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W, X, Y, and Z. I do not like them.

These four letters come at the end of the alphabet. They are the most difficult, I think Even though they may fit with each other (and with the V, too), they have so little to do with the other 21 letters of the alphabet.

Or am I wrong? Does anyone else ever feel this way? I'm working on a small family, and these letters are worst, in every weight!

OK, I'm done with my rant now. You may now return to you regularly scheduled browsing ;-)


W is very important to me. My last name would be even more bizarre wihout it. However, I will say that I have noticed that some designers have difficulty with them, especially the W. And those who do have a problem with W generally have a problem with M as well.

Well, my name has a y in it, and I have a w in my middle name. But the letters are just bothering me at the moment. I'd rather draw oodles of more S glyphs than these guys…

M is a little better in this case. My m's are straight sided, so they are sort of like the N, just wider (ad with a fourth stroke). But the W is diagonal. Actually, the whole face is sort of straight, except for these wacky diagonals coming in at the end.

I see it more as which letters need therapy. C drowns in low self-esteem, it's missing its other half, and has always wanted to be an O. And u is just an ungainly thing, half an m but upside down. You'd think there would be some spiritual "cup" metaphor since it looks up to the sky and is theoretically collecting rain, but it can't compete with n, the lower case n, which although being the u upside down still has nice feet, very nice feet, and is connected to the earth.

I concur, I have to crack the vwxyz and k by next week or I'm in trouble (big -time) and perhaps have to consider doing a new font (ie starting from scratch designing these letters first before doing anything else...


I fondly remember this thread and concur with Dan.


Among basic alphabetic characters, none of the Latin letters have been as troublesome for me as the lowercase Greek delta and the lowercase Cyrillic be. But then again, the hardest letters are actually my favorites in some ways. When I get them right after much fiddling with them I feel like I've learned something and am improving my craftsmanship. Not an experience I often have with the letter "O."

(Some of the extended Latin and extended Cyrillic letters with vertical and horizontal bars across them can be really challenging... particularly in heavier weights, and especially combining that with a low-contrast sans serif design.)


And then there's their meaning. Years ago I made up a verse for The Hesitation Blues:
V for victory
W for war
XYZ there just aren't any more

Or John Ciardi's alphabeta word "lmnop"-pronounced elemenopy and defined as the property of being in the middle.

I like the W. But i have to agree with you: X, Y, and Z really sucks. Especially the X.
Confound you, you silly X.

However, there are so many great words that contain the letter "x"…

Very sad.

I've noticed that, in a lot of typefaces, design fatique seems to set in around T or U, and the rest of the alphabet gets handled perfunctorily and unimaginatively...maybe because S is usually quite demanding. Maybe V-W-X-Y and Z ought to be the first letters you do...

Hmmm. I'll try this with the next weight ;-)

Oh, I couldnt agree more. X is a killer... And with my logical thinking - it seems strange, since the shape itself is so very simple. I guess with type, the more simple it suppose to look, the harder it gets to do :)

I find any letter with curvers or straight lines to be the most difficult. ;)

I find Y and Z aren't too bad, really.


The bolder the weight, the tougher the W.


i don't mind these. it's things like R, J, & K that i hate.

Chris, that sounds so profound.

Thanks Dan. I should add that the lesser the contrast the more crucial the joins as well. Therefore, a very bold monoline sans is a formula for frustration. The above is now far too wordy for profundity :-)


I do not like W, X, Y and Z said Dan
I can not draw them said Dan-the-man
Do not like them here or there
I do not draw them even square

Not in my house, not with my mouse
Not here or there, not anywhere
I do not draw W, X, Y and Zed
I do not draw them when in bed

Could you? Would you? With FontLab?
Could you? Would you? Make it fab?
Could you? Would you? With your Mac?
Could you? Would you? Write a FAQ?

Not with a goat. Not on a boat.
Not in the rain. Not on a train.
Not in a house. Not with a mouse.
Oh, no!

Not in a box. Quick brown fox.
Not draw a zee. You let me be!
I do not like W, X, Y and Z said Dan!
I can not draw them, Dan-my-man!

Haha I think we need to start archiving posts like the one above in the Typowiki. :-D

Si, that's priceless.

F***ing BRILLIANT!!!


Doctor Si, you are a clever clever man.

Si, that sounds so touching.

Seriously, though, thanks! That made my morning.

here's the hebrew point of it -
letters who contain diagonals require absolute care. it's so easy to go wrong and it's so hard to design them.
such like aleph

it's all about subtlties.

A diagonal glyph can make you a stiff.


Ah but once you master it, a diagonal letter will make you better.

:^/ Ok. Maybe not my best pun.

That may be your slant on it Tiff :-/


Paul, would you explain about the R, J, & K some more?

lol. simon's rhyme just popped into my head today, so i had to get it in the wiki.

i don't know what it is about the R, J, & K, but i always seem to draw them last. i also don't like drawing numbers.

Nothing is worse than the "I". Wait, the "el" is.


That's so interesting. I love the #s & The R. Probably I stupidly relish their difficulty - but it also probably has to do with the expressiveness locked up in the 5 & 3. And the hint of something extra that so often lurks in the 7. I expect I will sober up and adopt a grown up attitude one day all too soon. Hrant, What's your beef with I & el? Too vanilla?

Vanilla has flavor.


You know what I mean... ;-) Too boring or what?

These four letters come at the end of the alphabet. They are the most difficult, I think

Are you kidding? W is just a double V (slightly altered), Y is a spliced V & I, and easy to balance (symmetry), Z comes from E, and is also easy! X is slightly more difficult, a bit of optical correction there, but essentially straight-forward.

Now, if you had moaned about a bold italic 's' or italic '8' then I'd have to agree…


"Boring" is too kind to those two!


Hrant: Aha!

Kris: So Interesting!

Yaronimus: Your last link went to a Domain parking page. Is it fixable?

W may just be a double-V, but many designers still struggle with it. I may generalize a bit, and I'm over-sensitive to the letter, but it is often too wide or too narrow and poorly kerned with whatever precedes or follows it.

W may just be a double-V, but many designers still struggle with it

True. But do you mean graphic designers or type designers? I think there is a big difference!

I guess, Miss TIff, that you have spent your life looking at either WARDLE or Wardle. In both instances the 'A' or 'a' would quickly show the 'W' to be either too wide, too narrow, or poorly kerned! I bet this narrows down which typefaces you use to set your name…


You could say type designer and/or graphic designer.

Yes, that is why I'm so sensitive the W. It also makes me sensitive to the M. :^) I'd guess (and hope) that I'm not the only one who is sensitive to certain letters for similar reasons. ;^)