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correct "sizing" of Helvetica font, relative to various times-new-roman fonts, to have both fonts have the same x-height

Greetings!

I hope the following isn't an faq (at least, it doesn't seem to be in
the UK TUG FAQ). Basically, my question comes up because I'm involved
in a project that requires the use of "Times New Roman" (hereafter,
TNR) as the main text font and "Helvetica" as the sans-serif font. I
use both TexLive 2010 and MikTeX 2.9 on PCs and TexLive/MacTeX 2010 on
an iMac running Snow Leopard 10.6.5.

As is well known, Helvetica and TNR differ considerably in their x-
heights (for a given font size of, say, 10pt or 12pt). In various
packages. (The letters u, v, w, and z work as well...) I've found
references on comp.text.tex to the effect that Helvetica should be
scaled down by about 6 percent in order to make it have the same x-
height as TNR. This is easily accomplished by loading, e.g., the
helvet package with the "scaled=0.94 option", viz.,
\usepackage[scaled=0.94]{helvet}.

My issue is that I am puzzled why others state that the scaling factor
should be about 6%. Based on extensive font size comparisons, I
believe the scaling factor should be about 12.6% when using the
"standard" TNR fonts, and 14.3% when using the txfonts package, if the
objective is to get TNR and Helvetica to have the exact-same x-
heights. Is this discrepancy because the old instructions/suggestions
I've found are based on some TNR implementation (which I don't seem to
have access to) with a radically different, viz., larger, x-height? Is
equalizing the x-heigths of the two fonts maybe not such a good idea,
and that's why Helvetica shouldn't be scaled down by 12 to 14%.

Thanks in advance,

Mico Loretan
0
Mico
11/22/2010 9:23:40 PM
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Mico Loretan <mico.loretan@gmail.com> wrote:

> Greetings!
> 
> I hope the following isn't an faq (at least, it doesn't seem to be in
> the UK TUG FAQ). Basically, my question comes up because I'm involved
> in a project that requires the use of "Times New Roman" (hereafter,
> TNR) as the main text font and "Helvetica" as the sans-serif font. I
> use both TexLive 2010 and MikTeX 2.9 on PCs and TexLive/MacTeX 2010 on
> an iMac running Snow Leopard 10.6.5.
> 
> As is well known, Helvetica and TNR differ considerably in their x-
> heights (for a given font size of, say, 10pt or 12pt). In various
> packages. (The letters u, v, w, and z work as well...) I've found
> references on comp.text.tex to the effect that Helvetica should be
> scaled down by about 6 percent in order to make it have the same x-
> height as TNR. This is easily accomplished by loading, e.g., the
> helvet package with the "scaled=0.94 option", viz.,
> \usepackage[scaled=0.94]{helvet}.
> 
> My issue is that I am puzzled why others state that the scaling factor
> should be about 6%. Based on extensive font size comparisons, I
> believe the scaling factor should be about 12.6% when using the
> "standard" TNR fonts, and 14.3% when using the txfonts package, if the
> objective is to get TNR and Helvetica to have the exact-same x-
> heights. Is this discrepancy because the old instructions/suggestions
> I've found are based on some TNR implementation (which I don't seem to
> have access to) with a radically different, viz., larger, x-height? Is
> equalizing the x-heigths of the two fonts maybe not such a good idea,
> and that's why Helvetica shouldn't be scaled down by 12 to 14%.

It depends on what you are going to do. If you need to mix
Helvetica and Times on the same line, you have to choose whether
to "equalize" lowercase or uppercase letters (probably the former).

Some values: the x-height of Times is 4.45pt, of Helvetica 5.205pt;
the X-height of Times is 6.68pt, of Helvetica 7.225.

Therefore the scaling should be .874 if the x-height must be equal,
raising to .925 for the X-height. This confirms your estimate.

However it's not really a question of precise calculation, but
rather of visual compatibility between the two font families.
For example, if the two families are not used together on the
same line, say with Helvetica for the titles, a precise match
of the x-heights is not needed and only a look at the final
result will tell you whether the two families go along well
together.

A larger x-height for Helvetica would compensate for its
lighter stems than Times, for example. The x-height doesn't
tell everything about a font: the glyphs' shape is more
important.

Perhaps I'd scale Helvetica to 85%, were I to use the two
fonts on the same line, to keep into account the serifs.
Or do as Knuth for CMR and CMSS (the latter has a slightly
larger x-height than the former). Or even equalize the two:
I'd just try what is more pleasing to the eye, or maybe
less displeasing. ;-)

Ciao
Enrico
0
Enrico
11/22/2010 10:38:16 PM
On Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:23:40 -0800 (PST), Mico Loretan wrote:
 >
 > I'm involved
 > in a project that requires the use of "Times New Roman" (hereafter,
 > TNR) as the main text font and "Helvetica" as the sans-serif font. 

This is probably not a decision in which you have any say, but why this
pairing? The fonts are really incompatible, and not just the sizes. If
the sans is used *just* for headings, the combination is tolerable, even
if the sizes aren't exactly the same. But trying to match up those two
in running text is hopeless.

Bob T.

0
Bob
11/22/2010 11:36:14 PM
On Nov 22, 5:38=A0pm, Enrico Gregorio <Facile.da.trov...@in.rete.it>
wrote:
> Mico Loretan <mico.lore...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Greetings!
>
> > I hope the following isn't an faq (at least, it doesn't seem to be in
> > the UK TUG FAQ). Basically, my question comes up because I'm involved
> > in a project that requires the use of "Times New Roman" (hereafter,
> > TNR) as the main text font and "Helvetica" as the sans-serif font. I
> > use both TexLive 2010 and MikTeX 2.9 on PCs and TexLive/MacTeX 2010 on
> > an iMac running Snow Leopard 10.6.5.
>
> > As is well known, Helvetica and TNR differ considerably in their x-
> > heights (for a given font size of, say, 10pt or 12pt). In various
> > packages. (The letters u, v, w, and z work as well...) I've found
> > references on comp.text.tex to the effect that Helvetica should be
> > scaled down by about 6 percent in order to make it have the same x-
> > height as TNR. This is easily accomplished by loading, e.g., the
> > helvet package with the "scaled=3D0.94 option", viz.,
> > \usepackage[scaled=3D0.94]{helvet}.
>
> > My issue is that I am puzzled why others state that the scaling factor
> > should be about 6%. Based on extensive font size comparisons, I
> > believe the scaling factor should be about 12.6% when using the
> > "standard" TNR fonts, and 14.3% when using the txfonts package, if the
> > objective is to get TNR and Helvetica to have the exact-same x-
> > heights. Is this discrepancy because the old instructions/suggestions
> > I've found are based on some TNR implementation (which I don't seem to
> > have access to) with a radically different, viz., larger, x-height? Is
> > equalizing the x-heigths of the two fonts maybe not such a good idea,
> > and that's why Helvetica shouldn't be scaled down by 12 to 14%.
>
> It depends on what you are going to do. If you need to mix
> Helvetica and Times on the same line, you have to choose whether
> to "equalize" lowercase or uppercase letters (probably the former).
>
> Some values: the x-height of Times is 4.45pt, of Helvetica 5.205pt;
> the X-height of Times is 6.68pt, of Helvetica 7.225.
>
> Therefore the scaling should be .874 if the x-height must be equal,
> raising to .925 for the X-height. This confirms your estimate.
>
> However it's not really a question of precise calculation, but
> rather of visual compatibility between the two font families.
> For example, if the two families are not used together on the
> same line, say with Helvetica for the titles, a precise match
> of the x-heights is not needed and only a look at the final
> result will tell you whether the two families go along well
> together.
>
> A larger x-height for Helvetica would compensate for its
> lighter stems than Times, for example. The x-height doesn't
> tell everything about a font: the glyphs' shape is more
> important.
>
> Perhaps I'd scale Helvetica to 85%, were I to use the two
> fonts on the same line, to keep into account the serifs.
> Or do as Knuth for CMR and CMSS (the latter has a slightly
> larger x-height than the former). Or even equalize the two:
> I'd just try what is more pleasing to the eye, or maybe
> less displeasing. ;-)
>
> Ciao
> Enrico

Thanks, Enrico, for sharing these thoughts and calculations! I guess
the scaling factor very much depends on whether the heights of the
lowercase or uppercase letters have to be equalized.

Good to know that my estimate of .874 matches somebody else's
calculations too! :-)

Sincerely,

Mico
0
Mico
11/23/2010 12:20:54 AM
On Nov 22, 6:36=A0pm, Bob Tennent <B...@cs.queensu.ca> wrote:
> On Mon, 22 Nov 2010 13:23:40 -0800 (PST), Mico Loretan wrote:
>
> =A0>
> =A0> I'm involved
> =A0> in a project that requires the use of "Times New Roman" (hereafter,
> =A0> TNR) as the main text font and "Helvetica" as the sans-serif font.
>
> This is probably not a decision in which you have any say, but why this
> pairing? The fonts are really incompatible, and not just the sizes. If
> the sans is used *just* for headings, the combination is tolerable, even
> if the sizes aren't exactly the same. But trying to match up those two
> in running text is hopeless.
>
> Bob T.

Thanks, Bob. I could actually not agree with you more on the judgment
that that the two fonts are dreadful together. However, as you have
already guessed, this choice of this pairing was not up to me.

Sincerely,

Mico

0
Mico
11/23/2010 12:24:21 AM
Reply:

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