Practical uses for unambiguous LCG fonts?

Would there be any point in making fonts that distinguish between characters such as Latin A, Greek Alpha, and Cyrillic A? Other than those fallback fonts displaying the actual Unicode number instead of the glyph, I mean :)

Putting things differently, could we draw from historical sources to extract the essence of each letter and use it to create a set of newly designed forms? One purpose I could imagine would be in multilingual settings of short strings where the blatant awkwardness of the usually identical yet there differing forms would serve... typophile vanity? Any other ideas?

Below is a first and sketchy draft of what I had in mind.

Obviously there is nothing more Latin about that top left 'A' than Greek or Cyrillic, and I doubt there is about the second one. The Latin 'I' is inspired by Uncials. The whole thing starts to get ridiculous at the Blackletter 'H' and seems pointless when I get to the 'O's and Omicron. But with a little work?

The aim would be to utilize stylistic nuances such as terminals and serifs to create an internally coherent set of glyphs for each script, keeping the sets disjoint and at the same coherent in style with each other. Just like the lowercase Greek doesn't necessarily mimic the Latin, we could apply that to the... and here's the thing, I guess this enterprise would need to result in a unicase font? Beyond that, it seems implausible.

Some of my inspirations:



  • In my Backflip design, I redrew bowled letters like Beta, Omicron, Rho, and omicron to carry a very slightly different stress than B, O, R, o. (Thickest at 11- and 5 o'clock instead of 1- and 7 o'clock.) This is a highly rotated stress design to begin so part of this was continuing that playfulness, but I also was motivated by the hypothesis that Greek caps could benefit from loosening their compliance with Latin prototypes and taking more modulation inspiration from their lowercase brethren.

    (This is obviously a far more subtle change than you're contemplating.)
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Greek caps could benefit from loosening their compliance with Latin prototypes
    Or vice versa, since Greek alphabet predates the Latin. ;-)

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,145
    Here is a unicase analysis and experiment I made in reducing the number of upright/roman glyphs able to represent the three related scripts.

    I had created a Unicase feature for Scotch Modern, in Latin, and thought that the same feature should be available for the other scripts, and made it so. This diagram followed that thought.

    I concluded that Cyrillic is already pretty much common-case already, and that unicase does not sit well with Greek. Other than that, it was interesting to see how elegant the diagram that emerged could be, although I don’t think that’s very significant.

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 689
    edited February 2018
    Kent Lew said:
    Greek alphabet predates the Latin. ;-)
    That's why I thought the modern forms could be more easily used as the "Latin" compound, and the historic ones as Cyrillic and Greek. But what I had in mind was, quite impossible, to create forms instinctively recognized as one and not the other. Just like lc alpha has a distinct shape, I'd need a way to tell apart Latin and Cyrillic a's without either form looking like both. So I thought drawing from historic samples, like Trajan capitals for Latin, and similar sources for Cyrillic and Greek, might give some pointers...?
    ^^^ not sure what this is but looks cool and has a distinctive and memorable 'A', easily associated with the Cyrillic, and a wine brand Kagor uses a similar font on some of their labels, unfortunately they (at this point I'm not sure if it is one label, or just a popular name for a couple of labels...) use an obscene amount of fonts.

    @Nick Shinn Thanks for the input, the white guys are the ones to blame! :D

  • @Adam Jagosz that looks like vyaz, a pre-Petrine condensed display font. It commonly uses contractions and vertical ligatures to condense the text even further and I *swear* I've seen a thread about it just a week ago.

    Also, kagor is a generic term in Russia for a fortified wine made with heated must. It's commonly used for the Eucharist, so many people think any wine made by monks is called kagor.
  • @Samuil Simonov Thanks for all the clarification! I did see that thread, too, and it might have trigerred creating this one, as it's been deferred for a few months now.

    About vyaz, is that 'У' a ligature of O and an ypsilon-like thing?
  • Yes, it is. It's a calque from Greek:

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Samuil — It was this comment in the “Looking for examples of Latin and Non-Latin side-by-side communication” thread that brought up Vyaz recently and then pointed to this epic Typophile thread on the style.

  • Pretty! But isn't epsilon missing here?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,145
    Thank you, yes; it should be in the red Greek-only section.
Sign In or Register to comment.