Small Caps with swashes

Yulia's picture

Hello Everybody!
I'm making my first font and I'd like to discuss if there anybody using small cups with swashes? In what situations can it be useful? I'm asking 'cos I made them in my font but then began to doubt if it was reasonable. Could you remember some examples of fonts with swashed small caps and maybe show pictures with washed small caps in use? Thank you!

Nick Shinn's picture

I don't recall any types with swashed small caps.
You could experiment with a typeface that has Swash caps, making a faux small cap, and seeing what it looks like (use the Stroke feature in InDesign/Illustrator).
Or maybe you could work with a type that has Swash caps, and make the swash small caps different, so that a setting of Swash Caps with Swash Small Caps would have a unique look.

kentlew's picture

The thing about swash capitals is that they’re usually only useful with in combination with lowercase, rarely in an all-caps setting (in fact, such practice is usually frowned upon).

So, since small caps are generally intended for use together — a smaller rendition of all-caps — the idea of swash small caps is a bit counterintuitive.

That doesn’t mean that one couldn’t conceive of a few small caps in more decorative variants, like the kind of J N T Y that were typical in, say, a Baskerville-style italic. But beyond that, I don’t think such a thing would be very useful.

riccard0's picture

One application I can imagine is on formal invitations as an additional visual tool for establishing hierarchy (handy for setting roman numerals too ;-)

Except for the roman numerals, in this context only middle and final forms would be required.

Yulia's picture

Thanks a lot for your comments! Now I see that doing swashed small caps was unreasonable, but they are done... So maybe they will be useful for formal invitations at least. And what about title pages? Can they be used there?

Nick Shinn's picture

Can we see them, please?

Yulia's picture

The most worrying thing is that my swashed small caps are equal to swashed capitals (first I made swashed capitals and then decided to do small caps for them). Most of them are initial forms with upper-left swashes, but there are several that can be used also as the middle or final forms (A, R, K, Z, Я). So here is the picture of swashed capitals and small caps:

Joshua Langman's picture

A few calligraphic faces have swash small caps. Poetica, for instance:

Apple Chancery, as well (which, being free on any Mac, you can easily experiment with):

Josh

Mugford's picture

I can see using the swash small caps as the first and/or last letter of a word or line, but I think it'd look terrible to have an entire word or line of all swash. You might want to have some examples in your type specimen showing the user how to set them tastefully (as opposed to just turning OT All Small Caps and OT Swash on).

Yulia's picture

Thanks for advice! Yes, I suppose that swashed small caps could be used at the beginning or end of the word with other small caps (r and k in the middle also) and in the combination with the first capital letter and other small caps (one of them may be the swashed middle or end form). I don't think somebody would like a word in all swashed small caps. For that case I wrote exclusions in the OT features for some swashes to be used only in the beginning of the word. Maybe it could look like this:

Joshua Langman's picture

Very nice, tasteful demonstration of the swashes in use. Of course, most good typographers will choose letter by letter when to use the swash characters, regardless of what rules you program into the font. But the swash characters look really nice.

Josh

Yulia's picture

Thank you:)

Mugford's picture

Yeah, great examples! Is the TT in LETTER a ligature? At the size you posted it it looks a bit odd, almost like two Ts touching but not quite integrated.

Yulia's picture

Yes, TT is a ligature, I made it to improve letter spacing between two Ts (both in capital and small caps variants). First I tried to make it with common horizontal bar (without a center vertical serif), but it seemed to me reminding a cyrillic letter П and I decided to add this vertical serif to avoid confusion with П, since I do cyrillic too.

Joshua Langman's picture

Some of Slimbach's faces (e.g., Brioso) have a TT ligature with no center serif, and it looks all right for decorative settings; I think, though I would rather use a ligature with a single bar or two separate Ts; the ligature above looks a little bit like a kerning mistake.

Yulia's picture

Thank you for comment! I looked at Slimbach's Arno Pro and Brioso, and saw a TT ligature without central serif there, so I decided to leave two variants of TT in my font: without without central serif as a default (in liga feature), and with it as a variant (in dlig):

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