Ellipsis style

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Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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.

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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I hope you guys don't mind me reviving this interesting oldie, but I have to add that it seems quite US-centric. To add an international perspective: Putting spaces of any kind into the 3 dot sequence is not commonly done over here – I would say not in continental Europe, but at least not in Switzerland. Perhaps as a consequence, the unspaced "..." sequence does not usually seem too tight to me.
So there is a cultural aspect to this, and one interesting thing that follows is that ellipses in American-designed fonts often seem looser to me than the ones in European fonts, and sometimes distractingly loose. When designing for an international market these regional differences might be interesting to consider.

Stephan Kurz's picture
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Joined: 22 Jul 2005 - 2:19pm
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Can anyone confirm that there was no “ellipsis character” before the advent of DTP as mentioned in one of the posts above? I saw what appears to be three dots on one key at a linotype keyboard (see http://www.flickr.com/photos/atoach/5944029870/, bottom right) -- but cannot say if that key is really for typing an ellipsis character (it has a different shape than the other keys).

Kent Lew's picture
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Joined: 21 Apr 2002 - 11:00am
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First of all, I don’t think that’s a Linotype keyboard. Looks more like Monotype, and (as someone already pointed out there) it has a Monotype label.

Secondly, I believe that key is for a three-dot leader. If you look at the same position in the left hand compartment, below the period, you’ll also see a two-dot leader.

I suppose a three-dot leader (presumably three-to-em) could have been used in place of an ellipsis — I don’t know if that was common practice in Monotype composition or not. If so, then I suppose I’ll have to stand corrected.

Stephan Kurz's picture
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Joined: 22 Jul 2005 - 2:19pm
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Kent, thanks for the idea with the dot leader (and for being with me helping revive “this interesting oldie”, as Nina put it above [back in 2010!]). Somewhere I came across this already, but I did not see its significance then. Maybe part of the aversion against using the ellipsis character is connected with the wideness of an em-wide dot leader that had been used on Monotype machines to avoid manual spacing (and several keystrokes). This makes sense, also when comparing different printed matter from the late 19th and early 20th century, where books with Monotype mentioned in the imprint do feature exceptionally wide ellipsis marks. I have yet to check that again, but wanted to share that possible connection between dot leaders and ellipses – or, rather, this confusion in the representation of two different functions.

Dave Williams's picture
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Joined: 6 Jul 2005 - 7:21am
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Has anyone thought of using the text from spam forum posts as a source of lorem ipsum?

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Cool idea for a typeface specimen actually. :)

Jason Pagura's picture
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006 - 6:19pm
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Speak of the devil, and, after a pregnant pause, he shall appear.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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I'm seriously considering an ellipsis with only 2 periods..

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Why, are you expecting another period soon?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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I just don't see the point in the third one.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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You need to distinguish between font design and writing system design.

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Oh, so it wasn't menopause, Ryan?

Jason Pagura's picture
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006 - 6:19pm
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Well, now that the big spam post has been deleted, my previous comment doesn't make sense anymore.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Which is worse?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Writing systems are not set in stone, or steel, or brass, or binary code.

Karl Stange's picture
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Joined: 17 Sep 2009 - 10:07am
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Writing systems are not set in stone

No, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_Stone|that would just be silly]].

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Ryan, I'm a big fan of reforming writing systems (see my Alphabet Reform work). But you can't just remove a dot from an ellipsis in a font and think you're doing type design; you have to think deeply about strategy at the level of the writing system, and then make fonts based on such a foundation.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Your method allows no innovation, Hrant. In a world where everyone abbreviates everything, and where they consistently uses new combinations of old symbols (smileys) to express themselves, shortening an ellipsis from 3 periods to 2 strikes me as not only unradical, but inevitable.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I love innovation, but it either has to be subtle enough to escape conscious rejection, or it has to be in-your-face. And most of all -like I said- it has to be on the correct level (writing system versus font).

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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My 2 period ellipsis is both subtle and in your face.

To the average person it is subtle. To the average type designer, it is in your face.

James Michaels's picture
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Joined: 6 Mar 2010 - 12:54am
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In casual writing like emails and text messages, most folks use a series of periods to create an ellipsis, and the number of periods will vary depending on their mood and how fast they're typing. So I don't think using 2 instead of 3 would even be noticed.

In printed pieces, one problem with a 2-period ellipsis is that it may just look like a typo, a double period.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Yup, two is not enough.

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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What is so tough about using 3 periods? What is gained by only using 2?

Reynir Heiðberg Stefánsson's picture
Joined: 19 Nov 2010 - 11:15am
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How long until someone decides to repurpose the Unicode two-dot leader as a brand-spanking new two-dot ellipsis?

HVB's picture
HVB
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Joined: 17 Feb 2006 - 9:43am
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Ryan: Your two-stop ellipsis is a fine abbreviation. As an abbreviation, however, it needs to be followed by a period.

- Herb

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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ha ha! God catch, HVB!

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Have any of you made a face that uses opentype substitutions to replace three periods in a row with an ellipsis?

Stephan Kurz's picture
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Joined: 22 Jul 2005 - 2:19pm
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Speaking of two-dot ellipses, that is not a completely new idea.
German poet Stefan George used that at the turn to the 20th century to distinguish his way of keeping his verse open in a more “closed” way, famously mocked by Theodor W. Adorno in his essay “Satzzeichen”.
A digitised version of the font George had made in order to keep his poetry in line with his stylized “handwriting”, and including a two-dot ellipsis, is available from the Institut für Textkritik, Heidelberg (and another one, with serious flaws, from IHOF/P22, for a discussion of said flaws, see my critique [German]) .