Itallics, small caps, swash

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Torgeir Strand Henriksen's picture
Joined: 20 Nov 2004 - 10:45am
Itallics, small caps, swash
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Hi!

I need some help with understanding the “relationship” (for the lack of a better word) between italics, small caps, and swash caps. It seems not very common for fonts to come with italic small caps, so I suppose this means they’re not frequently used. But if italics is to be used for a phrase that normally includes small caps, how is this normally resolved? By just using normal italic caps instead? Mechanical italic small caps? Or is it the best to choose a font that contains optical italic small caps? This is my main question, but it also leads me to wonder (out of curiosity), how is it common to deal with this issue if italic swash caps are used?

Thanks,
Torgeir

Daniel Weaver's picture
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Joined: 17 Jan 2004 - 12:20pm
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Torgeir, I gather the limitations on fonts were the amount of glyphs it could hold. Thus some designers either left out true small caps and things like old style numbers. The reason I bring this up is with Open Type that will change. The amount of glyphs an Open Type font can support is huge. So look for OT on future purchaces of typefaces.

As for Swash Caps they are ment to be used sparingly. I also use Small Caps sparingly. For body text its Roman. For emphsis its Italic.

Torgeir Strand Henriksen's picture
Joined: 20 Nov 2004 - 10:45am
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I don’t know if glyph amount limitation has been the cause, there are often separate fonts for small caps (and text figures). But maybe Open Type will change the situation either way.

My understanding of small caps is that they’re used for e.g. initialisms (if that’s what you mean by sparingly?). The problem of italic small caps appeared when I wanted to emphasize a phrase/expression containing an initialism, but unless I misunderstand, using italic small caps for these rare cases would be prefered?

Dan Reynolds's picture
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Joined: 20 Jul 2002 - 11:00am
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>Torgeir, I gather the limitations on fonts were the amount of glyphs it could hold. Thus some designers either left out true small caps and things like old style numbers. The reason I bring this up is with Open Type that will change.

Torgeir, Daniel is exactly correct. If you look at a new big re-release of an older font family in OpenType, you’ll see that these things have been added in where they weren’t previously. Avenir NEXT, for instance, has italic small caps and old style figures. The old Avenir had neither SC nor OSF in any of its weights.

Often in text, small caps serve a very good visual role

Torgeir Strand Henriksen's picture
Joined: 20 Nov 2004 - 10:45am
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I see, I just wasn’t sure since some fonts (e.g. Minion) have italic small caps in the Type 1 version as well. Thanks for clearing it up, and both of you for the help!