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AE p Æ ffi p ffi ae p æ ff p ff

ffj p ffj

ffk p ffk

ffb p ffb ffl p ffl

ffh p ffh fft p fft fi p fi

fh p fh


fk p fk OE p Πfl p fl

oe p œ

ft p ſt

Th p Th

st p st

Rp p �

sp p sp ct p ct

et p & fl p fl


AE p Æ ffi p ffi ae p æ ff p ff

ffj p ffj

ffk p ffk

ffb p ffb ffl p ffl

ffh p ffh fft p fft fi p fi

fh p fh


Table of Contents What is a Ligature?.............................................................6 Most Common Ligatures....................................................9 first action..........................................................................11 A New Technology............................................................14 Sources...............................................................................16 Colophon...........................................................................17


What

is a

Liga-

ture ?


What is a Ligature? The word ligature comes from the Latin word Ligatus, which basically means to tie or bind. Ligatures are basically two letterforms that have been tied or bound together to create one glyph. A glyph is a symbol that represents a character. Figure 1, below, displays an example of the combination of two characters, bound to create a single ligature.

A ligature in the practice of medicine is a “filament or thread used to tie something, like a blood vessel to prevent it from bleeding” (“I Love Typography"). Figure 2 on page 6, displays a diagram of how a ligature in the practice of medicine could be used in order to cut off or constrict a certain area of a blood vessel by using a ligature to tie or bind the actual vessel.

fl fl p

Figure 1: See how the overhang of the f is overlapping the top of the l in the example on the left. The ligature on the right displays both letters as a single glyph. Look how much cleaner the letterforms now appear as one glyph.

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Figure 2: The word ligature comes from the Latin word Ligatus, which basically means to tie or bind. This is an example of a ligature used in the practice of medicine. Ligature /lig路a路ture/ (lig麓ah-cher) any material, such as thread or wire, used for tying a vessel or to constrict a part.


Most

Common

Ligatures


Most Common Ligatures In typography, a ligature is the combination between two certain letters. The most common ligatures that we are most familiar with are ff, fl, fi, ffi and ffl. If we examine the letter f, both upper and lowercase the letter is top heavy. If we now introduce the letter i to the combination, the overhang of the f overlaps the dot of the i, also known as the tittle. By combining the letters f+i into a single glyph, it makes the f appear more stable. The f is now using the i as a crutch and no longer appears to be falling over. The overhang of the f, also known as the terminal, also doubles as the dot of the i, or the tittle.

fi

p fi

The combination of two individual characters vs. one clean ligature/glyph.

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Ligatures flourished in the 15th century, with the invention of Metal Moveable Type, also known as the term “Hot

Type,� as a cleaner look and time saver. Instead of having to set the f and the i as two individual letters, typesetters could now set one glyph replacing two letterforms. This may not seem like a big time saver, but when the typesetter was laying out an entire book of 60,000 words in moveable type, then it could certainly make a big difference. Ligatures in handwriting are made by joining two or more characters in such a way that it completely alters the look of the original letterforms. Ligatures could either merge the characters, write one character above or below another or by putting one character inside of another. In printing or typesetting, ligatures are set as one unit and do not always have to be joining letterforms. The ligature combination of f+i, for example, is set with more kern space as a single unit between the two characters, rather then setting it as two individual characters with less kern space.


first

action


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The origin of the typographical ligature is best seen in manuscripts with the simple running of multiple letterforms uniting to form a single glyph. Sumerian Cuneiform is one of the earliest know scripts that includes many character case combinations that over time have evolved from a ligature into a single glyph of its own. The ligature that most people are most likely familiar with is the ampersand “&”. The ampersand derives from the combination of the letters e and t, forming the Latin word “et” meaning “and.” The word et is the exact translation of the word and, only in French, but we still use it in the English language. The ampersand comes in many different forms, especially depending on typeface. Because of the ampersands ubiquity it is generally no longer viewed as a ligature, but as a logogram. A logogram is also known as an ideogram or a hieroglyphic.

According to Williams, a logogram is a grapheme, which represents a word or a morpheme, which is the smallest meaningful unit of language. The most commonly used ligatures are the f-ligatures, which include fi, fl, and sometimes ff, ffi, and ffl; the last three are usually only found within many Open Type fonts, supplementary or Expert set fonts. The term font has dramatically changed from the time of hot type, with the rise of computers and the birth of cold type. “A font was a collection of metal characters representing the complete character set of a particular design (all the characters, numerals, signs, symbols, ect.), all the same weight, style, and size."


first action For instance, back with Hot Metal Movable Type, 10 point, 12 point and 14 point were all separate fonts. Today, with the rise of computers and the easy accessibility to fonts, a font now refers to the complete character set of a particular type design or typeface in digital form. With the flourishing of printed manuscripts and moveable type invented around 1450, many typefaces included ligatures and many additional glyphs, such as the þ (thorn), which is later substituted in the English language with y, but later changed again and later written as th. As times changed and the spread of san serif typeface becoming more prominent with the help of machine-set body text in the 1950’s, the ligature began to fall out of use. In the 1970’s with the development of inexpensive phototypesetting machines, which no longer required journeyman knowledge or training

in typesetting hot type, this became a decrease in the use of ligatures. Phototypesetting is a method of setting type that used a photographic process that would generate columns of type on photographic paper. Typesetters used a machine called a phototypesetter, which would project light onto a film negative image of a typeface or column of type, through a lens that would magnify or reduce the characters onto film, which would collect onto a spool in a light tight canister. The film would then be fed through a processer to develop the film where it would emerge ready for paste up. Phototypesetting, which is also referred to as “cold type” technology, was a process of projecting characters onto film for offset printing. Phototypesetting eventually later became obsolete with the popularity of personal computers and desktop publishing programs.

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A New Technology

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TeX, written by Donald Knuth, was the first typesetting program that took advantage of computer-driven typesetting. TeX typesetting software would automatically substitute certain combinations of character, which were place next to one another with ligatures and could only be overwritten by the user. With the rise of desktop publishing in 1985, the trend was further strengthened. Most early digital fonts did not include any ligatures, nor did any early computer software programs, except for TeX. Ligatures further started to disappear as traditional hand compositors and hot metal typesetting machine operators dropped. Now with the increase support of other languages and alphabets in modern computing and the help of Open Type, ligatures are slowly coming back into use.

Expert Type vs. Open Type When purchasing an Expert set font, it may contain up to thirty different fonts in a single font family. For instance, an Expert set font may include body copy, small caps, all caps, old style figures, superscript, subscript, ligatures and more. Each font will be displayed in your font book as thirty different fonts, all as individual fonts. An Expert set font is usually labeled as “Expert,” “OSF,” “SC,” “Small Caps,” or some other distinctive term. Before purchasing Expert set fonts, look into Open Type fonts, which will eventually replace expert sets. Open Type offers basic ligatures such as fi and fl, which are only available on the Mac only, where Expert Type offers a few more special characters such as Rp for rupees or st for special effects in words like first.


Open Type is a Unicode font format from Adobe and Microsoft that uses a double-byte encoding system. By using this encoding, a font is no longer limited to the basic 256 glyphs but can now be expanded to contain more than 65,000 glyphs in a single font. In an Open Type font there may be eight or more glyphs representing a single letter, for instance, A, Ä, Ā, Ą, Á, ą, á, ā, a are all examples of the same character. An Open Type font can also include and entire character set for true-drawn small caps, fractions, swashes, ligatures and more. With the possibility of a single font to include more than 65,000 glyphs, it is possible for a single font to include multiple language characters. For instance, an Adobe Open Type Pro font typically includes Cyrillic characters from Russian and other Slavic languages, a full range of accented characters to support European languages such as Polish and Turkish, and even Greek characters, which combines multiple languages.

One advantage of Open Type fonts is that they are cross-platform. When you purchase a font family, it works and transitions between Mac, Windows, Linux and Unix platforms, which is a tremendous help when transferring files between operating systems. Open Type fonts usually come in several optical size variations, which are fonts that are redesigned for different sizes, instead of enlarging or reducing a font on the computer screen. A single Open Type font may provide you with a couple different redesigned versions of the typeface like small sizes called caption, which range between 6 to 8 point, a body copy size or regular, between 9 to 13 point, a subhead version between 14 to 24 point and a display version for 24 to 72 point and larger.

Bibliography 15


Colophon Book layout and design developed with Adobe InDesign CS5 and Adobe Illustrator CS5 on a Macbook Pro Font Type faces used were Adobe Caslon Pro at 12 point body copy Cover Created using Adobe InDesign CS5 Interior Cover Created in Adobe InDesign CS5 Interior Images created in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign CS5 by Alรกn Gonzรกlez

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Sources Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer’s Type Book. Second Edition. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 2006. Print. Strizver, Ilene. Type Rules! The Designer’s Guide to Professional Typography. Second Edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. Print. “I Love Typography .” I Love Typography . N.p., 07, Sep. 2007. Web. 3 May 2011. <http://ilovetypography.com/2007/09/09/decline-and-fall-of-theligature/>. Ralf Herrmann: Wayfindings & Typography. N.p., Nov. 2006. Web. 3 May 2011. <http://opentype.info/blog/2010/07/31/opentype-myths-explained/

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AE p Æ ffi p ffi ae p æ ff p ff

ffj p ffj

ffk p ffk

ffb p ffb ffl p ffl

ffh p ffh fft p fft fi p fi

fh p fh


fk p fk OE p Πfl p fl

oe p œ

ft p ſt

Th p Th

st p st

Rp p �

sp p sp ct p ct

et p & fl p fl


Alรกn Gonzรกlez DAI 322: Computer Graphics Imaging Design & Industry Department San Francisco State University Spring 2011


Ligature Booklet