IJ-ligature fonts

T.'s picture

Inspired by this tread, I was wondering if someone could point me out some nice typefaces with an IJ-ligature.

Thanks in advance!

T.

Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Hi T,
I do not know if my Kurversbrug is 'nice' but at least it has the 'IJ' ligature.
http://www.re-type.com/fonts/kurversbrugreg.html

T.'s picture

(This tread is just out of curiousity, not with the intention to buy the font)

pvanderlaan's picture

The Cleartype fonts from Luc(as) -- Consolas and Calibri -- contain them. I think most of his typefaces do.

I think this glyph is re-appreciated again among Dutch type designers now that they can be safely put into OpenType fonts.

Quincunx's picture

Well, it needs to be more then just 'ij' placed together in one glyph for me to find it useful. With that I mean it has to have something extra like 'st' and such ligs have.

hrant's picture

Maybe turn the two tittles into a macron, or a tilde.

hhp

T.'s picture

Yes I agree Quincunx. What do you mean with tittles Hrant?

hrant's picture

Tittle: dot on the "i"/"j".
Fancy-pants word, I know - sorry.

hhp

T.'s picture

Jongseong's picture

The usual handwritten/cursive form of 'ij' resembles a 'y' with dieresis, with the end stroke of the 'i' connecting to the 'j'. For the UC 'IJ', I'm not really sure, but I guess a similar approach would be possible.

I must say that for upright romans, I would consider true ligation for 'ij' or 'IJ' as distracting as that for something like 'st' for use in immersive reading.

hrant's picture

Ties, is that something you just made or an existing logo?

Brian, I think that if it's done right it can be much better than something
like a frilly "st", not least because it helps properly encode actual language.

hhp

Jongseong's picture

Hrant: Well, I was a bit exaggerating, because I can already imagine the overdone 'ij' ligs drawing far too much attention to themselves. I think I can also picture it done well, though the way I'm imagining it, there need not be an actual connecting line between the ligated elements, and it would only work for certain designs--say, Fedra. Or it would be cool to have Martin Majoor design one for Scala.

I'll wait until I get on my home computer to illustrate what I'm on about...

T.'s picture

Hrant: No, that is an existing logo of Heijmans, designed by TBWA/Designers Company

I know a pretty cool one down the street, I'll try to make a picture of it soon.

hrant's picture

I think that "h" is gimmicky, but the macron
seems to stand quite nicely for "foundation".

hhp

T.'s picture

Your tilde-ligature made me think of this logo. I think it is quite nice, the "ij" reflecting in the "h".

hrant's picture

I guess "huisstijl" means something like visual/corporate identity?

I did notice the "h" being a flipped "ij", but what does that mean?
That the houses they build fall over easily? Or maybe it's to emphasize
the company's Dutch-ness, but isn't nationalism taboo in the Netherlands?

BTW, that Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen logo is amazing.

hhp

T.'s picture

> I guess “huisstijl” means something like visual/corporate identity?

Yes, couldn't think if it in English.

> but what does it mean?

Does it have to mean anything? You interpret the macron as the foundation, I just see it as a line.

[edit]This is why I think the "h" is just as gimmickly as the "ij". But still quite a nice logo.

hrant's picture

OK, your edit helps.

> Does it have to mean anything?

Not necessarily - although it's a plus, no?
I guess it could just be pretty - but is it?

The macron being in red seems to have a "special" meaning, and
the "foundation" meaning is the one that came into my own mind.

hhp

T.'s picture

> Not necessarily - although it’s a plus, no?

Depends I think. Depends on how litteral it becomes. So I guess it is a plus indeed when you can interpret it as a foundation.

> I guess it could just be pretty - but is it?

I think so too. I think it is pretty in a way.
This was their old logo. Since I study architecture, I happen to bump in the company's advertisements now and then. And I noticed the improvement. That is why it sticked in my thoughts. (One of the goals of logo's.)

Florian Hardwig's picture


The UC IJ can look like an “interrupted U”—as this Belgian sign shows.

Village's picture

In "standard" fonts, ideally I make ij's — pronounced ee-yay for you non-Dutch & Flemish speakers — so that the dots of the i and j components are a standard dieresis. The ij is the modern variant of the ÿ, and if you were to track a word with an ij in it, the ij would not become separated: B . A . K . K . E . R . IJ

Monospace fonts should have ij and IJ, as does OCR-B.

I always create ij's in my types. Sometimes some tweaking of the component forms is necessary, sometimes it's not.

Huisstijl means, quite literally, "house style", which is the Dutch analogue of corporate identity. Often, a huisstijl consists of a beeldmerk — picture mark = icon — and a woordmerk — word mark = logotype.

hrant's picture

Cap:

hhp

cuttlefish's picture

Regarding the "heijmans" logo, I see it like this:

The "h" is interrupted in a stencil cut fashion. This is inconsistent witt the rest of the word, but since this form is reflcted in the "ij" with a hooked foot on the "i", I, as a non-Dutch reader, interpret it as a stencil cut "y" (since the "h"" prepared me for reading through more stencil cuts), and thereby wind up pronouncing the word more correctly (hey-mans) than I would if I had attempted to through ordinary English phonics (hëzh-mans) rather awkwardly making up sounds for letter combinations usually absent in my language. I don't know if this was intentional, enabling more correct pronunciation by foreigners, but that's how it works for me.

hrant's picture

Ah, the stencil effect has to do with construction!
(I think design studios should hire me as a Post-Rationalization Consultant.)

hhp

Choz Cunningham's picture

Speaking of stencils, the upcoming expanded release of !Crass Roots includes about twice the glyphs of the Open version, and uses a method very similar to the previous image.

Jongseong's picture

This is how I would do an 'ij' ligature in a roman text face if I were limited to making a 'true' ligature, i.e. one where the components are connected.

Still, my preferred 'ij' solution would simply be just 'i' and 'j' brought together in a single glyph with minor adjustments to allow them to harmonize. I'm not sure what readers unfamiliar with the 'ij' digraph will make of the above ligature.

And I don't really see how one would make an uppercase 'IJ' ligature of the connecting variety in the same style. I think the components in 'IJ' really should be kept separate, either maintaining their original forms or perhaps modified to suggest an interrupted 'U' as in Florian's example above.

Making the 'ij' resemble a 'y' does benefit the foreigners, whether that is intended or not. In fact, the Dutch often 'internationalize' the spellings of some proper names by replacing 'ij' with 'y', so that the footballing legend Johan Cruijff is better known as Cruyff abroad, and Feyenoord of Rotterdam were originally Feijenoord before they changed the spelling for the benefit of foreigners who trouble pronouncing the original spelling.

T.'s picture

> The UC IJ can look like an “interrupted U”—as this Belgian sign shows.

Yes! That is something I wanted to photgraph as well. Nice.

> Monospace fonts should have ij and IJ, as does OCR-B.

And another font which has got it!

Bert Vanderveen's picture

I think that in roman a connected ij-lig is unwanted. It would draw too much attention and interrupt the flow. But italic is a different story: I'd love to see all fonts with fancy connected i-j's. (Doesn't make OT having alts easy? So…)

Quincunx's picture

> This is how I would do an ‘ij’ ligature in a roman text face if I were limited to making a ‘true’ ligature, i.e. one where the components are connected.

That is a very nice 'ij' if you ask me. It's how it is written by hand in Dutch, anyway. If it will work well, I don't know. But it's quite close to how I would imagine a true (dutch) 'ij' ligature.

hrant's picture

Sorry, I don't think it's any good at all, because it's
extremely confusable with the y-diaeresis. The fact
that there's some historical link between the two is
largely moot - there's also a historical link between
the "i" and "j", but isn't it kind of a big plus that we
can distinguish between them?! :-/

hhp

Choz Cunningham's picture

The link sounds current, not historical. Once we assimilate the Dutch into the U.N.A., the IJ will be no more. Mwa ha ha .

Si_Daniels's picture

Surprised no one has mentioned that ij and IJ have Unicode code points... http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U0100.pdf so no OT is required and that they are part of the WGL4 standard http://www.microsoft.com/typography/OTSPEC/WGL4C.HTM so many fonts, esp the bundled ones, contain them.

hrant's picture

> ij and IJ have Unicode code points…

And so does y-diaeresis. As in a separate one. Case closed.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture


Is this ligated ij OK for the normal italic?
Or would it be better in the swash alts?

Jongseong's picture

Wanting to distinguish 'ij' and 'ÿ' in print is the reason why I do not advocate a true ligature for 'ij'. But that's the internationalist perspective in me speaking. Yes, of course the Unicode Consortium distinguishes the two, because it is an international standard.

For Dutch use, I don't think there is reason to fear the confusion. In a lot (most?) of Dutch handwriting, 'ij' and 'ÿ' would be virtually indistinguishable precisely because there is no semantic need for distinguishing between the two. 'Y' is not used in native Dutch words, so I'm guessing 'ÿ' would be extremely rare to the point that the 'ij' or 'ÿ' confusion would be a false dilemma when applied to Dutch--the 'ÿ' is a false alternative in Dutch, and in Dutch minds perhaps even considered a variant form of 'ij'. It is nothing like the relationship between 'i' and 'j', each of which has its own independent uses distinct from the other in most modern languages using the Latin alphabet.

This of course does not apply when you want your text typeface to work for languages other than Dutch, in which case 'ÿ' may very well be used.

On a somewhat related note, in setting Dutch a ligated 'ij' distinct from 'i'+'j' would be a plus in that it helps distinguish between the digraph 'ij' and cases where the letters 'i' and 'j' are not part of a digraph, as in words like 'bijou' from the French. So a true 'ij' ligature, while not appropriate for most text setting, may be useful in things like dictionaries or textbooks for learners of the Dutch language.

hrant's picture

I'm not sure how useful the concept of a "true ligature" is.
Is mine a true ligature? If not, does that mean the "i" and
"j" are not "true" letters, because they have more than one
part? Also, as Legato demonstrates, ligation can be "virtual",
via the white.

> I don’t think there is reason to fear the confusion.

No too much, I agree; but there's even less reason to revere history.

hhp

Jongseong's picture

Hrant, you're right; 'true ligature' is a problematic term. I just wanted to refer to forms where there are joins between (the black parts of) the components. Yours would be true ligatures in the sense that I was using the term--they are certainly distinct from 'i' and 'j' next to each other.

I wanted to introduce the distinction because the term 'ligature' is ambiguous (although I probably caused more confusion in the process). Was T, in his original question, referring to fonts that simply have glyphs for the 'ij' digraph? Lots of fonts do, but most use forms indistinguishable from 'i' and 'j' next to each other. I surmised he wanted to know about fonts that do more than that.

The 'virtual' ligation you speak of is just another name for the harmonious fitting of the black and white letters, which good designs should be doing anyway between any pair of letters.

>there’s even less reason to revere history.

History? I was basing my suggestion on current handwritten forms. I don't even know if the resemblance between 'ij' and 'ÿ' has a historical basis, and I suspect they really don't--it's probably a chance convergence. I just wanted a form that makes the most sense to the modern Dutch speaker.

Choz Cunningham's picture

Perhaps 'contiguous ligature' or 'joined ligature' might be a better terms. Lengthy, but how often need it be so distinguished?

ij and IJ have Unicode code points…
And so does y-diaeresis. As in a separate one. Case closed

Ha ha ha, right. Because Unicode is The Truth, not a cobbling of backwards compatibilities and porkbellies. I'm sorry Hrant, Unicode is going to have to be around a lot longer before it is the international Rosetta stone.

This of course does not apply when you want your text typeface to work for languages other than Dutch, in which case ‘ÿ’ may very well be used.

I think that language tags make that simple.

John Hudson's picture

Jongseong: Yes, of course the Unicode Consortium distinguishes the two, because it is an international standard.

Actually, Unicode encoded the Dutch IJ/ij digraphs as distinct characters, separate from the I+J and i+j sequences, because they were pre-existing characters inherited from a Dutch telecom standard. For the most part, Unicode does not encode digraphs. But some are encoded for backwards, roundtrip compatibility, as in this case.

For the most part, Dutch users do not use the digraph characters -- although some, like Thomas Milo, certainly advocate its use -- they just type I+J and i+j. So far as I know, the IJ/ij digraph characters are not accessible via the standard Dutch keyboard.

T.'s picture

> So far as I know, the IJ/ij digraph characters are not accessible via the standard Dutch keyboard.

No they aren't. Do Dutch keyboards exist? The normal way in Dutch to type an "ÿ" is just "ij". For me, as a dutchman, the uppercase is sometimes odd, not the lowercase. We do type the uppercase as an "IJ" (a I+J), but it sometimes just lookes silly. As in de the river "IJ" (Amsterdam).

Choz Cunningham's picture

Do dutch font users want a feature in their fonts to automatically ligate those, whenever they type 'i', 'j' or 'I','J'? Is 'I', 'j' wanted as well?

John Hudson's picture

Do Dutch keyboards exist?

Yes. There's a Dutch keyboard standard, although apparently relatively few people use it. It is very similar to the US qwerty keyboard layout in the normal and shift states, but has the euro symbol accessible using AltGr+E and some other symbols and punctuation not mapped in the US keyboard.

John Hudson's picture

Choz: Is ‘I’, ‘j’ wanted as well?

Officially, no, because the digraph cases as a unit, so it is always either both letters uppercase or both letters lowercase.

Jongseong's picture

I don't think automatic ligation is the best option because not every 'ij' combination in Dutch is the digraph (even if for 99% of the time it is). The 'i' and 'j' might come from different syllables, or it might be a loanword.

My take: to use special 'ij' and 'IJ' ligatures for Dutch, one should manually search and replace the 'ij' and 'IJ' combinations in the text, taking care to make sure to replace only when the digraph is wanted.

Cumbersome, I know. But unless one has a special reason for distinguishing the digraph and non-digraph combination of 'i' and 'j' (for specialist texts, dictionaries, language learning materials, etc.), I don't see a compelling reason to replace the lowercase digraphs with special glyphs. For the uppercase 'IJ', I can allow that for certain designs a special glyph for the digraph may be desirable.

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks Brian, that's excellent advice.

hrant's picture

> I don’t see a compelling reason

Readability (via divergence).
Not in a major way, but not much in type is anyway.
We mind the details.

hhp

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Nick askes: "Is this ligated ij OK for the normal italic"

I prefer the connecting line between i and j to be an upward move. To illustrate this: the common way to write ij in cursive (handwriting is cursive…) is to basically draw a u and elongate the last downstroke. Am I making sense?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

To elaborate on this: Gerrit Noordzij has written extensively on 'writing' as the basis for typedesign and one of the first exercises in his 'course' is drawing 'waves' (up in a slant, down in a semicircle that smoothly turns into the upslant etcetera).

John Hudson's picture

Readability (via divergence).

I hadn't noticed that Dutch people had a problem reading. They have one, very regular digraph in their orthography. English has many, very irregular digraphs, and a couple of trigraphs. Digraphs are a feature of many alphabetic writing systems. Rather than assuming that visual divergence of digraphs assists readability -- really a kind of spelling reform, in which you invent new letters or diacritics based on merging or ligating digraphs --, it seems to me that we should try to understand just what it says about the reading process, and the flexibility of that process, that so many cultures and linguistic groups have adopted digraphs, trigraphs and even tetragraphs as part of their reading systems. The idea that sequences of letters can function equivalently to single letters in the representation of sounds is remarkable. It indicates that unitisation happens quite comfortably in the mind, relative to language and memory, independent of unitisation of written marks. Since unitisation of written marks is so easily achieved -- either through the invention/importation of new letters, ligation or use of diacritic marks -- it is notable that so many different orthographies should have instead adopted the use of sequences of existing letters to represent individual sounds.

hrant's picture

Gerrit Noordzij's views have merit in proportion to their distance from type.

> I hadn’t noticed that Dutch people had a problem reading.

People didn't think they had a problem walking before somebody
thought of shoes either. And I'm sure some people preferred to
believe that shoes were a damnfangled idea.

John, let's not get into this again - it's hopeless.
For whoever might need a fix, just use Google to search Typophile.

hhp

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