Latin Italic 06: “Inclination of Italic 2”

In the previous article of this series “Inclination of Italic 1,” how much the angle of italic is inclined in comparison between regular and italic is mentioned. In this article, I would like to cover each character angle in one italic typeface.

It is not true that all glyphs are geometrically inclined in the same angle in one italic typeface. There are roughly two reasons for changing the angle by glyph.

The first is visual adjustment to show that all glyphs are inclined in the same angle in appearance. There is a sensory illusion called optical illusion in human visual sense, and there are many conditions in which geometrically and uniformly drawn figures or lines look distorted in appearance. This optical illusion also has an influence at the time of arranging the angle of figures. In typeface in particular, the size and shape differ depending on the glyph, so the angle in appearance comes apart due to the influence of the features of figures that constitute each glyph even when inclined numerically at the same angle.

A designer makes detailed balance adjustment in accordance with each shape, such as tall glyphs, short glyphs, round ones, square ones, etc. In typeface with a lot of ornamental elements, such as serifs in Roman typeface, the size and location of these elements also have an influence on inclination degree. As the larger the inclination angle, the more conspicuous this dispersion. Therefore, care must be taken at the time of creating italic with large inclination, etc.

Apart from visual adjustment, there are typefaces in which the inclination angle is purposely changed by glyphs in appearance. Intention and method of changes vary depending on the designer, but making changes like this can give a rhythm in appearance at typesetting, and improve differentiation of each character. Even in metal type over several hundred years ago, there are many typefaces with uneven inclination in existence. Details of the intent are unknown. Some of them seem hard to read, but that can be seen as the individuality of that typeface and one of the design elements.

Both visual adjustment and angular variation as a design element are very detailed adjustment work. As overdoing leads to illegibility and uncomfortable feelings, a typeface designer adjusts the balance in a very delicate change in units of a few millimeters.


Series archive Latin Type Design / Latin Italic