Q followed by a comma, semicolon and sometimes a space . . .

charles ellertson's picture

We just had an emergency here . . . A book (interior) designer chose Arno as the text face, and we discovered when proofing the book the string "WHQ," occurs 52 times in the text. Q-comma overprints badly.

With Arno, the kern needed for Q followed by a comma is about 200 units -- 10 units more than a nominal wordspace. For this book, we just used the large kern, but what I think is really needed is an alternate Q with a shorter or deeper tail. Swap it in (calt) when followed by a comma, semicolon, or a space -- or maybe only with a space followed by capital J, A, whatever. The calt feature is nice that way. Because the needed kern is larger than a wordspace, an alternate Q and calt feature on my short list for the Arno we use here.

If this was limited to Arno, I'd not bother to post. But it's a problem we see with a number of fonts, so maybe you'd like to consider fixes other than kerning when you draw up fonts where the Q's have substantial tails.

oldnick's picture

This is why, besides kerning every possible letter combination in all of my fonts, I also kern hyphens, commas, periods, colons, semicolons and curly and non-curly single and double quotes...

oprion's picture

If setting in Arno, I'd probably just do this:

Find what: Q,
Change to: Q^3,
Case sensitive - on

William Berkson's picture

For my recent Williams Caslon, Font Bureau folks talked me into having my short tailed Q default,(IRAQ) and putting in the first stylistic an instruction to substitute Qu with the traditional long-tailed Q. There is also a stylistic set that substitutes in all the historical style characters, so the long-tailed Q is everywhere then.

guifa's picture

William: What I've been doing in my font (whose J, j, f, y tend to create collisions), is maintaing a list of letters that cause collisions (have descenders on the right side, in the case of J and Y, or spaces, since they just looked weird). That way, whenever possible, the longer preferred form is used, but automatically switches to a shortened form as necessary. Basically like what you've had to do with the Q+u, but doing it with Q+[abcedfhiklmnoqrstuvwxz]. You can have either one be the default in that case.

Florian Hardwig's picture

Related: contextual alternates for f + umlauts.

charles ellertson's picture

Ivan, adding a third space is probably a bad idea, if the InDesign files you're creating will be used for any other purpose, as they would in bookwork -- unless you know for sure that the result isn't the insertion of any Unicode *character*, such as the 3-to-em space. You need to export everything InDesign will let you & check to see what's there. On the other hand, we know a kern won't show up as a character, but AFAIK, you can't insert a kern with the InDesign Find/Replace tool.

The problem Q with the long tail mentioned above is the standard Q in Arno. There is an optional Q. It has a longer tail.

What is (to me) a problem flag with any glyph is where it needs to be kerned to a following glyph using a kern value approaching or exceeding a wordspace. This may not give rise to any visual nightmares (be a problem) in some cases, but often is in others. That's when a solution is needed. Redraw the glyph, create an alternate with an accompanying feature that will automatically resolve the problem, something like that.

Florian Hardwig's picture

AFAIK, you can't insert a kern with the InDesign Find/Replace tool.

Charles, you can use InDesign’s GREP search, and the ‘positive lookahead’ feature.
1. Create a character style that sets the needed kern.
2. Search for Q(?=,) – a ‘Q’, only if followed by a comma.
3. Replace with your style.

Since CS4, you can make this even shorter and use a GREP style that automatically searches for this pattern and applies the desired formatting on the fly.

I know this is not the same as ‘inserting a kern’, and you probably were already aware of this functionality.

charles ellertson's picture

Florian, yes, that would work. Some people, on export, do include character styles, so you might be setting up a *situation* later. Not a big deal. You can insert a kern through scripting too. Just not through the Find/replace pulldown pallet.

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