Using fonts from the LaTeX Font Catalogue.

Peter Wilson at
Tue May 4 20:50:22 CEST 2021

For many years I set type using lead fonts, which were limited in scope 
--- it cost you money to get enough sorts (sort is a piece of lead type) 
in a particular font in a particular size to typeset the text and design 
that you wanted. The constraints were actually very valuable. For some 
time I was a volunteer at a USA community college that provided printing 
courses for those interested in newspapers, books, ephemera, etc. The 
basic process was to use a computer to create an electronic version of 
the document and then have it printed on a four colour press. The fonts 
available were multitudiness --- whatever was available on the (Mac) 
computer. Students had to spend less than a week doing traditional 
letterpress printing. The general reaction was that the computer systems 
were much easier to use with virtually no constraints on how the result 
would look. A few appreciated that the constraints involved in using 
limited fonts and sizes made them much more aware of how to deal with 
limited resources and forced them to think deeply about what they were 

I'm inclined to believe that easy access to myriad fonts in myriad sizes 
and styles is not a good thing. You have to work if you want to be 
outside the box.

Peter W.

On 04/05/21 19:20, Boris Veytsman wrote:
> PT> From: Philip Taylor <P.Taylor at Hellenic-Institute.Uk>
> PT> Date: Tue, 4 May 2021 12:38:52 +0100
> PT> My "problem" is with the idea that each font should require a separate
> PT> package before it can be used.
> [...]
> PT> I regard TeX as a never-ending search for excellence.
> I think excellence and simplicity are often contradictory aims.  Fonts
> provide a good illustration to this thesis.
> There is *nothing* simple in the excellent use of fonts, either in the
> traditional typesetting or in the digital one.  Changing fonts is not,
> as you write in other messages "as simple as changing a color" (to
> tell the truth, the correct use of colors is not simple either).  A
> font must be harmonized with other fonts in the document and the
> document itself.  When you select a font, you should think about the
> other features of the typesetting: baseline distances, paragraphing,
> page dimensions, folios, headings & footers, section titles and many
> other things.  If you have math or tables, your problems multiply, but
> even for a restaurant menu you should be careful lest your work looks
> like a ransom note.  In the ideal world a font family should be
> accompanied by a package that takes care at least of some of these
> things, and be used only through its interface.  Of course a
> knowledgeable designer may override the decisions of the package
> authors.  For such a person the corresponding TeX commands would be
> the least of their troubles.
> In the old days of metal type the standard advice to a beginner was,
> "Do not try to use all sorts from all the type cases in this room for
> your first book.  Take one typeface, learn it inside and out, get a
> feeling for it - and only then try another one".
> Let us not try to emulate the other systems, which never looked for
> excellence.

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