Critique of Composition Invited

Nolmendil's picture

Dear experts,

would anyone care to comment on the composition as sampled in this file?

More specifically, I would like to hear your opinions on the following points:
1) How do you find the pairing of the greek and latin fonts (p. 15)?
2) Running headers look a bit weird above secondary titles and headings (p.26). Can anything be done about that?
3) P. 102-103 illustrates a problem with second- (or more-) level headings. The first-level heading can be tabbed so that the text of the heading alingns with left indent of the paragraph below. But it is not possible with lower headings, since there is to little space. Increasing the paragraph indent would not work because the number in the first-level heading would be too far from the text of the heading. Surely I am not the first person to be solving this problem?

Thank you for any input.

Nolmendil

hrant's picture

I'm just looking at the Greek*:
- Although the Latin is a bit coarse, the Greek seems a bit too coarse (and the spacing is uneven).
- If you can't find a better Greek (which would be surprising, unless it's a budgetary issue) I think you've done a decent job; I might make the Greek slightly larger, but then the color might get too dark.

* Is it only on page 15?

hhp

Nolmendil's picture

Thanks, Hrant.
As for fonts, I have to go with free ones. What exactly do you mean by "coarse", BTW? In this issue, Greek is only on p. 15, but every now and then in the journal an article appears with extensive quotations in polytonic Greek. As for size - I've aimed at the same x-height as of the Latin font - do you mean that the Greek looks smaller than the Latin font, or does it seem the same to you but would wish it to be larger? I confess I hate varying x-heights...

hrant's picture

I have to go with free ones.

May I ask why that's the case?

By "coarse" I meant that the outlines are very wobbly, noticeably more so than in the Latin.

I hate varying x-heights...

People do like to line things up! But when it comes to reading-size text (as opposed to display typography) I believe there are more important factors, and people don't notice misalignment. When it comes to the way Latin and Greek each use the "Cartesian space" there seems to be a need to make Greek's "x-height" bigger (and at the expense of the ascenders, not the descenders). Admittedly few people actually do this when designing such a multi-script typeface, but I think it's just a matter of people getting over their desire to line things up and seeing the benefits of breaking the alignment. Note for example how in Latin the ascenders are usually better when they're slightly taller than the caps, not lined up.

BTW there's a very long -if valuable- recent thread about Greek typography:
http://typophile.com/node/101331
Yulia in that thread has actually made the Greek "x-height" bigger in her work.

hhp

nicolacaleffi's picture

Lukáš,

the editorial content of the journal looks complex, so I think that, in general, you have made a good work, althought I don't totally go along with the Junicode typepace.

On running heads (on top): try to keep author and article title on one single line, set everything in small caps (without initial caps)

On level headings (102-103): your choice seems correct, having set the first level (Loux’s arguments) in small caps and the second one (The argument from change) in upper and lower case. I don't know if the bolds are the best choice, I usually set paragraphs' title in italics. Anyway, I wonder if in the main text typeface the bold old style figures aren't available.

Besides that, a couple of suggestions:

The ornamental break is elegant but looks too large; I would choose a less invading element.

On the articles' title pages (for example, p. 28), I would align the title on top margin.

The colophon page looks too dense; try a smaller size for texts.

Maybe, I would extract the "Articles" indication on page 13 and put it in a single page (11); or, if you keep it on the same page, set it smaller (same for Notes and discussions on page 89, and Review Articles on 99).

Hope it helps.

Nolmendil's picture

Nicolacaleffi: Thanks for your thoughts, let me comment:
- I must say that I like the Junicode face the more the more I am using it; what is your problem with it?
- My problem with the headings is that there seems to be no way in the second-level heading to align the text (i.e. what comes after the number) with the paragraph indent of the following paragraph. Or is it just my problem and noone else is bothered by the slight difference? (In third-level headings the problem is not so painful, since the three numbers and two dots push the text so much to the right that the alignment with paragraph indent is not visually expected (at least not by myself).
- There are old-style figures for all weights and styles, but they seemed to me out of place in headings. I know the relationship between old-style and lining figures is not precisely equivalent to that of lowercase to uppercase letters, but to a certain point there is an analogy. Do you think this notion is wrong?
- I will consider your other suggestions, especially the running headers. Concerning these - do you think a rule separating the header from the body text might be a good alternative idea?
Thanks a lot!

nicolacaleffi's picture

Lukáš,

On Junicode: perhaps I have a personal idiosyncrasy with (digital) Caslon, or this fonts looks somehow unresolved to me. But it's hard to judge a typeface only onscreen, and if you're happy with it, go with it.

On headings sub-level and indent alignment: now (I think) I got what you mean, and it's not that disturbing for me.

On old style figures: if you use them in the roman weights, I think you should also use them in the bold (and also in small caps: "2. Loux’s arguments...")

On running headers: I wouldn't separate them from the body text with a rule (also consider that in some pages you already have a line above the footnotes). Simply set them in one single line with the right (visual) distance from the first line of text.

hrant's picture

Lukáš, why does it have to be a free font?

hhp

Nolmendil's picture

Hrant,

well, beimg a poor academic institution we are doing a low-cost journal, I am an editor and typesetter in one, unpaid for that work, all around us the standard is "just use Times New Roman and don't make such a fuss about it" - so I do not feel like asking the publisher to buy a professional font for a few Greek words in an issue. Besides, I started typesetting 10 years ago as a complete amateur, and only taught myslef things "by doing". I have some confidence now, but not enough to trust myself so much as to dare to convince someone that we really need to buy just this one very expensive font and no free one will do.

hrant's picture

I understand. Just a couple of points:
- It's not worth paying much for a few words in Greek, but you could find a typeface with Latin and Greek that are both nice, and harmonious.
- It doesn't have to be expensive. It's just that totally free sets a bad precedent, and teaching people to pay something for a font sets a good one.

hhp

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