ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC34 N0xxx


Information Technology --
Document Description and Processing Languages
-- Information Presentation

TITLE: Japanese activity report on extension to font reference
SOURCE: Toshiya Suzuki/Hiroshima University
STATUS:Informal Liaison
ACTION:For information
DISTRIBUTION:SC34, SC34/WG2 and Liaisons

Japanese activity report on extension to font reference


During the investigation on existing implementations of office documents (Microsoft Office,, various Rich Text editors), Japanese SC34/WG2 committee found that most office documents and their rendering systems refer the font resource by its "name". As a result, there are following problems.
font "name" is not unique key for font resource
Some digital fonts are digitized from existing typeface that is designed by other companies. When the typeface has a name given by original designer, there is a possibility that multiple fonts have same "name" (e.g. MonoType and LinoType have their own digitized versions of Times Roman, Courier, Helvetica etc). In the other cases, a font vendor provides same typeface in various font formats.
font "name" is not good hint for fallback
Although some font "name" includes the keyword that describes the characteristics of the typeface design, most fonts do not provide such informations in font "name". It is difficult to find the font resource that shares the design characteristics with missing font resource.
To solve these problems, ITSCJ/IPSJ had started a project of the proposal standard for extended reference for font resource.

Activity details

The project has a few sub-divisions.

Investigation of Japanese typeface classifications

ISO/IEC 9541-1 includes several typeface categories proposed by Japanese expert. Recently a few other Japanese typeface classification were proposed without reference to ISO/IEC 9541. We had checked new classifications and 9541. From the comparison, Japanese typeface classifications are the combinations of large grouping by serif existence (Serif, Sans Serif) and small grouping by historical development (metal typefaces with calligraphic details, digital typefaces composed by geometric curves).

Selection of typical characters showing design characteristics

In Latin character typography, the properties like "ascender", "descender", "xheight" etc are recognized as useful features to classify the typefaces, but there is no such properties for non-Latin scripts. We had discussed the terms to describe the design characteristics of Japanese typefaces, and the characters showing the characteristics. The numerical measurements of the characteristics are not established yet, but the characters for sample texts are selected.

Expression of design characteristics via existing font file formats

TrueType Consortium Japan had ever defined a specification how to use Panose and IBM typeface classification values in TrueType fonts. It was for expression of the large grouping (Serif, Sans Serif etc). For the interchanged of more detailed design classifications via TrueType fonts, the utilization of the parameters left by TrueType Consortium Japan has been discussed. Also the influence of the parameters in Windows GDI is under investigation.


The first revision of the proposal standard is being drafted for publishing in spring 2010.