Call for design suggestions: Anglicana W

Our letters V and W are made out of V's, but in Middle English there was another v, called in Unicode Middle-Welsh V, and a sort of doubling of that, with a lot of glyph options, called the Anglicana W. This has on the basis of my proposal http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2017/17238-n4838-anglicana-w.pdf been accepted for encoding. Modern typographic forms for the Anglicana W harmonizing with seriffed Latin Roman and Italic have never before been devised, and I'm to make recommendations for the Unicode code charts (and for publications of my own). I'd like to see what people come up with, given the origin and earlier ductuses of this letter, seen in a modern context. Some Baskerville sketches are given below. I think given the skeleton, the lower-case anglicana w's loop better than the capitals, where the top of the epsilon-form should really connect with the leftmost vertical. 


Comments

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,228
    Interesting question.

    Instinctively, I want to simplify the form and make it more directly relate to the shape of two merged Middle-Welsh V forms, so that typographically there is the same parallel between that V and W as between the modern pair. That would reflect a similar outcome of a longer evolution, rather than trying to capture the ductus of the mediaeval scribal form outside of the corresponding ductus of all the other letters in such sources.

    The form in BM Add. MS 36704 seems a step in this direction in terms of the lower right being comprised of a single bowl, rather than a stack of two.

    When I have some time, I'll work out what the Brill options would be.
  • The "Brill options"? I take it Brill has a font that they like. This exercise is for all of us, though, to determine what the best "vanilla" glyph for the code charts are. The character is under ballot. 
  • What we find is that V is often skeletalized as \\/ (V + V) and indeed in some of the examples we find a sort of \\3, where the two bowls reflect the Middle Welsh Ỽ (6 + 6, to use the digit 6 in case the Ỽ is not supported). I think that's what we have historically, two ligatures from two different letters, and then interplay with the two. Some other doodles:
  • Karsten Luecke wrote me and asked:

    "I just saw your anglicana w proposal and wonder – is this a w+h?"

    No, it is definitely not a wh. In Cornish MSS for instance “wh” is written either with a w or an anglicana-w followed by an h. There are abundant examples of both.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 649
    @André G. Isaak — you need to edit the trailing '>' out of your link.
  • Oops -- a usenet habit.

    André
  • The form in BM Add. MS 36704 seems a step in this direction in terms of the lower right being comprised of a single bowl, rather than a stack of two.
    Yet retention of the two bowls seems to have been the more common form. As I pointed out above, Carolingian \\/ often contrasts with \\3; the MS you refer to is more of a \\).
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,228
    edited October 18
    The "Brill options"? I take it Brill has a font that they like. This exercise is for all of us, though, to determine what the best "vanilla" glyph for the code charts are. The character is under ballot. 
    I mean that I will work through what form of this letter makes sense in the context of the types that I designed for Brill, which contain a large set of extended Latin characters, including historical ones, as a method of thinking about the shape in a modern typographic idiom.

    Of your new doodles, I find the simple first UC/lc pair based directly on the Welsh V shape look best and also read as a kind of W/w while being clearly distinct from the modern forms.

  • Two major points come to my mind.
    1st, work out the lc shape first and lets then turn to the capital in a second step.
    2nd, a key question may be, on which glyphic model of the existing and conventional v- or w-glyphs the new form shall be based on.
    this was my initial take on this, a couple of months ago:


  • I like the Andron version above.
  • Try to make it less like conjoined letters.
  • Indeed, Andreas, a key question is which Carolingian v and w styles might be used; perhaps this is font dependent. Another, though, is which Middle-Welsh v style... you have one with a pointed base, but many are curved, like a reversed ð. 
  • Michael EversonMichael Everson Posts: 10
    edited October 20
    Here's a reason I woudn't go for John's idea above, about a single bowl. Karsten Luecke's lovely font Litteratra has just such a v and w in the Caroligian style. 
  • so, the double bowl is of the essence? – On which glyph model shall the angl. w be based? the triangular v/w? Or the rounded (u-like)? I am not entirely happy with the pointed-rounded-triangular hybrid solution (see my image above).
  • When I look at the variety of both Carolingian v's and w's alongside Middle-Welsh v's and Anglicana w's (even in the same MS), I think the best litmus test is whether the Anglicana w has the two bowls.
  • Michael EversonMichael Everson Posts: 10
    edited October 20
    Carolingian W can come from UU or VV, and VV can be schematized as VV and as \V.
    Anglicana W seems to derive from 66, as ((3, mutating sometimes to \\3. There's also the @-shaped ones which usually have two bowls. I don't think those would harmonize with Times/Baskerville/Andron/Brill and so on.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,228
    Here's a reason I woudn't go for John's idea above, about a single bowl. Karsten Luecke's lovely font Litteratra has just such a v and w in the Caroligian style. 
    But it isn't difficult to see how an Anglicana W/w based on the Welsh V could be be sufficiently distinct from that style of modern w in Litteratra.

    I don't mind at all if the double-bowl version is the Unicode glyph chart form, but I do think the relationship with the Welsh V should be maintained in the left strokes ascending above the x-height. That actually seems more definitively characteristic of the letter than the number of bowls.

  • There are plenty of examples though where the backslashes \\3 or even verticals ||3 are x-height though. And there's the @-shaped ones (too oddball for Roman fonts, I admit). I was hoping to see more examples, sketches, musings from others here... 
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,228
    There are plenty of examples though where the backslashes \\3 or even verticals ||3 are x-height though.
    That's fine, and people making specialist fonts that require research of such forms can make decisions based on that research rather than following the Unicode glyph chart. That's normal.

    For the Unicode chart, I would favour a form that captures frequent features of the character that a) easily distinguish it from other characters and b) make explicit presumed historical relationship to other characters (in this case the Welsh V).

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