[tex-fonts] Re: [texhax] On the proper look of the \AA
enge at nada.kth.se
Tue Feb 10 02:14:06 CET 2004
<CyrTeX-ru at vsu.ru> (Vladimir Volovich) writes:
> you mean that e.g. to achieve the "gapless Aring" using the \accent
> command, it would be possible to put the ring accent somewhat lower?
> are you sure that this approach will work properly for both small and
> capital letters?
> (If it would be possible to do that, i wonder then why Don Knuth
> didn't use this approach when he wanted to create a special look for
> the Aring glyph. And why did he decide to make Aring a special case in
> the first place)
This discussion is a bit old now, but I though that I'd share my
thoughs on this last question with you. We can, of course, only
speculate about the real reason Knuth made Aring a special case.
I have a few guesses:
1) Generally, a font should have both "normal" accents, suitable for
lower case letters, and "capital" accents, suitable for upper case
letters. For instance, the acute accent should probably be more
horizontal in its upper case version. Now, it was (is?) an accepted
practice to not write accents on upper case letters in, e.g.,
French, and the diaeresis accent does not occupy much vertical
space, so for most Plain TeX accents it did not matter that there
are no designated upper case accents. The Aring glyph, however, was
somehow important enough to catch Knuth's attention. Maybe he
considered the glyph primarily as the Ångström symbol and not a
"normal letter", since (as far as I know) he neglected support for
uring in Plain TeX, a glyph needed (I think) for Czech.
2) The Aring glyph does not occur very often. As far as I know it
exists only in Scandinavian languages and, moreover, it is very
rare as a first letter in a word. In fact, it is mostly seen in
titles on book or magazine covers or in advertisements, i.e., as
part of a logotype. In this case it is not uncommon to see an
attached ring, especially if the logo is based on a sans serif font
(consider for instance the logotype of the Swedish department store
Åhléns). For running text, however, I maintain that the detached
version is the norm.
3) It could be the case that the "Modern" typefaces normally had an
attached ring, I don't know. I did not find any classical books
printed in original "Modern" style typefaces.
Hope this is of interest,
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