[XeTeX] A typography question

David Perry hospes.primus at verizon.net
Mon Aug 3 19:09:34 CEST 2009

I agree about the importance of paying attention to x-height for 
Latin/Greek/Cyrillic.  If you need to use fonts that don't match, 
height-wise, and are typesetting with XeTex and fontspec, don't forget 
the fontspec option [Scale=MatchLowercase]. I frequently use this and I 
think it's one of the really neat things you can do with XeTeX.  (I 
never tried using this with a caseless script like Arabic, though . . . 
here one probably would have to manually specify the percentage, maybe 
something like [Scale=1.3] for an Arabic font mixed with Roman.)


John Was wrote:
> 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 publications).
> 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 13pt.
> Best
> John
> ----- 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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