Estimated Symbol - must it always be the same?

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Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
Estimated Symbol - must it always be the same?
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I don't think I've ever come across one that wasn't exactly the same. Perhaps stretched a bit horizontally or vertically, but hardly ever matching the style and personality of the font it's part of.

Chris Goodwin's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005 - 8:46am
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From Wikipedia:

Estimated sign

The mark looks like a stylised lower-case "e" and its shape is precisely defined by an EU directive.

If it was styled to match the font it technically stops being an official estimated sign and becomes just another 'e'.

See also CE marking

Jan Żurawski's picture
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Joined: 3 Sep 2005 - 12:21pm
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Thanks, good reason to not include this sign.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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An ugly glyph isn't nearly as bad as an ugly lawsuit. And if you don't include it you could lose some sales. Who wants to pay for somebody else's lack of skill and taste? Better follow the rule here.

hhp

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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possible Antique Olive Nord estimated sign

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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That's just another "e".

hhp

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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In order to be useful, the sign has to correspond to the EU specifications, since its use is precisely in the domain of EU packaging regulations.

Some years ago, I created a FontLab source containing just this glyph, carefully following the EU specifications, which is freely available for download.

It is worth putting this in your fonts because it will enable some European customers to check a box in their procurement requirements, even though they could get the glyph from numerous other sources.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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I disagree, hrant. This is the e:

(I did forget to round the inner corners though.)

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Ryan, what you propose may or may not be 'just another e'. But one thing it definitely is not is an EU estimated symbol.

Some people try to draw a parallel between this symbol and the euro sign, which also has an official reference form documented by the EU. But the difference is that the estimated symbol is legally required to have the specified form in use, and if a company were to use your Antique Olive Nord form in their packaging they could run afoul of trade regulations.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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You mean if a European company did so.

this place needs more rebels.

Simon Daniels's picture
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Joined: 11 Apr 2002 - 6:37pm
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>this place needs more rebels.

What would you say to a customer who had to ship a million bottles to landfill because you decided to be "creative" over this symbol?

PS, and yes Monday is my troll feeding day.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Not just a European company - any company that wants to sell in Europe. And when you're making a font do you really want to limit your users to makers of non-European products? And really, do you think somebody's going to choose your font because your Estimated sign looks cool?

Don't rebel at the expense of your users - they're on your side, but they don't want to pay for your desire for self-expression. And this sort of humility is exactly what Design -as opposed to Art- is about. You want to make a difference? The stupid Estimated symbol is the last place to try that. Take a shot at the lc "el" instead - it's the village idiot of the Latin alphabet.

hhp

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Rebel? Someone who designs a trade regulation symbol in a way that makes it unusable as a trade regulation symbol? What is that rebelling against?

If you want to be a rebel, go organise the workers in your local Starbucks as an IWW shop.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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upon looking into this further, I've found I was incorrect about what I thought this mark was. Turns out it's a mark actually designed and issued by the EU. I had thought it was simply a mathematical symbol. So, yes, I suppose the EU does have a right to define this glyph exactly.

Neil Caldwell's picture
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Joined: 8 Jan 2010 - 12:11am
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PS, and yes Monday is my troll feeding day.

:)

n.

Chris Goodwin's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005 - 8:46am
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Wikipedia is your friend.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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This fail brought to you by NONBook.

Nick Shinn's picture
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I don’t see anything wrong with applying a slight veneer of styling to this glyph, as long as it’s in keeping with the spirit of the EU directive. After all, think of the Euro!

Besides, package designers generally make it relatively large in relation to the accompanying text, so that it looks like the symbol it’s supposed to be, not just a big /e — and also because they have to bump up its size, as it’s a “didone” with hairlines that are in danger of disappearing.

There may well also be some regulation about its mandatory size. In that case, maybe the didone effect is intentional, because it suggests to designers that they increase its size?!

It’s a difficult design—a symbol that is supposed to look like a symbol, and yet also suggest “e” for estimated and possibly “e” for European.

Here’s the symbol in Myriad and my Richler typeface, at same size as the type, and enlarged:

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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I'm actually having a hard time finding the text from this exact directive. I would like to read it.

Nick you're gonna cause landfills to be filled with useless product!!! What would you say then, huh?! What would you say?! ;-)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Nick, I don't think this is a "spirit" thing. If some bureaucrat -or opportunist- notices the deviation from the "letter of the law" then you're in real trouble.

As John said, a comparison with the Euro doesn't go very far (although one can make an argument for including an "official" one on the side).

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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Ryan, I think my design would work for the end user, but on reflection it might be rejected by a licensing committee.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture
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Joined: 24 Nov 2011 - 11:30am
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Would the type designer really be the one in trouble though? Wouldn't it be the responsibility of the printers?

Nick, I was totally kidding, rock on rebel!

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Would the type designer really be the one in trouble though?

Possibly. Consider, a company purchases from you a license to a font that supports the estimated character. They use the font, and then get into legal or regulatory difficulties that cost them money. They are very likely to come looking for compensation.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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And will be confronted by the typical cast-iron font EULA disclaiming all responsibility for anything ever :-)

Chris Goodwin's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005 - 8:46am
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Why spend the time changing it and intentionally make your font less useful to the end user? It's clear cut that the estimated symbol should conform to it's specified design.

Sure, you might get away with it, but it's just self-serving showboating on the part of the type designer. A bit precious.

John Savard's picture
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Joined: 23 Nov 2009 - 8:42pm
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I suppose that this sign, then, needs to be treated as a logotype, similarly to other things that appear on packaging, such as the symbols for RoHS compliance, CSA and UL approval, FCC authorization, and so on. Which makes me wonder if it even belongs in any normal fon, as opposed to a special font of useful logotypes - but it was assigned a Unicode point, which, of course, leads me to fear that some types would include variant forms due to simple ignorance rather than rebellion.

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Yes, it is something like a logotype. The only variation I make when including it in fonts is to scale the outline so that it corresponds to the height of the lining numerals, since it will almost always be used in concert with them. I don't think it is something that needs to be in every font, and the reason it has become relatively common is that it was included in the WGL4 set, which was adopted as a basis for a lot of pan-European OT fonts.

Bert Vanderveen's picture
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Joined: 13 Jun 2004 - 8:19am
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Packaging designers are bound to use the symbol as part of a specific symbol font, not as part of 'any' font.

Tim Daly's picture
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Joined: 11 Sep 2003 - 9:04am
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“This letter shall have the form shown in the drawing contained in section 3 of Annex II to Directive 71/316/EEC.”

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CONSLEG:1971L0316:...

I cannot recall seeing these letter identifiers (p2).

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2007:073:0010...

Tim

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Nick, you guys don't have frivolous lawsuits up there? Over here a big corporation's lawyer army can look at you funny and you're bankrupt.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture
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This is the first font-related issue I’ve come across where I could imagine there may be some legal culpability on the part of a foundry, that the usual EULA disclaimers might not cover.

I can see that I’ve made a mistake by styling the Estimate symbol in Richler, but fortunately this hasn’t been released yet.

I wouldn’t say that this attention to detail is self-serving and precious though, Chris.
One is catering to the package designer who is creating a design of subtle stylistic consistency, and loth to destroy it with a bloody great clumsy generic bureacratic blot—necessary though that identification may be for the consumer.

Tim Daly's picture
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Joined: 11 Sep 2003 - 9:04am
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Because of the minimum size regulations, I cut and paste an outlined vector from Illustrator into InDesign, rather than use it from the font that I am using.

Tim

John Hudson's picture
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Joined: 21 Dec 2002 - 11:00am
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Actually, the consumer is the last person for whom the symbol is necessary. Essentially, this symbol is used to identify a tolerance of inexactitude in weight or quantity, within which a company may trade. It avoids the possibility of formal complaint on the part of the consumer whose purchase turns out to be less than the specified quantity or weight, so long as it is within the allowed tolerance of the estimated amount specified on the package.

Anyway, everyone feel free to use the estimated symbol outline that I provide, and use the time you save not making your own to do something truly creative (or rebellious).

Nick Shinn's picture
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Joined: 8 Jul 2003 - 11:00am
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The estimated character could be compared to the Woolmark, an indication to consumers that they’re not being deceived by the manufacturer with regards to the quality or amount of product. Now there’s a good symbol.

Chris Goodwin's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2005 - 8:46am
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Self-serving is probably a bit strong...

The Woolmark device is a lovely bit of work.