Re: FW: Unicode Cyrillic GHE DE PE TE in Serbian

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Jan 10 2000 - 15:25:11 EST

I'm sure that anyone following this thread who is not familiar with
Cyrillic typographic conventions must be thoroughly confused.

As Franko Luin has pointed out, there is a difference between an italic
which is really an obliqued version of the upright (roman), and what is
sometimes called a 'true italic'm better known as a cursive italic. The
latter, as the name suggests, is modelled on handwritten pen forms,
although with conventions of its own. The former, the 'sloped roman' italic
is not, as one contributor suggested, 'traditional' in sans serif types in
either Latin or Cyrillic typography; rather, it is the common italic in one
particular style of sans serif lettering, the so-called geometric or
modernist style. The development of humanist sans serifs has led to the
application of cursive conventions in sans serif italics.

The issue here -- which remains a glyph and font issue and not an encoding
issue, so you can stop reading now if you're only interested in characters
-- concerns culturally preferred _cursive_ forms of some Cyrillic letters.
A sloped roman is simply that. The resulting forms may or may not be
acceptable to Serbian readers, but if they are changed to model the Serbian
_cursive_ forms, however rationalised to fit with their companion letters,
you no longer have a pure sloped roman.

I have put a small graphic online at

which shows the common Russian letterforms on the left, and the Serbian and
Macedonian preferred forms on the right. Note that one letter, the
lowercase be, may have a preferred variant form in both regular (roman) and
italic fonts.

The font used in the graphic is Adobe Minion Cyrillic, which contains the
Serbian glyphs in unencoded positions. Adobe will be releasing its OpenType
version of this design, Minion Pro, sometime this Spring. This font will
contain the Serbian forms as glyph variants, accessible through OT layout
features (in applications which support the /locl/ or /aalt/ features) and
also, in Adobe's InDesign application, through the 'Insert Character'
function. These glyph variants have been part of the Adobe Cyrillic font
spec for a long time, so I imagine they will also be available in other OT
fonts from Adobe supporting Slavic languages in the Cyrillic script.

John Hudson
typeface designer, 'Yes, we do Cyrillic'

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

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