Expletus Sans diacritics

1996type's picture


I've been working on the diacritics for Expletus Sans, which also in the critique section btw, and I'd like to know what you think of it.

First version

Second version with different placement of diacritics according to Myriad

Jasper de Waard

brianskywalker's picture

I think they look pretty good. But I'm not an expert on diecritics.

JanekZ's picture

Left oacute (your original) works probably for Spanish etc, right (shifted a bit to the right) works for Polish. More Polish letters with acute: ćńśź.

1996type's picture

I don't understand you. Does that small difference in placement really make a difference for Polish people? In your example IMO the acute seems to fall off. I'll have another look at the placement of diacritics in other typefaces.

Igor Freiberger's picture

In typography, small differences cause huge effects.

I second Janek's advice. Optimal placement for acute and grave accents are not an absolute center alignment, as one can find in many fonts. Accents are slight dislocated towards its 'direction', exactly as Janek's sample. Although he talks about Polish, I can assure you the same applies to accents in Portuguese. AFAIK, this criteria also must be considered to other Romance languages – Spanish, French, Italian, Romansh, Provençal, Catalan and Romanian, amongst other less known.

If you will verify other fonts, please also remember that many were made by designers whose languages have rare or no diacritics at all – especially English, German and Dutch. It's normal to a person who does not uses a language with many diacritics not to identify the better placement for them. Take for example Meta Serif, a font widely regarded as excellent. Its acute and grave accents are very centralized and tilde is very heavy, making it unusable for high quality typography in Portuguese.

This is why we use Typophile to get help about these questions. There is nothing better than eye from people who use diacritics dialy to criticize its design.

I suggest you to take a good look at Slimbach's fonts, whose diacritics are usually very good.

About your design, diacritics themselves are OK except tilde – I find it very round to Expletus style. Vertical gap may be a bit wider for all diacritics.

1996type's picture

Thanks Freiberger. When I said small difference I only did so, because Janekz said that it would be ok for spanish, but not for polish people. It was just miscommunication. I do realise it's important to place the diacritics correctly. I'll have a look at slimbach's fonts. I don't see what's wrong with tilde though.

Santiago Orozco's picture

I think Janekz's comment has calligraphical connotation, I mean when I writing in spanish tend to accent slightly to the right (acute).
I think it's more natural.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Jasper, I probably was not as clear as I should. Nothing is wrong with your tilde. I just have the opinion that it is very much geometric. It would combine more with Expluts style if you make its curves more open. But this is subjective.

You can benefit from this article by Adam Twardoch about Polish accents. If you plan to support Polish (and also Lithuanian) you need to include ogonek in your font.

JanekZ's picture

Excellent lecture, Igor!
This is the same picture squeezed horizontally. The left acute 'flies away':

1996type's picture

Wow Janekz! That's a great way to figure it out. Thanks. I'm currently changing the positioning according to Myriad. I've used Myriad quite often already as a comparison for expletus, so it fits perfectly. I'll upload the new placements as soon as i can.

This article seems to have switched to Polish diacritics. I am planning to just make basic latin diacritics, since I want to release a pro version later with extended language support, more weights, SmCa, etc.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Jasper, you may find this thread also useful. Collisions between f and dieresis are important in German and Finnish.

1996type's picture

Thanks. that's useful indeed

1996type's picture

I uploaded a new image with the placement of the diacritics based on Myriad. I hope this looks better. Thanks a lot so far.

1996type's picture

It already looks much better to me :-)

Igor Freiberger's picture

Agreed, much better. I still think your ê can be improved with the circumflex a bit more toward right. Like this:

Two other good threads (may not be very useful now, but will help when you do the pro version):

1996type's picture

Yes, that's true. Thanks again. I got some helpful threads thanks to you!

JoergGustafs's picture

what is the target size of your font? If it is supposed to work in text sizes, too, I suggest to make some of them a tad heavier. Especially your umlauts look too light/small to me. (to me, the tilde also looks very fragile, but I’m not used to tildes, maybe someone who is could judge that)

1996type's picture

Here's a new topic on some other glyphs. http://typophile.com/node/76721
Maybe you can help me with that too. thanks in advance.

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