Bram Pitoyo, Etc.

More Evidence Of Text Rendering Issue In Mail.app

If you’re a stickler for pixel-level details, you may notice that, under Light, Medium and Strong font smoothing setting in OS X, light-colored text set on dark-colored backgrounds will look thicker than dark text on light background.

On medium font smoothing, light text on dark backgrounds appears thicker than dark text on light background

On the contrary, if you set your font smoothing to “Standard – best for CRT”, you’ll notice that both text settings look optically even.

Under Standard font smoothing, light text on dark background looks optically correct

(You can try out these settings by going to System Preferences → Appearances → Font smoothing style.)

OS X Font Smoothing style preference panel

So under Medium font smoothing, highlighted text on Mail.app mailbox menu should look thicker than normal text, like this:

Under Medium font smoothing, highlighted text on Mail.app mailbox menu should look chunkier than normal text

But when Mail.app text rendering bug kicks in, the thickening no longer occurs. Note how both texts now look optically even.

When Mail.app text rendering bug kicks in, highlighted text no longer look chunky

It seems that, for a brief moment, Mail.app decides to switch to “Standard – Best for CRT” text rendering and make the text look optically correct, but behaviorally inconsistent with the rest of the operating system.

I may be wrong in this issue, but have anyone else had this problem?

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2 thoughts on “More Evidence Of Text Rendering Issue In Mail.app

  1. I’m also running 10.5.7 and can confirm this issue. “Sending…” used normal (non-thickened) text, but when it changed back to “Sent” the thickening reappeared.

  2. Exactly.

    Another explanation for this phenomenon is if we assume that “Sending…” uses the regular weight of Lucida Grande, while “Sent” uses bold.

    But even non-bold texts should not look that thin.

    I wonder if we can submit a problem ticket on this issue?

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