Majuscule Psi in both Greek and historical Cyrillic

Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 633
edited March 2018 in Technique and Theory
I am uncertain about the left arm of the Greek capital letter Psi. Should both arms be symmetrical or not? Checked variants in established fonts, left arm varies. Still uncertain.

Is there, or is there not a difference between the letterform of Psi, psi in Greek, and the historical one in Cyrllic? (me and my colegue are retrofitting historical fonts into a modern sans serif. That's how we decided it)

Greek - 03A8, 03C8
h. Cyrillic - uni0470, uni0471


  • Should both arms be symmetrical or not?
    in principle: yes. individually: not neccessarily.
    Counts for both Greek and Cyrillic.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,126
    Whether the arms of the Psi are symmetrical is a stylistic question, and is related to stroke modulation patterns. In Romantic (Didone) style types, the tendency is for the right arm to be a hairlines terminated by a ball or lacrymal terminal, while in Renaissance (Garalde) types the arms are more likely to be symmetrical. Of course, within these categories exceptions may be found.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,126
    I went with the asymmetrical approach based on the Romantic stroke modulation in my Brill types.

    But not all Romantic models follow this pattern. Bodoni favoured symmetrical Psi, although his Greeks are frankly pretty awful. The Didot Greeks are much better and certainly more influential.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,126
    With regard to the relationship between the Greek and Cyrillic Psi, if you go far enough back in time you'll find Byzantine Greek and early Cyrillic manuscripts in which they are indistinguishable (indeed, I've seen Cyrillic manuscripts that I think most people would assume to be Greek if they didn't know the language). But historically the scripts diverged, so the traditions present opportunities both to harmonise the forms and to differ them. In the Brill types, I opted to make them different, and to reference the Cyrillic forms with straighter arms and a flat connection at the base of the arms.
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