Poll: Font Styles?

Discussion in 'Pleco for iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch' started by mikelove, Jan 15, 2012.

?

Which new font styles would you most like to see added to Pleco?

  1. Ming / Song style - system default for Chinese on Windows (SimSun), and in our old Palm and Windows

    15 vote(s)
    32.6%
  2. Kai style - "regular script," more calligraphic, second most common print style after Ming/Song

    36 vote(s)
    78.3%
  3. Xing style - "semi-cursive," somewhere in between Kai and Cao

    16 vote(s)
    34.8%
  4. Cao style - "grass script," free-flowing cursive

    8 vote(s)
    17.4%
  5. Li style - "clerical script," old-fashioned but colorful and still pretty widely used

    4 vote(s)
    8.7%
  6. Seal script - still used on seals, not widely used elsewhere now but etymologically interesting

    9 vote(s)
    19.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    We've been talking to several foundries recently about licensing some new Chinese character fonts for Pleco - getting pretty tired of the built-in Hei one - so I thought I'd do a quick survey (feel free to post a longer answer too) about which sorts of fonts people would like to have access to.
     
    glazuragana likes this.
  2. scykei

    scykei 榜眼

    Aww, we have to choose?

    I would like to see some more bizarre cursive ones. Seal script is the most interesting of all but I've never really seen full modern sentences written in them before. ^.^
     
    glazuragana likes this.
  3. gabor

    gabor 探花

    seal script? i would be very interested but At the same time I think it doesn't really makes sense. Kai is already very calligraphic, as you mentioned, seal script is probably the most creative "writing" style from all, it would be simply too boring in my opinion to see all characters carved by one certain seal carving master. Good suggestion though, much requested, too :)
     
  4. yoose

    yoose 探花

    i voted for Kai because it looks less blocky, but it would be cool to have the cursives as well. would font support also include handwriting support? :D and maybe eventually OCR support? some signs are written in the cursives and it would be nice to be able to OCR them, i realize how difficult it must be. just one of those things that i dont expect but would be really cool if it happened.
     
  5. Vzzzbx

    Vzzzbx 进士

    My first choice is kai, because I think it's the most helpful for those of who write by hand and are developing a distinct personal style. It's also just a really pleasant variant. (Ming is also nice, but the difference between kai and Pleco's current font is greater.)

    Xing and cao are generally underexposed in learning material, and therefore bloody hard to learn without help, so I picked those as well.
     
  6. character

    character 状元

    The more cursive styles would certainly make for a more interesting flashcard session.
     
  7. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Thanks for the feedback so far.

    We're currently leaning towards a combination of Song, Kai, and probably a pen (rather than brush) version of Xing.

    Song is kind of boring, but it's the most popular printed Chinese style for a reason - it's extremely readable and regular and fills up spaces nicely.

    Kai is beautiful, but awkward for large amounts of reading - as a screen text font it tends to look small and murky. (seriously, try reading a book in it and see how long you last) So I like it for showing headwords at the top of entries, but I think by default we'd probably want to confine it to only that and not also use it for body text.

    Xing would primarily be used as a cursive teaching tool - I doubt very many people would want it as their regular reading font, but I can certainly see it being helpful in flashcards and Character Info. And this is why we'd go with a pen rather than a brush version - it's harder to see the strokes in the latter even if it is prettier to look at.

    FWIW, we're also looking at adding a really great text serif font for English and Pinyin; we don't really like any of the built-in options on iOS, and on Retina / XHDPI displays we think a move to serifs makes sense both for readability and aesthetic reasons. (though we'd certainly retain the current Arial as an option)
     
  8. 多伦多人

    多伦多人 Member

    I'm looking forward to the addition of new fonts in Pleco. Would it be possible to make the Stroke Order Diagrams available in 楷体 too?
     
  9. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Not easily, I'm afraid, though we could always investigate licensing another set of stroke order data for that.
     
  10. alanmd

    alanmd 探花

    I vote for Cao with stroke order!
     
  11. scykei

    scykei 榜眼

    Lol, would you mind elaborating for the other three too? I voted for them. Will they make it? :D
     
  12. sfrrr

    sfrrr 状元

    No fair!

    I'm a long-time fan of using cursive typefaces to help study cursive handwriting . otoh, I would be disappointed to see seal script displace kai or xing. deal script, seems to me more decorative than core. I would hate to see it replace kai (a beautiful, well-formed face). and as beautiful as xing is, it's just not run-on enough to teach cursive And, yes, pen f
    faces are far more informative than brush. I think we should defer the decorative faces until Pleco becomes a page-layout program.
     
  13. alanmd

    alanmd 探花

    Those fonts don't exist in Pleco yet, so they can't be 'replaced'. The poll is about adding new fonts to Pleco, I believe as an optional alternative to the existing font.

    To be honest I don't think I would change from the current font for my default dictionary list, it is just so clear. I kind of like the idea of being able to see an individual character or block of text in multiple fonts though as a learning tool, especially the semi/fully cursive ones which I find quite hard to read sometimes.
     
  14. sfrrr

    sfrrr 状元

    Thank you for pointing out my confusing use of the word 'replace." Perhaps I should have written "win put over." In the old win mobile version, it was possible to change typefaces, a feature I've missed ever since switching to android and iOS.
     
  15. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    You can do it on Android; put your new font in /Android/data/com.pleco.chinesesystem/files/fonts/chinese/ and kill / reopen Pleco and it'll use it. Trickier on iOS since Apple's custom font system generally requires fonts to be built into the application, but we've got a potential workaround for that on iOS 4+ devices at least.
     
  16. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Depends on the sort of pricing we can get for a bulk license. If you click on the links you can see descriptions / samples of all of them - the latter three are really mainly interesting as alternate references (you're not going to want to read lots of text written in them) but Xing versus Cao for cursive teaching is an interesting question.

    Cao might be more dramatically cursive-ized, but I'm not sure if there even is a pen-style Cao out there - Founder has a huge collection but only seems to have pen-style fonts for Kai and Xing. The question is whether Xing is useful enough for cursive teaching that we should license a pen-based Xing or whether we should view it simply as an attractive way to display headwords and license a brush one.

    We could also look at getting Cao characters another way, too - the 草字彙 from the Qing dynasty covers a lot of common ones, all we need is to get somebody to scan / crop / categorize it.

    Kai and Song are almost definitely in, though, the main question is what we do about the other four.

    Quite right, Apple and Google went with Hei for a reason - it's not too attractive but it is nice and readable on a mobile screen. But Retina Displays (soon to be on iPads as well as iPhones) get you close enough to printed text resolution that serif fonts like Song/Kai are more usable than they would be on older devices, so I think it's worth having them as an option going forward.
     
  17. scykei

    scykei 榜眼

    So when they are released, we will buy them as a bulk, or are they purchased individually?

    I haven't really seen proper samples of the font. Wikipedia's article only shows how they are normally handwritten in brush but there are very few examples of digitalized ones.

    Oh if anyone's interested, I found a site which can display seal script characters, as well as a few other cursive fonts: http://www.chinese-tools.com/tools/calligraphy.html
    Just choose the second choice under the second category for seal script. :D
     
  18. chrismerck

    chrismerck Member

    My agenda is to learn to handwrite like a native. Perhaps I won't know as many characters, but I would like to be able to render the characters I do know in a natural, native-like cursive.

    To that end, a pen Xing would be helpful, since it is the closest thing to a standard for modern cursive handwriting (if I understand correctly). Plus, in Xing, the stroke-order is often evident from the finished character without animation. However, an animated Pen Xing would really take the cake.

    Kai is certainly better than the built-in for learning handwriting, but less useful than Xing could be imo.

    Cao may be interesting for historical or artistic reasons, but I don't see it being all that useful for the modern learner. Perhaps it has a place somewhere in the 字 tab.

    What is missing from the poll is a modern cursive script; i.e., the way (or one of the ways) that modern Chinese write quickly using a pen. Something like http://db.tt/BjKXuZWA. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but this handwriting looks more 'running' than most Xingshu examples I've seen online.)

    -Chris
     
  19. mikelove

    mikelove 皇帝 Staff Member

    Not sure yet - we might actually make Kai or Song free, pretty much all of these would be licensed on a flat-annual-fee basis so the question is whether we'd make more money off of them as marketing tools or as paid add-ons.

    Animted pen Xing would be neat - I wonder if we could hire somebody to record those for us. (anybody know any unemployed calligraphers?)

    As a font I mainly just see Kai as a pretty way to display zoomed characters in headwords and such - basically the ultimate Chinese headline font. Some people might want to use it for body text and we'd give them that option but I still think it's a little too murky on a Retina Display. Though Kai stroke order would be great if we could get it.

    That's missing mainly because I'm not aware of any fonts that use it - it would be really hard to do a joined-stroke cursive Chinese font because you'd either have to standardize the points where characters connected to each other or tweak them for every possible combination.
     
  20. goldyn chyld

    goldyn chyld 状元

    I voted for Kai, too. It'd be awesome for headwords, perhaps the definitions, too. We'll see about the latter. :)
     

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