The previous post in this series deals with round and symmetrical forms including the dot, umlaut, ring, breve, and macron ( ˙ ¨ ˚ ˘ ¯ ).

Here in Part 3 I’ll cover marks that appear below the letter, including the comma, cedilla, and ogonek (  ̦ ¸ ˛ ). I’ll also throw in the slash and tilde (  ̷ ˜ ), because they’re the only ones left at this point, and I said I’d make this a 3 part series.

Leave Your Feedback In The Comma Below

The comma below diacritic (  ̦ ) is pretty easy, so I’l get it out of the way first.
It’s a comma. But it goes below the letter.

The comma below should be a bit smaller and less noticeable than a standard comma, so as not to confuse the two marks if a word ends with an ș or ț, for instance. It should be shaped like a comma, but sized like a dot.

The comma below may dip below the descender line, but shouldn’t go too far, so as not to crash into any ascenders or diacritics on the line below. This is another reason why the comma below is smaller.

For letters with a descender that require a comma accent, the comma is rotated 180° and placed above the letter aligned relative to the dot (like this: g̒).

image of comma compared to comma accent

Cedilla Later, Alligator

The cedilla ( ¸ ) is from the Spanish meaning “little z.” Although no longer used in Spanish, it still looks like the bottom half of a cursive z (or 5). It attaches to the bottom of the letter, aligned horizontally to optical center.

The bottom of the cedilla should align vertically (approximately) with descender. There’s plenty of wiggle room for this guideline, and it’s all about the color and visual flavor of the font. (I know—super unhelpful guideline.)

image of çşţ

Pain in the Ogonek

The ogonek ( ˛ ) is not an accent. It is part of the letter, and has to be drawn with each glyph, not just tacked on. Because it’s drawn as part of the letter, in a font as bold as Protest I ended up drawing it thicker than the cedilla. I’m not sure if that means I’m doing something wrong, but I’ll look into it. I don’t read Polish, but even to my eye the ą looks just… off.

The ogonek should go down to descender. Unlike the cedilla it doesn’t just horizontally align to the optical center, with the exeption of the o, O and U. Instead it has to flow from the terminal. This will put the ogonek to the right, which brings up a potential problem: the bottom of this little hook may end up too far right.

Adam Twardoch, on his Polish Diacritics site, says “The ogonek should never exceed the right boundary of the basic glyph.”

Ew! A stroke! O! A Slash!

The stroke or slash (  ̷ ) is like the ogonek: it is part of the letter, not a one-and-done. The stroke is not a cross stroke or crossbar. It is not horizontal. It’s quite a bit simpler than the ogonek, but still needs to be considered in context.

The Polish ew, also called L with stroke (Ł) should be placed at visual center, like tie of E. This is especially important with the lowercase l, so as not to be confused with t.

The thickness should be same as the thins in the font. The terminals should be same as the rest of the font.

The same rules apply with the slashed O (Ø).

image of Ø, and of E compared with Ł

Love Ya Tilde N’d

The tilde ( ˜ ) is a simplified N. Thinking of it this way makes it easier to draw. The strokes go thin-thick-thin, and the outer strokes are parallel and equal in length.

The overall length varies by typeface, as well as the angle of the strokes. Again, this is all up to style, eye, color, etc. Plenty of wiggle room to design this wiggly mark.

Up Next

Finally! In the next post I’ll begin the process of digitizing the font. I’ll be using FontLab VI to make the font file.

I’ve already been digitizing the glyphs one by one in Adobe Illustrator for these blog posts. So I’ll see which works better: copying the glyphs from Illustrator, or using autotrace in FontLab VI.