5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 11, 2010 4:02 AM by Mylenium

    font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting

    pauwenm

      Hi all,

       

      I've been working on a doc where fonts have to be sized according to very strict requirements. Font size has to be exactly 5mm in height on one part of the doc, 2.4mm elsewhere. Under preferences I've set the units for type to the metric system. I'm working with Helvetica (though almost any Sans Serif font will do). I've sized the fonts in the doc according to requirements. However, when I print they're actually measuring much smaller. I've checked with a ruler.The doc is NOT scaling on print out. It's printing at 100%. Anyone have any tips about how to get this to work? Or information about why it wouldn't be working? I have a relatively acceptable work around (sizing a shape to the required height dims and then adjusting the fonts to fill that shape) but it seems silly to have to use one, also tedious. I'm assuming that since Illustrator is set up to allow me to select particular sizes for fonts that it should be working. Or am I wrong?

       

      Oddly, using the workaround mentioned above I actually have to size the font to 6.7mm to get it to print at 5mm.

       

      Any help would be hugely appreciated.

       

      Thanks!

        • 1. Re: font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting
          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          pauwenm,

           

          The point size expresses the em (height of the em-square) which is higher than the total height from the highest ascender to the lowest descender.

           

          It may be worth looking at the SetCapHeight script by James here: http://www.illustrationetc.com/AI_Javascripts/TextScripts.htm

           

          Edit: And then there is Leading; you may see that in the Character palette/panel.

          • 2. Re: font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting
            pauwenm Level 1

            Hi Jacob,

             

            Thanks for your reply. I don't totally understand it though. What is an em-square? Is it the "box" around the text, meaning the top of it being the highest point of the highest letter in the set and the bottom being the lowest of the lowest? Like the top of an 'h' to the bottom of a 'j'?

             

            Also, if the requirement this document must meet is for the text to be 5mm in size can I go by the font illustrator applies when I select 5mm? What would be the standard: the em-square measurement (if the above is right), the measurement of a capital, non-descending letter, a lowercase letter like 'c'?

             

            thanks again,

             

            Michaele

            • 3. Re: font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting
              KC29 Level 3

              pauwenm wrote:

               

              the requirement this document must meet is for the text to be 5mm in size

               

              That is  a strange request I've never come across in my years in this business. I'd be curious to know why someone wants to specifiy type in such a way. Body type is normally measured in point size, not millimetres. Ask them why they are specifying mm and not points.

               

              Sounds like it could be from someone who thinks they know what they're talking about, but actually don't (I've come across quite a few of them in time)

              • 4. Re: font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting
                Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                Michaele,

                 

                Is it the "box" around the text, meaning the top of it being the highest point of the highest letter in the set and the bottom being the lowest of the lowest? Like the top of an 'h' to the bottom of a 'j'?

                 

                Yes, with a little adition in height: The em is the basic height holding any letter and then a bit (and was the side length of the basic square holding an M); it was defined in the good old days of manual typesetting, and sounds like an M. You may read a quick introcuction here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Em_%28typography%29

                 

                If you have more than one line of Type (I know you may not, in this case), the leading is also crucial (another term from the days when lead was handled by many). A quick introduction may be found here, too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leading

                 

                I believe they are talking about cap/letter height, but maybe you should ask them, and refer to the terms that they ought to know, as KC points out. Or maybe they have only just laid down their rapidographs and stencils.

                • 5. Re: font size printing out smaller than it should be according to formatting
                  Mylenium Most Valuable Participant
                  Is it the "box" around the text, meaning the top of it being the highest point of the highest letter in the set and the bottom being the lowest of the lowest?

                   

                  No, it is not. The em square is a reference unit that is defined by the font designer. The actual placement of the letter inside this box is arbitrary in either direction, meaning that the letter often never gets near any edge of the box. This has to do with typographic things that affect kerning, hinting, special glyphs, ligatures and all that and how to "make it look nice". It also affects the perceived actual size of a glyph and therefore the density/ grey level of text. Anyway, I can only chime in with the others - your requirements for 5mm text sounds quite contradictory. That would only be relevant for graphical text as used in signage or logos and that is best done by converting the type to outlines and resize them to the required dimensions.

                   

                  Mylenium