Stacked diacritical marks and line spacing.

I’m trying to decide between two options for vertical metrics in a typeface that covers Vietnamese and Pinyin. The first is to use line spacing that’s loose for text in other languages, works for Vietnamese and Pinyin, but is tight as all caps with Vietnamese and Pinyin. The second is to make all caps in Vietnamese and Pinyin look good but everything else looks like a collection of poems.

I’m inclined to go with the first option because it’s unlikely anyone will ever set Vietnamese and Pinyin text in all caps. And anyone typesetting all caps in Vietnamese or Pinyin is probably using software that allows leading changes. Does anyone have a reason to go with the second option or a comment on the first?


  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 185
    edited July 2017
    It would seem that the best general option would be to make all caps with stacked serifs look somewhat tight, yet not too tight.

    However, there is one important thing you may have missed: officially (at least at one time in the past) Vietnamese was only defined to be written in all caps. Using the corresponding lowercase Latin letters to write Vietnamese was not really a genuine part of the Vietnamese script system!

    I'm not familiar enough with the matter to give you the nuances on the status of lowercase and Vietnamese, but this does make me suspect that some traditionalists will want to use all caps for that language on occasion.

    EDIT: I tried looking for more details, and I can't find any source for this. Maybe what I vaguely remember reading long ago was mistaken.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 775
    I used to try to get the Vietnamese capital accents to tuck under the hhea ascender/WinAscent but now I don't think it's attractive. A lot of typefaces, including system fonts have Vietnamese capital accents that go over the top. Some applications will cut the accents off but I don't think any legitimate design apps will. Anyone setting text will have to increase the leading but I'm sure that's something people setting Vietnamese always have to deal with.

    You can find some Windows core fonts with enough headroom to allow Vietnamese stacks. That's one way to go but with consequences for other languages.
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