[XeTeX] A typography question

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Mon Aug 3 18:20:54 CEST 2009

Well in fact the classic Oxford University Press combination of Imprint and 
Porson Greek was always produced with the Greek slightly below the ex-height 
of the surrounding roman text.  And indeed if you bought Imprint and Porson 
from the Monotype Corporation (as I did), then e.g. '8-point Porson' was 
visibly smaller than '8-point Imprint', so that this aesthetic choice, 
rightly or wrongly, had become hard-wired into the type manufacturer's 
thinking.  Minion Pro seems to be the flavour of the month, and of course it 
does come with the full polytonic Greek set, adequate for most purposes - 
though personally I would still opt for Imprint plus Porson for academic 
book work (Times plus Porson is also common, e.g. in British Academy 

As to Arabic, I have used the freely available Scheherazade in combination 
with Minion Pro, to quite good effect (though I'm not an Arabist so really 
just go on my 'feel' for what looks OK on the page).  There one has to make 
quite dramatic changes to the point sizes when going in and out of Arabic: 
the main text, for example, was 10pt Minion but the Scheherazade Arabic was 



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Benct Philip Jonsson" <bpj at melroch.se>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 4:11 PM
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] A typography question

> On 2009-08-03 David Perry wrote:
>> Attempts to match different scripts usually don't work very well.  I 
>> don't know much about Arabic, but Greek and
>>  Latin are often printed together.  Type foundries in the
>>  past tried to produce, e.g., Greek fonts that were based
>>  on Times New Roman.  They didn't work well at all.  Each
>>  script has its own organic forms and its own
>> calligraphic and typographic traditions.  So I would
>> experiment a bit and see what fonts look good together on
>> a page in your layout.  I would probably not choose a
>> very tall, narrow Roman font to put near Arabic which (to
>> my eyes, anyway) seems to have a strongly horizontal,
>> free flowing feel to it.  Beyond such basic
>> considerations, go with what looks good and has the
>> characters you need.
> The only two scripts where I'd like to have closely
> matching styles are Latin and Cyrillic.  When it comes
> to Latin + Greek I'd rather choose a Greek font which looks
> good *as a Greek font* (and I still have to find one
> I really like -- I'm a sucker for the kind of Greek
> typography found in late 19th to early 20th century
> text editions), but I'd go through some pains so that
> the x-heights of the two fonts match.  Obviously
> lower-case Latin o and lower-case Greek omicron are
> good comparanda; I'd want them to look as of the
> same size.
> /BP 8^)>
> -- 
> Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
>  à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
>  ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
>  c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)

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