Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chopin Script font strikes an elegant note

If we were matchmakers unstuck in time, we would introduce Chopin the composer to Chopin Scriptfont. Nineteenth-century Monsieur Chopin is known for major innovation to the Polonaise, a low dance of Polish origin, while Twenty-first century Chopin Script (free) is a digital descendent of the script face Polonaise created in 1970 by the late Phil Martin of Alphabet Innovations.
Romance is afoot when the Chopin Script font is in play.
Chopin and Chopin Script have more than a word in common. True, one Chopin started as a child prodigy while the other bounced from Photo Type to TrueType to OpenType format, but they both possess the soaring qualities of diehard romantics and they are both multi-lingual, thanks to the font's inclusion of specialty characters that make setting possible in French and English. We can thank Quebec-based designer Claude Pelletier for that, and for digitalizing Martin's Polonaise beginning in 1999.
Pelletier also preserved the calligraphic pedigree of Polonaise. Nothing is vertical. Upper and lowercase characters flow to the right as if just coming off the pen, and more than one character sports the tiny upward flick of ink applied by aficionados of the English Roundhand lettering form also known as Copperplate Script.
A low x-height makes Chopin Script appear smaller than its set height. The characters display best at 24 points and up, allowing the thinner strokes to remain visible. The font includes full sets of upper and lowercase characters, numerals and punctuation, monetary and math symbols, and the aforementioned accented and diacritic vowel substitutes extending its use to more than one language.
Computer-formatted scripts always arrive with baggage. Type the word "Grass" in Chopin Script and you'll discover a work of art with the cap "G" tickling the belly of the "a". Type "Splendor in the Grass" and you'll encounter problems with uneven spacing between the "p to l" and "d to o" while the "l to e" and "t to h" connections don't quite flow. Digital fonts are made in a manner where micro-customization isn't possible unless hundreds of alternative characters are on offer. If the text application you are using doesn't offer manual kerning, keep an eye out for problem character pairs, especially if you are trying to simulate a hand-drawn feel.
Spacing problems aside, every font lover should have Pelletier's delicate script at the ready, if only for the beauty of setting words like "Howl" and "Moon" or writing a tasteful dinner invitation for that lovely new neighbor. No matter what comes your way, we say leave Arial at the office. Chopin Script is the perfect partner in the slow dance of romance.

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