The Silcrow is currently my nemesis

Anyone got any advice or tips/tricks to drawing the silcrow? I know it's basically just 2 S, but I'm having trouble drawing something that looks right.
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  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 576
    No, but I just learned an interesting new word :smile:
  • I don't think I'd ever heard the term "silcrow"! It's cute, but since I see no point linking it to the pilcrow I recommend just using the conventional "section" instead.

    Here's my one bit of advice on the section sign, motivated by the desire to simplify it topologically: break it at the top or bottom of its middle section (preferably the top). Here is Patria's:

  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 591
    Find one that is drawn well and modify it to fit your design.
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 133
    Maybe show what you draw so people can see what the problem is?

    I usually get pretty good results by stacking two lowercase s’es, sometimes even with very minor adjustments.
  • Ben NoeBen Noe Posts: 9
    Here's what I'm working with… I'm not sure if I should align with the cap height at the top or the descender at the bottom, or how much I should alter the stroke weight. t's an all caps face, so I can't really stack two 's' or small cap 'S'
  • It's fine. Just darken it, and nudge the bottom to the right. BTW what's the bottom aligning to?

    You can also make an alt that lines up with the numerals/caps.
  • Ben NoeBen Noe Posts: 9
    The bottom isn't aligning to anything in particular. This is part of my confusion... Several typefaces (Caslon, Times New Roman, Albertus, for example) align the bottom of the section sign (silcrow if you want to be cute) to some mystery line midway between the baseline and descender. Sometimes this mystery line aligns with the vertical stroke on the $, sometimes not. Other typefaces (Baskerville, Romana, for example) align to the descender.
  • Sometimes you can't align something to anything. But if it's close to something (could even be the parentheses) then it's usually worth nudging it. Glyphs live together.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,208
    I usually align the height optically with the bottom of the tail of the Q (and the J if it is descending), which is usually a bit less deep than the lowercase descenders. And the section sign and paragraph sign should always be the same height, I think, since they may be used to reference e.g. §5¶9

    The last of these, Nyala, has especially deep J and Q—same depth as the lowercase descenders—, so I aligned the section and paragraph signs to the depth of the 3/4 height ranging numerals:

  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 133
    Ben Noe said:
    Here's what I'm working with… I'm not sure if I should align with the cap height at the top or the descender at the bottom, or how much I should alter the stroke weight. t's an all caps face, so I can't really stack two 's' or small cap 'S'
    In an all caps font, keep in mind that rare descending elements may be annoying because they limit the line spacing for no good reason. And tight line spacing is often preferable with display fonts (I assume this is not an all-caps text face :smiley: )

    It’s fine to give descending elements as an option, but I’m sure many users would appreciate having an option to keep everything within the same two guidelines.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,179
    Ben Noe said:
    Here's what I'm working with… I'm not sure if I should align with the cap height at the top or the descender at the bottom, or how much I should alter the stroke weight. t's an all caps face, so I can't really stack two 's' or small cap 'S'
    With such circular counters in your figures, you may want to experiment with adjusting your design so that the middle counter is rounder.
  • With such circular counters in your figures, you may want to experiment with adjusting your design so that the middle counter is rounder.
    Aside from Ben and Craig's good suggestions, I’d also consider making the Section glyph larger, and the Paragraph large as well, more or less like your /8, maybe? It would fit better in an all-caps typeface.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 860
    edited May 21
    In addition to the section and paragraph marks being used together, particularly in legal text, the six symbols *†‡‖§¶ are in some works used as the progression of symbols for marking footnotes (often to contrast with superscript numbers, also in use, but to mark references).
    It is possible that the proper basis for the section mark is a modified S, with the bottom part clearly larger than the top, with one turned upside-down below. Think of the digit 8, but enlarge it more vertically than horizontally.
    Of course, back in the era of hot and cold metal, these symbols were often considered sorts, and so they looked like this

    no matter what typeface was being used for text.

    I don't think I'd ever heard the term "silcrow"! It's cute, but since I see no point linking it to the pilcrow I recommend just using the conventional "section" instead.

    Although the paragraph and section marks are commonly used together these days, given that the section mark never had a history of being called selagreffe and sylcrafte, it is clear that "silcrow" is a mere neologism, constructed by analogy with pilcrow, and indeed it is to be deprecated for that reason.
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