Capital Sharp S – Germany’s new character

ralf h.'s picture

With the release of Unicode 5.1 in 2008 the German alphabet got completed and has now a proper replacement for the character ß (called “Eszett” or “sharp s”) when type is set in uppercase letters or small caps. Even in Germany not everyone has ever thought about this missing character, but it usually just takes a couple of minutes to explain, why it is needed. Still, in the typographic community many completely deny the whole idea of this character. In this article I will comment on the typical problems and arguments …

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Comments

JoergGustafs's picture

Ralf, I agree with your arguments and I’m looking forward to seeing more /ẞ/s in the future.

However, its general acceptance is highly dependent on its shape.
The ẞ with a straight stem and a top serif, like the one in Rooney and even more in Vesper, seems completely out of place – to me, it always looks like a greek or cyrillic character in a Latin typeface.

The Spiekermann quote of the ‘Ansamm­lung schöner Buch­staben’ comes to mind …

Bendy's picture

Nice piece, thank you.

I really like that first picture with the SZ ligature!

eliason's picture

^ That was my first reaction. I don't know how well it works as type in context, but that is one sexy glyph!

flooce's picture

The ẞ with a straight stem and a top serif, like the one in Rooney and even more in Vesper, seems completely out of place – to me, it always looks like a greek or cyrillic character in a Latin typeface.
@Jörg Gustafs

Interesting, I have the opposite feeling bout the capital ß. If it is too round, it does not seem to be a proper capital letter...

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