Re: Preconditions for changing a representative glyph?

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2013 20:39:36 +0200

Yes this has happened when the previous glyph caused confusion with other
characters, or were incorrectly oriented (when orientation is significant),
or the actual and most frequent usage was clearly different. This did not
mean that the previous glyph was necessarily always wrong, but that it was
too limited in scope of application.

In some cases diffrent variants had to be separated and encoded using
variant selectors, for some demonstrated usages where they should be
distinguished (e.g.for some maths symbols), but this is for exceptional
cases, where otherwise the two glyphs are largely considered as equivalent
(same meaning).

In rare cases, new characters were encoded (e.g. the IPA symbol for the
Latin small letter g, in order to exclude the common form with the looped
leg which is common in fonts like Times, and in cursive handwritten forms).
This is exceptional because there was no contrasting examples in IPA where
using the two common glyphs would have caused confusion : it could have
been encoded as a variant only, instead of a new base character.

2013/5/29 Manuel Strehl <>

> Out of curiosity, has it happened before, that a glyph was updated (i.e.,
> substantially changed) in the standard?
> Cheers,
> 2013/5/29 Asmus Freytag <>
>> On 5/29/2013 8:39 AM, Leo Broukhis wrote:
>>> I'd like to ask: what is supposed to be the trigger condition for the
>>> UTC to consider changing the representative glyph of
>>> <your favorate symbol here> to <a novel> design?
>> The answer: the purpose of the representative glyph is not to track
>> fashions in representation but to give an easily recognized "orthodox"
>> shape.
>> In the case of symbols, shape matters differently than for letters (where
>> you have a word context that allows even decorative font shapes to be
>> "readable").
>> For symbols, once you leave the canonical shape behind, there's always
>> the argument that what you have is in fact a new symbol.
>> There are some exceptions to this, where notational aspect of symbol use
>> is so strong that variations really function identically and can be unified
>> without issues. This might be the case in your example. However, in
>> general, I would dispute that this is true for non-notational symbols.
>> In the case you give, the "new" design is clearly not the canonical
>> shape, because it deliberately innovates. If it ever replaces the other
>> sign in a majority of uses (not just in NYC) then perhaps updating the
>> glyph might be appropriate.
>> At this time, we are far from that point.
>> A./
Received on Wed May 29 2013 - 13:42:19 CDT

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