Small Capitals

I have recently finished working on Smaller Capitals and would like to know if anything in the typeface is out of place. 




Comments

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,939
    These are very small for smallcaps (closer to what Emigra call ‘petit caps’). Conventionally, smallcaps are a bit taller than the lowercase x-height.

    [It looks like you have some overlapping path direction issues that are causing knockouts in some letters: e G Q R and corresponding smallcaps.]
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 248
    edited February 2023
    What John said. And also: the small cap Z is too dark in all weights. Lowercase a is too wide and its top bowl is too light. S curves needs work.

    My approach is to have small caps more-than-a-bit taller than x-height and petite caps matching the x-height. (Actually, petite caps are still rare.)


  • What John said. And also: the small cap Z is too dark in all weights. Lowercase a is too wide and its top bowl is too light. S curves needs work.

    My approach is to have small caps more-than-a-bit taller than x-height and petite caps matching the x-height. (Actually, petite caps are still rare.)


    How to implement Petite Caps option in Fontlab, and if so how is it accessed in Adobe apps like Indesign?
  • The code is just 'pcap' instead of 'smcp' and the glyphs can have a 'pcap' extension (e.g. "A.pcap")
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,127
    edited February 2023
    A small-to-petite cap axis in a variable font would be a useful idea.

    Sometimes, typographers need small caps for a mixed-case setting (U&lc), sometimes for all-small-caps, sometimes for caps-with-small-caps, and sometimes for display work in which one line of text is capitals, and the next small capitals. One size does not fit all.

    Such an axis is inherently different from one of “grade” or “optical size” applied to full capitals. 

    As far as I know, it would be supported in Adobe Illustrator.
  • Is petite caps weight more in line with lower case or in between Capitals and Lowercase like Small Caps. In other words should I keep the weight the same for both?

  • IMO: You should make the petite cap weight ~ the same as lowercase, if the height is the same.
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 248
    edited February 2023
    Petite capitals also have a 'secret' advantage for comprehensive fonts: several phonetic characters are uppercase letters with lowercase height. So, when you add petite caps, you also have about thirty phonetic characters available.

    Thomas Phinney
    The code is just 'pcap' instead of 'smcp' and the glyphs can have a 'pcap' extension (e.g. "A.pcap")
    Is this supported by application nowadays? I use a stylistic set to control petite caps because I found no app supporting pcap feature. But I checked this a time ago, hope to be wrong.
  • You may well be right. I would argue that is a reason to use a stylistic set in addition to the petite caps feature, but not instead of
  • For what it’s worth, CSS supports both
    font-variant-caps: small-caps;
    and petite caps
    font-variant-caps: petite-caps;
  • I use a stylistic set to control petite caps because I found no app supporting pcap feature.
    The Affinity apps and Mac apps using the system font picker (like Pages) do.
  • The code is just 'pcap' instead of 'smcp' and the glyphs can have a 'pcap' extension (e.g. "A.pcap")
    Im currently in fontlab and made .pcap glyphs, I am currently in Features panel and there is no option of .pcap to choose from when i press the plus icon. Do i have to add it other way?

  • Just choose “Empty Feature (xxxx)" and then change the name in the sidebar to 'pcap'; FontLab will fill in the code appropriately.

    FontLab knows about pcap (and even displays the full “petite caps” name in the code comments), but leaves out some less common features such as this one from the menu options… it is a pretty long menu already.
  • Just choose “Empty Feature (xxxx)" and then change the name in the sidebar to 'pcap'; FontLab will fill in the code appropriately.

    FontLab knows about pcap (and even displays the full “petite caps” name in the code comments), but leaves out some less common features such as this one from the menu options… it is a pretty long menu already.



    I added the petite Caps feature and taller than x height Smallcaps. Im still not sure about the Smallcaps and petite Caps Z Glyhs if they are still too heavy. I have made the middle stem thinner. 
  • Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the small caps and the petite caps are a bit too wide.

    The S is a bit ungainly, near the terminals. The stroke is thinning weirdly and the terminal cut is at a weird angle that emphasizes that. The lowercase is better than the cap, and the small cap and petite cap are the worst in this regard. I would maybe take the lowercase S as a starting model for how to rework the others. The C has a bit of the same problem as well. Top of the G too.

  • Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the small caps and the petite caps are a bit too wide.

    The S is a bit ungainly, near the terminals. The stroke is thinning weirdly and the terminal cut is at a weird angle that emphasizes that. The lowercase is better than the cap, and the small cap and petite cap are the worst in this regard. I would maybe take the lowercase S as a starting model for how to rework the others. The C has a bit of the same problem as well. Top of the G too.

    Small Caps and Petite Caps have been made roughly 20% wider than Capitals if you scale them to Capital height. Is 20% too much in general?
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,939
    Small Caps and Petite Caps have been made roughly 20% wider than Capitals if you scale them to Capital height. Is 20% too much in general?
    You probably want to modulate the amount of width gain in smallcaps across the weight range. Your heaviest weight uppercase letters are already proportionally much squarer than the lighter weights, so the added width on the heaviest smallcaps appears too much.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,939
    edited February 2023
    I usually aim for my smallcap H to be roughly square. If it gets wider than it is tall, then the effect is of an expanded width typeface.

    Your too lightest weights look okay in terms of the proportions of the smallcaps, but after that they start to appear too wide.
  • I feel somewhat obligated to point out that a very, very small percentage of potential users will even know about, let alone use, petite caps. I don't bother adding them to my typefaces—smallcaps are enough of a pain as is.
    That said, drawing them all is a good (if tedious) practice exercise.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,127

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,939
    With regard to petite caps, it is worthwhile to consider the nature of the typefaces for which Zuzana Licko designed them, such as Mrs Eaves, which had a short x-height. The smallcap / petite cap distinction allowed for sets of caps that were between the x-height and cap height as well as those closer in size to the x-height.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,458
    Small Caps or also available for display use,
  • Here's one application for petite caps. Medieval scribes often used small caps as variants for lowercase letters, and when they did, these were sized to harmonize with the surrounding lowercase letters. Modern editions that include diplomatic transcriptions sometimes reproduce these, and petite caps are the best choice for this purpose. For example, here's a snippet of the Medieval Nordic Text Archive diplomatic edition of Völuspá (see the middle line—the font is Andron):
    This isn't a big enough application to justify *everyone* including petite caps, but they are useful for certain academically oriented fonts.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,939
    edited February 2023
    Note also that diplomatic transcription may use specialised characters for some elements, e.g. ꝺ instead of d,  ꝼ instead of f, ꝛ instead of r, and ſ instead of s. Likewise, ɴ (U+0274 LATIN LETTER SMALL CAPITAL N) might be used in this context instead of a petite caps styled n.

    l
    ꝺ neðan. Ar uar alꝺa þa
    alar u
    ɴir ioꝛð ꝼaɴz
    e
    ɴ graſ hvergi. Aꝺꝛ bvrſ

    Much depends on whether the diplomatic transcription is intended to share a common encoding with a standardised transcription according to modern orthography. Often, it does not.

    The more common localised forms of mediaeval Latin letters are encoded in Unicode, in part because of their persistence in Irish orthography alongside the modern forms. This is not true of all historical forms, of course, so sometimes fonts and transcription encoding conventions may use a mix of specialised characters and glyph styling, the latter accessed via Private Use Area encodings in some software.
  • One could also argue that Alutiiq orthography which uses the small capital R could use ʀ or even further argue that pre-1973 Greenlandic and pre-1980 Labrador Inuttitut orthographies could use ᴋ (as is sometimes done instead of using letter kra ĸ), since those have the form of petite-caps.
  • Maybe it's just me, but I feel like the small caps and the petite caps are a bit too wide.

    The S is a bit ungainly, near the terminals. The stroke is thinning weirdly and the terminal cut is at a weird angle that emphasizes that. The lowercase is better than the cap, and the small cap and petite cap are the worst in this regard. I would maybe take the lowercase S as a starting model for how to rework the others. The C has a bit of the same problem as well. Top of the G too.




    I decided to remove Petite Caps and stick to Small Caps. I tried to fix S to be more in line with lowercase. C and G Terminals have been changed as well. Small Caps is less wide now as well. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,127
    edited February 2023

    Another use (sort of) for petite caps: They can help build a unicase feature, or for making wordmarks that have something of that quality. I made the small caps of the Display cut of Scotch Modern at petite size, for that purpose.
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