A proposal for new version of Greek glyphs for DejaVu Serif

vank's picture

Hi everybody,
I suspect i don't need to say much about the open source DejaVu project. The link speaks for itself. "The" DejaVu "fonts are free as in freedom, and may thus freely be embedded".

What i 'm posting below is a recent attempt to design Greek glyphs for the serif version from scratch, initially for my very personal use (i guess i liked too much typesetting in the Latin version). The idea of including these glyphs in the original DejaVu Serif is currently under consideration by the team running the project, so, your feedback on the way the glyphs look and any ideas for their potential improvement are more than welcomed.

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Rhythmus.be's picture

> I also don’t agree with the them-us dichotomy. We’re all part
> of this world, and everybody is at least a tiny bit Greek.

And this is precisely why I think there is no such thing as latinisation, but, instead, as I explained above, one common characteristic of type, deriving from its use as moveable, printable and reusable letterforms. The more a typeface design has this formal characteristic, the more it is type in the true sense. The Latin alphabet has this characteristic more than any other alphabet, not because Western culture is superior, but simply because the development of the Latin alphabet was influenced by its use in print more than any other alphabet.

I feel a bit Greek, yes. Because I may happily take part in the inheritance of the great and universal contributions Greek culture has made to mankind's culture—amongst which… the alphabet.

I have the impression you postmodernists are the ones who continually hammer on the them–us dichotomy: them, the bad, imperialistic Westerners, with their holistic ideology, against us, the oppressed minorities whose culture is taken from them.

hrant's picture

There are entire rich worlds between false
dichotomies and the large gray Modernist blob.

hhp

piccic's picture

Just a note: I'm almost sure Monotype Gill Sans Dual Greek is not by Eric Gill. Maybe Gill can't be considered an "authority" as a "sophisticate" text type designer. Surely he did know what he was doing. A thing a good 50% of people doing "fonts" today don't. :)

The more recent Gill Sans Hellenic was designed by Cannibal Fonts' Hector Haralambous.

Ludwing: Hrant may have a taste for provocative words, but surely he's not acting as a stereotype. Plus, he's quite lovable, more or less like Astro Boy (鉄腕アトム a.k.a. Tetsuwan Atomu for cultural purists). :)

Rhythmus.be's picture

piccic — Yes, he is. I do like his clear-cut opinions, and he seems to be one of the few to have opinions for his own at all. But they do are stereotypes sometimes, especially when he conforms to capitalist logic and pomo rhetorics about cultural identity (which perfectly fit together, by the way).

Thanks for seconding me on Gill being an authority. Read the man, learn to know his life as an artist and thinker. Look at the several ingenious features of his typefaces. And then dare to not call him an authority again. I'll look if I can find something on his authorship of the Greek sorts.

piccic's picture

Well, I fear everyone of us falls victim of stereotyping here and there, if we are not careful. I agree with you that maybe the cultural considerations over type design are carried to an excessive extent, when people argue about "autenticity", because we can't deny what historically has been the development of typography. The first Greek and Arabic types were cut in Italy. Most of Arabic typography is still strongly tied to calligraphy. It would have happened probably in a similar way with Latin letters if Arabic had been the language spoken all over Europe during all these centuries.
Of course, Hrant is entirely right about this way of applying serifs to greek capitals (and even the weight modulation): it seems arbitrary but is adopted often by Greek designers as well.

So, while I understand and agree with Hrant's defense of cultures preserved throughout work, I can only remember that what survives is not always the best, and if a language has to die, it dies.

crossgrove's picture

"Thanks for seconding me on Gill being an authority. Read the man, learn to know his life as an artist and thinker. Look at the several ingenious features of his typefaces. And then dare to not call him an authority again. I’ll look if I can find something on his authorship of the Greek sorts."

Ludwig, you may want to read up on the actual genesis of Gill Sans. You can call Gill an authority on many things, but not on type design (which was your original statement).

hrant's picture

> conforms to capitalist logic

?!

Gill: what Carl seems to be alluding to (for example the fact that he never did any of the spacing) has great relevance. But I still think he had a supreme talent applicable to type design which put him above most every "de facto" type designer. Nonetheless, we're talking about non-Latin type here, and there's a qualitative difference: you either have nativity, or you need to develop it, and many people don't (even if they realize its importance, which I think Gill did). Others, like JvK, simply can't develop it because they're cultural bigots (and maybe worse), and no matter how nice their "native" type designs are they can never get over producing non-Latin fonts that are essentially crap.

hhp

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