manat and new shekel height?

curious for opinions or sources of information on this — is there "correct" (or even ballpark correct) height for either of these currency symbols, or is it a choice based on the design? I have seen them both variously drawn at x-height (thinking of the top of the curve of the manat, not the line down the middle), cap height, and somewhere in between. the new shekel can feel a bit cramped at x-height at bolder weights, but would not want to make it taller if that's not what a native reader expects


  • The new shekel sign is basically a ligature of ש (shin) & ח (het) (the acronym of שקל חדש, new shekel in Hebrew), so for a Hebrew-supporting font it would make sense to first try the same height as Hebrew letters, usually between x- and cap height (and follow the same design characteristics). For a non-Hebrew-supporting font, you could just start between x- and cap height. But if that doesn't work, feel free to go either higher or lower as you like; native readers don't expect any specific height (the shekel sign is quite rarely used. It's far more common to use ש"ח, the proper acronym, equivalent to USD or EUR, than ₪).
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 155
    edited September 2021
    thanks so much @Ori Ben-Dor! the font doesn't support Hebrew (yet? certainly a some-day aspiration), so I'll keep your advice in mind there. somewhat coincidentally, my old-style /zero, which is in between the x-height and cap-height, is roughly where the new shekel starts to look less horizontally stretched, so I might see if I can get away with it as a more explicit vertical reference point.

    I think I may also redraw it with the shin-het ligature in mind... I'm working on something fairly monolinear, but there's probably a better way to capture the character of those strokes than the super-geometric solution I'd started with. 
  • @Ori Ben-Dor if you have a moment and interest I'd be curious for your thoughts on this shekel. I started with what's on the left , and ended up with what's on the right. the typeface is pretty monolinear at the larger optical sizes, but it's not super geometric like a helvetica or something with very consistent angled terminals or anything like that, it tries to follow the pen a bit. so I thought maybe this is the right level of abstraction based on looking at the ligature you described, vs. the initial shape I drew, which is honestly just based on what I saw for most system fonts at the U+20AA codepoint. I like the one on the right better, but if the very abstract geometric shape is simply what's been established as normal, I probably wouldn't want to deviate from it :sweat_smile:

  • They both look fine. Can you show me some Latin for context, maybe "that normally costs ₪ 750"?
    I'd move the right leg of the het part (the second stem from the right) a tiny bit to the left, it looks slightly imbalanced.
  • yes, thank you. that's good feedback, you caught me trusting my measurement tool :smile:

    72 pt regular master:

    10pt regular master:

  • As much as your ₪ masters are nice & well-drawn on their own, I don't think they match your Latin & figures so well, I'm afraid.

    First, they "follow the pen" much more than the Latin & figures. Second, they do it by focusing on the details of the terminals (and the joint), which adds a level of complexity not present in the Latin & figures.

    I'd probably try adding subtle warmth and hints of calligraphy through the skeleton (making it rounder, especially the floor of the shin part) rather than the terminals. You should probably make it rounder also just so that it would better harmonize with the roundness of the Latin & figures.

    Also, in the 10pt master the ₪ looks compressed and "crowded" compared to the Latin & figures. You can easily extend it by 10-20%, maybe even more.

    I hope that helps!
  • that's great feedback, it does help - thanks ori! it's so easy to get carried away with details of a script system where I don't have a lot of personal insight. looking at the hebrew, the terminals stood out visually to me so I placed an importance on them that sounds like isn't actually there. maybe the form I drew would work better with a slab serif or something like that. I will take your advice and see what I can do about rounding the shin part of the ligature especially (and maybe a small angle on its left-most stroke as well...)
  • Jeremy, I’m confused about a number of design issues. Is it possible you reversed the labeling of your two masters in the images above?
  • jeremy tribbyjeremy tribby Posts: 155
    edited September 2021
    hah - nope! very curious where you see issues vs. where/if I might defend the design if you'd care to share your thoughts :)

    two contextual caveats first:

    - first caveat: proportionally, those images are not scaled to each other, just quick screen-shots from the editor with differing amounts of whitespace around them. for example, the x-height of the 10pt is quite a bit higher than the 72pt even though it looks lower in those shots. it's heavier, too, though the vertical contrast is higher. because of the scaling even the spacing looks tighter. so here's a better image for you!

    - second caveat: the 10pt (possibly 8pt, have mostly been proofing it at that size) master is very loosely based on one of the more messed-up (in my opinion, anyway) grots I found at the letterform archive.  so I may not see some of the issues as issues per se. the relationship is possibly more apparent at the black weight.

    more generally, the project was inspired by a book called "berliner gedichte" (1931) in which, somewhat daringly, akzidenz-grotesk semi-bold is set at a text size throughout 100 or so pages. so my smaller optical size has this kind of, "what if this were a bit wider, more loosely spaced, higher in contrast" etc idea running throughout, but more related to royal grotesk than something more american-gothic like, say, balto. of course, those thoughts are independent of the letters themselves, which may be where you take issue :)

    for fun, here's a photo of the questionable old grot from which I took some inspiration; I wish I'd scanned the whole page back when things were open! berthold ca. early 1900s if I recall (though unaware of the date of the design itself)

  • I think it would be more correct if you measure the manat symbol between the heights x-height and small caps.

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