Cyrillic forms

Nick Job's picture

Question for Russian and other Cyrillic users...

Is it fair game to have a Cyrillic /El/ looking like a Greek /Lambda/ as your standard glyph?

Is it in any way unacceptable?

Or is it just a localised form?

I guess the same question applies to /De/ and /Lje/ too.

Cheers,
Nick.

kateliev's picture

Hi, some may say it is a localized form. I personally think that it is actually the more appropriate form for those letters. Some may state that this is more Bulgarian or Ukrainian look for those letters.

I think it depends on the overall style of the typeface, and the market you are willing to sell it to. No offense to anyone, but i have heard that Russians actually do not like this way of interpreting Л, Д ...so it is up to you..

BTW look here https://www.facebook.com/cyrillictype .
On this facebook page we have posted many cyrillic type specimens, to serve as inspirations in such moments. May be you will find your answer there.

PS: I am actually Bulgarian, and prefer the triangular Cyrillic forms (Lambda based) - i find them adding more dynamic look to the typeface...

Nick Job's picture

Thanks, Vassil.

Any Russians out there who want to comment on this...?

John Hudson's picture

It depends entirely on the style of the typeface. There are established idioms of Cyrillic type design, just as there are of Latin type design, so unless you're coming up with some novel style you need to research the idioms carefully and understand what is appropriate to each. The shape of the Д and Л is one of the most characteristic features of most idioms. The triangular form is most often found in styles based on broad-nib pen constructions influenced by the style of renaissance Latin types, e.g. Lazurski.

Personally, I don't favour the triangular form, even in my types based on broad-nib styles, and think it works best in all-caps display types, not text.

Nick Job's picture

Thanks, John.

You don't go into geographical preferences, but rather base the choices one should make on typographic idioms. There are however a number of well-known foundries who will offer alternates based on let's say, a Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian or Ukrainian preference. What I am finding difficult is plot a course through (a) what looks right for internal fit/consistency (with Latin and Greek too), (b) what is idiomatically/stylistically acceptable (which is subtly different from (a)), (c) what helps legibility/readability (almost impossible to gauge as a non-Russian/Cyrillic reader), and (d) what is generally preferred by (or at least more familiar to) the majority of Cyrillic end-users.

I'll stick with just Latin next time and not risk looking a fool!

Nick Shinn's picture

I don't believe this distinction is freighted with quite so much significance as some would have. Compare with alternate forms of /g in Latin: if the face is a revival or pointedly idiomatic, then one has to be "proper" (if one wants to control the degree of conformity), but for an original design, it sets its own standard.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

In the present-day Cyrillic typography there exist three main construction patterns of the upper- and lower-case Д:

(a) The delta-like, isosceles; it is often used in Old-Style serifs, in Geometric and Humanist sans-serifs (e.g., in Lazurski, ITC Kabel and Hypatia), and also in type designs inspired by Roman monumental lettering (e.g., Trajan Pro 3, Goudy Trajan, SPQR);

(b) The right-triangular, lateen-like: it is typical of the 18th–early 19th century Moderns (Didot, Bodoni, etc.), and has the similar historical flavour (e.g., in ITC Bodoni, Elizabeth and ITC Machine); this pattern is occasionally used in other designs, with no connotation to style Empire; and

(c) The trapezoid; it is much more appropriate for Modern and Grotesque sans-serifs (e.g., in Bodoni and Helvetica World); this pattern is also typical for the late 19th-century ‘Old-Face’ romans designed in the eclectic Beaux-Arts style, e.g., Literaturnaya, née Lateinisch (Berthold, 1901).

In (b) and (c) the ascending diagonal is drawn either straight, or sagging, or—occasionally—slightly bowed.

The form of the Д and д is usually coördinated with the Л, л, Љ, and љ, e.g., in Maiola, Standard Poster, or Bliss Pro (this is the general rule, and there are many exceptions, like Academy, Kis, Candara).

The trapezium-based pattern of the sans-serif Д with the top left corner rounded—e.g., in ITC Benguiat Gothic, Sistemnyi, or in ITC Anna—is well familiar to the users of Cyrillic.

The Latin form (D) is used in most Cyrillic script typefaces, inspired by both handwriting and calligraphy (but not in italics), e.g., Kapelka, English 157, Bello, Decor, Kisty-C, Zhikharev, ITC True Grit, ITC Zapf Chancery.

Nick Job's picture

Thank you Maxim, that is very helpful.

I am torn between approaches (a) and (c) for a contemporary sans serif design which I am working on. I am intrigued by the deltoid shape because I have a very straight /y/ (a bit like Verdana) and was trying to avoid hooks on the Л, л and wondered if there were any other design options for the Л, л, Д and д.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

I am torn between approaches (a) and (c) for a contemporary sans serif design which I am working on. I am intrigued by the deltoid shape because I have a very straight /y/ (a bit like Verdana) and was trying to avoid hooks on the Л, л and wondered if there were any other design options for the Л, л, Д and д.

[Emphasis mine. мЖ] The real question is, what do you mean by ‘contemporary’? Is that a Geometric, or a Humanist sans? A Grotesque or a Neo-grotesque, etc. There are no hard and fast rules for glyph construction of ‘a Cyrillic’ typeface—nor are there any for ‘a Latin’ typeface, for that matter. Just to make it a bit clearer: compare the straight-legged R and the caudate Q in an Old-Style roman with their bow-legged and bob-tailed counterparts in a Modern typeface… Like John Hudson says,

It depends entirely on the style of the typeface.

Nick Shinn's picture

Helen Pro (Thin), by HermesSoft, 2002, Bulgaria:

Nick Job's picture

Nick, that Hermes font strikes me as being internally inconsistent. It seems to me like the larger part of the Cyrillic world tend to use a consistent shape for upper and lower case D.

Maxim, my font is, I suppose, fairly organic and humanistic in appearance but still not sure I can cope with deltoid shapes. The jury is still out. Maybe I should send it to you to see what you make of it...?

N

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Maybe I should send it to you to see what you make of it...?

Ok.

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