Can the ring diacritic look condensed ?

Synthview's picture

Dear typophiles,
I’m asking myself if the ring (Å å Ů ů) can appear condensed in condensed typefaces or if it has to keep rounded.
Thanks in advance,


HVB's picture

If it could itself be condensed, the character would be called A-oval and not A-ring, so no, it has to be round. Like anything else, different designs might have other alternatives.

I hope that your question wasn't because you wanted to create a condensed font by just squeezing an existing font. You can't mechanically squeeze a font to get a condensed version. That destroys more than the shapes of glyphs, but their proportions and stroke widths, as well.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

If you show some examples I can at least tell if it still reads as an Å, given I use it daily.

Synthview's picture

You’re right for the image, sorry here it is.

It’s because I’d like to have the ring attached to A as it’s a display font, but doing it the ring is low on U too, and it touches the serifs on the most condensed version…

@HVB don’t worry I’m not squeezing any existing typeface, just designing a family and I find a circular ring takes much space on my condensed.

Synthview's picture

Or maybe you’d like it into a real word?
By the way, does the different languages using ring have different aesthetic preferences ? (BTW shouldn’t we write æsthetic ?)

riccard0's picture

If it could itself be condensed, the character would be called A-oval and not A-ring

The name “A-ring” is misleading, as it’s not in a language that actually use |Å|.
The “ring” it’s not a diacritic, it developed from |o| and, for example, can/should retain the same stroke modulation of the rest of letters. And there are plenty of examples of oval looking ”rings”, although they’re most often horizontally wide in order to save vertical space.

riccard0's picture

does the different languages using ring have different aesthetic preferences ?

After a cursory look at faces designed in Sweden and Denmark, I would say yes.

As for your typeface, one solution would be to rotate the shape 90°. You will lose the connection on |Å|, but will solve any problem with serifs in |Ů|. Otherwise, you can shorten the inside serifs in |Ů|. In any case, I think your æsthetic choice should be dictated by |Å|, since it seems to be the most used of the two.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Can we see it in a word? (“KRINGSJÅ”)

Combining a round ring with a narrow A is rarely problematic. I think your solution works, but it looks slightly uncomfortable to me. For the U: make the inside serifs smaller.

Nick Shinn's picture

I usually put some daylight between accents and letters, with the exception of cedilla.
In the face shown here, there is no reason not to make the ring circular, as I suspect the tittle, degree and period also are.

hrant's picture

{To Follow}

gaultney's picture

I disagree with some here. I think the 'ring' is conceptually connected with the A in the A-ring combo. That can be seen by the numerous examples where the ring is shown as attached to the A, not a separate floating piece. I once looked through about 100 of the most commonly used fonts out there (a very unscientific guess on my part) and found that around half had the ring connected.

So I see no reason to consider the ring as something that has to be perfectly circular, any more than the dot on the i has to be perfectly circular. Yes, both are commonly so, but more importantly should visually harmonize with the rest of the face. That goes whether the ring is connected or not.

And as for accents/diacritics in general, I think they should always follow the visual language established in the 'normal' letters, with similar contrast, terminals, weighting and alignment.

Synthview's picture

I’ve tried to remove inside serifs of the U, but it does not work with the wider styles of my font. In addition it do not work neither with bolder ones.
I really don’t know what to do : ideally I’d like to keep the ring attached to A, and if I detach it it seems to go very high, much more than all the other diacritics.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

The fancy diacritic solution.

Synthview's picture

Nice :) but I have to interpolate them so I have to opt for an easy solution.

riccard0's picture

Is that Iron Man’s chest? ;-)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You what?! (insert interrobang)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

OK, A: If you limit your designs to what can be interpolated, you’re giving technology way too much control. B: How does it look with a raised ring? And please show some other diacritics if they are also part of the problem! We can’t judge in a vacuum.

Synthview's picture

@Frank, thank you for all the feedbacks
A: it’s the deal between performance and workload and it’s just an ů ;-) But I can also do some tricks about the interpolation in fact. BTW the shape you’ve proposed reminds me too much the soviet hammers.
B: maybe raising the ring and making it a bit smaller would be the easiest solution.
But, Is an ů with touching ring readable or unacceptable at all?

Al the A+diacritics


Synthview's picture

because I imagine having the rings not aligned between A and U is wrong, or they are never used together?

riccard0's picture

In the light weights, the diacritics look a bit cramped to me.

daverowland's picture

I think a disconnected ring is the way to go here. As it stands the connected ring makes the A look taller compared to other A's, and the ring looks too low. You also need to check the optical alignments (both vertically and horizontally) of other accents. For example, in the light, the breve looks much lower than the circumflex, and in both weights the accents often look shifted to the left. One last thing: the ogonek like that opens up too much white space in the bottom counter of A. I'd make it bigger and more serif like on the inside. We'd need to see a lowercase descender to gauge how big it needs to be. It should descend the same amount, ie usually bigger than a cedilla.

Synthview's picture

Thank you Dave & Riccardo, I’m going to work on it. There are no lowercases, so no descenders.
Ogonek descends as cedilla of course. However, as it’s intended for titling, I’d like to avoid these 2 diacritics to go too much down.
Updates soon.
Thanks again, you’re all very kind and helpful.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I would raise it. This design looks very nice, btw.

gaultney's picture

It's great to see some clever, create strategies! The question of how creative to get probably depends on the intended usage. Display type benefits from greater creative freedom, which can be a distraction in text type.

There's a cultural dimension to this, too. For example, German foundries in the mid-20th C got very creative with their umlauts:

Zapf even did this with Melior and Optima:

Note that the E-umlaut in Melior shows that there was not technical requirement that the umlauts be lower. It was just a style choice.

Those were fine for the German market, but when the types were issues outside of Germany they universally adopted the more common (and boring) style.

Menhart and some other Czech designers (even current ones) have tried a very uniquely Czech design for the U-ring:

Some say this is old-fashioned, but I think it's a classic example of cultural character in design, and works great for a limited audience and purpose.

Synthview's picture

I’d seen this Czech U-ring beofre and I love it.
The problem, as you say Gauntley, is to disturb nobody with a diacritic (= cultural) variation, excepted if you’re sure it works somewhere and so add a locl › XXX OT feature, as for Polish kreska.

Synthview's picture

Better now?

Bendy's picture

I think you're doing the right thing by disconnecting them; Nordic type designers here on Typophile have mentioned before that it's only really acceptable to join the ring when vertical space is a problem, as in newspaper headlines. (I'm not convinced that looking at commonly used fonts is the most ideal way to determine best practice for diacritics; with more and more talented Nordic type designers on the scene now, including Frode, I'd rather check what they prefer.)

At any rate, I'd check the horizontal placement of your rings: to me they look too far left on the light and too far right on the bold. But I'm not a native user of these letters ;)

Looks like a very nice typeface, looking forward to seeing more!

Nick Shinn's picture

Kreska (Polish acute) quite often crosses the cap line.

There is a House Industries script which has language-specific accents.

I’ve included alternate glyphs for German accented caps in several faces, accessible as Stylistic Alternates or Titling options, but not language-coded.

Nordic type designers here on Typophile have mentioned before that it's only really acceptable to join the ring when vertical space is a problem, as in newspaper headlines.

This is the practice I’ve followed for many years.

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