Seeking an upright italic serif

stormbind's picture


I have been working with Rotis Semi Serif and the conflicting a/g is really started to bother me. The g is a relaxing italic, while the a is stuffy lowercase roman.

Could you please suggest a font that has an italic alphabet, sits upright, and has serifs. To be a little more demanding, a slanted texture would be interesting as I have not seen that on an upright typeface :)

Thank you so much!!

lukas®'s picture

FF Seria has a nearly upright italic.

stormbind's picture

The g in FF Seria is a lowercase roman.

Quincunx's picture

FF Quadraat has a fairly upright italic.

Michel Boyer's picture

Nara has a roman, an upright italic (called cursive) and an italic.

stormbind's picture

Nara was interesting and hard to read. Quadraat is a great improvement. Cursive eh? Thanks! :)

stormbind's picture

I have thought about it and Quadraat Italic is weak because it has a lot of character and not many variations.

Are there any more suggestions? I would like to use it as body text.

Bendy's picture

ITC Cerigo is an interesting one.
Are you thinking along the lines of Stone Informal?

riccard0's picture

I think you could find something here:

stormbind's picture

Yes indeed Bendy, Stone is beautiful! :)

Thanks, both of your suggestions are in my trials. Thanks Ricardo. I tentatively suggest that cursive/non-cursive is the quality that contrast the two threads :)

Bendy's picture

Yes, in a way Nina was looking for the opposite thing: a noncursive italic that contrasted with the roman despite only a small slope. Here I think we are looking for a cursive vertical italic?

stormbind's picture

Well, I may have used outmoded (and misleading) vocabulary because I have recently read Gill's 1931 Essay on Typography and I am still learning. Gill recognised only three alphabets: roman, roman lowercase, italic. His meaning of italic may be equivalent to contemporary cursive.

If I am permitted to give the fonts a personality: Perhaps I am aiming for cursive and vertical - as though the words are to be perceived as flexible and upholding. I reject roman typefaces because I associate them with inflexible content, such as the words of a printed book. I quite like Minion, for example, but it has that entrenched roman quality that does not suit my aim.

Stone comes really close to my aim and the only thing I mark it down on is for being rather bubbly and playful - its as though the typeface does not take content seriously. This is due to its large x-height and wide ems (although I do not yet fully understand the em unit).

The only thing that caused me to reject Rotis Semi Serif is its mixing of roman and cursive glyphs - its as though the typeface cannot make up its mind. My contrasting font is Rotis Semi Sans, which shares the same fault. So I am really looking for cursive vertical replacement of the Rotis family.

I may need to print off samples because I have observed that fonts look different on screen. Consequently, Stone is still in the running :)

Bendy's picture

Le Monde Courrier — not sure this isn't too officey, but there's some cursive influences in the e and g.

Glad to hear you rejected Rotis. I used to like it, but now it strikes me as unstable, pretentious and a bit nineties.

stormbind's picture

Le Monde Courrier is a very competent typeface, however, it has the roman a again.

I have an impending feeling that I will be looking at a and g for the rest of my life, wondering why nobody ever put the two cursives in one usable typeface. Nara, for example, isn't easy on the eyes.

kentlew's picture

If you like Stone Informal, look at Carol Twombly's Mirarae. Not entirely upright, but something of a hybrid.

Bendy's picture

A number of fonts have a one-storey a and g in stylistic sets. If you search on MyFonts you can choose to display opentype alternates on the settings bar above the sample text. But mostly it's sans serif designs that have that feature.

If you still don't have much luck, what about customising a font?

stormbind's picture

Well, kentlew, I'm going to try Mirarae and see how it looks on a page. I'm not currently very confident about the serifs on descenders. I have realised that nearly all typefaces look sweet in small samples and its only when you see them in blocks on a grid that they expose weaknesses. Those sites don't make it easy to trial fonts - do they have a refund option? :))

Bendy, it has crossed my mind but I do not want to make an ignorant typographic blunder. I am at the stage where I understand how to read typefaces, but perhaps not ready to make them. For example, if I drop cursive a and g into Minion, anyone who recognises the base font is going to immediately identify the customisation and critique it. I might not be ready for that :)

May I ask, why did you refer to Rotis as pretentious? I do not disagree, I'm just curious to understand your meaning. For example, I see that the e descends below the line and it has other curious qualities. I think it would be interesting to read the creator's rationale.

Bendy's picture

Aah, in my experience type designers are a helpful bunch. I'm sure some would be happy to customise their work, for a fee, it's worth asking at least.

Another option would be to look at the glyphs and see if the fonts contain phonetic letters, where you could find cursive variants.

Pretentious...the semiserif version at least pokes me in the eye with its 'too cool for school' self-conscious c and e. And the mechanical mix of serif and sans forms seems to combine the worst of both worlds. An interesting and deliberate but rather unsatisfying lack of unity. I once had to read a whole book in Rotis semiserif.

stormbind's picture

Oh, which book was that? :)

I tend to agree that Rotis has an initial visual intrigue that wears poorly in comparison to Minion, Times, etc. However, I wonder if that intrigue is not a gimmick, and if a careful redesign could result in a new classic. In other words, I suggest there might be a good idea that has yet to be well implemented.

tungsteno's picture

Take a look at the alternate forms of g, a and y in Galaxie Copernicus.

stormbind's picture

Oh ok, I see them in the PDF. Could you please tell me, how can I access/use alternative forms in any font?

Bendy's picture

Some serif fonts have 'schoolbook' variants, such as Bembo Infant or Plantin Schoolbook

If you're using InDesign you can click the tiny › at the top of the character panel, then investigate the OpenType options.

If you're in Word or something you might have to do insert>symbol and find the glyphs that way; then do a global find/replace.

Bendy's picture

The book was Naomi Klein's No Logo, a good read even despite the eye poking typography in the UK version ;)

I agree the semiserif avenue is otherwise worth experimenting with. I rather like the feel of Storm's Areplos which feels much warmer than Rotis.

Mathieu Christe's picture

Odile from Sibylle Hagmann offers an Upright Italic along the Italic.

adnix's picture

Would Eric Gills Joanna Italic work for you? I think it has a slight slant of around 3 degrees.


Celeste's picture

José Mendoza y Almeida designed something called Sully-Jonquières back in the late-70s, and it is a true upright italic. It was released in dry-transfert lettering by Mecanorma, but I've never seen a digital version.

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