Linotype ligs

Quemadura's picture

Hello all.

For book typography I've used for years and have become intimate w/ Electra, MFB's Bodoni Book, and several other Linotype digitizations.

Only now getting around to asking (after having excitedly gone to purchase an OT Electra, expecting full ligs to be a part of it), Why on earth do they only feature fi and fl ligatures, whereas their Monotype peers feature full f ligs?

The ff, ffi, and ffl ligs in the metal Electra are very handsome. I'd love to be able to use them still.

Any wisdom much appreciated,


hrant's picture

In the old ASCII-8 encoding there was limited room, and Windows sacrificed "ff", "ffi" and "ffl". In turn, MacOS failed to support the thorn and eth for example (so you couldn't set Icelandic). The worse thing about all that wasn't the missing stuff in each OS, it was that although the bottom half of ASCII-8 (basically ASCII-7) was standardized, the upper wasn't. That might have been because Apple needed to sell itself as being typographically savvy (which it no longer bothers with - now it's all about music and movin' pitcherz) and it saw the fancy ligatures as more important than compatibility.


Quemadura's picture

hhp, thanks very much for this.

If I'd like to have access to the complete f ligatures for Electra, would I pay someone to modify an OT version of Electra for me? Pardon the naivete here; I don't know what's possible. For years I've simply kerned the f into the fi and fl ligs, but that's like spray-painting a dead lawn green.

Would very much like to deploy them as I design and set a new book by one of the world's renown authors.

And make WAD happy (wherever he is).

All the best, JC

hrant's picture

I thought there would already be a version with the extra ligatures.

If you do need to have those added, there are quite a number of people here who could do it for you. Including yours truly. :-) One thing to work out is the permission to modify Electra. The EULA (licensing agreement) of Monotype -now the owner of Linotype- does not seem to permit it (although we might be able to acquire permission).* There is a work-around however: Adobe happens to sell Linotype Electra, and their EULA does permit modification**... If the copy you have was not purchased from Adobe you might have to buy another copy from them first.

* See point 9 here:
There is however a reference to "permitted modifications" in point 13...

** I once modified Garamond Premier for a client.

If you'd like to discuss this directly: hpapazian at gmail dot com


HVB's picture

Parkinson's Electra Pro (from Linotype) has five f-ligatures (ffi fi, ff, fl, and ffl) as well as other opentype features.

hrant's picture

Ah, good (and no great shock).
It does however seem different in some respects:


Quemadura's picture

Thanks, HVB and hrant.

I'm either a stubborn a**hole, or too wed to Linotype Electra, but Parkinson's f, lacking that slightly winglike aspect, worries me.

However, given it's current and Parkinson must have factored offset printing into his rethinking of it, I should buy it and try it.

Hrant: I'll email you about custom ligs. This would be ideal, as I've slowly kerned and rekerned (in Quark) my copy of Electra over the years.

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