An example ugly Windows font

I’ve complained about Windows font rendering but was hard pressed to have a good example. Well here’s one, from a Bloomberg articleCapture.PNG

Look at how ugly that is! The kerning in “To” is wrong. The “m” and “r” and “u” and “n” are all broken, by which I mean literally broken like white pixels in the middle of the letter. The tail on the “9” has visible jaggies. I’m not just nitpicking, I find this really difficult to read.

The font is a web font, TiemposTextWeb, at 18px. Maybe it’s just a spectacularly bad choice? But Bloomberg is a big publication, clearly someone thought it was a good font. That sample is rendered in Chrome; it looks the same in Edge. I have ClearType turned on with more or less default settings in Windows 10; I used the tuner to pick a very slightly heavier rendering at some point but I don’t think that’s the problem.

It looks much better in the PDF specimen. Here’s some sloppily-made images of the PDF and then Chrome / webfont rendering the same text, to show the spindly nature of Windows’ rendering.

pdf.png

ttf.png

Another example

Another example, Gentium Basic, an SIL font popular because it has support for a lot of scripts. The lowercase “a” is entirely broken, even at 30px.

Capture.PNG

I mean that’s some fucking garbage right there. It looks a bit better if install a TTF and render it with Paint.  It still looks bad, but at least it’s not broken, just ugly-ass.

Capture.PNG

On the same page there’s a “Gentium Plus” that looks a little better still. It’s not great, but it’s at least not embarassing. So maybe font quality is part of the story, but something very bad is also happening in Windows’ font rendering.

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