Matching English and Japanese Typefaces

I'm currently working on a project at university, trying to create a typeface in both English and Japanese that work with each other seamlessly. What Im curious to find out is;

- Your thoughts on the idea
- Any suggestions or recomendations
- Any really good or even really bad examples of these two languages at play.

Thanks for your help.

lunde's picture

Virtually all Japanese typefaces include a Latin component, meaning that it is a problem that is tackled by every Japanese type foundry, Adobe included.

Given that the Latin glyphs are an add-on to the Japanese glyphs, meaning that the Japanese glyphs are primary, if you need to compromise the design of the glyphs for one of the scripts, it should be for the Latin glyphs, because they are not primary. But, there shouldn't be a need to compromise the glyphs of either script.

There are a few things to consider. One is to match the style, followed by the weight. Next, consider that the Japanese glyphs (kana, kanji, symbols, and punctuation) are optically centered within a square, but that the Latin glyphs rest on a baseline that is offset to some degree from the bottom of the square, anywhere from 10 to 20 percent, with 12 percent being the most common.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Check out Kazuraki & Brioso. Kazurai’s latin letters are scaled up letters from Brioso Semibold Display.

apetickler's picture

This sounds like a difficult project.

I'm definitely not an expert in this area, but I've got a little experience in mixing the two.
almost always Latin character sets included in Japanese fonts, but they tend to be either:

  • fixed-width characters designed to be used for single words, acronyms, etc. within longer passages of Japanese text, or
  • just copies of some existing, nondescript Latin typeface.

I think there are also often both. You'd think that if you're setting a little Japanese in the middle of a bunch of Latin, you'd want that second character set. Sometimes this looks just fine, but since the Japanese characters are usually cap height, it can also look really awkward. I don't know if anyone else feels the same way, but in many cases, my eye expects to see the Japanese text at something closer to the height of small caps.

I think that in order for a single typeface to include Latin and Japanese characters and look good all the time, it would need full caps, small caps, fixed-width versions of everything, and two heights of Japanese characters. Ugh.

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