Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

« Editing TextMainOld Acquaintances »

Fonts – Zapfino

484 words

Apple Zapfino written in Zapfinohave posted a very informative document on the capabilites of MacOS X's font managing and text display. They also provide tips for font management, although some of them make em shrug:

Tip If you organize fonts by job, create copies of fonts that are in multiple sets. Font aliases are not recognized inside font folders.

Allowing aliases shouldn't be terribly hard to do for Apple's engineers while using them can be very efficient and convenient for users. Both for saving disk storage and not having the risk of becoming confused because of duplicate files.

While I'm at it, let me make a couple of additional remarks: Firstly, while Apple's typesetting system in OS X seems to be quite advanced, enabling us to have fancy ligatures as seen in the Zapfino screenshot above, these features aren't used everywhere. E.g. currently neither Safari nor Chimera use them – just compare with this post's heading if you are using one of these browsers – I conveniently included the word Zapfino there.

Drawing problems when changing the size of Zapfino Secondly, Apple's type rendering system still seems to have some problems with the below-baseline bits of fonts like Zapfino as can be seen in the other screenshot that was generated by lowering the font size in TextEdit. Thirdly, while the character palette (to be seen on this nice informational page on fonts at Apple) is a very good tool to explore and make the most of Unicode fonts, the document describes it as the preferred method of entering dingbat fonts. Why the hell did they remove the Unicode Dingbat keyboard layout that made most common dingbats in their proper positions accessible via the keyboard? People who use Dingbats frequently will for sure dislike this.

Fourthly, the document contains a listing of all of OS X's included fonts. It's a very strange list and I suppose it's not correct. It lists Arial that makes its way to the Mac with Internet Explorer but not the classical Helvetica which is explicitly stated as being required in the very same document (strangely the document states Some MacOS X functions require that Helvetica and Helvetica Neue be active. they include the Sound preference pane [?!], TextEdit, Mail, iCal and certain third-party menu bar items. – very strange). Also, the list doesn't contain Times and other Mac classics such as Palatino or New York. While listing Optima that OS X readers can enjoy as the sans serif font on this very page.

Hm, I recently changed the text font of my CSS to be Georgia instead of Palatino. I feel a bit like a traitor now for doing this. I love Palatino but Georgia seems to be a bit crisper on-screen and – more importantly – it has those nice old-style numerals.

Oh, and, ironically, in their own listing of fonts, Apple doesn't use the nice ligature for the word 'Zapfino' I mentioned above when listing Zapfino.

February 27, 2003, 0:29

Tagged as arial, helvetica, zapfino.


Comment by minhaj: User icon

please send me zapfino family because it is a creative family

November 4, 2005, 17:47

Comment by Jorge: User icon

is beautiful

February 7, 2006, 18:56

Comment by Katie Mercado: User icon

It’s so beautiful!I think I have a new favorite.

March 26, 2010, 10:23

Add your comment

« Editing TextMainOld Acquaintances »

Comments on




This page

Out & About

pinboard Links


Received data seems to be invalid. The wanted file does probably not exist or the guys at last.fm changed something.