Bug 12103

Summary: Legibility of DejaVuSans π U+03C0 ("Greek small letter pi")
Product: DejaVu Reporter: Nigel Stewart <Nigel.Stewart>
Component: SansAssignee: Deja Vu bugs <dejavu-bugs>
Status: ASSIGNED --- QA Contact:
Severity: enhancement    
Priority: medium CC: Nigel.Stewart
Version: unspecified   
Hardware: All   
OS: All   
i915 platform: i915 features:
Attachments: Demonstration of π rendered by freetype 2, compared to Liberation Sans and Freefont
Specific use-case of using π for the horizontal axis of a 2D plot
Looks good with freetype bytecode interpreter

Description Nigel Stewart 2007-08-22 14:11:47 UTC
Compared to Liberation Sans, I think that π could be improved for mathematical purposes.
Comment 1 Nigel Stewart 2007-08-22 14:13:06 UTC
Created attachment 11214 [details]
Demonstration of π rendered by freetype 2, compared to Liberation Sans and Freefont
Comment 2 Denis Jacquerye 2007-08-22 14:37:17 UTC
"π could be improved for mathematical purposes"

Could you be more descriptive?
Being improved can mean many things, even ones that will make the glyph worse for you.

Comment 3 Nigel Stewart 2007-08-22 14:45:12 UTC
Sorry for sounding too vague!
To be more specific...

I think that π could easily be confused for n.
I think the Liberation Sans π looks better than the DejaVu Sans π.
I think the left leg needs to curve out to the left, rather
than being straight down.
Comment 4 Nigel Stewart 2007-08-22 15:55:15 UTC
Created attachment 11217 [details]
Specific use-case of using π for the horizontal axis of a 2D plot
Comment 5 Ben Laenen 2007-08-23 03:51:34 UTC
Now, one thing we have to make sure here: the pi should fit in in a Greek text, it's not only there for mathematics. I'll try some things out once and see what other Greek users think of it. It should also fit in with the DejaVu style of course.

As a side note, I would suggest using the bytecode interpreter in Freetype instead of the autohinter. That will make the glyph also look less like an 'n'.
Comment 6 Nigel Stewart 2007-08-23 09:30:07 UTC
Created attachment 11227 [details]
Looks good with freetype bytecode interpreter

We'll take a closer look at the Apple patent issues with the freetype bytecode interpreter - for commercial purposes we may not be able to use it - although I do think the text looks better overall.
Comment 7 James Cloos 2007-08-24 12:22:48 UTC
Incidentally, I notice that in Serif the π looks more like a small-cap than like a miniscule.  κ and ο share that, but that is of course the norm for them. For π it is quite unexpected.
Comment 8 Nigel Stewart 2007-08-27 09:34:09 UTC
I sought the opinion of my a friend of mine - an Australian
born to Greek parents and grew up in a Greek speaking household.
In Melbourne Australia there is a significant Greek community
including a Greek language newspaper.

He had the following comments:

(Screenshot of freetype auto-hinted π at various sizes)

The DejaVu π looks better than Liberation Sans or Serif at 12pt (72 DPI).
However, the FreeSans π looks more natural than the corresponding DejaVu π.

Overall, I think Dejavu π is fine at sizes 8, 10, 14 and 20.
However, 12 and 16 don't sit well with me.

(Screenshots of freetype π with auto-hinting and bytecode interpretation)

Dejavu π looks too squarish to me in both of these examples. 

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