Uppercase and Lowercase style differences – other examples?

Hi All, I've been working on a typeface, on and off, for an inordinate amount of time.
I think I've finally cracked the overall pattern and it's exceptions in the design to get it working the way I want. 
The lowercase is soft and rounded but, for my own personal taste, I wanted the caps to conform to a more rigid, straight structure. 

The two cases work well together, but it's got me thinking about precedent. Can any one think of other well-known typefaces that have such differences before upper and lowercase?


  • Hi Jamie,
    I understand your work is far from finished. I personnaly find that the uppercase and lowercase letters work well together, with the notable exception of the /N/ and /n/. But, of course, we should have an idea of the whole alphabet.
    Looking at your example, I don't see clearly the "more rigid, straight structure".
  • Thanks @Yves Michel I think when I say, "more rigid, straight structure", I don't want the caps to be overly round or soft looking, and I certainly don't want the to stray into Disney Aladdin territory. 
    I think it's that I want them to form a sharper, more formal counterpart to the lowercase, and really define the baseline and capheight.  

    I'm sure there must be other fonts that have this distinction I just can't recall 

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,398
    I think I'd argue that in nearly every Latin typeface, the "caps conform to a more rigid, straight structure"! 
  • Thanks @Craig Eliason, yeah, OK, agreed :)
    But can you think it any that show a variation in style. I have a vague recollection that there are historical types where this has been more the norm. 

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,398
    In the days when italics were new, sloped lowercase letters were often paired with roman caps—in Aldus Manutius's books for example.
    Delphin jumps to my mind as a modern design that adopts that pairing.
  • Ah, I see it. Good example. Thank you.
  • This is all good, Jamie! Yes, the caps are slightly less curvy than the lowercase, but it is all very subtle and works fabulously. It does not at all feel like these are from two different typefaces.
  • @Thomas Phinney Thank you, that's great to hear.
  • Rudolf Koch designed a few typefaces with mixed uppercase and lowercase styles. Wallau and Jessen-Schrift are reasonably successful in showing that uppercase/lowercase don't need to have much in common (at least in a display face) other than compatible proportions and the appearance of being drawn by the same tool. Kabel Swash Caps (aka Geschriebene Initialen Zur Grotesk) is another similar experiment that wasn't quite as successful, but still an interesting idea of adding swash caps to a geometric sans.
  • Hey @Justin Penner that's great info. Thank you. I'll look them all up. It'll help me navigate the boundaries of convention.
  • FontsInUse has lots of links to specimens, although most of them are at IADDB which seems to be down for maintenance today.
  • FontsInUse has lots of links to specimens, although most of them are at IADDB which seems to be down for maintenance today.
    The downness of IADDB makes me feel down. It has not been running as it had been for what feels like years. At least for me. But, since you mentioned two of Rudolf Koch’s typefaces, there is a good alternative available for digital images: the Klingspor Type Archive. Here are the digitized items from the museum’s Wallau cassette.
  • Sorry for the off-topic comment, but since it was brought up here: IADDB is up and running again. However, the site was completely restructured. Sadly it’s not as easy to navigate as before. Also, all URLs have changed. :(
    Over the years, we (Fonts In Use) had added hundreds of links to specimens, typeface ads etc. using the old URLs – which now no longer work. The bad news is that we currently don’t have the resources to fix them all (but the plan is to do so eventually). 
    The good news is that you can find the new URL when you have the old one. 
    For example, here’s the previous URL of a page in the January 1932 issue of Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik that shows an ad for Wallau:
    Take the string after “issue/”, replace “page/” with “p”, replace slashes with underscores, drop “edition/null/” if present: 
    Now navigate to the homepage and search for that string. The first result should give you the desired page.
    I’m not saying that’s convenient, but at least it’s a workaround.
  • That's great information. Thanks @Nick Shinn
    Thanks @Dan Reynolds, that's quite the website over at Klingspor.
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