Hands on with Fonts & Encodings (finally)

In September, I mentioned being quite excited by the new O'Reilly book Fonts & Encodings. Today, I was tempted to buy it from the campus bookstore at EPFL, but decided to do a little research because it would be nearly a 60% markup if I bought it here versus in the US. Fortunately, the EPFL library had purchased a copy which was not checked out.

Strangely, enough it is described as being translated from French by Scott Horne, but as far as I can tell there is no French edition (and if there is, I find it strange that the EPFL library and bookstore only had the English edition). Perhaps only the original manuscript by Yannis was in French.

I've only just begun to delve into it, at 1017 pages it will take some time to review it in depth, but if you are serious about typography I think this is a book that you will definitely want to own. It really covers the entire spectrum: Unicode text and how it works, through setting up fonts to display your text in operating systems and software, all the way to designing/editing/hinting fonts. I haven't looked at it in enough depth to be absolutely certain, but I am pretty sure it has nearly enough information on most formats that you could write software for them as well. It is truly a wondrous tome.

I will have to see what more I have to say once I've spent more time with it. One reason I thought of picking it up today was that it has quite a nice introduction to using METATYPE1, which with some luck I may use to start on a true meta-font for Gentzen Symbol. At the same time I guess I will try to package up the Type 1 PostScript version of Gentzen Symbol from my dissertation, assuming that there is anyone out there truly interested in using it in their own documents.


  1. Jean-Baptiste said,

    March 31, 2008 @ 12:21 pm

    Not sure if that’s what you’re looking for, but here is the post annoucing the original French publication back in 2004:
    And the post announcing the English version:

  2. washburn said,

    March 31, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

    @ Jean-Batptiste: Ah, yes that would be the French edition then. However, I still find it strange that the EPFL library does not carry it – I just searched on the French title and it is not available anywhere in the local network of libraries.

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