It was the mid-1980’s and George Douros was a Professor of Applied Mathematics in Larissa, Greece. He added a laboratory session to the traditional lecture-discussion scheme of the courses. Students worked out mathematical problems using early PC-based math software like Derive, Maple et al.
Mathematical software and mathematical text editors were significantly limited in their repertoire of text and symbol fonts to present results comparable to scholarly publications. George felt he had to find solutions.
Using font creation software (Fontographer) early versions of special fonts were developed. Some were embedded in programs like Derive and others replaced the poor fonts in mathematical editors.
Surpassing the immediate necessity the human mind reverts to the exploration of everything around.
The original goal for UFAS – fonts and symbols for mathematics – faded into a bigger landscape: the memory of scripts humans have created over millennia to support the functionality of their community, their struggle for survival and communication.
Exploring this art panorama of ancient scripts, their development, history, meaning and the desire to bring them to life in today’s electronic publishing environment became the new goal.
This desire naturally lead to Unicode as the “… information technology standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world’s writing systems” (Wikipedia).
In the following thirty plus years there has been extensive research, virtual collaboration with linguists and archeologists around the world and coordination with the Unicode community to arrive at this latest UFAS release. Fidelity to the original artifacts has been of paramount importance in UFAS; no biased or personal interpretation is allowed. Uncertainty is recognized as a valid state in thoughtful inquiry, to be resolved only if and when more facts aid in such resolution.
Humans write conforming by the standards; humans write with variations and exaggeration; humans turn writing into a work of art. UFAS is trying to embed this memory-line in fonts, by absolute respect to Unicode and maximum exploitation of the advanced typographic features of Opentype.
Ars longa, vita brevis and the Gutenberg heritage heavy.