Lowercase Greek to match Sabon

and's picture

The lowercase Greek available for Sabon has turned out to be unsuitable for a project I am currently working on: some of the ‘Roman’ lowercase Greek letters appear too latinised (e.g., pi and tau with a thin horizontal stroke), and — more importantly — the Italic ones are not all distinguishable from similar-looking Latin letters (e.g., a and alpha), which makes them useless in mathematical formulae.

Both aesthetic and practical considerations have thus brought me to look for a font whose lowercase Greek letters could work together with Sabon Greek uppercase and Latin. So far, the best I have come up with is Garamond Premier Pro Roman, which I think could work both for short Greek citations in the text and for variable names in the formulae. Would that be a bad choice? Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance for any comments and ideas.

Nick Shinn's picture

Please post images.

_Palatine_'s picture

Perhaps something from here?


Have a look at the century links on the right side.

and's picture

Sorry for not having included any images. I hope the following helps a bit.

Sample of Latin Sabon:

Greek Sabon Roman, including (in my opinion) strange pi and tau shapes:

Non-distinctive Italic glyphs:

Greek lowercase from Garamond Premier Pro:

and's picture

Thanks for suggesting the GFS. I could not find anything similar to Sabon or Garamond, though.

gerry_leonidas's picture

Øistein, your observations about the existing Greek for Sabon are astute. But what a good pairing is depends on the context of use: is this for a parallel text, where the two scripts are in paragraph-blocks but not intermingling, or an edition with Greek embedded within English (as you'd get, for example, in a linguistics textbook)?

Lex Kominek's picture

If you want to go with a more "Roman-style" Greek, Minion is nice, and doesn't have the problems you mention.

Personally I like combining "calligraphic" Greek characters with Roman Latin characters.

- Lex

and's picture

Γεράσιμος, the Greek is needed (1) for ancient Greek words or short phrases within English sentences and (2) as single-letter variables in mathematical formulae.

Also, thanks to everyone else for their suggestions so far.

Ton Aner's picture

To elaborate on what Gerry Leonidas implicitly said, and that being the crux of the matter: if you are working on a text where the Greek alphabet is embedded within the Latin one, you may look for a match for a very long time indeed and never find it, because the main points are really the x-height, the weight, the detail, etc., and, most of all, the overall tone (‘colour’). Why don’t you just go for another, single typeface? There are some good ones out there, which treat Greek as Greek, and not as a subdivision of Latin. I don’t know who developed this ‘Greek’ for Sabon, but I am (almost) sure it wasn’t Tchitchold.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

1. I would not insist on the claim that mixing capitals of typeface A with lowercase from typeface B is impossible. But for running text, be sure, this will be hard to master.

Then, choosing a typeface whith both decent Latin and Greek might be the way to go. You shall find something which meets your requirements.

2. Check some of John Hudson’s fonts.

3. Check Johannes Küster’s extension work to Minion which focuses on mathematical composing aspects in particular.

4. Check Andron, which has been designed exactly for the case you describe, with a Greek lowercase to harmonize but not to be equalized.

– Finally, the last exit may be to do new glyphs for Sabon Greek.

and's picture

We all seem to agree that the existing Greek (or ‘Greek’, as Ton Aner put it) is worthy neither of Tschichold and Sabon nor of the Greek script. I might be able to improve the worst glyphs slightly, but a proper Greek Sabon would probably have to involve a full set of new lowercase letters, which is far beyond my abilities.

As Lex Kominek seemed to imply, a less latinised Greek might work better when two different fonts are used for Greek (lowercase) and Latin. The suggested combinations with existing Greek fonts give the following results:




Choosing a different font is not really an option: Sabon has the right style for a technical academic work, it happens to be the institution's standard typeface, and I have added some mathematical glyphs, brackets etc. for use with LaTeX which would have to be redesigned to match a different font.

Thanks for mentioning the extensions to Minion (of which I was aware, but I did not know that they had become available), as well as Andron, whose Runic and Fraktur-inspired parts in particular look very interesting.

John Hudson's picture

Of the three options you show, I think the Garamond definitely works best. It is lively and the weight harmonises well with Sabon.

Ton Aner's picture

Of these three, definitely Garamond.

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