In order to prepare educational material on the computer, the educational typeface must be digitized, i.e. a computer font must be designed.
Many educational typefaces have been, however, poorly digitized.
1. Bad Letter Drawings
If a letter has been digitized poorly, its appearance will be disharmonious and may create problems, e.g. when being displayed on the screen or printed, or converted into other formats (e.g. webfonts ).
An example for poor digitizing is the computer font of the Austrian educational typeface “Schulschrift 1995”:
The following figure shows a letter detail in which poor digitizing has produced angular lines instead of harmonious curves and a varying width of the right “branch” of the letter. Reading, therefore, becomes tedious:
Digitized “Schulschrift 1995”: Unrhythmic and disharmonious appearance of the typeface
2. Missing letter combinations
In connected fonts it is not possible to place adjacent letters without making adjustments; different combinations of letters need different “instrokes” and “outstrokes”.
Well-digitized fonts take care of this problem. They contain not only one sample of a letter, but a whole set of variations with different connecting strokes. Depending on the desired letter combination, the correct variation is selected automatically and will thus yield harmonious transitions.
The computer font of the Austrian “Schulschrift 1995” does not take care of this problem. It contains only one single variation of each letter and therefore a number of letter combinations look disharmonious, e.g. the transition t - f has an angle instead of being straight.
The figure above shows the – unwanted – varying width of lines, e.g. at the point where t and f meet, or at the bend in the “trunk” of the t. Moreover, we can clearly see the angles caused by poor digitizing (e.g. inside the loop of the f). As a result, the font is hard to read, be it on the screen or in print.
A further example for poor digitization is the Polish educational typeface “Elementarz”:
Much better, but not perfect, „Elementarz Pro 2016“ by Bartek Novak:
3. Problematic distances
A font can be read well, if distance adjustments are made for different letter combinations so that the whites between any combination of letters remain balanced.
If white spaces do not appear equal, eye fatigue occurs more quickly. Well-digitized fonts, therefore, have precisely defined distances for all important letter combinations: Some letters are spaced closer to each other than others to achieve a balanced overall appearance of the typeface. When the Austrian educational typeface “Schuldruckschrift” was digitized, this aspect was neglected. The distance between the T and the o is too big and produces a disturbing gap between the two letters:
“Schuldruckschrift”. Distance between T and o is too big
“Verdana”: harmonious distance between T and o
In the font “Verdana” the T and o are placed closer to each other. The o seems to hide under the crossbar of the T. It produces a balanced whitespace and thus a harmonious appearance of the typeface. In well-digitized fonts the letters are not simply spaced equally, but each important letter combination has a precisely defined distance between the letters.