Handling vernacular stylization of the characters

Peroyomas's picture

What's the better way to put regional variations of characters in a font? I ask because sometimes there's stuff that is not part of an standardized glyph shape —like the different forms for the Eng in Sami and African languages— but just some kind of stylization that may look unfamiliar or incorrect to people that don't speak that language. As an Spanish speaker, I've seen that half of the time the tilde over the N is simplified in a macron, and there's some weird variations sometimes. There's no problem because the macron isn't used in the language and the fact that there's a bar over the N is enough to identify it. The same happens with other languages, which may use the same stylization over a letter that in another language may feel awkward or confusing.

The same with some stylized version of the greek characters I have seen in some fonts, which even if logical may look odd for people that is not too used to them.

Jackson's picture

There are stylistic alternates (which have different shapes for aesthetic reasons) and there are localized forms (which have different shapes to adapt to specific languages). If you're interested in localized forms you can check out House Industries' Studio Lettering which takes it to an extreme http://www.houseind.com/fonts/studiolettering/fontfeatures.

joeclark's picture

Florian Hardwig has taken a few pictures of vernacular umlauts (“tittles”).

Joe Clark

Ray Larabie's picture

Perhaps not in text fonts but in display fonts, there seems to be a lot of tolerance for screwing around with accents. Take a risk. If anyone's confused, they can contact you and you can change the accents in the next version. What would be useful is a Flickr pool of wacky accents so font designers can get a feel for how far they can be pushed.

There are no languages in which a macron and a tilde need to be differentiated, so go nuts.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Joe, thanks for the link.

Ray said: What would be useful is a Flickr pool of wacky accents
Ray, there is such a pool: The Fancy Diacritcs Group. We do have a stylized Ñ aswell.

so font designers can get a feel for how far they can be pushed

Take care, it’s just a collection: Some of the findings are very nice and innovative, others are plain outrageous. Almost all of the images show display lettering.

Ray Larabie's picture

Thanks, Florian. That's just what I needed.

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