Should expert features have the same metrics as default?

Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,435
edited July 2013 in Technique and Theory
For instance, should f+i be the same width as f_i?
Should /' be the same width as /’ and /› ?
Are there any advantages to this kind of homogenization?

And, somewhat related, should /… be the same width as /././. ?
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Comments

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,154
    Advantages are that you reduce reflow when setting and changing formatting but I wonder if it is even worth it? Mostly, do it if it looks best that way. With f_i ligature, in cases where the crossbar of f joins i, the join visually affects the perceived space. This may make the equal space look awkward.
  • I asked a similar question about ligatures on Typophile a few years ago:
    http://typophile.com/node/53212
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    edited July 2013
    I make the ellipses equivalent to three periods in a row. Otherwise you run into trouble if you need four dots (at the end of a sentence, for instance) and the app or os automatically replaces the first three with an ellipses.

    I don't think the others need to match.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,435
    edited July 2013
    I engineer/kern period-ellipsis (and ellipsis-period) so that the space between is the same as that between the dots in the ellipsis.

    It might cause reflow, but I can’t imagine why that would be a problem.

    Craig thanks for the link, so let me focus this on reflow:

    The only thing I can think of is that if a page-layout document is initially set with default characters, and an editor/typographer subsequently decides to fine-tune the typography, replacing f+i with /fi ligature, and dot dot dot with ellipses, etc., then there may be reflow that disturbs the length of text.

    But is that a realistic scenario?
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    I don't think that would normally happen. Ligatures and smart quotes are on by default in pro graphics software. Even if it did, the user would know they are changing the appearance of some of the characters and reflow would not be a surprise. I don't think making the spacing the same is a feature that anyone is wishing for in any case.
  • But an ellipses is not three periods in a row. It needs more space between the dots to function as an ellipses.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,154
    I also make my ellipses space wider than running periods. Then I positive kern my period to the ellipses to make it look even.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,659
    I just space the sidebearings of my ellipsis glyph so that when it is followed by a period the four dots are equally spaced, that way I don't need to worry about kerning.
  • I just space the sidebearings of my ellipsis glyph so that when it is followed by a period the four dots are equally spaced, that way I don't need to worry about kerning.
    Though doing that means that a string of ellipsis glyphs will be uneven (assuming the intraletter spacing differs from /period/period/period), right? Of course that itself could be solved by ellipsis-to-ellipsis negative kerning (if you consider it a problem).
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,659
    There are some things I still expect a typesetter to look after, and peculiar text such as a string of ellipsis characters doesn't seem to me the sort of thing I want to encourage by making it easy. :)
  • There are some things I still expect a typesetter to look after,
    Absolutely!
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,136
    I have fonts from reputable sources (Adobe, Linotype, Monotype, Font Bureau, Bitstream, URW) where the ellipses are equivalent to three consecutive periods. There do seem to be differing opinions about how it should be done. (I've even seen some where the ellipses was spaced tighter or with different sized dots than the period.)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,154
    The spaced tighter ones just look heavy handed to me.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,659
    There seem to be different conventions for spacing ellipses in American and European typographic traditions (and quite probably variety within those traditions too), similar to the difference in the use of en vs em dashes, with or without spacing. The American convention favours quite widely spaced dots. Personally, I favour fairly tight ellipsis dots, so as not to 'tear a hole in the text block', as Tschichold put it when recommending against spacing out the dots.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 246
    Additionally to that difference, in (proper) German typesetting the period is omitted after an ellipses at the end of the sentence, thus there should never be four dots. I could imagine that is the case in other languages, too.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 892
    In American publishing, there are various methods with ellipsis. Chicago Manual of Style (15th ed. §11.52 ff.) outlines three different styles.

    The more general method allows for only ever three dots. But the two more precise methods prescribe three or four dots depending upon context — §11.57 describes the distinction thus: “Three dots indicate an omission within a quoted sentence. Four mark the omission of one or more sentences.”

    Further, with the three-or-four-dot method, if three dots are used, a word space is employed both fore and aft; but if four dots are warranted, then there is no space before — the first dot being in essence the period on the preceding sentence.

    The third, more rigorous method makes a distinction between a four-dot sequence with no space before (the first dot represents the period) and one with space before (where the final dot represents the period, some latter part of the preceding sentence being included in the omission).

    And yes, the American tradition prefers spaced dots. I currently draw my ellipsis with the equivalent of a pure word space between the dots, but without the additional space introduced by the sidebearings of the normal period. So my ellipsis ends up somewhere between three spaced and three unspaced periods. And I coordinate the ellipsis with the period so that a sequence in either order appears even.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,594
    David Lemon once told me that the Adobe approach to the tight-spaced ellipsis originated because of the desire to allow it to double for setting multi-dot leaders. Of course, nowadays such is almost universally done by one's software rather than typing a bunch of ellipses. So I'd argue that the original reasoning behind this is obsolete.

    I have an intense dislike of the tight-spaced ellipsis in Adobe fonts, and cleave to a far looser setting.
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