How do I start working on italics?

I'd like to start working on italics for my font (Portfolio Mono, see a separate thread).
The problem is I've never done italics before, so I'm not sure how to approach this task.

It's going to be true italics, but related to the roman enough to consider the roman as a starting point.

I'm considering starting from:
1. scratch.
2. the roman slanted.
3. the roman manipulated by some fancy tool that is supposed to give better results than simple slanting.
(Am I missing any option?)

How would you approach this?
Any tips?
What tools do you use for better slanting?

Comments

  • I would go for 2. Yes, there are tools, but since this is your first italic I think editing the slanted glyphs would be a useful lesson, and allow you to judge the quality of existing tools for yourself.

    Tools I know of: RMX slanter, and Glyphs' slant function.
  • One thing to keep in mind when using a slanted roman (and generally when having a first go at italics) is to compare darkness between roman and the italic you are developing. Simply slanting them will likely not result in an even grey value between the two.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,158
    edited September 27
    It's going to be true italics
    There's nothing "true" about a subordinate style distracting from the tone of the Roman.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,512
    I avoid the term 'true italic', except when quoting someone else's use of it, even though I know what it conventionally means in these discussions, and it does make sense in terms of the original model of italic derived from Italian renaissance cursive. There are so many ways to design an italic, and so many ways to balance or subordinate, harmonise or distinguish in combination with a roman.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,158
    edited September 28
    There are so many ways to design an italic, and so many ways to balance or subordinate, harmonise or distinguish in combination with a roman.
    True. It remains that the formulaïc approach we usually see yields an Italic that might be great on its own, but is too informal to properly fulfill its typical role. I call it the Aldine shotgun wedding.

    Slant being the cornerstone of what readers expect out of an emphasis style, without any further context a (non-mechanical) slanted-Roman is a much more sober starting point than what we type designers are conditioned to value.
  • Ed Benguiat's advice on making Italics from uprights was to slant the round forms half the amount of the desired angle and then rotate them again by half. So a 12 degree italic angle would be slanted 6 degrees and rotated 6 degrees. I have mixed results using this technique. I think it probably worked better in film.
  • Ed Benguiat's advice on making Italics from uprights was to slant the round forms half the amount of the desired angle and then rotate them again by half.
    I think I'd heard that from Briem too. Maybe he got it from Benguiat...
  • It is also Briem’s advice, yes.

    I came out to the same place, after getting less-satisfactory results from both slanting and rotation on their own. Just as a starting point, for round-ish shapes.
  • Thank you all for the valuable input, I really appreciate this!
    I leaned toward starting from scratch before and I think I'm ready to take this approach now.
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