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John Hawkinson 5,572 posts
Jun 25, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Greek, macrons, and other special glyphs? Recommended substitutions?

Apr 26, 2011 5:25 PM

I had been under the impression that most modern Adobe OpenType fonts had support for glyphs like α (U+03B1, GREEK SMALL LETTER ALPHA)  and ā (U+0101, LATIN SMALL LETTER A WITH MACRON), and that the few cases I had found were mostly outliers. Today I became aware that I was mostly wrong, and would appreciate it if someone could explain what the situation really is; I was surprised to learn how wrong I was.

 

Most of my thinking is in the context of machines running Mac OS X with Font Folio 11 installed/available, if that's pertinent.

 

Miguel clarified a while ago that the macron characters were "only supported in font families with the suffix Pro, such as Minion Pro." I had missed it when he said it, or I guess internalized it wrongly. So I guess that means the macron characters are mostly available in the 24 Pro faces: Adobe Caslon Pro, Adobe Garamond Pro, Adobe Jenson Pro, Arno Pro, Bickham Script Pro, Brioso Pro, Caflisch Script Pro, Calcite Pro, Chaparral Pro, Cronos Pro, Ex Ponto Pro, Garamond Premier Pro, Lithos Pro, Minion Pro, Myriad Pro, Sanvito Pro, Sava Pro, Silentium Pro, Tekton Pro, Trajan Pro, Voluta Script Pro, Warnock Pro, Waters Titling Pro, Web Type Pro,

 

OK, well…fine. Then the next problem was Greek letters. Those seem to be…much more difficult to find? (I would have thought the opposite.)

 

Is there some tool for searching for these glyphs within Adobe's fonts? The Type Reference Guide says "Complete glyph complement pdfs can be
viewed or downloaded from the Adobe web site at www.adobe.com/type," but I can't seem to find an easy way to get to them (I guess the Flash interface sort of works? Is there a better one?).

 

Our house style currently uses Adobe's Utopia Std and Univers LT Std. For text in Utopia, when hunting for these glyphs, I had usually been in the habit of finding the glyphs in Times New Roman, and not worrying about it. Today I realized that that's not Adobe's Times New Roman (kind of a rude awakening), it's actually Monotype:Times New Roman Regular:Version 3.05 (Microsoft). So then I installed Adobe's Times New Roman MT Std and Times LT Std families, but they don't have the glyphs either.

 

Is there a recommended Adobe font that has these glyphs that is appropriate to substitute for Utopia? For Univers?

Maybe the more general question is whether there is mapping of "What font should I look in to find somewhat similar-looking glyphs when Adobe fonts are missing glyphs"?

 

Looking through the Type Reference Guide.pdf (or the printed 3rd edition reference library) is frustrating. I suppose I probably want a font with the icon for "Greek monotonic" greek.png or maybe "Greek polytonic" pgreek.png, but those seem to be encoded as special glyphs that are tough to search for.

 

If I search for the word "Greek," it looks like my only choices are these 7: Arno Pro, Garamond Premiere Pro, Lithos Pro, Minion Pro, Myriad Pro, Universal Std, and Warnock Pro.

 

Is that right, or am I missing some?

 

is this situation likely to improve anytime soon? Am I better off finding non-Adobe sources for these glyphs?

 

Utopia is a Robert Slimbach Adobe original, so I guess there are no other sources.

Univers is from Linotype, but they don't seem to sell and variants with greek glyphs?

 

Maybe the answer is that the folks who picked our house style made bad decisions. Though I'm really not sure? Sorry this is so long. Any thoughts much-appreciated. Thanks.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 26, 2011 8:12 PM   in reply to John Hawkinson

    Hi John,

     

    Lots of questions. I'll try to address them as best I as can.

     

     

    Is there some tool for searching for these glyphs within Adobe's fonts?

     

    You can use the "Character Viewer" available in Mac OS X. The only requirement is that the font(s) need to be installed.

     

     

    The Type Reference Guide says "Complete glyph complement pdfs can be viewed or downloaded from the Adobe web site at www.adobe.com/type," but I can't seem to find an easy way to get to them

     

    Just go to any face page, e.g. Minion Pro Medium Subhead. There you'll find a link named Glyph Complement which will direct you to the PDF file.

     

    Is there a recommended Adobe font that has these glyphs that is appropriate to substitute for Utopia?

    No, not really. Kepler has a similar style, but it's also an Std family, not Pro, so it won't have the characters you need.

     

    For Univers?

    No. The closest would be Myriad as they're both sans-serif. But the styles are different: Univers is a (neo)grotesque while Myriad is a humanist.

     

    If I search for the word "Greek," it looks like my only choices are these 7: Arno Pro, Garamond Premiere Pro, Lithos Pro, Minion Pro, Myriad Pro, Universal Std, and Warnock Pro. Is that right, or am I missing some?

     

    There's also Hypatia Sans, Sava, and Adobe Text (the latter is currently only avaialble as a CS5 registration incentive). List of fonts containing Greek.

     

    The number of choices seems small when compared to the total number of font families available in the library. But Adobe was actually one of the first foundries that started including Greek and Cyrillic characters in their fonts on a regular basis. When you look at the Adobe Originals list you start seeing the trend.

     

    is this situation likely to improve anytime soon?

    Yes. All our newest families are Pro and include Greek and Cyrillic -- that's basically our minimum now -- and there are updates to existing families in the pipeline. But this will still take some time to become available.

     

    Utopia is a Robert Slimbach Adobe original, so I guess there are no other sources.

    Adobe actually donated Utopia fonts to the community, and while there has been some derivative work that extended it to cover Vietnamese and Cyrillic, AFAIK no one as ever designed the Greek glyphs.

     

    Univers is from Linotype, but they don't seem to sell and variants with greek glyphs?

    I think you're right. But I see they have a font named Utah WGL that may suit your needs.

     
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