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How do I know which optical size to use accordingly to pt/px size?

For example, Newsreader goes as low as "1" in the "optical size" axis in it's variable alternative. Does that mean I can use that version in a 1pt size? Or how does it works?

EDIT:

To elaborate further, I'm copying and pasting my comment because I believe it adds more details to my question.

Ok, so is there some kind of chart that translates the optical number size to its corresponding minimum or recommended pt/px size? For example (not actual values) to illustrate my question: Optical size value of (1) = 5pt text, Optical size value of (2) = 5,5pt text, (3) = 6pt text, (4) = 6,5pt text. And so on...

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  • Use it for what? The optical sizes are "Caption", "Text" and "Display" so that should also give you some idea.
    – Luciano
    Feb 3, 2022 at 9:36
  • 1pt type is very very small. You probably wouldn't be able to print that and it would not be legible both due to size and detail dropping out of the letterforms
    – Yorik
    Feb 3, 2022 at 15:12
  • Ok, so is there some kind of chart that translates the optical number size to its corresponding minimum or recommended pt/px size? For example (not actual values) to illustrate my question: Optical size vale of (1) = 5pt text, Optical size vale of (2) = 5,5pt text, (3) = 6pt text, (4) = 6,5pt text. And so on...
    – Cristóbal
    Feb 3, 2022 at 15:25
  • Thats up to the font designer. Their numbers can mean anything they want. If all fails look up what text has what caption has and what display has. Text is meant for fonts 6-12 headline for 18 -30 and display ones are for big text like 40-100
    – joojaa
    Feb 3, 2022 at 15:43
  • Ah, bummer. Didn't thought about looking into examples tbh, thanks. Still, is there a way to tell "Yes, this optical size will be good for X pt/px size" by just looking at the typeface? I think I'm missing on that knowledge.
    – Cristóbal
    Feb 3, 2022 at 15:50

1 Answer 1

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I am sorry this is a long comment instead of an answer.

I think you are referring to the CSS font-optical-size property.

I have not used it. It is not very well documented, not only on the implementation on a browser but also on how to determine what recalculations are meant to be on your font.

As far as I know, the CSS possible values are auto and none. But I totally ignore how do you determine it when designing and compiling a font. But in the end, probably is up to the designer, which internal variations represent better the proportion of a font.

Back in the days when fonts were of metal, you added small adjustments (on the manual design and manufacturing process) for different sizes to compensate for ink absorption, capillarity, etc. There were some general tips, but every designer solved them as they saw fit. Probably this is the modern case now.

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  • So, in short; optical sizes depend on the designer, meaning there is no true technical asnwer for this? This could be closed as an opinion based?
    – Cristóbal
    Feb 3, 2022 at 16:00
  • @Cristóbal why? This answer isnt oppinion based although the value may be. Neither is your question? The answer may not just have the form you wish, does not make it an answer thats not objective. Even though its worded a bit uncertain.
    – joojaa
    Feb 3, 2022 at 19:17

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