Re: Euro

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Wed Aug 09 2000 - 12:04:48 EDT

Asmus Freytag wrote:
> The problem with the commission design of the euro glyph is that it only
> works as long as you use their aspect ratio and uniform stroke width. As
> long as you have these, the eye will complete them to a lower case 'e' form
> and you will see an 'e'uro. As soon as you attempt to actually match the
> type face you are working with, you end up with a glyph that's taller than
> wide, has different stroke width (usually thinner) for the cross bars
> and/or variable stroke width and serifs for the main loop.

I disagree. That may be true for transitional types (« réales » in French),
like Times, and more broadly all the highly-constrated types (think about
the euro glyph in didones in general and Bodoni in particular...)

But on the other end, the EU Commission design fits moderately well as it
with all the antiques (sans serif). Here in Europe we have a number of
examples, particularly ads, which show the official glyph along with
some digits in some sans serif font. The real problem is that a bold
version is officially prohibited (AFAIK), and the oblique version has to
be the same as the roman one (this is only a little problem, but it
confuses things).

In fact, I can even think about a réale version of the glyph with:
 - no serif, or very light ones
 - a lighter constrast, perhaps only half of the one for C; perhaps
  taking Optima's C as model
 - crossbars of the same weight as the main arms, and oblique ends

And the result may fit well with Times... but only for the thin or
light faces; the regular face and bolder will not leave sufficient
space to draw both crossbars (that's the main defect of the official
glyph, IMHO); and having only one crossbar (as it happens sometimes
for £, ¥ or $) is not at all recognized, at least for the moment
(wait for laymen to write the symbol by hand: trust me, that is
quite difficult to respect the proportions...)

Another point: for the moment, the euro glyph is made as capital
height (or perhaps sometimes figure height), not x-height; perhaps
this have a connection with the fact that most people, and among them
the (English-based) typographers, expects "Euro" rather than "euro"
for the name of the currency, even in Romance languages. As a result,
it is a bit more difficult to 'see' the 'e': Dr. Freytag himself uses
'Curo' instead of 'curo'!

> The eye immediately responds and see's an adorned capital 'C', so
> you get the 'C'uro, whether you want to or not.

I believe, because all designs to date, for obvious reasons, were
adaptations of this very capital 'C'...

> Familiarity with use will 'train' enough people to accept the 'C'uro for a
> 'e'uro, so their knowledge of the full name will override their visual
> processing long enough that they will see the 'e' shape in the euro. I
> suspect that process is in full swing already, since the various
> typographers' attempt to design euro glyphs for printers, PC's, bill
> printing and sign making have already been going on for over a year now.

I agree with your analysis, however current usage is more limited to
academic uses (like govt anouncements), and therefore we see a lot the
official glyph, and less the adorned C's


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