Eng and N with left hook

Igor Freiberger's picture

I'm developing a font with large language support. The Eng uses a typical combination: N with J-descender (still a bit fat at the junction, I will fix it). The same for eng, based on n with j-descender. The design is is also coherent with other glyphs:

Eng and other glyphs with J descender.

Hausa and other West African languages uses a glyph defined by Unicode as N with left hook. In all fonts with this glyph (there is a demo list here) it is build the same way as Eng, just with J-descender at the left.

As the glyph is supposed to have a hook, the J-descender solution may be incorrect in my font as its shape cannot be considered a hook –actually, it's very far from this. So, I designed it with a real hook:

Eng, N with left hook and N wit left J-descender.

There are many other glyphs with hooks in a variety of positions. Almost all came from African languages and are in Latin Extended-B block of Unicode. I designed them always with the same approach:

Various glyphs with hook, mainly from West Africa.

The question: must I keep this design for N with left hook, using an actual hook, or simply go with the general trend and use the J-descender? Wouldn't be strange to have two Ns with different descenders, even considering the glyph is supposed to have a hook?

By now, these are the UC/lc pairs I'm using:

Eng/eng and N/n with left hook.

I know this is a very specific question, but any ideas about the best way to design this N with left hook are very welcome. Thanks in advance.

Bendy's picture

Igor, this is completely speaking with no familiarity with the languages concerned, but it seems logical to me to keep the hook distinct from the Eng shape. To be sure you'd have to know whether the function of a hook is the same on an N as on another letter...difficult as this letter seems to be used for different languages. Even in IPA it seems the hook has different functions (implosive and ejective). However, I'd imagine the Eng has less to do with an N than does an N-hook, so I'd keep the shapes different.

Maybe we could put together a full list of all the questions you've asked about unusual letters, with their conclusions and illustrations, as a reference for other designers?

riccard0's picture

Also from a non-user of these glyphs (neither native nor academic), I second both of Ben’s suggestions.
Unfortunately, the wiki here isn’t (yet) a good tool for this, maybe one of the other listed here: http://typophile.com/node/28138

Anyway, I started with one entry:

Igor Freiberger's picture

Ben and Riccardo, thank you very much. Both ideas are welcome.

I did a try using different hook shape. Another change is small increment in first stem thickness, to compensate its tall gain with hook. This sample also shows alternate Engs for some African languages:

Eng, alternate eng and N-left-hook.

I did not use any ball-like terminal in this font. So, this second hook may fit better the general design, what is more evident in IPA characters:

Characters with hook from IPA block.

To bring together information about various uncommon characters is a very good initiative. But following the wiki article created by Riccardo, I cannot find the Characters subsection in the How-tos section. I just find Characters link through Design international characters subsection. Maybe a small correction is needed there.

Another thread I begun about this kind of characters is here.

As we're talking about uncommon characters, here ase some really tricky to me:

More unusal characters.

Quatrillo with comma is maybe the greater sin I made until now as I choose to melt the comma and base character to avoid confusion with comma itself. G with central stroke is not in Unicode and is used only in Kadiweu language, a native amerindian from Southwest Brazil. The others are in Unicode, but its design was not so easy to me.

Bendy's picture

I agree with your decision about the shape of the hook terminals. Looks like the hook on z is different to the others.

Wow, you've really got some weird and wonderful glyphs in there! I'll pop across to the Palimpsest thread and see what else you've got going on!

Igor Freiberger's picture

Sorry, but I did not post anything there for a while due to this survey on Latin-script languages. It gone much longer than I planned. Firstly, it were 500+ glyphs. Then 1000+, 2000+... and now I'm exceeding FontLab's limit of 6,400 glyphs. I'll need to take a break from this before become crazy.

You're right, there are slight different hooks mixed on IPA characters. I'm still testing the better shape.

Bendy's picture

(Can you tell us any more about those last glyphs above? I'm not even sure what the Z-thing is.)

riccard0's picture

Small Z With Swash Tail, I suppose. I think you could give it a little more flow. A little more Zorro ;-)

Igor Freiberger's picture

A little more Zorro

Nice definition! I made dozens of atempts to improve this, without success. It seems I'm more skilled to be Sargeant García than Zorro, but I'll try again. ;-)

This Z with swash tail is used for Africanist phonetics. It's also in Shona, a language from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, with about 11+ million speakers. The character was used between years 1932 and 1955, but was dropped because no typewriter could produce it.

Inclusion on Unicode was proposed in 2004 and 2007, mainly aiming historic and phonetic compatibility, but its presence on new fonts permits a re-introduction on in-use writting system.

Unicode point is 2C7F, from block Latin Extended-C.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

G with central stroke is not in Unicode and is used only in Kadiweu language

I’d like to learn more about that, if you happen to have information at hand. In case some yet-unencoded characters apply for inclusion, we DIN fellows may help a little with the procedures.

Igor, I track your glyphic considerations with much sympathy for a long while now. They’re quite much the same I face(d) when designing Andron. Mostly quirksome nasty glyphs invented by “language” people with not the slightest feel for types and shapes … However. we’ll never get finished with it, I suppose.

How do you climb onto the 6.400 glyphs mark? With Latin/Greek/Cyrillic/-Extensions only? Which writing systems is your font to cover? (Just in case this is not a business secret ;-)
But I’m seriously disturbed by the prospect of getting outleveled by your project. Andron Mega Regular has about 5.500 glyphs only :-(

Igor Freiberger's picture

I track your glyphic considerations with much sympathy

It's really fine to hear that from the man behind such a masterpiece like Andron!

How do you climb onto the 6.400 glyphs mark?

The way I wrote was somewhat misleading. The project is not so rich as a font like yours. Actually, it's far from this. Latin is the only script supported, besides phonetics (IPA, APA and some unnofficial).

The total of glyphs became so huge because this font has uppercase, lowercase, small caps, petite caps and swashes. There are alternates for |Q|W|a|b|g|q|y|, what multiply the number of glyphs (just lowercase a, with two alternates, produces 120+ glyphs).

Besides the letters themselves, there are glyphs which varies with uppercase and small caps: combining diacritics (all), punctuation (partial), maths symbols (partial) and currency symbols (partial). Numbers also elevate the account, with ten sets: default, uppercase, oldstyle, small caps and petite caps, each one in proportional and tabular variants.

I also added enclosed A-z and numbers, a set of arrows and more mathematical symbols than usual. All this caused the project to go so far. BTW, you don't need to be disturbed because I probably will drop the swashes set from this version. It's so much work for a lone life (how to draw a swash for B-with-hook or Tresillo?). For release 2.0, if I reach age 117, it would include complete swashes and Cyrillic.

I'll send you a private message regarding the other topics.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

how to draw a swash for B-with-hook or Tresillo?

A nice task!!

One day I’ll make a swashy Andron-IPA-UPA Italic font. May lend some breeze to dictionary typography.

By the way, what is “APA”?

Igor Freiberger's picture

After some further adjusts, this is how N with hook was defined:

Characters with hook, especially N.

Thanks for all feedback.

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