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You are here: Home / Conferences / Hong Kong 2012 / Programme / 11–14 October – General programme

Hanzi: The Past, Present, and Future

When Fri 12 Oct 1045
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What
Who George Gu

In 1807, Robert Morrison mixed Chinese wooden types with English metal letters for printing. In 1858, William Gamble (1830-1886) was the first to electroplate Chinese type for printing. In modern printing, we call the typefaces, Hong Kong and Shanghai types, respectively. (Zhang Xiumin: The printing History of China. 1989, p.583, p.624)

Gamble was invited to Japan and taught the locals how to make hot type. In 1912, Japanese type designers purchased the Linn Boyd Benton machine from the U.S., which allowed them to transition from mould-cutting by hand to large-scale production by machine. (Mr. Yahagi Katsubi: Dai Nippon Printing Specimen Book. 1971. P.5)

Ishii Shigekich and Morisawa Noboo, inspired by Monotype, invented the photo-typesetting machine. Nevertheless, due to the vast quantity of Hanzi characters in use, the high cost and time-consuming process of transforming these types from hot metal onto high precision photo-typesetting machine is an ongoing limitation.

I will discuss the limitations of existing Far East font designs:
* Flaws resulting from sizing fonts
* Uneven alignment
* Disruption of normal spacing
* Loss of aesthetics in the development of type families

I will discuss current font production methods that are best suited for use in printed materials, electronic devices, and the internet:
* Strokes type such as Dyna Font, produced in Taiwan
* Parts type such as the Paris type and the Berlin type (circa 1836- 1860)
* Use of Fontographer EM’s function to increase or decrease font weights
* Use of MMT technology to design CJK fonts

In summary, I will: (1) review the history of Far East typefaces; (2) discuss the shortcomings of existing typefaces; and (3) introduce high quality and cost-effective methods to design CJK fonts.

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