Kerning ordmasculine and ordfeminine

Nick Job's picture

Just doing some kerning...

Which characters need to kern with ordmasculine and ordfeminine? Is it just numerals or is it letters too, and if so, is it just upper case or both upper and lower case?

Are ordmasculine and ordfeminine Spanish?

Sorry if this has been asked before. Please can you point me in right direction.

Nick Shinn's picture

http://www.microsoft.com/typography/developers/fdsspec/lowercase.aspx

In French, "Premier" may be set as 1er, and "Deuxième" as 2ème where the letters are superiors, so they may need some kerning too.
I have sometimes wondered, if the setting is all caps, should those superiors also be caps?!

Nick Job's picture

So just figures then. Thanks, Nick.

riccard0's picture

In Italian, they're used with roman numerals too (although using ordmasculine is often seen as redundant or a plain error).

philippe_g's picture

I have sometimes wondered, if the setting is all caps, should those superiors also be caps?!

Not according to Jean-Pierre Lacroux’ Orthotypographie ; he gives an example in the entry about siècles (centuries) : ROME AU XIXe SIÈCLE (the e being in superscript).

guifa's picture

I'm not sure why only ordinal masculine and ordinal feminine are given (well, likely a backwards-compatibility issue), because even in Spanish it's possible to have something other than º or ª:

Officially, when used with numbers they should always go after a period (DPHD: numerales: 1). In practice, they might not, and visually I think it's best to kern them pretty much directly over the period, or even better, combine them such that the period appears more as a combining underdot.

The most common endings are -o and -a, but they can also be used in the plural, -os and -as. Additionally, primero and tercero (and all ordinals that end with them) have an apocoptic singular form -er.

They're not just used on numbers though, and are often found in abbreviations, most especially Mª for María. But I've seen hrmn^os for "hermanos" amongst others. (edit: unlike French, in Spanish they should become capital in all, though limitations in computer typography make this less common in day-to-day typing)

My ultimate recommendation is to make a good superscript variant and place the o and a from that into the º and ª of the regular, since that covers you for other languages that might have even more complex forms. Opentype coding to place the dot(s) is just a superficial nicety.

Nick Shinn's picture

What about the underscore?
I usually place an underscore beneath the letter in ordmasculine and ordfeminine.
This is standard practice, as I understand it.

guifa's picture

Nick: (Speaking strictly about Spanish) Underscore is seen too, but I think, without much basis in actual knowledge, that's an English influence to it. In handwriting one doesn't place a mark under it nearly as much as much as we do in English. But, for the record doing it 1.º with the º being underlined is seen in the standards as an option (explicitly contrasted with 1.º without an underline). But that just looks too busy for my taste. The dot satisfies the "correctness" [insert smirking mock] and the visual nicety. Now what would be really fancy is to have the long over-tilde for abbreviations that went out of fashion about 150-250 years ago on inscriptions. But OT isn't great for variable-letter diacritics.

Nick Job's picture

FWIW the Microsoft website suggests that the underscore performs a distinguishing task (so the ordmasculine is not mistaken for a degree, which is more easily done at small sizes). I was instructed to put an underscore under them at an early stage by more than one typeface designer. Maybe the confusion with the degree was their reasoning?

nina's picture

Is it correct to assume though that underscores wouldn't be a good idea for any other superscripted letters than just the ordfeminine and ordmasculine? So in a fuller set, no underscores would be better in terms of coherence and versatility?

Nick Job's picture

Nina, I don't ever remember seeing another letter (apart from a and o) with an underscore. However here in the North West (of England), one often sees superior letters in old signage that do have a solid/continuous underline (e.g.B^ROS and L^TD).

eliason's picture

Wouldn't a "fuller set" use another naming convention? You could have an underlined ordfeminine and a not-underlined a.superior, no?

nina's picture

Craig, good point.
(Nick – that sounds like a nice thing to try and implement!)

dezcom's picture

I have made a habit of making the Numero a normal part of my glyph set, not for Russian but because most underscored uses of "o" are following N. I think Spanish is the biggest user.

Nick Job's picture

Nina, yes I've got a complete set of non-underlined .superiors planned in both upper and lower case. The only thing I haven't included is underline upper case masculine and feminine ordinals. Maybe I should for completeness... I think Nick S may include upper case masculine and feminine ordinals?

Chris, agreed, most comprehensive Pro fonts that I've looked at include a numero so I include one too (with an underline on the o).

BTW, one day I'm going to show you this font of mine.

dezcom's picture

Great, Nick, I'll be here for a few more years at least :-)

Nick Job's picture

>>>Great, Nick, I'll be here for a few more years at least :-)

I might not...I think kerning may kill me. Currently on over 3,500 pairs (not including expansion). Haven't even started on the kerning for my italic/oblique yet!

dezcom's picture

As Will's cousin, Aldus Shakespeare, once said, "...To kern or not to kern, that is the question. ...suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..." :-)

nina's picture

"a complete set of non-underlined .superiors"
What, a through z? Wow.

Nick Job's picture

>>>What, a through z? Wow.

And A through Z. But not really wow as they are all based squarely on a series of mathematical transformations of the originals to achieve thickness, y-position and additional spacing on either side. Some designers also give the glyphs a bit of a stretch in the x-direction too but there are only so many hours in the day.

Incidentally, my lower case superiors have a slightly bigger x-height relative to the caps superiors compared with the original upper and lower case.

You also get some very particular and thorough designers who add accented superiors so as not to disappoint, for example, continental European users.

Luis Siquot's picture

Hi Nick,
I don´t know if that is now usefull for you...
The ordinals feminine and masculine are part of the written Spanish language.
1º means first masculine (primero), 2ª means second feminine (segunda), and so on: Piso 34º = 34th Floor. You have to work with all the numbers that would need kerning
If your font has only caps or caps and small caps you can use the caps as ordinals.
When has upper and lowercase than your ordinals should be lowercase.
The old fashion is to underscore the ordinals.
But you can also eliminate the underscore.
I am working with a Caps/Small caps alphabet and I send you a sample of the matter.
Regards, Luis

Nick Job's picture

Thanks, Luis.

I m starting to think that I'm going to need an upper case ordmasculine and ordfeminine. The only thing is what to call them: ordmasculine.alt and ordfeminine.alt maybe? Can't really do that because I've got an alternative lower case a (single storey) so I think there is already an ordfeminine.alt ... help, someone, please!

If a job's worth doing then it's worth doing properly!

dezcom's picture

.uc

Nick Job's picture

.uc

Short but sweet, Chris. Ta.

However, I have upper case versions of things like parentheses, brackets, slashes that I have called .cap because that's what I was told to use, I think that may be Adobe's standard.

Does it make more sense to call them ordmasculine.cap and ordfeminine.cap or does .cap imply something else to you (i.e. a glyph that has been repositioned for all-caps setting, which I suppose this kind of is, thinking about it.)

agisaak's picture

You can use any suffix you want. These aren't normally seen by the user, and don't affect how the font behaves. You want to use something that makes sense to you.

Adobe suggests using feature tags as suffixes, but nothing bad will happen if you don't follow this recommendation provided the base glyph (i.e. the part before any suffixes) is correctly named.

André

dezcom's picture

.cap is fine as well. The main thing you are after is a system that you find logical and consistent. You want to be able to spot glyph in your code which explains what that glyph is to verify it is in the correct class.

Nick Job's picture

Thanks very much, André and Chris.

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