italic parentheses mischief

eliason's picture

In Bringhurst's Elements* he directs us to use upright parentheses, brackets, and braces even if the context is italic.**
Not like (for example) this
(rather) like this.
I'm curious: has anyone released a font in which the parentheses etc. slots in the italic font house upright glyphs?

* section 5.3.2 in my version (2.5)
** he does mention a special case (brackets that are part of a title) in which sloped brackets would be appropriate.

CameronWilliams's picture

Aldo Novarese—ITC Novarese, all weights. He’s probably done that in some other of his many fonts, as well. One is also free to disagree with Bringhurst; much depends upon the font and angle of the italic; while the effect can be pleasing with italics of 7°–9°, such as Novarese Italic, Perpetua Italic or Futura Oblique, it can also be horrifying at the pseudo-italic (shudder) standard of 12°.

eliason's picture

Although with that example the caps are upright, too; on a quick look it looks like Novarese italic fonts that have sloped caps also have sloped parentheses.

Jackson's picture

Josh Darden's Freight family has upright parenthesis in the italics.
Also, I think the italic angle is around 12.

Nick Shinn's picture

My Modern Suite fonts have upright parentheses in the italic fonts, as a Stylistic Set.
I decided that normal italic parentheses should be the default--standard usage trumping ideology!
The labour-intensive part was the kerning.

nina's picture

So what's the point, exactly, of the upright parentheses? Craig's example looks pretty weird to me, and Bringhurst's argumentation à la "makes little sense" and "generally to be preferred" does not really help to penetrate the issue.

I mean I understand that he says they aren't letters and an italicized parenthesis per se is a strange thing to conceive of; but certainly if I'm speaking like this and including a (little) parenthesis in the process, I really don't see why I should break the flow of the current italicization. What if an entire paragraph is italicized – I tend to think of it as throwing the "filter" of italicization (is that a word?) over the entire thing. No way for a parenthesis to escape, and no apparent reason for that either.
And I mean, that question mark up there, the italic one, in the italicized parentheses, isn't a "letter" either – should it be upright too?!

eliason's picture

My Modern Suite fonts have upright parentheses in the italic fonts, as a Stylistic Set.

Did you do the same with square brackets and curly braces?

What would really impress me is if you included upright hyphens and dashes as a stylistic set! :-)

Bendy's picture

>upright hyphens and dashes as a stylistic set!


paragraph's picture

All right, but just this once :)

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

I think Bringhurst recommends this because he loves Renaissance printers and therefore he admires almost all of their practices. (“This rule […] was followed more often than broken by the best of the early typographers who set books in italic: Aldus Manutius, Gershom Soncino, Johann Froben, Simon de Colines, Robert Estienne, Ludovico degli Arrighi and Henri Estiene II”).

I admire Renaissance printers as well, and I have no doubt that they were far better than us, but certainly some of their ideas are not good for contemporary use.

I mean, I love Manutius, but when I use an italic font I want to see the caps sloped, not upright. Same for parenthesis.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

Unless you’re doing a very (very) accurate revival.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

>I tend to think of it as throwing the “filter” of italicization (is that a word?) over the entire thing

Yes, but there are some other signs that typically are immune to this “filter”.

@ - – — | + ÷ ± ≈ ≠ ¬ ~ < > ≤ ≥ ^

@ - – — | + ÷ ± ≈ ≠ ¬ ~ < > ≤ ≥ ^

Nick Shinn's picture

I slant those in most of my typefaces.
It looks silly to have a paragraph of italic text where everything is slanting--except a few odd characters.
However, I draw the line at © and ®.

All these non-alphabetic characters (including figures) were traditionally not provided in italic founts, for reasons of economy.
But that's not an issue now.

However, I decided to include italic parentheses as an option in some roman fonts, to cater to the Bringhurst set, and also to provide kerning for when a word or phrase in italic is bracketed within roman text, and the parentheses are necessarily upright because they are punctuation and not part of the emphasis.

twardoch's picture

I have proposed the following OpenType Layout feature to be added into the OpenType specification. Of course, if it's accepted, it will take quite a few years until it's actually implemented in any major applications, if at all. Nonetheless, I'll let you know once (and if) it gets accepted.



Tag: 'uprf'

Friendly name: Upright Forms

Registered by: Adam Twardoch

Function: Some italic fonts (such as ShinnType's Scotch Modern Italic or Peter Baker's Junicode Italic) will have both italic and upright forms of some characters in a single font: typically parentheses, other punctuation characters as well as other symbols such as mathematical characters or the © sign. This feature replaces the italic glyphs with the corresponding upright glyphs.

Example: The user would apply this feature to replace ) with ). In some typesetting practice, when an italic phrase is enclosed in parentheses within text set in Roman type, the parentheses should remain upright rather than italic. When the user sets the parentheses using the Roman font, spacing problems may occur in pairs such as the italic "f" followed by the Roman ")". By including the upright alternate glyphs for parentheses in the italic font, the type designer can control the spacing and kerning behavior in such pairs.

Recommended implementation: The uprf table maps the italic forms in a font to the corresponding upright forms (GSUB lookup type 1).

Application interface: For GIDs found in the uprf coverage table, the application passes the GIDs to the table and gets back one new GID for each.

UI suggestion: This feature should be off by default. Note that not all italic fonts have italic style-linking in the family, so this feature should be accessible for any font that includes it.

Script/language sensitivity: Applies mostly to alphabets that have distinct upright and italic styles such as Latin, Cyrillic or Greek; note that many non-Latin fonts contain Latin as well.

Feature interaction: This feature is mutually exclusive with 'ital', which should be turned off when it's applied. It may be used in combination with other substitution (GSUB) features, whose results it may override.

== Revise feature description 'ital' ==

In the feature description for 'ital', in the "Feature interaction" section, add as a first sentence:

"This feature is mutually exclusive with 'uprf', which should be turned off when it's applied."

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