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Is using diacritics as a design choice in bad taste?

Hello,

I am using diacritics (in this case the umlaut) when they (A) aren't supposed to be there, and (B) are only there because it looks better. Is this good or tacky? It is for a personal project, so nothing commercial, and no one who really cares is going to see it, but for future reference is that "tacky" or is it fine.

—An English Speaker

(I know this isn't directly type related, but I figured you would know)

Comments

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    I'm not even clear that I understand the question.

    Are you talking about examples like Spin̈al Tap (which, btw, is actually used as a diacritic in Jacaltec)? The only sensible interpretation of your question that I can come up with is that you're asking whether it's legitimate to design the base characters to match the diacritics rather than vice versa. While I suppose that's always possible it seems like you're putting the cart before the horse.
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    I am not sure there is a general rule, but I have thoughts.

    It can be deliberately comedic (e.g. Spinal Tap band name and movie title, with the dieresis on the n). That can work for me. But otherwise, I usually find it tacky. Häagen-Dazs especially irritates me with their made-up supposedly–faux-Danish brand-name.
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    I'm not even clear that I understand the question
    I apologize for not clarifying, but I mean in a non-type design, such as a logo or magazine spread. I should have clarified
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    Are you talking about the metal umlaut?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_umlaut
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    Are you talking about the metal umlaut?
    Yes, but not in a band name, just a normal design.

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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 252
    edited October 2023
    Tackiness is in the eye of the beholder and generally requires overexposure, such as mass-produced tschotschkes and jokes printed on bumper stickers. I’ve heard of Europeans being amused and perplexed by faux umlauts, but never offended, though I understand younger folks are getting innovative about what offends them. For example, a friend about my age has a daughter in middle school who has gotten interested in witchcraft and has decided that Halloween cartoon witches with long noses and green skin offend her. The mother finds this reaction adorable.
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    Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,151
    Although this is English-only, bear in mind that the dieresis (the correct Unicode term for this diacritic) does occur in English, especially in names such as Zoë and Brontë, so some English readers may interpret it phonetically, and not just as a visual affectation.
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    My brain tries to read these bogus diacritics as having real meaning. I want to pronounce “Häagen” as HAY-əh-gən instead of HAH-gən.
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    Yes, it's in bad taste in 2023. It's a typographic expression of the exoticist branch of racism, which trivializes and demeans the culture it steals from. 
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    Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,151
    edited October 2023
    Now that you mention it Dave, depending on the style of type, it may be best to leave the “metal umlaut” decision to typographers, and not put it in fonts, given that white supremacy is something of a wedge issue in heavy metal music.
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    edited October 2023
    Some old dictionaries or other works use respelling for phonetic reading, one method adds diacritic to English letters without replacing, adding or removing letters too much: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pronunciation_respelling_for_English#Pronunciation_without_respelling

    /This would bē ăn ĕxa′mplĕ/

    You may have seen it used in the styled title of TV-show Blackish and its spin-offs, but without diacritics.

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    Yes, it's in bad taste in 2023. It's a typographic expression of the exoticist branch of racism, which trivializes and demeans the culture it steals from. 
    For example, I am mostly getting my inspiration from The Land, which is a marketing campaign done by a German state. They use the umlaut (I think I got that right) and bright yellow as "trademarks" (not officially). I tried to make something similar and use a diaresis on an "a" where it isn't needed in order to maintain the connection between the two. If I were to use the same motif in an actual logo or design, do you think that would be racist?
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    For the same reason it's not racist for a black person to use the n word, but it is if I as a white person use it, if German people use the German diacritics decoratively, it's different than if I as an English person does it. 
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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 252
    edited October 2023
    The diaresis also occurs in English, famously in its last remaining holdout The New Yorker, e.g. coöperate, reëlect. Therefore heavy metal bands are all not-so-secretly subscribers to Thë Nëw Yörkër. q.e.d.
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    Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,151
    edited October 2023
    I love that we are so nerdy, agonizing over the political correctness of two small dots.
    Cold comfort as the world burns. 

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    Kounter kvestion, hau du uu feal aboud tis, täcki or ohkay?
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    John ButlerJohn Butler Posts: 252
    edited October 2023
    I sink zis is perfectly OK.

    The Latin alphabet was used for the Latin language. Later different monks shoehorned it into different languages mapping the same letters to different sounds, and these discrepancies would evolve into humor as more people became more cosmopolitan. I happen to love hearing foreigners make fun of American accents.
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    Häagen-Dazs especially irritates me with their made-up supposedly–faux-Danish brand-name.
    FYI their original store is still in business on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Montague Street where there once was Capulet's bar, but no more.

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    Are you talking about the metal umlaut?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_umlaut
    Ha (aka röck döts)
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