Vertical positioning of sputniks

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paul d hunt's picture
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Vertical positioning of sputniks
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is there a rule for how high diacritics should come off the glyph which they accent? I have been centrally aligning them on the dot of the i & j, but in many cases this seems too high? (but i’m not sure). Could anyone give me some advice/help with this one?

p.s. sputnik (spoot’-neek) n. Russian for travel companion; thus i like calling diacritics by this name. there’s your trivia for today…

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I would say there are two forces to consider, and they form the duality at the heart of type design: regularity, and readability. In this case the former would want your diacritics to align with stuff, like the cap height, ascender height, etc. And the latter would want you to eyeball things to balance the whole for optimal functionality, irrespective of alignment. The proximity of your font to the Display or Text extremes of the “function axis” determines how much weight you should give to each force.

BTW, sorry to ruin your day Paul, but “sputnik” is already a reserved term in type: it’s the informal name for the generic currency symbol, that circle with the four rays.  :-)

hhp

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> eliminates the jarring sense for the eye having
> to sort out yet another vertical resting place

But this is strictly a deliberative, conscious thing; during immersion it’s moot. On the other hand, if you can “snap” something to an existing alignment while helping readability (or at least not hurting it much), like with that “i”-dot approach, then that’s a win-win situation.

Paul, note also that your ideal placement will depend on a bunch of things like x-height size, diacritic size, etc.

hhp

paul d hunt's picture
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004 - 11:00am
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chris: thank you for your helpful suggestions. i really have done my homework (this time) and am familiar with all of the above information and frequently reference all of these sources. but i’m still having trouble… maybe i should just have you guys give me a quick crit to see if i have it about right… the following sample is my current placement with the diacritics lower than the dot of the i. this feels about right to me… but still seems a bit high. lemme know what you think…

sputniki

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Could you include a cap, ascender and descender?
Like “Hhp” maybe.  :->

hhp

paul d hunt's picture
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but of course:

another

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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To me, the diacritics look a bit weak in weight. The ring looks too small to hold up. Set a paragraph in 10 pint and post a pdf so we can see better. Hopefully Adam or Filip—the REAL EXPERTS—will chime in. I worked on my diacritics for monthsand am still new to it. If you like, you can see my painful progress here at <http://www.typophile.com/forums/messages/29/37378.html?1105149285>. You can also see crits from others on it as well.

ChrisL

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Well, this is a Jannon, so “atmosphere” is quite important, and to me it needs to be a bit airy. Your Roman accents are tigher than the italics, and at first I was trying to figure out which is more correct, but now I think maybe they actually need to be different, and they’re fine the way they are. Or I might lower both sets a hair.

hhp

paul d hunt's picture
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hmmm, i accidentaly put up the italic instead, but this is kinda funny… Mathematically… the cap heights, ascender heights, and x-heights are all equal. the accents for the roman and the italic are positioned at the same height. however, the roman diacritics are considerably lower than the dot of the i and the italic diacritics alighn with the dot of the italic i. and yet the italic diacritics seem more airy. how odd is that? it’s amazing what a little slant will do…

paul d hunt's picture
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ok, i lowered both a bit. If i could get a bit of feedback… Oh another thing: what do you think of having an OT stylistic set that has i’s and j’s with lowered dots for international settings? good idea? moot? lemme know what you think…

accents

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Yes, that’s more mainstream, more… Adobe.
Both good and bad, of course.

hhp

paul d hunt's picture
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The proximity of your font to the Display or Text extremes of the “function axis” determines how much weight you should give to each force.

which witch is which?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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The one with the levitating broom?
Seriously: I don’t know what you mean…

hhp

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Me thinks the dot of the i is correct but perhaps looking at the TYPO issue on diacritics (issue 10) is the ticket.
<http://www.magtypo.cz/download/typo_2004_10.pdf>

Also see: <http://www.typo.cz/euro/_pismo/pis-diacritics.html>

paul d hunt's picture
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Joined: 15 Jan 2004 - 11:00am
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hrant: i think i sorted it out… too much messing with diacritics has fried my brain… but regularity :display :: readablility:text, right? Any other help? i get the idea behind “eyeballing,” but my eyeballs are not quite callibrated for this kind of thing… yet. Should the accents (for text) be fairly tight? or looser? help!

chris: i’ve been referring quite a bit to that publication, actually, but i don’t remember anything on this topic… i’ll go back and glance through it again to see if i can find anything.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Filip Blazek, if memory serves me well, told me (when looking at a font of mine) to align lowercase diacritics with the dot of the i.

When I look at the results blown up large, it looks too high up but when you look at say 10pt text, it looks just as it should.
Logically, the dot of i makes sense since it finds a level that already exists and eliminates the jarring sense for the eye having to sort out yet another vertical resting place and perhaps the fatigue which another level might bring.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> regularity :display :: readablility:text, right?

Yes. But always remember that nothing exists in a pure state, the axis extreme is never attained.

> Should the accents (for text) be fairly tight? or looser?

I don’t know you well enough to know what those qualifiers really mean to you in ems.  :-)

But in general, I would say that accents for Text should be tighter than for Display, since you want a letter to be itself and distinct from other letters (like its non-accented base) more than a [compound] form that’s pleasing during deliberative observation.

hhp

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Chris Lozos's picture
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>Should the accents (for text) be fairly tight? or looser?<

To me, tighter for display and looser for text, just like letterspacing.

ChrisL