text figures

I’m finally reading The Elements of Typographic Style. In §3.2.1, the author says that text figures should always be used outside of full-caps environments.

To me, this makes complete sense for typeface styles in the eighteenth century and before, as well as for many modern revival typefaces. I was wondering if there is any disagreement with this piece of advice for particular styles of typefaces. I’m thinking of Modern faces (like Didot), some Transitional faces (Baskerville) and especially certain sans faces. It seems wrong to foist the typographic convention of non-lining figures, long-standing as it is, onto modern styles of type for which geometric rationality is paramount.

Martial's picture

Old-style numerals

Hello again, guys!
I’m with a new question for you. I like the so-called old-style numerals, with 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 having descenders, and 6 and 8 having ascenders. Also I like the Roman-like number 1 of fonts such as Bembo and Centaur.
According to what I’ve found searching on typefaces, the fonts Aldus, Arno, Bembo, Emerson, FF Scala, Goudy Old Style, Requiem and Sabon all feature old-style numerals, with Bembo, FF Scala, Requiem and Sabon showing the I like numeral for 1. Of these, I have Goudy Old and Sabon available in my PC, however the numerals are regular, nothing of old-style, only a slight overshoot of 4 and 7 in the Goudy Old. Also the 1 of Sabon is regular. Why? And where can I find some typeface that has truly old-style numerals?
Can you help me, please?

Does anybody know about how old style figures are used in technical areas that use a lot of symbolic notation like math, most sciences, linguistics, logic, chess books, etc., if at all? I've never seen them in a work of any such discipline, though that's not saying much. I don't seem to recall them in any of the textbooks I used for these subjects, but perhaps I wasn't typographically "aware" at the time.

Thanks in advance.

Hello everybody,

I'm a first year graphic design student, so I'm just starting out. Since I'm doing graphic design now, everybody suddenly wants my advice for their birthday invitations etc. Most of the time I'm able to help them, but now I've got a question I don't have an answer to.

My dad needs a font for text that contains a lot of numbers. I've spoken to him about it and showed him some fonts that are already on his computer, like Georgia which has text figures (old style/hanging numbers). He didn't like the that there's only a bold, a regular and an italic, as he needs a semi-bold as well... I am willing to pay for a good typeface with old style numbers, as I think I'll be able to use it in coming years anyway, but it shouldn't be too exclusive/expensive as I am a student.

So everyone I look, it seems that if you're going to use old style figures at all in a work, then anywhere titling figures appear, it'd better be in an all caps environment. But if we're to really stick with the

old style figures : titling figures :: lowercase : upper case

analogy, wouldn't that mean the '7' in

Chapter 7

ought not to have that descender? After all, in words, it would be "Chapter Seven." (It actually makes me pause when I see "September 23, 2010" and all the numbers are text figures. That can't be good, right?) But then, following the rule strictly,

Chapter 11

ought to have two different styles for the two different '1's. !!! =(

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