Will this work for Cyrillic?

2»

Comments

  • …  a disagreement needs arguments and you don’t give any.
    What about your arguments?
    You state that Times (as an example) has too many serifs and balls, and too much contrast. These features are characteristics which contribute essentially to the style and function – you name it – of that typeface.
    Now please, turn to convince us that these aspects are superfluous, that they can be put away for the benefit of that typeface. Let us know your reasoning or demonstrate that such reductions lead to an improvement.

    > Many bits of Times (…) are superfluous. […] But you can’t simply take some of them out …
    – Could it be possible that you contradict yourself?


  • Tangential question, but I wonder about it every time Cyrillic comes up -- does anyone know if there are plans for an English translation of "Book of Letters"?  
    @jeremy tribby I've bought it without understanding a word and find it was still worth it. It's over 500 pages packed full of visual examples, going through each letter of the alphabet by typeface examples of different styles, ephemera old and new, and has illustrations where you can just see what the author is pointing out. Don't laugh now, but I've even used my mobile's google translator from camera image to live translate. The translating algorithm has absolutely no swagger for typographic terms, but surprisingly often you can deduct the meaning of small paragraphs or captions. Not understanding the bulk of the text though is a pity, but also a reason to learn russian. Besides, you are more immersed in the script that way, lol :)
  • oh, don't get me wrong, I agree the russian book is worth every penny and I have a copy of the third edition -- it's been indispensable while learning cyrillic. but eventually one wonders what all those words mean!

    that's really a great way to use google translate I hadn't considered, I didn't even know it worked with images. I'll give it a try, thanks @Johannes Neumeier!
  • To say a typeface with a lot of parts means those parts are superfluous is like saying only minimalist fixie bikes are ideal—bikes with shifters, 2 brakes, lights, fenders and reflectors are worse because they have too many parts. The fixie might look clever but the other bike is a more comfortable ride.
    I agree and disagree with you at the same time - for different reasons - but TypeDrawers doesn’t like both, so I chose to disagree, even though I agree with you as well.
  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 45
    edited January 2018
    I am native "Cyrillic guy" from Serbia :) I've gone through the thread quickly, and will hopefully read carefully and make some points soon, but before it would be helpful to see basic Latin set first, to know what is your general type design intention and what decisions are in "Cyrillic area".

    BTW, I am glad to see you are adding Cyrillic to your font! Secondly, you did a great job considering you don't use Cyrillic (I would say you have pretty solid result so far, which could be improved now and there). Cheers!

    P.S. Also think it's a good idea you picked monoline concept for your first font. I also did that designing my "Prota Standard". It's hard to manage and learn all type design aspects at once, and monoline will save you from thin/thick questions for now.
  • Ebern KlauseEbern Klause Posts: 46
    edited January 2018
    Hi @Igor Petrovic

    I probably should have given the latin set as well to begin with. Never too late :-)


  • Could we see some intermixed Cyrillic/Latin text?
  • Sure, here it is, including Greek.

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,621
    edited January 2018
    The Cyrillic looks smaller and slightly denser –hence darker– than the Latin. Making it taller (and possibly [relatively] wider) should correct that.

    I would also raise the ascenders of the Latin.
  • The Cyrillic looks smaller and slightly denser –hence darker– than the Latin. Making it taller (and possibly [relatively] wider) should correct that.
    I see what you mean. Is the Cyrillic x-height usually higher than the Latin x-height? And how do two x-heights go with hinting?
  • Igor PetrovicIgor Petrovic Posts: 45
    edited January 2018
    I agree that Cyrillic part looks a bit darker/denser. I really don't know what would be a right solution for that. Cyrillic script is naturally different than Latin (native Cyrillic users usually define it as "warmer"), so it may be that rising x-height would help to some extent but wouldn't solve the problem entirely. One more thing to consider here is that the part of Cyrillic set is exactly the same as Latin (both in uppercase and lowercase), so editing x-height/width could result having i.e Cyrillic O and Latin O different in consequence. Good news is that you will rarely see Latin and Cyrillic mixed, so color difference wouldn't be so obvious in real life.

    The general point which might be helpful is that nowadays Cyrillic is highly modernized version of Old Slavic Church script. The idea was to make Cyrillic as much orthographically and stylistically close to Latin. In my opinion it is still too different, so my personal taste would be not to make it more different than absolutely necessary.

    As already mentioned here, you made some letters (К, Ж, З, к, ж, з) too top-heavy which questions one of the basic typography principles – stability. While I vote that everything is allowed - even turning all rules upside down - I am not sure how much there is a point to make different stability in Cyrillic and Latin subsets. So top heavy everywhere or nowhere.

    Same goes for (Щ, Ц, Ш, щ, ц, ш) curved left stem. It's too strong stylistic element not to be consistent through the all typeface (i.e left stem of M could me also curved, Џ for certain etc.). So everywhere or nowhere (considering Latin set, probably nowhere).

    Branch of Ч/ч goes too deep leaving too little space below it. I would rise it a bit.

    Д is actually related to Л. It looks a bit odd to have them structurally different. I advice to have right stem of Д vertical, or left and right side symmetrical at least (left side doesn't have to be curved if they are symmetrical).

    Upper part of З/з is too big (earlier mentioned stability). If bowls of B are properly balanced, than З should follow.

    П/п looks a bit narrow (narrower than Л i.e.), check again the width of П, Н, Д, Л, М, Џ, Ц, Ш, И (and their lowercase) next to each other, and related to H as a reference.

    Vertical line of Ф looks too thin maybe (in lowercase it's ok). If color is a problem better option is to make O part wider. In lowercase I would make ascending and descending part more even, probably the same.

    "Door handle" on Ц/ц and related glyphs looks to informal to me. I would expect classic angled design in such typeface with all other corners sharp.

    Not sure about "I" part of Ы. You could check, but having horizontals on "I" part looks a bit odd to me (maybe I am wrong though)

    Uppercase Ћ and Ђ horizontal should be moved more to the right (should be similar feeling like horizontal on t and f)

    Lowercase њ has disconnected midline. Although I saw it somewhere, not sure it's a good idea. Making bowl smaller (shorter and narrower) would be better. љ and њ doesn't have to have the same bowl (not too different though).

    J should look exactly the same as in Latin.

    A note about uppercase Ђ – the shape you used is generally fine and it is used widely. Although I would suggest other variant with descending part, like here:

    http://www.archives.org.rs/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/13.Milovan-Glisic-korica-450x584.jpg

    It looks more different than Б, have enough space to make loop, and could look basically the same as Ћ in the upper part. 

    At the end, here I marked with red all the characters I am not sure are actually used in real life. It could be very easily that I am wrong, so would be glad if somebody could correct me.

    P.S. Please take all of this just as a second opinion, not hard rule :)

    Cheers!


  • Just checked, some of these I marked with red are from Kazakh alphabet. However, they plan to fully convert to Latin usage till 2025 :)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 595
    edited January 2018
    (oops, duplicate post)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 595
    edited January 2018
    3. But you can’t simply take some of them out…
    Why not? If they are superfluous?
    Here's a point that can be answered.

    It's not like a typeface is a collection of independent attributes, any one of which can be removed like a pair of socks from a drawer.

    Or maybe the definition of "superfluous" needs to be examined more closely.

    If a sans-serif typeface like Univers can work successfully for text, then serifs are not absolutely needed for a text typeface - and neither is stroke contrast.

    But Times Roman is a typeface which was designed as a whole. One couldn't just take Times Roman and remove the serifs, but change nothing else, and expect the result to be attractive in appearance, readable, or legible.

    Univers still has a lot of structure and detail. It differs a lot from Futura, for example, which is a geometrical sans-serif. So in that sense, it isn't "minimalist", yet it does not have certain things that Times Roman has.

    So maybe one could say that serifs and stroke contrast... are superfluous for a readable body text typeface, but not superfluous for the specific typeface that is Times Roman, as one way to make the distinction.

    You can't simply take these things out, but you can leave them out in a new design based on doing without them.

    TNR (or other typical text faces) are systems of parts designed to work together.

    To say a typeface with a lot of parts means those parts are superfluous is like saying only minimalist fixie bikes are ideal—bikes with shifters, 2 brakes, lights, fenders and reflectors are worse because they have too many parts. The fixie might look clever but the other bike is a more comfortable ride.

    It's interesting that I started with the same premise as you did, but came to what appears to be the opposite conclusion.

    But just because I think Univers is workable as a text typeface does not mean that I prefer it to Times Roman, so I don't disagree with your conclusion. Here, there is a different issue; the difference between "not absolutely needed" and "not beneficial".
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,621
    edited January 2018
    Ebern Klause said:
    Is the Cyrillic x-height usually higher than the Latin x-height?
    I don't know about usually, and there are certainly people who believe the heights should be made to match. But to me that comes from an urge to line things up, which can have a place in a display face, but often undermines what a text face needs to do.
    Igor Petrovic said:
    part of Cyrillic set is exactly the same as Latin
    I happen to be firmly against that.
    Cyrillic is too close to Latin (not least thanks to Peter the Great's cultural inferiority complex) and needs help pulling away.
    some of these I marked with red are from Kazakh alphabet. However, they plan to fully convert to Latin usage till 2025 :)
    Hopefully they'll come to their senses sooner rather than later.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 904
    Just checked, some of these I marked with red are from Kazakh alphabet.
    But among those, only Ұұ is exclusive the Kazakh language. Most will be found in other non-Slavic Cyrillic languages as well, such as Bashkir, Tatar, Tajiki. See also, this thread on the topic of Cyrillic character sets.
  • Cyrillic is too close to Latin (not least thanks to Peter the Great's cultural inferiority complex) and needs help pulling away.
    What kind of help?

    It is difficult for me to imagine any kind of possible world where the speakers of Russian (or Bulgarian or Serbian) would prefer, as more authentically Cyrillic, the style of characters used for Old Slavonic texts to what they are using at present.

    That is still a style of printing, and typefaces in that style might well be used for historic effect, the way blackletter is used occasionally in English.

    I think that what you're looking for, though, is not to impoverish Cyrillic typographically, but simply to use that style of printing as a starting point from which Cyrillic alphabet users would develop a wide range of typefaces rivalling those of Latin.

    But how would that situation be different from the present one?

    Not that I expect you to provide a specific answer without a crystal ball, of course. Instead, the point I'm trying to make with that rhetorical question is this:

    Look at the Old Slavonic script.

    It is like a different typeface - but the basic letterforms in it for the letters which it shares with modern Russian are still the same basic letterforms. They don't differ from those of the Latin alphabet to the extent that those of Armenian do.

    So while one could say that the letterforms of Armenian imply, across a wide range of typeface styles, that a lower x-height, rather than that used for the Latin alphabet is more appropriate... Cyrillic doesn't really have that.

    I suppose one could make a Cyrillic typeface that matches its x-height to Latin small capitals instead of Latin lower-case. This has been avoided as functionally misleading, but a case could be made that it is aesthetically superior.

    In other words, you're quite right that if pulling away is desirable, then indeed it "needs help pulling away", but since it's unlikely that all of a sudden the Russia of our Earth will be switched with the Russia of an alternate Earth where dinosaurs roam or some such thing due to a science-fiction cosmic cloud, so that both the Russians and the rest of us now share our worlds with dinosaurs instead of with each other, where they would receive such help would presumably from an extremely nationalist and xenophobic government, which, particularly given their possession of nuclear weapons, would be a very distressing development in areas far more important than the typographical and cultural.

    Creative type designers in Russia certainly can, and should, search for culturally authentic Russian typefaces from the historical roots of Cyrillic. Perhaps they will come up with some typefaces that will have popular appeal in Russia and yet which won't be as well suited to the Latin alphabet, leading to a gradual divergence. But because the scripts themselves are so similar, I am not optimistic.
  • Wow @Igor Petrovic, thanks for your elaborate answer. I will study that for a while :-)

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,621
    edited January 2018
    @John Savard Old Slavonic, Old Shmlavonic. My stance is actually exactly about looking forward, without using history as a crutch. It's also not really about nationalism, but promoting diversity. This requires a deliberate contrasting with a dominant and still-ascendant culture. And type designers are the front line. Here's the sort of thing I'd like us to consider:

    Armenian doesn't prefer a smaller "x-height" only because of precedent, but mostly because of how it uses the vertical space in terms of readability. Cyrillic prefers a larger "x-height" for the same reason. And that makes it functionally superior, not merely æsthetically.

  • Armenian doesn't prefer a smaller "x-height" only because of precedent, but mostly because of how it uses the vertical space in terms of readability.
    Yes. This is something I agree with, and acknowledge as fact. As I said, the letterforms themselves favor the smaller x-height.
Sign In or Register to comment.