Visual appearance of the language

jakabonca's picture

Certain font were designed to suit certain languages. For instance German needs smaller uppercase letters because of so many capitalized words. I imagine that Bodoni was designed for Italian. We also know international fonts.
Does anybody has a clue, hint or information about some serious literature about this problem.
I am interested in visual characteristics of all official European languages.
Thanks for any suggestion or help.

afonseca1974's picture

This text could be interesting (and has some references that also may be interesting)

Problems of diacritic design for Latin script text faces

I came across this 2 books one day (but did not read them). Perhaps can have some info for you.

Writing systems of the world: alphabets, syllabaries, pictograms
The Blackwell encyclopedia of writing systems

Dont know if this will help, but...


jakabonca's picture

I find the texts quite interesting, specially the first one.
Diacritics are quite a great problem. The x height has to be smaller to allocate enough space for all the carons … Specially the problem in Turkish and Ungarian.
But what about the visual character of a text - its visual structure as a whole.

quadibloc's picture

I know that I saw at least one book on typography that showed samples of text in German, Italian, French, and English in typefaces said to be especially suited to each one, and then in an "international" typeface that suited them all well.

Sadly, while I'm sure I still have it, I can't put my hands on it right away at the moment. I think it had a white dustjacket, and a nice illustration of all the characters in the font used for the Gutenberg Bible, and was large in size. (Pages were roughly 8 1/2" by 11" size, but not exactly - the width of a page in proportion to its height was greater than for that size of page.)

afonseca1974's picture

I saw once, also in a book, a text set in Univers in 3 languages: German, French and English (I think). The idea was to show that that look and feels was the same even in 3 diferent languages.
In the Adrian frutiger complete works book has lots of information about univers construction.


froo's picture

Das Detail in der Typografie by Jost Hochuli compares German text in two notations.

There were some attempts in mid-war Poland and Czechoslovakia, to replace diagonals with curved strokes, but they were rather utopian. I think that Minion works great with Polish language, byt I cannot precise my opinion; Minion has lots of details running in all directions, so the main diagonals, responsible for the irregularity - disappear.

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