I've been working on some low contrast neogrotesque sans-serif designs and I noticed something that's made me question how I approach Italics:
- The more you slant an upright font, the lighter the vertical strokes become (if measured properly, i.e. the stroke weight is measured perpendicular to the stroke direction):
- To keep either the weight or contrast consistent across Upright and Italics, it would be necessary to compensate for the vertical strokes becoming lighter by either:
- Increasing the weight of the vertical stroke in the Italic, or
- Decreasing the weight of the horizontal strokes in the Italic
If neither compensation above is made, the contrast and weight changes between the upright and italics. For example in the above: the overral contrast decreases as the Italic angle increases and beyond a certain point it becomes reverse-contrast as the vertical:horizontal ratio flips.
I noticed it became an issue when I worked in the thinnest weights on a design with a fairly steep Italic (~20° degrees). Looking into a bit I could hardly find any typefaces that correct for this.
I think it's more noticeable in the extreme ends of the weights or in extreme angles:Do you make these compensations?
I'm tempted to correct the Italics by decreasing the horizontal strokes to match as I think going by one of my previous posts
it seems to be expected that Italics should be somewhat lighter than the Upright. Are there any pros and cons with either compensation method, or do you think it's not worth compensating at all unless the weight and/or angles are extreme?
Up until now I haven't even really noticed when working with slighter angles so maybe it's not worth the extra work – especially if a font isn't expected to be used in high resolution/size settings like print.
In a design like yours, I would be inclined to adjust both the ‘vertical’ and horizontal stroke weights, making the former slightly heavier and the latter slightly lighter. Begin with the horizontals.
I also think because the Italics are slanted forwards, the optical effect of NE–SW diagonals looking slightly darker means I don't end up needing to compensate in slighter angles.