Thursday, June 14, 2007


Joel and Coding horror are talking about font anti-aliasing today.

There's been a renewed interest in the topic since the release of Apple's Safari hit MS windows and brought along Apple's way of doing anti aliasing, ignoring the way windows does it. I think Joel has a good point and I agree with his hypothesis that all that's happening is that people are being confronted with a new, different way of doing anti-aliasing and are expressing an aversion to it because it's new. I suspect this partially since I was using computers before this way generally possible and still, to this day, get irritated by the fact that anti-aliasing is on at all.. That is, when I notice.

Apple's version of anti-aliasing, where they try to reflect what the font would look like when printed, is really handy when writing up documents to be printed. It's also quite nice if, like Apple used to and maybe still does, use made-for-print fonts on the web. I remember seeing Apple's old font, Apple Garamond (, for the first time with anti-aliasing enabled and thinking to myself: "Ooohhh, is that the font they're using.".. Without the anti-aliasing I didn't recognize the font on the website was the same as the one on the mac's computer box. It's a really nice looking font too so I was quite impressed. With font made for on screen reading, it doesn't help much. Did you know, for instance, that way back when the mac was created it used a very small, 9 inch computer screen running at 72 dpi. They had quite a big of trouble getting any fonts that looked nice since the screen's resolution was too long and the fonts too small. Their solution was to create fonts like monaco, geneva and chicago that were essentially made to look good when viewed on the screen:

It really showed they looked very nice without anti-aliasing. I think we should return to the good old days and make fonts look good without anti-aliasing. Now that's the final solution to blurry text.... :-)

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