Do table figures align across weights and styles?

It seems to me that it is simple logic that all table figures in a family align with each other across weights and styles (because they should all be able to occur and align within the same table), but when I check some well known typefaces (for example Charter) they do not have the same advance width across weights or styles.

What is the right thing to do?

Comments

  • Robin MientjesRobin Mientjes Posts: 116
    edited August 27
    For custom or purpose-made typefaces, there can be dozens of good reasons for diverging (editorial habits/needs, legacy typesetting, who knows), but for retail, you’re right. The most predictable logic is that the tabular characters align across styles and weights. I’d struggle to justify not having them the same width for retail type.

    For reference, in Dover Text I did exactly that and, with a bit of massaging, it worked out well (page 15).
  • Ebern KlauseEbern Klause Posts: 33
    edited August 27
    Thanks Robin. And a good idea to include periods and commas in this as well, as you did with Dover.
  • Ha, I didn’t see that one. Thanks Craig.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 227
    Does anyone know if there is a font with oldstyle superscript numerals? I think there shouldn't be, but I might be wrong.
  • I don't see why OldStyle numerals should not be used for superscripts if the regular figures of a font are also OldStyle numerals. 

    My Talapanna Font is like that.
  • It seems to me that it is simple logic that all table figures in a family align with each other across weights and styles...
    That seems a logical argument to make with bold and regular weights (and matching italics), but I can't see that logic extending beyond that. There's no good way to squeeze a heavy weight into the same width as a thin, for example.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 800
    Which isn’t to say that it can’t be done, if the brief happens to require it.

  • Ebern KlauseEbern Klause Posts: 33
    edited November 1
    Cory Maylett said:
    That seems a logical argument to make with bold and regular weights (and matching italics), but I can't see that logic extending beyond that. There's no good way to squeeze a heavy weight into the same width as a thin, for example.

    Isn’t type design about doing what can’t be done? Squeeze or stretch, it’s all about making it work one way or the other.


  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,139
    edited November 1
    Ideally tabular figures should indeed be uniwidth.

    If things get too dark, provide alts on a greater common width; ideally of a convenient proportion: like you could go 25% greater, and the user could squeeze it to 80% if they value the tabularity more than they mind the ugliness.
  • Ebern KlauseEbern Klause Posts: 33
    edited November 1
    given the fact that table numbers are always separated from other text, there is no problem in them being a bit narrower or wider than the rest. if that is needed to make them work, then that’s what makes them necessary in the first place. it is exactly that which distinguishes them from standard numerals.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,139
    edited November 1
    Well there's nothing stopping people from using tabular numerals in text (there might even be good reason to do so, if rarely). That said I'm not sure I get your point; tabular numerals have to line up vertically, and they should avoid being too ugly (which can be caused by overt width too). The latter is why you might want to snap to a greater width (let's say from Black to Ultra).
  • tabular numerals have to line up vertically, and they should avoid being too ugly 
    my point exactly: being ugly or not has to do with vertical alignment and still looking consistent, even if that means narrower or wider.

    throwback time: when i was young i did my army duties. not everyone in my unit was of the same size (far from), but somehow we still did have more or less the same appearance because of our uniform. type design :-)
  • I have to think being ugly is more complex than that...
  • Ebern KlauseEbern Klause Posts: 33
    edited November 1
    pretty and ugly are both mainly a matter of context
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,311
    I often add a baseline crossbar to a sans serif tabular “1”, where there is none in the proportional.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,141
    Nick is far from alone in doing that.
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