Is gj an issue for everyone?

In quite a few designs I play with, the /g and the /j that play nicely with all other letters crash into each other. My options as I see them:
1. Allow the crash.
2. Modify base /g and/or base /j (most likely the latter).
3. Make a /g_j ligature.
4. Make a contextual alternate (most likely /j.short).

If it weren't for the word "logjam" this would almost never come up (although a million and a half people do live in Gwangju). The /q also occupies that right-side descender space, but accommodating a "qj" combination feels certainly low priority. 

I most often elect option 4 if the crash looks unhappy. But I'm wondering if a misguided sense of what a /j should look like keeps forcing me into accommodations that other designers don't face.

Comments

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,265
    Craig, Truthfully, I have never seen this as an issue. Can you show some examples in fonts that reveal this problem?

  • Top line shows a bold j with teardrop that crashes; second line shows the alternate j I made.
    In the middle is a design that doesn't crash but gets distractingly tight.
    Bottom is the crash I'm pondering now.

    I suppose I just need to rethink the idea of /j's hook turning all the way around and coming back up. But it looks quite nice when there's room for it to tuck under other letters.

    For the record I should add to my above options
    5. Solve with positive kerning.
    But that's no help for examples like these.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,031
    edited September 13
    I know how I can solve all these. I'm just looking for either a) assurance that this /j combo is a pain in the ass we're all wrestling with, or b) feedback that I'd be doing myself a favor to rethink my /js from scratch. 

    Do f-ligs exist and not j-ligs because /f's hook itself is a more problematic shape, or just because /f's hook potentially causes problems with an ensuing /b/f/h/k/l/i/j/í/ì/ï/etc. whereas /j's hook only gets into trouble with a preceding /g and /q?
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,699
    edited September 13
    The bottom-right of a (binocular) "g" shouldn't need to protrude that much, and in a serif font the left of the "j" can be loose enough. It can be a problem in a sans... but since a sans can't get to the pinnacles of readability anyway to me there's rarely reason to make to sans "j" so exuberant. (Which is not to say that Futura's is at all recommended! :-)

    When needed (like in your examples) I agree #4 is best.

    BTW this sort of thing happens a lot in Armenian, due to its frequent right-pointing desenders. Speaking of Armenian, it might actually suggest the solution below (which I know has been done in Latin, but might be useful more often).

    BTW the population of Heilongjiang province is over 38 million.  :-)
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,699
    edited September 13
    5. Solve with positive kerning.
    Of course that can/should kick in alongside the other approaches.
    feedback that I'd be doing myself a favor to rethink my /js from scratch.
    Especially in this OT age, I wouldn't rethink a letter just because of a rare problem.
    Do f-ligs exist and not j-ligs because ....
    It must be due to the orders of magnitude greater frequency of the former. (To a lesser extent that ascenders tend/need to be longer than descenders.)
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,951
    Making life progressively and contextually difficult for myself in Gabriola:


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,951
    It's also relatively common in Danish:

    offentliggjort holmbergjávri færdiggjort gjermundsen gjelleråsen gjendesheim gjetmundsen gjaerevoll gjeruldsen gjensidige kvergjelme gjemlestad gjertssen gjertsson gjengseth gjestland gjestvang gjærevoll ingegjerd lingjærde gjertsen gjertrud valgjerd gjertine gjertson gjessing uafgjort uopgjort elgjæger gjelstad gjerstad gjermund gjelsten gjerdrum gjelsvik gjekstad gjersøe ingjerd ingjald gjørdis gjønnes gjemnes torgjer gjeving gjettum gjerløw gjesdal gjerald gjendem gjestad figgjo gjerde gjøvik gjøran gjølme gjerpe gjeble talgje gjorde did gjende gjalde gjert logje gjald gjøen gjuke gjone gjoll gjems gjern gjøs gjul
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,951
    And more so in Icelandic:

    munaðarleysingjahæli nýfrjálshyggjumaður endurskipuleggja fyrirhyggjusamur gjaldeyrissjóður höfðingjasleikja næringarráðgjafi svertingjahundur hamingjusamlega heiladyngjubotn hryggleysingjar skattaeftirgjöf þjóðernishyggja eftirliggjandi eggjahvítuefni fyrirbyggjandi gjörgæsludeild höfðingjasetur kynþáttahyggja undirliggjandi uppgjafarsinni óhamingjusamur ósveigjanlegur eyðileggjandi flæmingjaland hamingjusamur hamingjuóskir helsingjaeyri löggjafarþing metnaðargjarn náttúruhyggja strengjabrúða sveigjanlegur sveigjanleiki umhyggjusamur vingjarnlegur vingjarnleiki áhyggjufullur óbeygjanlegur ófullnægjandi útafliggjandi beygjanlegur eggjastokkur frjálshyggja fullnægjandi fósturfylgja gjaldfallinn handsprengja heimanfylgja heimskingjar hryggjarsúla hyggjuþungur jarðsprengja lausnargjald nautnahyggja nærliggjandi samliggjandi sprengjuleit strandlengja sveigjanlegt uppbyggjandi veggjaskraut vingjarnlega afmælisgjöf aðliggjandi barnsfylgja bylgjulengd endurbyggja endurgjalda flísaleggja fyrirbyggja gelgjuskeið gjaldgengur gjaldmiðill gjörsamlega gjörvilegur helvítisgjá krossleggja lokauppgjör mengjafræði nægjanlegur orðagjálfur skattleggja skipuleggja sveigjanleg áhyggjuefni áhyggjulaus ánægjulegur árásargjarn örbylgjuofn þrautseigja þyrilvængja algjörlega deilugjarn eggjahvíta eggjarauða eggjaskurn eigingjarn eyðileggja fallbeygja fjölhyggja flóðbylgja framfylgja framleigja framlengja gjaldeyrir gjaldþrota gjörvallur hefnigjarn jarðsyngja kortleggja málafylgja niðurlægja nægjanlega sanngjarnt skeggjaður söðulgjörð tortryggja undirlægja veggjakrot verðleggja ánægjulegt íþyngjandi ósanngjarn efahyggja eftirgjöf fjarlægja fullnægja gestgjafi gjaldkeri gjaldþrot hyggjuvit leigjandi liggjandi meingjörð orkugjafi ráðleggja sanngjarn sanngjörn sprengjur síðslægja teygjudýr tollgjald umkringja vátryggja vörugjald ábyrgjast ánægjuleg ættingjar óhamingja óskhyggja þiggjandi þráhyggja dreggjar efagjarn fargjald geggjast hamingja löggjafi misgjörð ráðgjafi sprengja strengja umhyggja véfengja áhyggjum áhyggjur ógjarnan örbylgja örbylgju örgjörvi útleggja þegjandi afsegja bryggja engjast flengja fleygja forgjöf gjarnan gjálfra gægjast hneggja hneigja hringja hryggja klingja löggjöf ráðgjöf skyggja sleggja slengja smeygja spengja styggja sveigja svelgja svengja sílægja tryggja uppgjöf uppgjör áhyggja íþyngja ófrægja óánægja útgjöld útlægja þrengja algjör beygja birgja byggja bylgja byrgja drýgja dylgja dyngja fylgja gjafir gjalda gjamma gjarna gjóður gjörla hengja hyggja kergja klígja kyngja leggja leigja lengja liggja plægja pyngja rengja slægja syngja syrgja tengja teygja tyggja tyggjó velgja ánægja þiggja þyngja bægja eggja ergja eygja fægja gjald gjamm gjarn gjóla gjósa gjóta gjöld gjöra gjörð gjúga gægja gígja hægja lægja nægja rægja segja tygja vægja vígja yngja þegja gjöf gjá
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,951
    Also Norwegian (both forms), and to a lesser extent Swedish.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 475
    edited September 13
    j.short? I did once try solving the issue with a j.long...

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,699
    edited September 13
    j.short? I did once try solving the issue with a j.long...
    Since text is sometimes more than one line :-/ bad idea.
  • j.short? I did once try solving the issue with a j.long...

    "Short" as in "the leftward reaching part is short." Maybe "narrow" would make more sense. But that's just a name internal to the edit file.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,699
    edited September 13
    Craig Eliason said:
    Maybe "narrow" would make more sense.
    Unless it does really mean short.  :-)

    there is usually no good reason to make the tail of the /j extend very far to the left.
    Except that helps readability – because not being an "i" is indeed its main job. Especially when the descender space is short (as it generally should be in a text face).
  • Except that helps readability.
    I'd like to see the evidence.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,699
    edited September 13
    I'd like to see the evidence.
    Well I've seen evidence for either... but you can't prove something doe not exist, so...  :-)

    Maybe we can agree that information comes only from contrast. And that's crucial here even if you believe we read simply by compiling individual letters. If you believe we also read via boumas* the relevance of extenders in particular becomes huge.

    https://typedrawers.com/discussion/2285/brain-sees-words-as-pictures
  • Also used in Dutch:

    belastingjaar dagje droogjes fruitvliegje galgje hangjongeren knipoogje langjarig modelvliegtuigje mugje terugjagen tuigje twijgje twintigjarig vaagjes vernislaagje vuurvliegjes waslaagje wegjagen wiegje wigje

  • This is definitely my best ligature.


  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,559
    edited September 13
    The “protruding tail” /j issue also occurs at the beginning of lines. I sometimes wonder whether it wouldn’t be better to place the left sidebearing at the extrema, with the added kerning elsewhere that would entail, rather than make the character the same width as /i.

    However, I generally keep the tail quite close to the main stem, so it’s rarely an issue for me.

    If you really want to sort it:


  • In Spanish, Futura is a curse word.image
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,265
    Like Mark, I don't see as much of a need for a full looping tail on the j.
  • Sometimes you can't pull it off, but when you can (often with the help of a modest positive kern) it can help both the character and the readability of the font.
  • In German, g can occur at the end of words, and j at the beginning, so there can be any number of compound words containing gj, like Anzugjacke, langjährig, wegjagen, siebzigjährig, ...
  • Albert_Jan_Pool Albert_Jan_Pool Posts: 78
    edited September 15
    Dutch uses compound words as well. Also we use -je the same way als the Germans, Austrians and German-speaking Swiss use -li or -chen to indicate a ‘smaller version’ of something. So ‘heg’ and ‘haag’ (hedge) may turn into ‘haagje’ resp. ‘hegje’ (small hedge). Stomach is ‘maag’, so a small stomach may be called ‘maagje’, etc. More than half of the examples shown by @Erwin Denissen a few posts back are such cases. So gj definitely is an issue in Dutch and Flemish. Contrary to German typographic tradition, in Dutch one may also ligate between syllabes and between the words that make up a compound word. From that point of view, designing a ‘gj’ ligature could be an option for languages other than German. Positive kerning to avoid gj from clashing leaves a (big) gap within the x-height which decreases legibility. But why create a ligature, when the design of ‘j’ can be done less troublesome? I think that is the kind of reasoning why designers like Van Krimpen and Gerrit Noordzij preferred to design a ‘j’ with a tail only. By the way: The ‘j’ i Noordzij’s ‘Ruse’ is an exception in his work. And yes, the name of the city of The Hague origins in ‘hedge’ or ‘shrubbery’.
  • The combination “gj” occurs often in Norwegian. I find a positive kern almost always too disruptive. If the collision isn’t too messy, touching is not a problem. The safest solution is to have a fairly narrow j shape (if it fits the design language). It’ll also comes in handy in other natural (j following an ogonek, for example) and constructed (brand names) combinations. 

    I’ve found that many such decisions depend on (language) context. One very obvious example is that the Ukrainian її pair needs ample positive kerning – even to the point of disrupting the rhythm, as to not confuse with ії/їі. Hence, I’m doubtful of the value of binary character checks to determine language support. 
  • I tend to go for the monocle /g whenever I can, which also helps me develop bolder weights more easily. The /j should be not too fancy in my opinion, because some letters like the /y (at least IMPO) should rhyme and also be fancy. Also, there has to be something in the top part of the/j to balance the tail internally, and there is not so much a spur can do for that balance. 
Sign In or Register to comment.