I’d love some feedback on these glyphs, especially from Greek speakers and classicists. Just in case the heavily coved serifs and x-height don’t give it away, I’m developing them as companions to ITC Bookman.
[sample setting that includes several characters discussed below]
Beyond the usual distortions brought about by my latin-alphabet prejudices, it’s not surprising that the most challenging shapes for me have been several archaic letters used mostly in academic contexts and for formal numeration (not unlike the use of roman numerals in latin scripts).
I’m not looking to replicate these letters’ historic forms in an epigraphic way, but rather to see how far I can stretch them into the modern face with which I’m working, while retaining their recognizable features.
As letters that never survived the medieval period, their basic shapes are uncial, but I want to adapt them into miniscule/majuscule forms. I’m far from the ﬁrst to try this; in fact, several advocates who congregate around Unicode successfully lobbied to get both forms into the standard over the past couple years. I’ve used some of these folks’ examples and descriptions as the basis of my own doodling.
The miniscule stigma is a well-established form very similar to the ﬁnal sigma. Because the origins of this modern form are based upon medieval uncial ligatures of sigma and tau, the capital letter has less tradition behind it.
Playing around with the shapes, my goal was to evoke both the lunate Sigma (the source of the Cyrillic C [Es]) and the uptick and tail of the letter’s miniscule form. In the following image, I’ve suggested an array of glyphs that increasingly move toward the form of the lunate Sigma; in fact, the very last one is a literal ligature of this letter and a capital Tau; something like the Ethel (
Adapting archaic Greek glyphs