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proper placement of the cent currency sign

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Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
proper placement of the cent currency sign
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MS recommends two positions for a proper placed cent sign.
http://www.microsoft.com/typography/developers/fdsspec/monetary.htm

baseline: c

middle: b

I have checked my only native American specimen book, the big ATF 1924, and most of the cent signs seems to sit on the baseline. But the signs on page 595 and 616 shows the cent sign on position a, with a long strike to the baseline like a fraction.

To my eyes I would always prefer placing on top like example a. But most text fonts I have checked now use position c and b. The baseline placement seems to me most uncomfortable.

So my question as font developer: Speeks anything against the top placment (a) as default position for the cent sign in a typeface?

example font: Minion

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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advice from a non-type designer

Visually I think the full-sized cent sign looks best as B.

James Montalbano's picture
Joined: 18 Jun 2003 - 11:00am
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If you consider that the only time a cent glyph is used these days is in an advertisement for a 99¢ happy meal, you can do what ever you want with it. If you make it small and superscript then advertising designers will use it and love you because you reduced their need to make a typographic decision.

And when was the last time you correctly used a florin?

Simon Daniels's picture
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Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm
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Interesting notes on European use of the cent on the euro wiki...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euro#The_euro_sign

And this classic on the demise of the cent sign...

http://www.charlieanderson.com/centsign.htm

Cheers, Si

Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
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"And when was the last time you correctly used a florin?"

Well, it was in 1916 then I have to set up a template for a bond of obligation.
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Today the florin will be used for mathmatic setting.

-
It would be great if someone of typophile can set up a voting interface for this thread.

--astype.de--

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Remind me next week when the other one on smallcaps has finished.

Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
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Thank you Tiffany, I thought its possible to add such thing to every thread.

--astype.de--

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Andreas, that isn't a florin in the maths setting, it's the MATHEMATICAL ITALIC SMALL F character (U+1D453).

The florin, very unfortunately, is unified with LATIN SMALL LETTER F WITH HOOK (U+0192) which is a letter in the orthographies of a sizeable number of African languages. It is very difficult to support both these languages and the (until recent) European use of this character as a currency symbol. The currency symbol was almost always slanted, even in roman typefaces, and conformed to the proportions (including, often, tabular numeral width) of other currency symbols. The actual letter, of course, needs to conform to the overal style of the typeface and to fit to the other letters. An added challenge is designing an italic typeface in which one needs to distinguish between the letter f, often stylistically drawn with a descending hook, and the letter ƒ.

Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
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John, you are right. But if the florin doesnt look too ancient, it would be my choice if the font contains no mathematical italics and no real italic is availbale.
Can you show us a proper made florin in an African language example? A Roman typeface would be fine.

And please share your opinion about the proper setting of the cent sign.

--astype.de--

Randy Jones's picture
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Joined: 10 Jun 2005 - 8:54am
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For the cent, I like position B. However, I'd make it a bit larger so the bar overshoots slightly (to optically allign). Seems like a matter of opinion. I'd also make it tabular.

R

paul d hunt's picture
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Joined: 5 May 2005 - 8:44pm
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ditto what randy said.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Randy is the man,

ChrisL

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Andreas, here is the hooked ƒ in the roman and italic fonts of my SBL BibLit type. Because most of the time these fonts will be used for languages that do not need this character, I have made the default italic ƒ with a hook, because this fits the style of the typeface. But there is a variant, straight form of the italic f for use in contexts in which the hooked ƒ letter occurs, so that they are appropriately distinguished.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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And please share your opinion about the proper setting of the cent sign.

I usually make it slightly shorter than the lowercase c, and usually quite a lot lighter, but aligned within the x-height, with the bar extending above and below what seems an optically pleasing amount. This seems to me the best way to produce a single cent glyph that works reasonably well with lining numerals as well as oldstyle numerals.

Since the cent sign is so seldom used, I'm not inclined to spend time making variant versions for use with different kinds of numerals, but if I were to make a version specifically for use in e.g. all-caps settings with lining numerals, then I might make something like in your Adobe Minion example.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Moderators, this seems much more of a Design topic than a Build topic.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Joined: 13 Jul 2001 - 11:00am
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Good call, John.

Andreas Seidel's picture
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John wrote: "all-caps settings with lining numerals, then I might make something like in your Adobe Minion example."
- So version b or a? The UC "florin" is called? (unicode?)

So you think its good to see florin no more as currency sign, since its has no usage anymore and design it for African typesetting? Makes this sense for a simple Latin standard "Std" character set?

On the font Im working on, I have done the opposit with the cent sign. I made the c bigger to fit the other currency signs. For oldstyle figures I would implement a shift for the cent sign (opentype feature) to a better fit.

8 - 9 pt design zoomed to 70 pt

--astype.de--

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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For me, the cent sign is a subordinate to the dollar sign and is best not put on the same level visually. When I see it with your oldstyle figures, it dominates too much. Even with the lining figures, it is too strong.
As someone mentioned earlier, it is rarely used anymore.

ChrisL

Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
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Yeah, its strong, but think you see a typeface for 8-9pt zoomed to 70pt. The bigger the optical size go, the cent sign will be smaller and catch the size of the c.

But I have no problem with a cent sign as big as Dollar or Euro like this sample shows. It depends on the design.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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It does not look like a cent sign anymore to me at that scale. It looks like either a whole new currency, a cut-time musical symbol, or C ogonek.

ChrisL

Norbert Florendo's picture
Joined: 9 Jun 2005 - 2:21pm
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In my humble and personal opinion, the type designer's own intent for the use of the typeface should take precedence over conventional presets or attempts at standardization. Not that standardization is to be avoided, but character design and their placement should be guided by the overall intent or personality of the type family.

Take for instance the identical treatment and placement of the cent sign in Monotype Bell (though Linotype version illustrated) and Futura. Note that the Bell numerals are based on the original lining numerals of Richard Austin's late eighteenth century design which are smaller than the caps and larger than the lowercase.


Both cent signs are equal to the x-height and sit on the baseline.


Though I don't have a copy of Paul Renner's original placement of the cent sign at hand, I personally would have placed it higher. The cent sign in Bell has the privilege of being used with unique sized lining figures, and looks quite comfortable where it is.

As a typographer, I have developed certain personal "style guide" preferences, and would almost never use regular dollar or cent signs juxtaposed to old style numerals. For me, lining figures are for expressing math, money and measurements (temperature, inches, cm, gals., etc.) and old style figures are used for dates, and numeric expressions within text (The detective was looking for Rm. 38).
Of course, I'm always willing to break my own rules for good reason.

Gabriel Lovato's picture
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Joined: 1 Nov 2004 - 11:56am
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Though I don’t have a copy of Paul Renner’s original placement of the cent sign at hand

From Cristopher Burke's book on Paul Renner:

Although it seems huge, I suppose that's a cent sign... or is it another currency?

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Finishing up on the hooked f:

The UC “florin” is called? (unicode?)

U+0191

So you think its good to see florin no more as currency sign, since its has no usage anymore and design it for African typesetting? Makes this sense for a simple Latin standard “Std” character set?

No, in the context of the Latin 1 charset, it should be treated as a florin symbol. (Note that some people have taken to using it as a abbreviation for 'folder'.)

It is only in larger fonts aimed at more international markets that one should consider whether to include both upper and lowercase (and smallcap) forms and to treat it as a letter rather than a currency symbol. Really, the letter and the currency sign should never have been unified.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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So version b or a?

If I were designing a cent sign for use in all-caps settings, e.g. for use with the OTL 'case' feature, then something like your option b. Otherwise, option c.