesize that bold italic fonts were simply less commonly available in compositors type cases in the era of lead typesetting, and the lack was resolved by the obvious substitution of bold upright. To put it another way: Suppose you started using bold italic instead of bold upright for Latin letters in math. Would it look bizarre and wrong? Would there be readability problems? There are definitely problems distinguishing glyphs of cmmi10 and cmmib10 interspersed in normal context, but I think that's because cmmib10 is not heavy enough; it does not necessarily follow that bold italic versus italic are always too similar to be clearly distinguishable. On the other hand, could it be perhaps that the weight increase required to make a math bold italic sufficiently distinguishable from a medium italic (when they are used as isolated letters scattered in math formulas---and maybe in subscripts) is inordinately large compared to the weight increase required for text bold italic? Michael Downes

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