Georgian Italic

Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
edited April 25 in Technique and Theory
When I designed Kelvinch I included Georgian in the language coverage.  As there were four members of the family I ended up putting an italic and bold-italic version of Georgian in there also.  But in a recent discussion a friend suggested that italic wouldn't really be used very much in Georgia as it isn't really part of their culture to use it.
Does anyone know if this is true ?
I was thinking of adding Georgian to Cadman, if I do then would it be wasted effort to make an italic version for the italic members of the family ?
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  • Browsing this article on wikipedia, which seems representative, you see italic, but only a little. So it's not like you are the first to do it (no accidental invention), but it probably would not be a tremendous loss if you didn't include it.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    Browsing this article on wikipedia, which seems representative, you see italic, but only a little. So it's not like you are the first to do it (no accidental invention), but it probably would not be a tremendous loss if you didn't include it.

    Yes but aren't the articles on Wikipedia direct translations of English articles ?  In which case wouldn't the emphasis have been copied from the original article ?
    I was hoping someone who knows the language and the culture could give me some insight.
    Whilst I was designing Kelvinch I looked at the website of an Iranian guy who had travelled in Georgia and took a lot of photographs of his travels, the site was in arabic (which I don't understand) but the photos showed a lot of signage and writing in Georgian on buildings, shops and delivery trucks.
    Among the photos of scenery, buildings and people there were many photos of a local market and each seller had signs painted in bright colours on what appeared to be small blackboards.  I copied the style of the lettering from this but I don't remember seeing any examples of italic.
    Unfortunately the link to this site no longer works, it seems to be offline.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,601
    edited April 25
    Whether/how to provide a supporting style in a given script is a big question in non-Latin type, and remains unresolved (not necessarily a bad thing :-). Armenian for example doesn't have an "Italic" tradition, not least because we have a floating emphasis mark that can be placed on any vowel. And I haven't included one in Nour&Patria (yet :-). But Minion3 (which I was fortunate to consult on) does have it, and it's certainly not useless. The situation with Georgian is necessarily different, but the central issue for any script is this:

    It's not a wasted effort, because: if you build it, they will come... The question is really: is it respectful towards Georgian? Because to me making anything is a responsibility, not simply a way to make money or express oneself.

    If one does decide to add a supporting style, the question becomes: what should it look like? The first thought might be to parallel the difference between the Latin's Roman and Italic, but if one was doubting the necessity of an "Italic" for the non-Latin script to begin with, this is very unlikely to make sense. If one has paraphrased a different marking method for the Latin's Italic, the rationale for simply applying the same method to the non-Latin is very weak; just like the weakness of the rationale for applying the construction of the Latin's Roman to the non-Latin's primary style. This opens up interesting possibilities for supporting styles, unfettered by Latin. Possibilities that might even migrate back to Latin, enriching –even improving– its Italic traditions.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    My understanding of bold and italic are that they are two distinct forms of emphasis.
    Bold draws the readers eye to it because of the change in colour it stands out from the surrounding text.
    This is different from italic, if the type designer has done their job correctly it is the same colour as the surrounding text and does not draw the eye towards it, instead it sneaks up on the reader unnoticed until they are almost upon it.
    Perhaps styling the glyphs differently but something which is sympathetic to the style of the roman would be the way to go.
    There is certainly some mileage in this idea.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,601
    edited April 26
    On the one hand the "I" button is unfortunately named. On the other hand I think virtually all users of Latin type expect the text to slant (and really not necessarily much else) when they hit the button (even if it were labeled something else) and one would need a really good reason to go against that expectation. Also, few would want the headache of multiple buttons for different flavors of secondariness (although a "long-press" that exposes... secondary flavors is tantalizing) so I would say making the Italic of a Latin font slant is pretty solid.

    The opportunity/risk/responsibility with non-Latin scripts is that most don't seem to have a firm expectation as with Latin (although those that are structurally similar arguably inherit the expectation of slant due to Latin's dominance filling a void) and in practice it's really up to the type designer to decide whether hitting "I" should do anything at all*, and if so, whether it should slant, or something else, or slant & something else. For example for Armenian I feel slant is fine (although cursiveness makes even less sense than in Latin) but for Ethiopian I remember @John Hudson stating that traditionally the color red is used for emphasis, and if color font technology is now reliable enough, that seems like a great option. Georgian is a hazier one for me.

    * In FF Ernestine it doesn't affect the Armenian at all.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,601
    edited April 26
    @Paul Miller The typical Bold (especially since the precedent set by the MS Core Fonts in the late '90s) is indeed way too dark to serve for emphasis in running text, causing errant saccades from anywhere remotely near an application of it. A good Italic (at least one that relies on slant) can indeed reliably mark emphasis (or more accurately, secondariness) without distracting the reader, but I've long thought the cursiveness typical of conventional Italics introduces an arbitrary skew in the Roman's voice, generally going against the reason the typeface was chosen by the designer; this is why I prefer a (well-designed) oblique, like the wonderful one in Berthe. Even better in my mind however is choosing a demi (now far easier with variable fonts), which neither skews the voice nor distracts. Typo magazine did this to great effect; here's a sample from issue #13 using Patria:


    Reining this all back on-topic, what I myself value in non-Latin "Italics" is an unbiased consideration of things like oblique and demi, where the latter might serve well for Georgian. And come to think of it, weight might also serve well as a secondary style for Thai, which is traditionally quite light in color (in addition to not having a tradition of slant).
  • Browsing this article on wikipedia, which seems representative, you see italic, but only a little. So it's not like you are the first to do it (no accidental invention), but it probably would not be a tremendous loss if you didn't include it.

    Yes but aren't the articles on Wikipedia direct translations of English articles ?  In which case wouldn't the emphasis have been copied from the original article ?
    I was hoping someone who knows the language and the culture could give me some insight.
    Whilst I was designing Kelvinch I looked at the website of an Iranian guy who had travelled in Georgia and took a lot of photographs of his travels, the site was in arabic (which I don't understand) but the photos showed a lot of signage and writing in Georgian on buildings, shops and delivery trucks.
    Among the photos of scenery, buildings and people there were many photos of a local market and each seller had signs painted in bright colours on what appeared to be small blackboards.  I copied the style of the lettering from this but I don't remember seeing any examples of italic.
    Unfortunately the link to this site no longer works, it seems to be offline.

    I am obviously not an expert. But no, they're not direct translations; all the different language versions of Wikipedia are independently written. They may be translated content at times but if so this is done manually. And the Georgian version is almost entirely written by native speakers, one assumes. So I take their usage as correct. But here for instance you only see sparing use in citations for example.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    Looking at the style of Cadman I think an oblique might be appropriate.  Thank you all for your comments.  :)
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    Thank you @Akaki Razmadze for your comprehensive explanation, this is exactly what I wanted. :)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 552
    I thank you very much for the information; with the design by Georgi Nikoladze, at least there is a valid historical model for a "true italic" for Georgian.
  • 'And come to think of it, weight might also serve well as a secondary style for Thai, which is traditionally quite light in color (in addition to not having a tradition of slant).'
    Here's a blog entry from Ben Mitchell, who went to Thailand.  He shows a slanting manuscript written on palm leaves.  This gives a good precedent to create something like an Italic.  The same thing happens to Khmer.
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