On the positioning of the upper marks in stacked diacriticals.

James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,688
edited February 2018 in Technique and Theory
I’m working on a display type family that supports Vietnamese, Pinyin, and combining marks. Weights range from extralight to bold. If the upper marks for the light weight align with the upper marks in the bold weight there’s a big gap between lower and upper marks. I’m not sure how to handle this. Does it make more sense to: 
1 – Match the height of marks across weights so they align horizontally.
2 – Lower the upper marks in lighter weights to avoid big gaps.
3 – Match the mark heights for combining marks but reduce the height to avoid gaps in precomposed Vietnamese and Pinyin characters.

I’m inclined to go with 2 because this isn’t going to be used for text setting so alignment probably doesn’t matter. But I don’t want to find out that I’m an idiot American because Asians expect their marks to align horizontally.

In this image the marks align horizontally which creates nasty gaps in the light weight.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,828
    I would think about the gap between the base and the first mark and between the two marks as being something like the inverse of weight gain in the letter stroke — perhaps with a similar numeric curve across the interpolation space. So as the relationship of the first mark to the base, so the relationship of the second mark to the first. So (2).
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