GFS Heraklit

Hello everyone, I'd like to share a new font which has been in the works for a while now. GFS Heraklit, to be released soon by the Greek Font Society, is a digital revival of Hermann Zapf's "Heraklit", which was designed in the 1950s as a Greek font to accompany the Latin Palatino. Although there have been some other Greek Palatinos released since then, none of them are digital versions of the Heraklit design, so this will be the first such digital font to be available. As far as I am aware, Heraklit has previously been released in two formats: manually-set metal type and phototype. We (George Matthiopoulos, Antonis Tsolomitis and myself) have developed this typeface to match contemporary PostScript Palatino (which is used for the Latin part of the font, in the form of an extended version of URW Palladio), and the subtle differences it has from the version of Palatino the original metal Heraklit was designed to accompany. We hope you enjoy.
Being a font from the Greek Font Society, GFS Heraklit, of course, supports polytonic Greek. It also has support for old-style figures and small capitals.

The sample attached does not have the final kerning and letterspacing, but the letterforms are pretty much done.
A release of the regular version is forthcoming (soon!), and two more releases, currently in progress, will expand upon that with a bold/bold "italic"/"italic" version (whether or not the word "italic" can apply to Greek I don't really want to debate right here, but these will be expansions upon, rather than revivals of, Zapf's design), as well as a set of mathematics fonts. But I don't have an exact timeframe for the completion of those parts of the project.
In the meantime, feel free to leave any comments on what we've got to show right now. I'm also interested in hearing your thoughts on any "italic" or mathematical design pointers for this style of typeface, and I will update this thread with some samples of those expansions when they're ready to share. Also, if you have any comments on the letterspacing/necessary kerning (besides the capital letters needing to be kerned with the lowercase, which is already in progress), please let me know what you think (see the attached PDF).


  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,482
    Small too bold.
  • edited March 25
    Small too bold.

    The small caps are supposed to match the same design in (Adobe) Palatino, since this is supposed to be a Heraklit to match the digital-era Palatino design. (We don't use any of Adobe's outlines, though, of course.)

    And I think the same "boldness" is exhibited here (compare the Bb here with the Bb in Heraklit, for instance), and that's the intended effect.
    There is a different digital version of Palatino with more petite caps-sized smcp sets, but I did not want to go with petite caps. Maybe in the future that could be added as a different feature, but it would, of course, be significant time to draw another alphabet.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,482
    edited March 26
    So, that being the situation (with the Latin small caps harmonizing with the Latin lower case), perhaps it’s the Greek lower case that is too light? 

    Greek lower case tends to be a bit on the light side, when sharing certain parameters with Latin, due to its fewer serifs and vertical stems. 
  • edited March 26
    So, do you think the Greek lowercase is too light in comparison with the regular Latin lowercase? The Greek certainly has a lighter look than the Latin to some extent. But I think that's maybe due to the calligraphic nature. To me the shift doesn't look jarring printed out but maybe that's just me. But a possible worry is that they are not the same size, the Greek and Latin, exactly. I'll make an adjusted version…

  • The beginning of my initial adjusted version. I think this looks more matching, yes?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,482
    edited March 26
    I think one has to work with set text, observing Latin and Greek, Roman and Italic, U&lc and Small Caps in the same gaze, in order to compare and balance the overall weight of each, and to mix harmony and contrast evenly amongst the six styles and two scripts.

    In particular, if your Greek lower case is too light now, that means your Greek Italic will be almost aetherial, if it takes its cure from Palatino Italic, which is so much lighter and narrower than the Roman. So don’t compromise the Greek Italic by developing it last, work it up in concert with its roman.
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