Re: logos, symbols, and ligatures (RE: Encoding Personal Use Ideographs)

From: James Kass (
Date: Sat Nov 03 2007 - 23:39:58 CST

  • Next message: James Kass: "Re: Encoding Personal Use Ideographs"

    Philippe Verdy wrote,

    > James Kass wrote:
    >> ZWJ requests a more joined form from the rendering system
    >> if one is available.
    >> Consider "ASSOCIATED PRESS SYMBOL", which is essentially a
    >> typographic ligature of "A" and "P".
    >> Would inserting a ZWJ between an "A" and a "P" in order to
    >> get a ligature of "AP" to use for representing that symbol
    >> in plain text be a Bad Thing?
    > There's a big difference between your example and a true ligature: ligatures
    > when they are enabled in a font style, do not change the semantic of the
    > characters they are representing; they can also be used freely almost every
    > where, independently of the context of surrounding letters.

    There is a difference between my example and a "true ligature", but
    I wanted to call attention to the similarity. Making a typographic
    ligature of two letters and then employing it as a logo does not alter
    the fact that it is, essentially, a typographic ligature.

    It was noted on this list several years ago (if I recall correctly) that
    "Encyclopædia Britannica" always expressed its own name using the
    a-e ligature, but was happy to refer to other encyclopedias without
    the ligature. Although Unicode has a dedicated character for the
    a-e ligature, there should be nothing conceptually wrong with
    storing or exchanging that title as "Encyclopa‍edia Britannica"
    (using: a, ZWJ, e). To store or exchange the title as "Encyclopedia
    Britannica" would be a misspelling, in my opinion. Apparently
    the good folks at the Encyclopædia would consider their name
    incorrect if no effort was made to ensure ligation, and they
    should know.

    The context of surrounding letters does make a difference for
    ligature formation rules in German and older English texts.

    > And they don't
    > prohibit a line break between the letters, if this ligature is joining two
    > syllables (for example the ligature of "ffi" or "ffl" does not prohibit the
    > syllable break between the two f; the linebreak does not occur between "f"
    > and "i" or "l", just because there's no syllable break.

    In German and older English texts, ligature formation was
    not allowed across syllable boundaries, if my understanding
    is correct.

    > In the "AP" symbol, it will be inappropriate for use in any word also
    > containing the two letters "AP". This is in fact an unbreakable logo that is
    > formed from the initials of the organization. So this is not a ligature; if
    > it was encoded, it should be usable for any words, not just by Associated
    > Press that has registered it as a logographic trademark. So as long as this
    > is protected by Associated Press, and there's no other legal occurrence of
    > this ligature in actual texts without any forced link to Associated Press,
    > there's NO chance it will be encoded.

    The ASSOCIATED PRESS SYMBOL was used in various newspapers. If I
    recall correctly, The Los Angeles Times used it from the 20s/30s
    through at least the early 70s. A true logo is generally always drawn
    consistently, with attention paid to proportions and relative
    featural positioning. But, the AP SYMBOL in the Times used
    different glyphs for this symbol over the years. Sometimes
    a bit wider, sometimes with more of a leftward extension from
    the point of the "A". I think arguments could be made for its
    encoding, and consider any trademark infringement objections
    from AP unlikely.

    But, let's suppose that you are right and that this symbol has
    NO chance for being encoded. Back to the original question.
    If ZWJ requests a more joined form of two characters if
    the system can provide one, and the user desires to represent
    the AP SYMBOL in plain text, and the user inserts a ZWJ
    between "A" and "P", and the system can provide a more
    joined form of A+P, and that more joined form happens
    to match the desired appearance, is there a problem?

    And, let's say that the symbol will or might someday be
    encoded, but the user wants the AP symbol in plain text
    now. Same scenario as above, is there a problem?

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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