Black horizontal stress Greek — harmonizing with Latin

Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
edited October 2020 in Technique and Theory
Is the above example (Parmigiano Text) a good example of how to go about this?
There are a couple of issues: firstly, it is impossible to achieve the same color as in the vertically stressed Latin; and if we use the Latin stress pattern for the caps, we end with caps much darker than the minuscule. On a minor note, the apparent x-height is lower than in Latin because the center of the heavier horizontal stroke is lower than that of a thin one.
Are these non-issues? Or does the process basically require to minimize these problems as much as possible and try to be happy with the result anyway?
Or maybe there isn't much merit to the horizontal stress in new multiscript designs in the first place?


  • edited October 2020
    Multiscript is exactly the highest challenge in type design because its balance of compromises is so convoluted... Equal color is one thing that might have to be compromised. And to me the thing to compromise the least is cultural authenticity... although even that can be factored in, especially in a "multilateral" system like my Nour&Patria:

    BTW according to the script visualization technique I've concocted (which scales letters laterally according to frequency) the ideal Greek "x-height" should arguably be *larger* than the Latin's:

    More assuredly: the ascender/descender proportions should actually be flipped from Latin...
  • Unfortunately a lot of the links in Gerry's site no longer work; I've contacted Gerry about this to find whether this can be fixed. From what works, I've found this list of fonts he recommends studying most useful:

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,940
    The Brill types Greek is modelled on Didot Greeks, with the traditional weight distribution of the Byzantine scribal hand interpreted in a Romantic style with higher stroke contrast. I see the goal of multiscript type design and typography (remembering that using a single multiscript type family is only one way to do multiscript typography) as enabling balancing of the scripts, rather than formal harmonisation at the structural or featural level.

    Yes, the Greek x-height can appear slightly shorter than the Latin, and this effect increases as the type gets heavier, and can also be more or less pronounced depending on resolution. This can be compensated for in the design, but one needs to take care that efforts to maintain optical x-height across the scripts at the same nominal weight doesn't end up producing freakish results across the weights within a single script. So, e.g., you don't want the x-height to grow too much between the lightest and heaviest weights of the Greek.
  • edited October 2020
    In a multiscript text family you generally need the "x-heights" (as well as the other proportions, to a lesser extent) to deviate... no matter how uncomfortable that makes the typical designer.  :-)
  • This is a big issue and a constantly recurring thing in the discussions among (the few) Greek designers and designers of greek typefaces.

    The first thing I would suggest, is reading all of Gerry Leonidas' texts on Greek typeface design (if you haven't already done so).

    I have written some thoughts on the subject of latinisation on Greek typefaces here Not discussing much about the reversed contrast but maybe you can find something useful there, as well.

    And, finally, my two cents on the subject: in my own practice, the final and most important judge of the optical balance between different scripts is the eye (of the beholder). If the horizontal stroke of the greek lowercase has to be a little thicker or thinner than the vertical one of their latin counterparts, then so be it. If you feel that the x-height has to be higher or lower, do it. It all comes down to (a) personal opinion (based on studying old and current paradigms, practice and experience of course) and (b) fitting the intended context of use.
    I saw pictures of Greek using a style corresponding to the Latin Italics.  Based on what I see, the /alpha, /beta, /theta, /kappa, /phi and occasionally, /rho, and /psi change form.  Have Greeks come to accept it, based on the local feedback there?  BTW, using your work and Andreas Stoetzner's work as studies on how far one must iterate in a mixed Greek-Latin script.  They use the same tools...fashioned differently.
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