Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nice typeface, does anyone know it?

My grandfather lived in Winschoten in the province of Groningen in the north of the Netherlands. He worked as an apprentice with an agricultural cultivating firm, that also traded in seeds and did some landscaping. The latter mostly in the form of gardens. When grandfather left the job in 1908, he got a certificate, written by the owner himself on company stationary. See the small picture on the left that may be enlarged by clicking on it.

What struck me immediately was the typeface of the print. A peculiar, somewhat fin-de-si├Ęcle design, with unexperted curls. Notice the way the C and H are formed into a ligature in the name Winschoten.

My big question: does anyone recognize the typeface, of could someone point me in the direction of a good enough resemblance. I could of course recreate the font myself, but that takes a lot of time. I searched the archives in Groningen for more information about the company building, and yes! they did have a picture postcard of it:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Struggling with Japanese Katakana

When working with non-Western characters you sometimes encounter special problems. For instance the Katakana syllabary, a set of 47 different sounds from Japanese that are used to represent Western names and objects. The basic sounds are not enough to get all the different sounds in languages other than Japanese. Therefore it is possible to combina two characters to create a new one. When doing this, the first character is standard in height, the second is smaller. An example may be seen in the chart I scanned. Take the "nyo", which is made from the character "ni", followed bij a smaller "yo". The result is pronounced as "nyo".
The problem I now have is: how much smaller should the second character be in relation to the first? It looks like 50 percent but it is hard to tell. It could be dependant on the style of writing (whether the text is indeed written or printed) or the person writing. I guess I'll have to do some experimenting, unless someone has a bright idea.