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. 


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Comments

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,266
    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: 677
    @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: 1,266
    edited October 2017
    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: 24
    edited October 2017
    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: 24
    edited October 2017
    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: 1,266
    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: 1,266
    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).

  • Michael EversonMichael Everson Posts: 24
    edited December 2017
    Nevertheless I have to make good glyphs for the Unicode glyph chart. Perhaps you or others would enjoy a bit of play with this over the holidays. I would value other ideas and examples.

  • I've spent some time with Baskerville glyphs today in terms of this character.

    In the proposal document there are many variations on the Anglicana W. Basically the letterforms I am taking into are account are Carolingian v, Middle Welsh v, Carolingian w, Carolingian b, and Eth.

    Now historically, the Carolingian v and Middle Welsh v are distinct, and in some manuscripts (certainly in Middle Cornish), the Carolingian v and Carolingian b are actually indistinguishable. Just as Carolingian w derives from v + v, the Anglicana w derives (in my view) from Middle Welsh ỽ + ỽ (looks like 6 + 6 if your font doesn't show U+1EFC..1EFD).

    Now a Middle Welsh v has a tall stem and a short bowl. The Anglicana w as a fusion of two Middle Welsh v's has two stems and two bowls. (There are Middle English examples with two stems and one bowl, but the "quintessential" one has two, which is certainly what will go in the Unicode chart.) The skeletons we find in the manuscripts are various. \\3, ||3, ((3 are primary, though the length/height of the stems may vary; the first is sometimes shorter, sometimes longer, as in ı|3 and ıı3 and (perhaps) less often |ı3. The double bowls are generally not taller than x-height (though I have used digit 3 here). As noted above, there are also @-shaped Anglicana w's which are quite common, but those are subsequent developments, not primary/

    The Unicode code charts need to show capital and small forms. Let's deal with the small forms first. 

    Option 1) Retain Middle Welsh v's basic shape. This begs the question as to what the best typographic form for the Middle Welsh v is. There isn't much precedent. Some have been represented by a swash fraktur-style v; this is echoed somewhat in Andreas Stötzner's draft above (those are attractive glyphs, but not necessarily what we might wish in Times or Baskerville; Andron has some elegant forms which differ from more vanilla styles).

    (Note: Perhaps in this exercise the Middle Welsh v should also be considered. Should it have a rounded or pointed base? In http://www.unicode.org/wg2/docs/n3027.pdf it is round in some figures and more pointed in others. 

    Otherwise, well, one can reverse an ð and take the crossbar off. That gives one kind of finial. Or one can look at the hook of the f and 6. The Unicode charts are basically Times. Getting the join of the first stem with the top bowl isn't necessarily easy. In this Baskerville draft I'm not happy with any of the joins there, but this exemplifies reversed ð shaping. Three heights are given for the two stems. 



    Option 2) Take the Middle Cornish glyph similarity between b and v to heart, and use verticals. In this case I don't think the first two are successful; the third, the shortest one, is actually attested in line 1 of Figure 15. It doesn't strike me as particularly generic. I've been reading Cornish text with this shape and it kind of bugs me. Andreas did something similar to these in Andron.



    Option 3) And then there's the one which is a sort of hybrid of Anglicana w with Carolingian w; this is found for instance in "Wher" and "well" lower down on the same Figure 15. In the example below the first is a capital W, then two capital Anglicana W's; the next three are lower-case Anglicana w's followed by w. 



    I am inclined to think that the third and the sixth will end up looking best in Roman type. they might be easier for readers, too. Here, the character width between Carolingian and Anglicana W and w is the same respectively. In any case, I would like to know what other typographers think. I also have italic to consider. I should set a passage and see what that looks like, too. 
  • Here is a sample roman and italic. Here the lower-case roman Middle-Welsh v still maintains its reversed-ð shape.




  • Michael EversonMichael Everson Posts: 24
    edited December 2017
    Here is a passage set with the version that recalls the Anglicana W with reversed-ð form. I don't think it harmonizes all that well.



    Here is the same passage with the hybrid Carolingia/Anglicana form:



    The same in italics:



    The same in Roman with an extended centre stroke:



    And that in italics:


  • Using The Unicode code chart's Times as a base.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,266
    I don't think the hybrid with the rising middle stroke works:it stands out in text far more than the other options.

    With regard to the reversed-ð form, I think the main reason it doesn't harmonise better is that the strokes are too heavy. It needs to be optically adjusted to blend into the texture of the surrounding text.
  • Here are some more. I had been leaning towards № 4but № 6 seems friendlier.
  • Something else in my Baskerville

  • There's no much traffic on this thread (I wish there were) but it inspires thought. How do we provide good typographic Latin letters for new discoveries and imports from medieval texts where those entities have never been set in type before?
    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.
    I find after reflection that I disagree with this. There isn't much choice for making a Middle-Welsh v to be rather 6-like; in some Cornish texts this letter is practically (or indeed) indistinguishable from b, and certainly a v with a long \ simply wouldn't look right in an ordinary context. But for the Anglicana w I think it is best to look at the whole range of attested Anglicana w's compared with the standard Carolingian w which co-exists with it in many MSS. To me a glyph made of 66 looks like a little brushfire within the word. I think since both a \\/ and a \\3 skeleton occur in the Cornish Passion Poem, that retaining that \\ feel in a modern font is wise. On the other hand the lower right joint in \\3 is problematic. But then I thought of a sort of \(3 hybrid an I find it so far to be pleasingly legible.

  • 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.
    I would say no, unless your glyph for this would be a bb glyph, a sort of ub digraph. Strictly speaking this would be a \\) digraph, but that's too much like too many W's. The hand in that MS does have a \/ v, and its Carolingian W would be a \\/, but to contrast that with \6 or \b does not give enough contrast for me. 

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