Cool German and French cap accents

Nick Shinn's picture

In languages with accents, an all-cap layout can present problems: they get in the way.

There are a couple of "cheats" .

In French, for instance, using a Didot face, the grave, acute, and circumflex may become a thin horizontal line, with context providing sufficient cues for the reader. Some typographers will even leave the accents off completely.

In German, the umlaut appears in only two cap characters, the Odieresis and the Udieresis. Consequently, there is the marvelous "Mickey Mouse" Odieresis of Futura Extra Bold (not available in digital).

My question is: do the Odieresis and Udieresis only appear in German? If so, does it make sense to give these characters "dropped" accents in the standard Latin encoding? Here's what they would look like in a display Roman.

dan_reynolds's picture

The umlaut appears over the cap A in German, as well.

Nick Shinn's picture

OK, that accent could be "dropped" as well, more easily than the other two, in fact.

timd's picture

I believe Welsh uses WY and English (rarely) uses I with diaeresis so they can be accommodate dropped accents. However the O and U look like emoticons. I understood that French doesn't use accents at all on uppercase.

speter's picture

do the Odieresis and Udieresis only appear in German?

They are used in other languages as well: Turkish and Hungarian use both, and Finnish uses Odieresis (and Adieresis), while Estonian uses A-,O-, and Udieresis. There may be others, but these are ones I can think of right away.

titus n.'s picture

sorry, but i have to say that those

Nick Shinn's picture

Another option is to put a little E in the letter, doesn't Optima Nova have some glyphs like that?

Nick Shinn's picture

>sorry, but i have to say that those

andreas's picture

>does it make sense to give these characters "dropped" accents in the standard Latin encoding?

simple answer: NO!!! These designs belongs to lead types / letters - mostly to the bigger ones, the titlings. It was a technical issue. An other "solution" was, to lower the caps high e.g. 90% compared to the regular caps, to get some space for the umlaut.

titus n.'s picture

>in German, to show the reason for it.

nick, the reason is obvious, but i don't think this would be a solution. we have a poster campaign for a museum in vienna at the moment where exactly that problem occurs, and they decided to use the ligatures.
unfortunately the only example that i found doesn't have an umlaut. but you'll get an impression:

but i would look something like this:

quite nice that UE "ligature", don't you think?

andreas's picture

such ligatures look ugly if you use a wide spacing.

For titlings only, you have to made some customizations to look good.

1. Myriad Light
2. Variation 1
3. Variation 2

german titlings

titus n.'s picture

hey, you liked my sentence! :-)

Nick Shinn's picture

Here's the supertight setting.

dan_reynolds's picture

Nick, I like your design above. I'm not a native speaker, though, so I showed your post to Anke, who is.

Anke has no problems reading the O and A umlats, but doesn't feel comfortable with the U's. Anke is not a type designer. I don't know if that makes her opinion more, or less, valid ;-)

Just for comparison (and fun

Nick Shinn's picture

Well, Swedish having both Odieresis and Aring scuttles my idea. If I drop the umlaut but can't drop the ring, the setting will be inconsistent. (Dropping it just enough to connect, as in Stephen's example, is nowhere near enough to lower it as much as in the Odieresis.)

Stephen Coles's picture

My question is: do the Odieresis and Udieresis only appear in German?


Syndicate content Syndicate content