Oblique and Italic in same family

Jasper de WaardJasper de Waard Posts: 215
edited February 2 in Technique and Theory
I want to give my next typefamily an Oblique (manually perfected, mind you), and an Italic (more cursive-like) counterpart.

SS01 is already taken by some other feature, so I would have to put the obliques/italics in SS02, which is not ideal.

I could have a style called Name Bold, Name Bold Oblique, and one called Name Bold Italic. Are there any known/expected software issues with such a naming scheme? It would also create a total of 21 styles (7 weights) which is maybe a bit annoying.

Alternatively, I could make a subfamily called Name Oblique, that only has the Obliques in it. Or, a family for the Uprights, one for the Italics, and one for the Obliques.

Any ideas?


  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 928
    edited February 2
    Making both is a great idea!

    It's good to take advantage of the Italic toggle, so not three seperate sets. But if you do implement two sets I would put the oblique as the primary and the cursive as the side family (although that does depend on the style of the upright).
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 850
    edited February 2
    I will be surprised if you can have oblique and italic fonts in the same large (more-than-four-member) family, without other style or name differences, and that naming does not get you in trouble somewhere — in some apps or environments.
  • Does anyone know how it's done in Underware's Auto (which actually has three sets of italics)?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 844
    edited February 2
    What makes ss02 not ideal? Seems like this is exactly the sort of thing stylistic sets were intended for.
  • Colonel BleepColonel Bleep Posts: 793
    edited February 2
    I imagine you could do anything you wanted, so long as you didn't try to style link anything.

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,193
    edited February 2
    I would go with the sub-family.
    So many otherwise excellent typographers don’t even know that Stylistic Sets exist.

    But you can still include the Obliques as a Stylistic Set in the Italics (and vice versa).
  • @Mark Simonson What Nick said. And, sadly, a stylistic set is just much harder to reach than a different style.

    I imagine that for the end user, it would be most useful to have two families with both uprights and italics (meaning the same uprights are included twice). That way, I could just call it Name 1 and Name 2 (much like Auto). Makes sense?
  • As a person who uses type more than creating it, I use the heck out of stylistic sets, alts, etc. Every designer or layout person I know expects such features.

    To me, it is more of a why create both italics and obliques. What would a person purchasing a family expect? Would they expect a stylistic set for the obliques versus a family member? In this case, I think I would expect a family member.

    That said, in my current font, a historical repro, there were examples where both slanted and a weird mix of true italics were used in print. And so I did put the obliques into the regular/semi/bold styles as a stylistic set.

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 928
    edited February 2
    Consider that you're probably aware of advanced features because you do make fonts sometimes...

    > To me, it is more of a why create both italics and obliques.

    Because the former can ruin the "mood" set by the upright.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,193
    Most of the time when I am designing a custom face for a new client, they don’t know about Stylistic Sets. Sure, this is anecdotal evidence, but what else have we?
  • As a young type designer (finished my first one 5 years ago) and working mostly as a graphic designer in agencies, studios, etc, makes me agree with @Nick Shinn .
    I can say that most of the designers I worked with, were not aware of stylistic sets.
    But with the new adobe CC update I think it's hard to ignore the popup with alternates.
    Personally I would apply a stylistic set, but based on my experience I would do what @Jasper de Waard suggested.

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 965
    edited March 2
    I will be surprised if you can have oblique and italic fonts in the same large (more-than-four-member) family, without other style or name differences, and that naming does not get you in trouble somewhere — in some apps or environments.
    I've definitely had this sort of trouble before when I had an «Italic» and an «Upright Cursive» for Traction. I solved that by naming the latter simply «Upright», but as this thread shows, that word is apparently commonly used to refer to the default non-Italic style of a typeface (I guess the word «Roman» doesn't sound right for a sans?), so I suppose it wasn't the best of choices.

    Perhaps the oblique should then be named «Slanted»? I could imagine that fewer apps have knee-jerk reactions to that than to «Italic» and «Oblique».

    (Incidentally, is it a coincidence that some of the «Italic 1» fonts of the Auto family are currently not displaying correctly on MyFonts?)
  • Nina StössingerNina Stössinger Posts: 150
    edited March 3
    My impulse would also be to make them separate fonts.

    Another example would be Supria Sans, which has separate “Italic” and “Oblique” styles: https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/hvdfonts/supria-sans/ I wonder if Hannes has run into any trouble with this.
  • For certain reasons, and after some discussion, we (MS, Adobe, Apple, Google and others) ended up deciding to make slant and italic separate sub-family-variant axes in the extended-family model that OpenType Font Variations forces. So, platforms that support the full richness of OT 1.8 shouldn't have a problem with a family that has both Italic and Oblique variants -- or even an Oblique Italic variant.

    That said, Tom's warning is probably appropriate: it would likely create problems in some existing software.
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