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John Savard

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John Savard
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  • Re: Fixed Stroke Width and Hebrew

    I have to disagree Ori, the optical issue should not be ignored in Hebrew and in your typeface. If you like to create a contrast in your typeface, you create it, and balance the letter-forms accordingly.
    You are absolutely right that the issue of the apparent stroke widths of horizontal and vertical strokes being altered as an optical illusion... can't be ignored in Hebrew any more than it can in Latin.

    However, that in no way invalidates Ori Ben-Dor's typeface. It may be that the desired effect is created by using equal and horizontal stroke widths without any compensation - since it is likely to be acceptable when the apparent stroke widths are slightly in the direction of the traditional ones for the script, instead of being visually uniform, but it is usually not acceptable when the apparent stroke widths vary in the opposing direction, as would be the case for Latin.

    That isn't at all the same as saying that optical compensation doesn't matter for Hebrew, just that for a particular choice of intended visual effect, taking explicit action may not be required. The apparent contrast that an optical illusion creates... is also a possible design choice.
  • Re: Aspects of quality for a typeface

    This reminds me of the famous quotation:

    "If there were an individual, readily recognized quality or characteristic which the type designer could incorporate in drawings that would make any one type more beautiful, legible, or distinguished than another, it is obvious that only type of that kind would be designed." - Frederic W. Goudy

    It was obvious to me what he meant by that. So many songs are written and recorded every year, and only a few catch on and become popular. So many expensive movies are made with high hopes, and then flop. As with music and movies, there's no easy way, no shortcut (in the vein of "more cowbell", humorously advocated for country music), to designing a typeface so that it will be accepted.

    Craftsmanship in the design of a typeface is essential, but it doesn't guarantee a good result, it only makes one possible.
  • Re: Monospaced ligatures

    I have seen ligatures in monospaced typestyles used with the older Hammond typewriters that preceded the Vari-Typer. Some of the catalogs in which the styles are illustrated are online. So I know it's been done, strange though it may seem.

    Here is an image of where this is proclaimed as a feature:


  • Re: Council for German Orthography officially allows use of u+1E9E

    As for some other languages: I have left a comment (which will need to be moderated, as I have just joined to comment) on Typography.Guru to note that it is Poluustav of which Hrant was thinking when he suggests a Russian Er should have a rounded corner, and that it's a misconception to think of Cyrillic as a descendant of Latin, as it was directly derived from Greek (although Latin influenced it too, as the pairs Aa and Ee show) - and, also, it's worth mentioning that the 1996 spelling reform in Germany is nothing compared to what is currently being proposed in France.

    And, of course, not to claim to erudition which I do not possess, I had to poke around on the Internet to find that "poluustav" was the name of the thing I sought to mention.

    Personally - while the Greek uncial in, for example, the Codex Hercleianus, is what Cyrillic writing was derived from, and in that script, rho had a rounded top left corner, Greek writing has changed since that time, and I don't see why Russian writing shouldn't be allowed to change as well.
  • Re: Council for German Orthography officially allows use of u+1E9E

    or to guide anyone in the right direction.
    It does make sense that only the native speakers of German could really see what the right direction is.

    But I know I have learned a lot from both postings in this thread and from searching for more information on the topic.

    Yes, the notion of having two versions of the eszett in German, even though that was true for the lower-case eszett in Fraktur typefaces for a time, most likely is ludicrous. And, even if the 1996 spelling reform was not entirely popular, bringing back the lost eszetts but as a different form of the eszett is the sort of compromise that leaves both sides unsatisfied.

    Thus, while I accept the charge that I am supplying suggestions that may point in the wrong direction, I suspect that at least for some I am making things more lucid, even though it is only by relaying information I have seen elsewhere: the central fact being that the capital eszett is needed because it affects the pronounciation of the vowel before it. (And the eszetts dropped by the 1986 reform are the ones that didn't do that, and they are the ones that, in Heyes orthography, were represented in Fraktur by the ss-ligature instead of the sz-ligature.)