Elemaints - A Serif Family with Optical Sizes

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  • Florian PircherFlorian Pircher Posts: 19
    edited December 2020
    Minion Math does something interesting in this case: the Latin /v and /w get substituted by rounded versions while the Greek /nu is kept pointy. That gives the reader a chance to distinguish /v and /nu. See the presentation at 19:19:



    Your design, while it uses different paths for the two letters, is still too similar to be useful in formulas where both symbols appear. Maybe exaggerating the change you just made would suffice?

    Or maybe, authors just should not use /v and /nu in the same formula, similarly to how /upsilon and /omicron are rarely used in mathematics.
  • edited December 2020
    Minion Math does something interesting in this case: the Latin /v and /w get substituted by rounded versions while the Greek /nu is kept pointy. That gives the reader a chance to distinguish /v and /nu. See the presentation at 19:19:



    Your design, while it uses different paths for the two letters, is still too similar to be useful in formulas where both symbols appear. Maybe exaggerating the change you just made would suffice?

    Or maybe, authors just should not use /v and /nu in the same formula, similarly to how /upsilon and /omicron are rarely used in mathematics.
    Indeed, and you will find this done for other fonts as well, for math (e.g., STIX). For text, meanwhile, there is no need to distinguish v and ν that much, because I'll be able to tell a running Greek passage from a Latin-alphabet one. I personally have no problem with the rounded v and w for math.

    I'll also note that TeX, if memory serves, does not have a separate omicron for the math font. Lower-case upsilon is there, though, if I recall…
  • Linus RomerLinus Romer Posts: 122
    edited December 2020
    I am already aware of the practice of rounded math italic /v for maths (e.g. Barbara Beeton confirms this practice in this stackexchange thread) and personally I do not like this convention too much. But the comment of @Florian Pircher probably points in the right direction. I should really consider a rounded math italic /v (and /w as well) and still use the pointy /v for text...
    By the way: STIX2 has two variants vor math italic /v,/w and even /u (probably to distinguish from /upsilon). But I design Elemaints mainly for LaTeX, so I will choose only one version per math italic glyph.

    @Daniel Benjamin Miller Yes, you are right about standard TeX not having a separate omicron. The OML-encoding does not include it whereas it includes almost every other lowercase Greek glyph.

    Anyway, I want to keep the new /nu (please excuse this bad phonetic joke) for text. In the following you will see the combination "/nu /v" for different faces.

  • The text /nu looks good to me. As @Daniel Benjamin Miller pointed out: “there is no need to distinguish v and ν that much”. For mathematical typesetting you could also consider using vertical stress for /nu to further differentiate it from /v. Minion 3 conveniently offers both forms of stress, which makes for an easy comparison (Latin-style stress on top, vertical stress on bottom):


  • @Florian Pircher Interesting idea but I doubt whether this makes /nu and /v easier distinguishable. For now I have concentrated on your first suggestion because there seem to be many people that expect to have rounded math italic /v and /w. The following picture shows /v, /w, /v.var and /w.var:
  • Linus RomerLinus Romer Posts: 122
    What I have done since the last post:

    1. I have written a patch for fontforge that approximates merged paths better. FontForge has merged my pull request.

    Before (left) and after (right):


    2. The patch helped me to improve the Italic Caption face. I have completed the Greek glyphs (without spacing/kerning optimization):

    3. I am planning to add Cyrillic to all faces. The sketches for the Caption face are still quite rough. I have used "modern" straight/triangular shapes:

  • Wow, nice bit of coding! :grimace:
    Greek looks good to me, apart from the missing kerning (/eta/mu/ will need some positive kerning). Perhaps /varrho/ could be more slanted? It currently looks rather upright. I'm also wondering whether the «foot» of /sigmafinal/ isn't a bit too steep (or low?); it might benefit from a bit more «sitting» on the baseline, if that makes sense. The /zeta/ seems to work fine though.
    I suspect the Cyrillic will need a bit more work (note that I'm neither a native reader of Greek or Cyrillic, though!).
    • /De-cy/ will need some wider shoulders around the triangle. I know it makes kerning a headache, but it is what it is.
    • Cyrillic descenders are letter parts, not serifs. Yours should probably be larger, and I suspect they would look better angling inward than outward.
    • The triple letters (/Zhe-cy/, /Sha-cy/, /Shcha-cy/) strike me as too narrow. 
    • The top of the bowl of /Be-cy/ and related letters looks a bit sloping to me; I suspect it would profit from some bulge (rising slope where it leaves the stem).
    • The /Ia-cy/ looks crowded and is probably too narrow.
    • The breve in /Iishort-cy/ feels small and floats significantly higher than the dieresis in /Io-cy/. (Possibly the former should be wider and the latter higher?)
    • The stem of /Ef-cy/ should overshoot a bit, and looks small. 
    • As for /Dje-cy/, check out this link.
    Cheers!
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,100
    Is /zeta a little too light above the baseline?
  • Linus RomerLinus Romer Posts: 122
    @Christian Thalmann & @Craig Eliason Thank you very much for your helpful hints!
    I have made the thigh of /zeta above the baseline thicker. The /varrho should now look more slanted (mainly achieved my adjusting the descending tail). I have changed the descender of /sigmafinal and I think it looks better but I still fear I might not have understood the hint of Christian completely...

    /De-cy has now more prominent shoulders and the descenders are darker and leaning inside:

    The triple letters /Zhe-cy, /Sha-cy, /Shcha-cy are now a bit wider:

    I have bulged /Be-cy and related letters. At first glance the bulge might seem to be too strong but for small sizes (as captions are) it seems appropriate to me:


    Regarding the /Ia-cy I restarted by extending the bowl instead of shrinking the leg and I think it looks less crowded (and surely is wider):


    The accents were wrong due to old scripts that did not include cyrillic. Here is what it should look like:

    The overshoot of /Ef-cy is now implemented. (Unfortunately, my main Cyrillic reference typeface PT Serif does not overshoot the /Ef-cy.)


    New /Dje-cy and /Tshe-cy:

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