Re: Glyphs for German quotation marks

From: Adam Twardoch (
Date: Fri Jun 09 2006 - 12:28:24 CDT

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    Henrik Theiling wrote:
    > Have you ever looked at the images that
    > have been posted?


    Yes, I know the quotation marks of Verdana, Tahoma, Courier New very
    well, and I perfectly understand the issue at hand.

    > It is not personal taste that is the problem, but the quotation marks
    > that are just plain wrong.

    "Wrong" according to whom? According to Andreas and you. And probably
    some others. This view needs to be respected. Does it mean that it's
    absolute truth? No.

    > My intension was to prevent a flame war, therefore, I sought for
    > constructive comments. Your destructive answer, however, does not
    > seem to be written with an intension to help. Neglecting some
    > language's writing system's needs is not an intension of Unicode, in
    > fact, it's just the opposite but that's what you seem to do here.

    Andreas and you are implying that the quotation marks as included in
    Verdana are "wrong" because they might not fit the German typographic
    tradition. I'm strongly opposing that view. I agree that the design of
    these quotation marks is somewhat unorthodox in those particular
    typefaces. The design of the closing German quotation marks looks
    somewhat different than in 90% of other typefaces. But that does not
    mean that they are "wrong" or "unsuitable for German".

    I'm surprised that you are accusing me of "neglecting some language's
    writing system's needs". I've been working in the field of typography
    for the last 15 years, most of that time in Germany. I live in Germany,
    I speak German, I'm a regular reader of German printed matter -- both
    general and typography-focused. I'm as concerned with issues of German
    typography as Andreas or you are. Yet, I'm saying that due to the
    specific nature of these typefaces (designed for maximum screen
    legibility), the design of the quotation marks is perfectly plausible.
    They are better distinguished on screen that way, and that's one of the
    fundamental goals of the Microsoft core fonts.

    There are some people who don't like the design of a particular "g" in a
    typeface, a particular question mark, a particular ogonek or a
    particular quotation mark. But I don't agree that any German normative
    documents or the majority of readers would think that the quotation
    marks in Verdana are "wrong". There are some people such as Andreas who
    express a personal view that these marks are wrong. Others such as
    myself think that they're perfectly fine. Each of us certainly is right
    in their way of thinking, and each of us is entitled to his own
    opinions. But neither one should turn their opinions into "rules",
    because they're not. I believe that the quotation marks in Verdana fit
    well to German "language's writing system's needs". Andreas does not. We
    may differ in this view and have a dispute but I doubt any of us can
    have a monopoly for being right.

    Type design is balancing between tradition and novelty, between
    homogenity and distinctiveness. My comment about using a different
    typeface was not destructive, it was meant seriously. There are more
    than 50,000 fonts available worldwide. If you don't like the one or the
    other, pick another one. It's called typographic freedom.


    Adam Twardoch

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