I have never really seen any detailed discussion by TeX users on the subject of Computer Modern Funny, despite how strange it is. Personally, I find that even with its eccentricities, CM Funny and CM Funny Italic nicely mimick a handwriting-like style:

CM Funny Italic

Nevertheless, I do not encounter many other TeX users who incorporate CM Funny into their documents, nor is it something that I have so far found in any of Knuth's books. (I suspect that CM Funny may be Knuth's attempt to illustrate the power of METAFONT to its greatest extent, although I do not have a copy of the METAFONTbook, so I am not completely certain.) Therefore, I would like to ask, what was Knuth's purpose of implementing Computer Modern Funny, and what is its purpose, if any, for the typical TeX user?

  • 5
    It's as funny as a function having a removable singularity. Nobody gets the point. – percusse Dec 24 '17 at 2:47
  • 6
    Knuth foresaw the creation of Comic Sans and provided an alternative. 😉 – egreg Dec 24 '17 at 10:04

Volume E of Knuth's Computer & Typesetting says (page 22):

Computer Modern Funny Roman type carries the idea of parameter variation to a ridiculous extreme. The author concocted it primarily to test the robustness of his programs [means Metafont and Computer Modern scripts], but people have also used cmff10 to typeset party invitations. Its backward slant, large x_height and desc_depth, small bar_height, twiggy stems, diamond-shaped bowls, reverse beaks, and deep notches combine to make rather bizarre effects. Proofmode-size blowups of these freakish characters have a curious property: They convey much of a design's “meta-ness” in a single drawing. More normal settings of the parameters do not do this as well.

Note that Metafont is "meta" because the scripts which create each individual character (the input for Metafont) are common to almost all font variants (\rm, \bf, \tt etc.). These scripts behave like procedures in a programming language with common global variables. There are 62 such variables in Computer Modern's sources and simply varying the settings of these variables generates the different font variants for the whole Computer Modern family.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.