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        CompareMaster
CompareMaster (CoMa) is an application for comparing the contour descriptions, metrics, and hinting of glyphs in OpenType cff and PostScript Type1 fonts.

The program produces an extensive listing or a more compact summary as a generic text file. Also it is possible to generate plot files in the PostScript format. This way different fonts, different versions of the same fonts, and different formats of fonts can be compared.

CoMa provides the opportunity to compare adaptations with their origins. This is not only useful for type designers and font producers, but for instance also for design agencies and printers that want to exclude incompatibility between different versions of fonts.

Output options include PostScript plot files and extensive or summarized listings in text format.

        Availability
CompareMaster is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Free ‘Light’ versions can be downloaded from the ‘Test/demo’ page on this site.

        LetterModeller
LetterModeller (LeMo) is a first step towards the automation of type design processes. The application is developed by Dr. Frank E. Blokland, Dr. Jürgen Willrodt, Hartmut Schwarz, and Axel Stoltenberg with the exploration and parameterisation of (certain parts of) type design processes in mind. The application is partly the result of Frank E. Blokland’s PhD research at Leiden University on the (effects of) systematization, standardization, and unitization in the Renaissance font production.

LeMo is part of Blokland’s educational program and based on his expertise as Senior Lecturer type design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague since 1987, and as Research Fellow at the Plantin Institute of Typography in Antwerp since 1995. The models generated with LeMo can be used as a direct basis for type design, or supplementary to writing with a broad nib and flat brush.

The current version of LeMo can be used to explore and modify the structure of roman type, by applying a set of parameters. The generated glyphs can be edited using the internal glyph editor and the outcomes can be exported in the be (proprietary cubic Bézier) and ufo formats, and as –currently unhinted– cff– and TrueType-flavoured OpenType fonts.

LeMo V5 preferably requires a large screen and this implies that the display of the many functions is not really optimized for laptops. Hence, when you work with for instance a MacBook it is advised to resize the icons to make every function accessible on the screen. For hinting it is recommended to use the auto-hinter in the afdko for cff-flavored fonts and ttfautohint for TrueType-flavored fonts.

        Availability
LetterModeller is available for macOS, Windows, and Linux and can be downloaded for free from the ‘Test/demo’ page on this site.

        LeMo Method
LetterModeller is very suitable to explore the basics of type design. Writing with a broad nib is a good starting point for exploring matters like construction, contrast sort, contrast flow, and contrast. However, translating handwriting into type is not very straightforward, especially when it comes to solidly rhythmically patterned type.

There is not much discussion possible about the fact that written letters were initially standardized and eventually formalized by the Renaissance invention of movable type. However, there is no known Humanistic handwriting predating movable type that shows such a clear standardization as roman type. From my measurements of Renaissance prints, punches, matrices, and type –as part of Blokland’s PhD research at Leiden University– one can conclude that the standardization and systematization of matters such as character widths, were prerequisites for the Renaissance type production. After all, proportions and details of letters were adapted to this standardization and systematization.

More information on the LeMo Method can be found here.