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## Mathematicians Devise Typefaces Based On Problems of Computational Geometry60

KentuckyFC writes: "Typeface design is something of an art. For many centuries, this art has been constrained by the materials available to typographers, mainly lead and wood. More recently, typographers have been freed from this constraint with the advent of digital typesetting and the number of typefaces has mushroomed. Verdana, for example, is designed specifically for computer screens. Now a father and son team of mathematicians have devised a number of typefaces based on problems they have studied in computational geometry. For example, one typeface is inspired by the folds and valleys generated by computational origami designs. Another is based on the open problem of 'whether every disjoint set of unit disks (gears or wheels) in the plane can be visited by a single taut non-self-intersecting conveyor belt.' Interestingly, several of the new typefaces also serve as puzzles in which messages are the solutions."
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## Mathematicians Devise Typefaces Based On Problems of Computational Geometry

• #### Question answered (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:41AM (#46786977)

Well, at least now we know why typefaces are designed by artists and not mathematicians.

• #### missing the point? (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:45AM (#46786997) Homepage

Traditionally, typeface designers have considered legibility and aesthetics in their work (in addition to typesetting limitations). Apparently those factors are optional now as well.

OK, these are interesting intellectual exercises. But don't try to sell them as examples of typeface design, because that's a creative discipline that goes beyond mathematical questions of "can it be done?"

• #### Re:Question answered (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:48AM (#46787011)
I don't know, Computer Modern didn't turn out all that wrong.
• #### Interesting... but nearly useless (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:48AM (#46787013)
The major point of fonts is to improve communications. Clarity and lack of ambiguity are pretty much the main goals we are striving for, with style being important but not vital. These two decided to have some fun with what could be done, and they succeeded. Good for them. Unfortunately, in achieving the style, they failed on the clarity. Time to turn the page.
• #### Re:missing the point? (Score:4, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:53AM (#46787039) Homepage Journal

Yes, every characteristic is optional. e.g. comic sans and windings. Attempting an objective solution to an artistic problem isn't bad, the complaints that come out of that can help point you towards better objective constraints. Assuming you've succeeded because you're trying to be objective would be the only problem.

• #### Re:Question answered (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @08:56AM (#46787053)

True, but I would say that was created by Knuth in the role of artist, not mathematician.

on Friday April 18, 2014 @09:16AM (#46787169)

Monospaced font for numbers, so they can line up in a column

• #### Re:Useless bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

on Friday April 18, 2014 @09:23AM (#46787233)
Oh really? I would find such a thing extremely useful in creating knitting and other needlework designs. There is a fairly standard set of images for creating pattern charts, but a font representing these stitches would be even better - no need for the usually Windows-only pattern creation software that uses these standardized images.
• #### zeroes (Score:3, Insightful)

by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 18, 2014 @10:20AM (#46787657)

Monospaced font for numbers, so they can line up in a column

Also: slashed zero, as well as some distinction between capital-i and small-l (el).

A good test string that I ran across was "Illegal1 = O0". Also, m/rn/rri (em/ar-en/ar-ar-eye), w/vv (double-u/vee-vee):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IDN_homograph_attack

//GO.SYSIN DD *, DOODAH, DOODAH

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