Since Motif 2.3 it has been possible to use the XFT font renderer for Motif widgets, allowing anti-aliasing and greatly improving the visual display of fonts.
Whilst CDE doesn't yet use this, it is definitely an interesting option. If you want to experiment with using the XFT renderer here is an example section of .Xresources that can be used to enable it.
*.renderTable: variable *.renderTable.variable.fontName: Sans *.renderTable.variable.fontSize: 8 *.renderTable.variable.fontType: FONT_IS_XFT
For more information check the Anti-Aliased Fonts and UTF-8 Support in OpenMotif 2.3 White Paper.