Mathematic Symbols Part 2:
Comparison and Fraction

Part 1 of this series had the basic math glyphs (addition, subtraction, etc.) and some comparative symbols (equal, not equal, approximately equal): + − ± × ÷ = ≠ and ≈. This post, Part 2, includes some more comparative symbols, degree, percent, and fraction slash: > < ≤ ≥ ° % and ⁄.

Squinty Eyes >< ≥≤

The greater than (>) and less than (<) signs are mirror images of each other, as are the greater than or equal to (≥) and less than or equal to (≤) signs. So I will just talk about the greater than signs with the understanding that everything applies to the less than signs as well.

The > sign is basically a chevron pointing right. It is the same width and height as the + sign, and it’s vertical center aligns with the minus.

The ≥ sign has the minus on the baseline, just like the ± symbol. Similarly, the symbol sitting atop the minus can have a reduced height, but often the ≥ sign is taller than the ± sign. In many instances the > on top is the same size as the standalone > sign. That’s what I’ve opted to do for Protest, since it gives a bit more whitespace to an otherwise fairly heavy symbol.

Pieces of the Pie:
Degree, Percent, Fraction

The degree symbol (°) is a circle, not an o. It’s monoline and doesn’t show any contrast, unlike the masculine ordinal (º). The top of the degree symbol aligns with cap height. It can be the same size as the masculine ordinal, but is often smaller. This is usually the case in low contrast fonts, so that the degree is more easily distinguished from the ordinal. I’ve chosen to make the degree smaller in Protest for the same reason.

The percent sign (%), like the degree, aligns at cap height. It also sits at baseline. This is so that it will align with the figures. Also similar to the degree, the zeros in the percent sign can be the same proportion as the superscript figures and ordianls, though they are sometimes smaller. Some fonts treat the zeros as circles, like the degree sign, though I’m choosing not to.

The zero in Protest has a slash through it to distinguish it from the uppercase O, but the zeroes in the percent sign are too small for that. Given the context, the zeros don’t need the disambiguation.

The slash in the percent sign is thinner than the regular slash, and it’s angle is smaller (about 53°, as opposed to the slash’s 72°) to accommodate the zeroes on either side.

Fraction Slash
The fraction slash ( ⁄ ) is sometimes steeper, sometime less, and sometimes equal to the angle of the percent slash. Regardless of the angle, it’s always close. This makes sense given that the percent sign is just a zero over zero fraction. I’ve chosen to make the fraction slash for Protest the same size and angle as the percent slash.

Up Next

The next post covers radical, integral, partial derivative, and infinity.

  • Mathematic Symbols
    1. + − ± × ÷ = ≠ ≈
    2. > < ≤ ≥ % ° ⁄
    3. √ ∫ ∂ ∞
    4. ∑ ∏ Δ π
  • Diacritics






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