Where does the custom of "opening" the counters come from?

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A Pseudonym's picture
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Joined: 29 Jul 2009 - 12:39pm
Where does the custom of "opening" the counters come from?
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Like in Scala's P, b, 6, and 9.
Does it serve any purpose other than style?

Janic's picture
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Joined: 14 Apr 2008 - 5:09am
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Calligraphic styling.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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It's an extreme form of inktrapping.
It could improve colour of text.
It's a chirographic vestige.

Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm
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Have a look at what Lirico does. The gaps fill in at text sizes.

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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It can be really pretty (reason enough, IMO).

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Also, it could deviate forms from
each other (for improved readability).

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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The “a” in Eras and Friz Quadrata relates to an archaïc letter form.
Uncial perhaps?

A Pseudonym's picture
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Joined: 29 Jul 2009 - 12:39pm
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@hrant: do you refer to Scala or do you speak generally? Because I have doubts about that 6/9 pair, since it's basically the same rotated form.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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No, not Scala - just a general possibility.

hhp

Dr Wouter Soudan's picture
Joined: 12 Sep 2006 - 8:01am
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In the case of Scala, opening up the counters definitely adds to its intended use. Martin Majoor conceived the typeface at the end of the 1980s with low resolution output devices in mind (such as the 300 ppi desktop laser printer). Hence also the slab serifs. So, a kind of ink trapping, indeed — or rather “pixel trapping”.

But the open counter of P has a much older, palaeographic origin. (Deviate the “Roman” (= Old Italic / Western Greek) Π (Pi) from the Greek Ρ (Rho).) Cfr the Trajan capitals, most Garamont interpretations, Palatino, &c.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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That doesn't work because -like any other small feature-
the gaps will be rendered differently depending on size,
closing entirely below a certain threshold*, completely
changing the character of the design.

* And this threshold will furthermore
vary depending on the character since
the size of the gap varies.

hhp

Dr Wouter Soudan's picture
Joined: 12 Sep 2006 - 8:01am
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Exactly. But with lighter/less pixels.