In doing some research I was reading through the historical brief of HTF Didot. About halfway down the page there are a couple of captions that talk about a spur placed midway the left side of lowercase /l/s. It evidently held traditional value.
I have done a bit of searching, but am having trouble finding more info about this detail of French typography. Does anyone know more about its usage: Why? What caused its decline in use, or are there still designs meant for general text that have this? If one were to include this detail in a typeface today would it be relegated to “a variant of the regular /l only, never the default”?
Perhaps it would cause a reader to stop for a moment at the unfamiliar detail, or be confused for another letter like /ƚ or /ł.
It is a small thing, but interesting. Any thoughts?
An analogous feature that has lasted longer but also has an inconsistent presence is the spur on the same spot on an eszett.
That is the only time I see him mention the /l as well. This surely covers the romain du roi, but what of the other typefaces with the spurred /l, and the second part of my post was about its use in modern times. Would a designer trying to revive one of these types be deterred by the law that may or may not still be in place?
But I’ve talked too much, what are your thoughts?
The close copy that Mosley mentions formed the basis of a digital revival, La Police by François Rappo (2008). From the specimen:
Other digital typefaces with this feature include SangBleu Serif (Swiss Typefaces, 2008), Royal Romain (Gert Wiescher, 2008), 1790 Royal Printing (Gilles Le Corre, 2009), and Rameau (Sarah Lazarevic, 2011).
Yves Perrousseaux wrote the following in Histoire de l’écriture typographique : Le XVIIIe siècle, tome I/II (2010).
Edited to add: or rather, when placed higher on the stem than the midline head serifs!
From the conversation above, perhaps this table was shown on H&Co.’s site, but I don’t see it there now. Here is Mosley’s blog post about it.