Chinese Folks, help!!!!!

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

Hi,

i've got to design a brochure about an urbanism workshop that will take place in China. In fact, there will be three versions: a French, an English and a Chinese version (combined with a bit of English text). The porblem is: I know NOTHING about Chinese typography. I did read the following threads but I'm just more confuse than I was…

http://www.typophile.com/node/40032
http://www.typophile.com/node/47267
http://www.typophile.com/node/19200
http://www.typophile.com/node/38166
http://www.typophile.com/node/42433

So, basically, can you guide me about choosing a good chinese font (I don't know yet if the text will be set in traditional or simplified version). I'm in the early stage of the design so I don't really know what I'm looking for, but as I understand it, I'll have to work with the font that'll work best technically with a short squedule (must be send to print on monday, 25!!!). A formal clue: there'll probably be some gridnik or simple in the layout.

Is there Chinese typographic "rules" that I must know?

Is there technical issues that I should be aware of (I'm using InDesign Cs3 on 10.5.4)?

Everything else that you judge important…

Please remember that I'm a newbie about chinese type so if your answer could be short and consise, I'll appreciate! It would probably not be possible, but…

Thanks!

guiyong's picture

I am from Japan can i help?

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

sure, if you know chinese, but I think that you use the same ideograms?

marica's picture

Hi Alexandre, I'm Chinese, maybe I can help you on choosing the font? Most Chinese fonts released by large foundries support both simplified and traditional, so don't worry about it. I remember some Chinese fonts that may convey the sense you want with gridnik.
As long as you are using a Chinese font, there shouldn't any problem in InDesign, plus mac has very good support for asian languages.
Also you might want to be careful about the leading.

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

In wich way should I care about the leading? I though that Chinese was writing in vertical. See, I really know nothing about it.
Also if you can give me some names of fonts (or which aspect of the design of the font should I take a closer look to) and maby some references about how to deal with chinese type (in English or in French), I'll appreciate…

marica's picture

Simplified Chinese reads exactly like English, but Traditional Chinese reads from top to bottom and then from right to left, therefore some punctuation in Traditional Chinese are different, like quotes/double quotes. You said the workshop will take place in China? If mainland China then Simplified, if not then Traditional.
I can't really give you the names because they are all in Chinese and PinYin doesn't really make any sense. You can take a look here, or just go here, it's one of the most famous type foundries in China. Unfortunately I don't have any English articles that I know of that deal with Chinese type.

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

thanks marica,
can you precise the differences in ponctuation?
So, traditional Chinese is only used in Hong Kong and Macao, right?

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

『』 = “ ”
「」 = ‘’

The above probably won't display properly on windows...but that's how the quotes and double quotes are in Traditional Chinese.

And yes, Traditional Chinese is used in HK & Macao, and Taiwan as well.

marica's picture

Sorry for posting multiple times... there is a storm in Miami now and everything is a mess..

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

no problem.
So inline quotes for double quotes and straight quotes for single quote.

marica's picture

Here is an example. You see here comma, period, colon, semicolon and etc. are centered and have extra space around them.


That's a clip from a hong kong newspaper, set in traditional chinese but reads like you read english. I forgot to mention that the special way of reading (top to bottom, right to left) is generally used in books (for long text), but not for web. It's just a cultural thing...
Also there is no such thing as hyphen/hyphenation in chinese, but we do use dash. There is also a special punctuation that english doesn't have and it's in the picture.

btw...can a forum moderator delete those repeating posts?

Theunis de Jong's picture

Marica -- just curious. I don't often typeset Chinese, but it fascinates me.

The essence of the punctuation is that they have the same width as the regular characters, isn't it? Just as the monospace latin characters are. I also notice halfwidth characters (the Latin words and numerals), how about those? Should the visual 'grid' realign after these? Your image appears to be justified. And I noticed the first line indents precisely one square :-)

I see an en-dash and -- 8th line -- a "number one" character. Are those different enough? :-)

I've seen punctuation in two different styles: either left-aligned in the character square, or centered, as your example shows. But I can't find the special punctuation character you mention.

A last question: Chinese doesn't use hyphenation, but some phrases can only be understood correctly in character pairs, isn't it? Does that bother anyone when reading?

Hope the storm doesn't get any worse -- I'll keep an eye on CNN for ya.

marica's picture

In traditional chinese, punctuation and characters share the same width, because this makes things easier for setting text in both ways. In simplified chinese, the width of punctuation varies, because it's only set in one way, and they are left-aligned.
There is no dash in the picture....it's "one". An em-dash is twice as long as that, and there is no en-dash.
Character pairs... ;-) There are some hilarious jokes derived from incorrectly paired characters, but no it doesn't really matter that much.

I'm not an expert on mixing chinese and english together, but I usually just decide leading based on chinese and justify english later on. I try to avoid mixing them up mostly, because english words breaks up the "rhythm", in other words it interrupts the reading.

Alexandre Bélanger's picture

thanks for your answers marica.

sorry for my late comment, I was really busy…

Rafe Copeland's picture

In Japanese schools, maybe in China also, special gridded paper is used called genkoo yooshi which forces everything into a fixed width system. Or at least this is what I was taught years ago in Japanese at school

-Rafe

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