Why are Kannada numerals larger than letters?

James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,802
edited September 2015 in Technique and Theory
Why are Kannada numerals larger than letters? Kannada has no uppercase to harmonize with, and they all come from the same writing system. So I don’t understand why there’s a height difference?


  • What sources are you consulting? I'm used to seeing Kannada and Telugu numerals similar in height to the letters?
  • What would you consider to be the height of the Kannada letters? There is indeed no uppercase. There is what you could consider to be the equivalent of the x-height. But there are a lot of ascenders and descenders. In typical a Kannada word the majority of glyphs have an ascender.
    In text numbers need to have a certain visual presence in relation to words. And the words are larger than the x-height.
    Kannada fonts often have proportional numbers, that are wide compared to the letters. If you want tabular numerals, you cannot stretch the numerals to make them stand out. So you raise the height.

    For Telugu can be said that the numbers are definitely larger than the x-height. But this script uses the European decimal numbers. 


  • I have seen the same as John, with similar heights. At least I understand this to be the "correct" way, in terms of historical models and current handwriting.

    But in terms of Latin numerals, those inserted in Indic fonts are usually FAR too tall.
  • Perhaps its for mixed latin/kannada numbers, so the kannada numbers are drawn to the same as the latin?
  • I reviewed this again and I think it might just be a quirk of Noto Kannada.
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