Rules while designing Italics

Are there any rules while adding italics to my typeface apart from 11.31 angle rule?

Comments

  • @John Hudson Best answer ever.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,396
    edited January 18

    In recent work, I discovered that the italic angle of the lower case of my Scotch Modern (a facsimile revival of a mid-19th century design) was the same as the angle of the right-leaning diagonals of the roman, 20°.
    I've wondered whether the "overleaning" of diagonal letters I see in old fonts like Caslon's italics was motivated to avoid such coincidence with the verticals of the roman. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    I've wondered whether the "overleaning" of diagonal letters I see in old fonts like Caslon's italics was motivated to avoid such coincidence with the verticals of the roman. 

    If you’re referring to capital A, V and W, I’d say that aligning their thick strokes with those of H etc. is more for consistency in all-cap settings. If those letters are just slanted by the same amount as other capitals, they look “neither one thing nor the other,” i.e. a bit random, in all cap settings; we are used to that, but perhaps they thought it looked messy, in Caslon’s day.

    And speaking of Caslon, his famous specimens show A B C D etc., which look very nice with the thick stroke of A aligned with that of B.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,940
    If you’re referring to capital A, V and W, I’d say that aligning their thick strokes with those of H etc. is more for consistency in all-cap settings. If those letters are just slanted by the same amount as other capitals, they look “neither one thing nor the other,” i.e. a bit random, in all cap settings
    But the oversloped letters produce big whitespace gaps in all-caps settings. I think they’re better suited to standard mixed-case use at the beginning of words, and would even consider replacing them with variant forms in all-caps to preserve balanced spacing.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    But the oversloped letters produce big whitespace gaps in all-caps settings. I think they’re better suited to standard mixed-case use at the beginning of words

    That creates horrrendous gaps, for V and W, when followed by x-height vowels.

    In all-cap settings, there is always the option to letter space and adjust spacing balance accordingly.

    But yes, over-sloped A italic at the start of a word is very attractive.
  • If you’re referring to capital A, V and W, I’d say that aligning their thick strokes with those of H etc. is more for consistency in all-cap settings. If those letters are just slanted by the same amount as other capitals, they look “neither one thing nor the other,” i.e. a bit random, in all cap settings
    But the oversloped letters produce big whitespace gaps in all-caps settings. I think they’re better suited to standard mixed-case use at the beginning of words, and would even consider replacing them with variant forms in all-caps to preserve balanced spacing.
    Never heard of 'oversloped letters' before. I always used 'overhanging'. Thanks.

    Is the use of 'overhang' maybe incorrect? (sorry, for getting a bit off topic here)
  • Short answer: No.
    Look at the function of Italics (and Bold, and other family variants) in deciding what kind of role Italic plays. Sometimes the Italic style is the only way that emphasis is likely to be made or visible to the user (reader) of a text. Also investigate (by looking) just what emphasis, difference or changed state does the Italic (or bold or…) actually convey? Many sloped uprights with mild slope and little visual adjustment, and no structural adjustments, are not visible as variants when printed or displayed at small sizes. So if you are providing a family variant, it should at the very least LOOK DIFFERENT from the upright/roman/base style. What will achieve this?
  • Thank you @Thomas Phinney and @Carl Crossgrove. Very interesting.
  • In recent work, I discovered that the italic angle of the lower case of my Scotch Modern (a facsimile revival of a mid-19th century design) was the same as the angle of the right-leaning diagonals of the roman, 20°.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the designer of the typeface had that in mind, so that mixed roman and italic settings exhibited a consequent harmony—or “just because”!
    I always try to do this kind of things. :-)
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