What's the use of Reversed Italic?

I'm writing to you because I'd like to know the use or the meaning of reversed italic—left-sided italic—inside a paragraph?
I invite you to observe the case of the 1907 German Sans Serif Venus Linkskursiv.
Thanks in advance for your inputs.

VenusLinkskursiv.gif14.71 KB
hrant's picture

The only "mainstream" use of Ritalic (I didn't just make up that term :-) I've heard of is for denoting rivers on maps. Related to that, I think lettering on boats, planes, etc. can benefit from it.

That said, I do feel there's more unexplored potential for Ritalic, especially concerning mixing with Semitic scripts (which go leftward).


5star's picture

Didn't Si D. give reversed italics the definition of being used to express sarcasm...



ralf h.'s picture

What hrant said. For carthography you needed many different visual text styles to represent cities, areas, states, rivers, seas, … and using a “reversed italic” just was a way to achieve this.

Also popular beside Venus:
Römisch: http://www.typografie.info/3/page/Schriften/fonts.html/_/roemisch
Kursivschrift: http://www.typografie.info/3/page/Schriften/fonts.html/_/kursivschrift-r166

In copy texts, I can’t think of a specific purpose of such fonts. They are occasionally used for purely stylistic reasons.

hrant's picture

BTW: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/jha/bodoni-ritalic/?ref=x
But hurry, it's 99% off! :-/


quadibloc's picture

I'm of the opinion that for Hebrew, at least, italics should indeed slope in the opposite direction.

I wasn't aware of the use of reversed italics to indicate rivers. Using them to indicate sarcasm is an interesting idea, but it's just useful to have another way to indicate emphasis.

The thought has struck me that it might be a good thing if reversed italics for the Roman alphabet were sloped by a significantly smaller angle (say by 15 degrees or so) than normal italics. That would avoid them being mistaken for normal italics at a quick glance. Also, that would be useful to avoid clashing with how the letters are structured, and to allow them to be a slanted roman instead of a semi-script-like new set of characters like true italics. (And having them a slanted roman again differentiates them from normal italics in a second way.)

cuttlefish's picture

Regular left-leaning italics are usually sloped between 10° and 15° (I often see something close to 12°), with some variation among individual characters. Ritalics sloped 15° the other direction would look very laid-back indeed.

quadibloc's picture

My memory was playing tricks on me. I see, now that I checked, that ordinary Times 327 was sloped by 16 degrees, and Times 569 was sloped by 12 degrees. So I suppose a slope of 8 degrees or less is what I would really like to see for Ritalics. Perhaps 5 to 7 degrees.

Fournier's picture

> What hrant said. For carthography you needed many different visual
> text styles to represent cities, areas, states, rivers, seas, … and using
> a “reversed italic” just was a way to achieve this.

Can you provide an example (link, image) of map using reversed italic, please?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

A map over Finnmarksvidda from a recent book.

Fournier's picture

Thank you, it's lovely. What's the name of the serif font, by the way?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

That’s one of the nicest examples we have of Sindre’s Satyr in use. The sans serif is FF Legato. (The Cappelen Damm logo is written by Norway’s finest calligrapher – Christopher Haanes.)

donshottype's picture

Earlier similar thread

hrant's picture

I just remembered a very notable case of Ritalic:
(Sorry. :-)


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