12/20/2005 Tuesday

I'm so glad I took time off work! I haven't taken more than a day here and a day there in over a year and a half. I didn't realize how burned out I was. So I have had a lot of sucess lately with my music and web site design. I'm at least a couple years behind the times on Cubase (my main music program) and Adobe GoLive (I used to use Page Mill). You know the part I hated most about college? Reading textbooks. That's what reading software manuals feels like, too.

However, good news! They don't make software manuals anymore, so you just have to "learn by doing." I'm not sure if this is an improvement, but at least I don't fall asleep 200 pages in anymore. :-)

So on Monday's update, I put up an idea for the new homepage for Scooter Graphics. I've tweaked it a little since then. I still like the tabs at the top, but I didn't like how the blue line goes all the way across underneath the tabs. It made the "SG" logo look unbalanced. So I changed that and also designed a few different section pages. Yeah! This is going to be much easier for folks to get around in. The old navigation system kinda just grew as the site expanded, so it wasn't planned like I'm doing now.

Here's a peek at what I've done today:

It's so GREEN! I like it :-) What do you think about the subsection titles? Go ahead and e-mail me if you think this is/is not a good way to get to the different fonts in the section. Note that this is the main section page--I'll have a quick overview of each font with a link to download each one just on this page. The subsection pages will just be for folks who want to know more before downloading.

Here are the rest of the section pages I did today, just three more to design...

Obviously not actual size! What do you think about the word "Delightful?" It's one of my pet words these days. And it just happends to have a "g" in it which is very cool since Especial Kay has an awesome "g" in it.

So I've pretty much got all my fonts right there in these three screens. I have more designs than these, but I think I'd like to showcase my best work and let some of the older fonts go--at least until I can get time to improve them.

In other news, I just got Starship Operators today from Right Stuf. I'll be watching that tonight! KOTOKO does the opening and ending themes for the show. She's just awesome. I saw her concert and panel at Anime Expo '05. She actually brought a band with her! Most J-Pop artists that come over here just perform to a tape, but she put on a full show--she even had costume changes. Very professional. I can't wait for her CDs to be available here in the states.

The English dub was done by The Ocean Group. They do most of Gundam, so space battle shows are no stranger to them! I recognize a few familiar voices. Nicole Bouma (last heard as the adorable Tanpopo in Dokkoida?!) and Kirby Morrow (Trowa Barton from Gundam Wing and Miroku in Inu Yasha) put in some good work.

(And, yes. I'm trying to update the font blog every weekday from now on :-)

12/19/2005 Monday

One of the things that Don't Make Me Think talks about is the kinds of things to put on the home page of a web site. So I'm not just working to create new graphics and such, but also make it easier for first time visitors to see what Scooter Graphics is all about. So here's what I've come up with

Site ID: Scooter Graphics
Tagline: Free and shareware fonts designed by Marty Pfeiffer

Welcome Blurb: Welcome to Scooter Graphics. Marty has been designing fonts since 1994. You can download and try these typefaces exclusively from this website. Some fonts on this website are free and some are reasonably-priced shareware.

Tabs: Home Nu Fonts (Nu Sans, Nu Serif, Nu Casual, Nu Sans Mono), Script (Moris Script, Especial Kay, Marty Bold), Display (Electrode, Receipt, Scooterboy, etc.), Purchase, F.A.Q., Font Blog

I don't really think that Scooter Graphics needs a search function, but maybe I'm wrong. I'll be sure to ask a few folks and if it's handy, I'll put it in. Since most folks aren't limited to 640x480 monitors these days, I'm going to increase the size of the graphics by 150%. Another thing I'm thinking about is putting the most recent entry from the font blog on the home page, with a link to the rest. Blogs are pretty popular these days, aren't they?

Here's my first try in Photoshop:

So anyway... In episode 37 of Pretty Cure, in one scene the bad guys brushing their teeth. Who knew? I guess folks from the Dusk Zone are not only interested in obtaining the power of the Prisim Stones, but also maintaining proper oral hygeine. Of course, in the very next episode, Nagisa (Cure Black) is brushing her teeth during the previous episode recap. Good thing, too. You don't want kids getting the wrong idea about taking care of their teeth. It's not just something that bad guys do!

12/16/2005 Friday

I've decided to update Scooter Graphics. This is going to be on two fronts: this site and the fonts. I'll be updating the site first. I've just finished reading Steve Krug's excellent Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (2nd edition) and I'm going to put what I leared about usability into Scooter Graphics. It's going to be great!

I'm also going to be using Adobe GoLive to update the site from now on. That will make things much easier for me to update. In the past, I've been editing the html by hand when I've had to, since Adobe Page Mill doesn't work in Mac OS X (and has been discontinued by Adobe). It's fun learning new things. :-)

So I think that the eWorld layout will change so that I can have persistent navigation on all the web pages. I have to find a way to do that and still be true to my roots. Wish me luck!

The other part of the upgrade will be the long overdue conversion to OpenType. Basically, OpenType makes things a lot simpiler for users of fonts, while adding a lot of flexibility. They also work on Mac and Windows, so you don't have to have two different versions of the same font if you work on both platforms. Any moderately recent version of Windows or Macintosh has OpenType support built in.

I will still keep the PostScript and TrueType versions for folks who are "retro-computing." I don't want to keep anyone from using my fonts. However, since I'll be concentrating on OpenType from here on, PostScript and TrueType versions of my fonts won't be updated regularly. This isn't so bad, though, since all my ideas for updates have to do with OpenType-specific features.

As they say on Science Ninja Team: Gatchaman, "Look forward to it!"

9/21/2003 Sunday

1/21/2003 Tuesday

Actually, that should have read, "next Tuesday" :-). Anyway, the Nu Sans Monospaced family is done with the addition of the bold italic. The Nu Font pack has also been updated.

1/10/2003 Friday

I'm working on updating the site and getting ready for my latest release. With the addition of bold italic, I've finally finished off the Nu Sans Monospaced family. I will release the Nu Font Pack as well as the individual family this Tuesday.

1/2/2001 Tuesday

Happy new year! Today I began some "cleaning up" of Nu Sans that has been needed for a while. Basically, a few bitmap characters (still used for on screen display in PostScript) were bothering me. I'm also going through and making sure that the accented characters look the same as the non-accented characters (as far as the base glyph is concerned, at least!). This was only a problem in some of the italic characters. Also, it looks like I'll have to re-design the 24 pt. bitmaps for the italic. They aren't very good. All in all, it's not stuff that deserves a full version number upgrade, but it will be a nice update for some folks.

While I was taking a look at Nu Sans today, I pondered the idea of somehow merging Nu Sans with Essence to achieve better printout. But then I decided that the focus for Essence should be on-screen, while Nu Sans is for printing. I think that people have been waiting for a "true" Espy-clone that they can use as an anti-aliased font on screen. So I'm going to just stick to that idea and see where it leads me.

I'm also considering making Essence TrueType only. I know that there are a few PostScript holdouts who will be mad about this, but I think that the TrueType format gives me the most flexibility for an on-screen font, without having to rely on bitmaps to do the job (and I'm still cleaning up the job on Nu Sans--nearly a year after the last release!). Also, I think that I may be losing customers who don't know and don't care about the difference between PostScript and TrueType. They don't want to worry about formats, they just want to use the font. Having one choice might make it easier on folks to decide to download and install the font.

12/30/2000 Saturday

Into the wee hours of the morning, I finished off the alphabet characters (and a few punctuation marks) for my newest font: Essence. I've got a pretty good description of what I'm trying to accomplish in the last log entry, so I won't repeat myself. But I thought that a screen shoot might be a good thing to show at this first "milestone" for Essence...

If it looks like Epsy (or Espy, whatever, it's early in the morning, you can't expect me to spel!), that's intentional. I printed out a bunch of text to compare Essence to my Nu Sans. Essence wins hands down as being the most "Espy"ish. It looks good on paper, but my main goal is to have Essence be a great screen font first--it should look good under any circumstances: aliased, anti-aliased, grid fitted, whatever. I'll explain later...

12/4/2000 Monday

Just watched the first part of the new "Dune" on Sci-Fi. It looks pretty good, but I'd like to see the David Lynch version after so that I can compare. I saw it as a kid and didn't understand it too well. Perhaps now that I am older and wiser it will make more sense :-)

Along the same lines as the new Nu Casual, I am creating a new font. This new font is based on Espy Sans, but it goes a different direction than my Nu Sans. Where Nu Sans is a printer-friendly Espy Sans, the new font will try to more closely match the design of the original bitmaps. I have found that basing a font on simply one bitmap size as a model is not optimal.

The process will take quite a bit more time, as each finished font is the average of four fonts. I design an outline to fit the 10, 12, 14 and 16 bitmap fonts of Espy Sans. I know that I have a good outline by performing a simple check: I generate a bitmap font double the size of the font I'm working on. If that looks good, I'm set. After the outlines for the four fonts are good, I combine them into one font (actually a three step process: 10 + 12, 14 + 16 and then combining the results of those two).

I was toying with a name for this new font. When I had to change the name of Epsy Sans, I polled my users and they all voted on Nu Sans. This got Apple off my back. It was a week later when I got an e-mail from one of my users congratulating me on the new name, saying that I was able to thumb my nose at Apple after all. You see, "Nu Sans" is pronounced the same as the English word "nuisance." Indeed, I was a nuisance to Apple :-)

So I thought about basing the name of the font on this chance semblance of syllables. I wanted to keep something of Espy Sans (what inspired the new font) while still respecting the legacy of my work on Nu Sans. So I started thinking about "E" as in Espy. E Sans? No, that won't do--too obvious. Apple would burst a blood vessel. But there is a word that sounds something like it: "Essence." I like the implications of the name. It is the literally the essence of Espy Sans. I am taking the individual characteristics of each bitmap size and merging them into one font. It really works for me.

I should have some pictures up soon.

8/13/2000 Sunday

I went over the handlebars of my bicycle on Tuesday, so I've not been able to do much work on the computer lately. However, I'm starting to feel better. I was able to work sporadically on an update to Nu Casual. I'm creating outlines for each of the three bitmap sizes of the Newton handwriting font and then merging them together. Previously, I just based Nu Casual on the 20 pt. So far, I'm very pleased with the results. Here's the new uppercase:

7/12/2000 Wednesday

OK, here's John Steed:

Little Kitty

And, back to sleep, again...

Sleepy Kitty

7/11/2000 Tuesday

I'm working on an update to Nu Serif that brings two new fonts into the family: SemiBold and SemiBold Italic. I've also discovered a few discrepancies in the design of Nu Serif (even after the 4.0 "harmonization" release a few weeks ago). Just a few minor things, like the regular version of a letter would have one or two more control points than the bold version. There were also a few major things that I changed. I removed the serifs from the italic "r"s and created a new "y" for the bold italic, so that it would look more like the italic "y". The "y" I had before was completely different!

This release will also be the start of a new policy at Scooter Graphics: when a font is released, the font pack will also be released on the same day. This might put back the release by a few days, but I think that in the long run it will be much less confusing for everyone. I'm not going to worry about waiting for info-mac to get my new release, but I will start uploading to them so that users in other countries can have an easier time downloading my software.

6/28/2000 Wednesday

I'm making a bunch of changes to the web site. My goal is to bring everything up to date with my new font designing software (FontLab) and to update the documentation on some of my older fonts so that it is more professional. I'm also working on a quickie update to Nu Serif that will add Nu Serif-Semi bold and Semi bold Italic to the family. All of this should be final by the first week of next month.

I'm also going to experiment with updating the fonts simultaneously with the font packs. Hopefully, this will mean that more people will opt for the font pack (which is a better deal for them and me). I'm going to go back to using Info-Mac as my backup FTP sites for my individual font packages, so this should offset any bandwidth issues.

I'm very grateful for all the nice things people have been saying about my new Nu Sans Mono-Italic (shown below). It's good to know that my work is appreciated :-)

5/9/2000 Tuesday

Okay, so it wound up being Tuesday... Oh well. I found a small glitch in the Windows version and decided to put off the release a day so I could fix the problem. Flint was having trouble with the TrueType instructions in the Nu Sans Mono-Italic font. So I opened up FontLab and made the necessary repairs. No big deal. Anyway, I am working on some rather minor changes to the font family to be incorporated with the release this Tuesday of the Nu Font Pack as well as Nu Sans Mono 2.1. I'll have a demonstration here of the changes tomorrow.

5/5/2000 Friday

Wait till Monday...
Code Name: Steph Script is now Nu Sans Mono-Italic

4/11/2000 Tuesday

Released Nu Sans 9.4.

Marty's Design Log Archive:

1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996

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