Oblique vs Italic

Eimantas Paškonis
Eimantas Paškonis Posts: 91
edited January 2019 in Technique and Theory
This will be two questions in one.

1: Is "italic" reserved only for styles that change base shape of glyphs (a/g)? I have a font which is optically corrected, but it's still just a slanted version – all glyphs look the same. I have a single-story /a as a stylistic alternate for both upright and slanted versions though.

2. Which Cyrillic letters *have* to be italicized? I've seen all kinds of variants, /de seems to be done the most often. Bulgarian alternates use the cursive form by default even in upright styles.


  • Jasper de Waard
    Nice work. (e looks a bit wide?)

    Most of your customers probably won't really care. Traditionally, Italic would have more alterations than you show, but on the other hand 'oblique' might be a foreign term to some. In short: I wouldn't worry about it too much.
  • Eimantas Paškonis
    Huh, /e is definitely too wide, thanks.
  • Moritz Kleinsorge
    Moritz Kleinsorge Posts: 15
    edited January 2019
    maybe take a look on the two italic versions of FF Real text. They have an oblique and a real italic.

  • Eimantas Paškonis
    @Moritz Kleinsorge Well what they did was understandable. I'm just wondering if I'm committing a sin by labeling slant as "italic".
  • Vasil Stanev
    Vasil Stanev Posts: 774
    edited January 2019
    2. The д is different in Bulgarian and Serbian, You can check Wikipedia for details https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_script . From the others, the more cursive forms are considered Bulgarian (by some of the Bulgarian typographic community) and the version that looks like shrunken caps we consider Russian. In practice, include both versions in the font, the Bul one as .alt :) and cover all the bases that way. From there it is up to InDesign language options to present both versions to the designer.
    The Bulgarian г  looks a bit unbalanced/more slanted to my eye, as oval italics tend to do. And the Cyrillic a should be the same as the Latin one. There is a Macedonian г  - check Wiki again.
    I agree with Jasper de Waard that most customers do not care. I include all possible versions when I have to, personally. :)

    I feel like there are some width issues with your font (in both styles), the n looks very little compared to e, o...
    ч tends to be a problematic letter across italics and bolds, keep that in mind, it needs more treatment than a simple slant. :)

    PS In certain designs there can be included a macron above m and under ш to differentiate them from ж and one another. Certain designs. The macron has no sound value and is simply a prolonged element.

  • Ray Larabie
    Ray Larabie Posts: 1,390
    I couldn't find the thread but there was a discussion somewhere on this site about when alternate Cyrillic italic forms are appropriate. I think the conclusion was that they would seem out-of-place in a typeface that didn't have classical italic styling such as descending f, monocular a, zig-zag hnmu, monocular g. It might be hard to quantify technically what "classical" or "real italics" are. But in this case, I think the alternate forms look out-of-place. It reminds me of that late 1990's/early 2000's trend of adding a descender to the f in oblique sans-serifs.
  • Cory Maylett
    I couldn't find the thread but there was a discussion somewhere on this site about when alternate Cyrillic italic forms are appropriate.
    This one perhaps: https://typedrawers.com/discussion/1026/cyrillic-italics-vs-obliques
  • Eimantas Paškonis
    That thread is exactly the same as my question and it seems there are no hard rules. I agree with Krista's comment there – it's all about how much roman italic changes.
  • Eris Alar
    Eris Alar Posts: 428
    As a type user, I would assume an oblique is mechanically slanted, and italic has specially drawn forms. Rationally, I know that most fonts don't follow those rules, but that is how I interpret the terms.