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Cyrillic News

Started working on Cyrillic support in News Cycle this morning. It’s quite fun, since it involves a lot of creating glyphs, but not so far outside my own writing system thought-processes. And having spent some time in Ukraine, the alphabet is not entirely unfamiliar to me.

Still, there are challenges, largely due to lack-of-familiarity with different typographic conventions in a new alphabet. For example, the “Zhe” character Ж — naively to the Latin-reader, it resembles a doubled K, however, that’s not its lineage. Which is something we might care about because News Gothic’s K is not symmetric about the horizontal axis. That is, the upper and lower arms are the same length, and they join into a horizontal crossmember.

The Zhe I’ve drawn is the screenshot here is in fact derived from K, in order to duplicate the angle used in the K, but to me I’m not quite sure if it looks right. But I’m also not sure if that’s just me, just my exposure to Ж in other sans serif fonts. The seriffed samples I’ve seen are not symmetric; they have curved upper arms, but I’m *really* not clear if that is supposed to carry over into sans serifs or not. There are a few commercial revivals of News Gothic, and their Zhes have all straight-arms, but seem symmetric. And if you’ve ever looked for an English book on the history of the Cyrillic alphabet, you know what a fool’s errand that is….

screenshot: Cyrillic in FontForge

Onward and upward.  The thing is, I’ve still got questions like that for six or seven of the other capitals, and that’s not even touching the lowercase stuff and archaic letters.

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