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Polytonic Greek typeface to pair with Goudy Old Style

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Lukas Novak

Any ideas which Greek font would go best (or at least well) with Goudy Old Style? I have made several attempts (see the attached PDF), but somehow ame not entirely satisfied with any of the options - the styles always seem to clash, more or less.

Thanks in advance for any input!

GreekSamples.pdf

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Riccardo Sartori

I’m by no means an expert, but as far as I understand, lowercase Latin and Greek will always somewhat clash on the page, at least because of the different stress in the construction of the letters of the two alphabets.

But in a multilingual layout that could actually be a good thing, helping to differentiate the two texts at a glance.

That said, I think that Cardo would be a good choice.

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Lukas Novak

Thanks! Cardo is indeed one of my serious candidates.

As for the necessity of clashing: well, it seems to me that there some succesful attempts to achieve a sort of unity of style, without forcing the Latin character on the Greek letters - such as the Greek in Gentium, or in Minion Pro. And then there is the other way of not attempting a unity of style but a pleasant sort of contrast - this is achieved e.g. by the Greek of Junicode, IMHO. But, somehow, with Goudy neither way seems to work: there is no Greek (I know of) in the Goudy style, and the contrast achieved doesn't seem to be very pleasant in most cases...

Cardo is an interesting pairing with Goudy because, on the one hand, it is a distinctly different style, but on the other hand it shares with Goudy the synthesis of traditionalism and creative approach and . All this is good. Overall, it seems the best match. What gives me pause, though, is that when you look carefully, Cardo's Greek seems to be done in a rather hasty and chaotic way - the characters are uneven, there is a lot of inconsistencies (some endings are sharply cut-off, some are rounded; some characters (such as epsilon) are rather irregular, others (such as omega) precise, look at the different spurs of iota, mu and lambda), sigma looks like an omicron with a litle stick glued on, the diacritics look as though they were copied from another font and the accents do not harmonize with the breath marks.... Given all this, it is surprising how well it looks in small sizes!

 

  • very interesting! 1
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Lukas Novak

I've just wanted to share my final solution - I have rejected one by one all the options suggested before for various reasons, and finally settled on Crimson. It is different than Goudy, but (at least in my eyes) it has the same sort of playful classicality as Goudy, and it does not clash with it but complements it nicely. What do you think?Sample.pdf

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Riccardo Sartori

Looks good. The only possible downside, perhaps inevitable, is that, because Crimson is less contrasted, its counters look a bit smaller, thus its x-height appear slightly shorter than Goudy’s.

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Mikhail V.

From the first file with specimen, judging the Greek alone:

- Brill and Garamond Premier to my eye are of better quality, it is very well designed and look consistent. Gabriola is nice but might be too reminiscent of hand writing which is not bad, just the matching issue.

- Minion is also well made and is more "romanised" look.

Other seem rather naive not-so professional fonts (read: not so good for readability of block text).

As for pairing with Goudy, stylistically none will fit perfectly, its a different writing after all. Garamond Premier would be my choice. Minion would be ok if you want more matching with straight roman look, just a bit too bold.

Although, as Riccardo mentionen, different look actually might help in multilingual layout. So having a script-styled Greek is totally ok in my opinion.

Other options that you added later -  I could tell better if you place text specimen together like in the first file.

 

  • very interesting! 1
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Lukas Novak

Thank you, Mikhail! Are you a "native Greek reader"? As for Garamond Premier, it would be one of my favourites, too, but I excluded it for the reason that I copy&paste quotations from sources that - in accord with the most unfortunate standard - use tonos for oxia, whereas GP distinguishes the two, making tonos almost vertical and oxia more inclined to the right (which is, generally speaking, the right thing to do, in my opinion). The vertical oxia=tonos does not look right for polytonic Greek, and it also does not match the true oxia that appears in combination with breath marks. So I would have to search&replace all instances of X+tonos with X+oxia, which I am lazy to do...

Would you have a look at the attached file, comparing Gabriola, Garamond Premier, Minion, Brill, and (still my favourite) Crimson? To my eyes, both Brill and Minion are too bold (and I don't like the perispomeni of Brill). I have nothing against Gabriola (its cursive look makes it actually harmonize better with Goudy than the more "Roman" Greek styles, meseems), it just seems to me that Crimson works even better with Goudy, stylistically.

GreekSamples2.pdf

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Mikhail V.

No I am not a native Greek reader. I know the alphabet more ol less but I don't understand the language, so I only  judge  optical charasteristics and legibility.

Crimson fits good if I take in account only the stroke weights and pointy stroke terminals.
But there are these excessive curly strokes and a bit chaotic proportions, makes it look somewhat inconsistent. Some letters look faded out e.g. /nu/ is too thin, etc. Space is too tight. So I see issues, to be honest.
Also for me Crimson has rendering issues (in Acrobat reader) the letters are distorted, so I had to zoom in really close to see precise letter shapes. Might not be happening in print though, anyway I don't know why it is happening.

Gabriola seems of better quality in general than Crimson. Stylisticaly pairs with Goudy better than the "old style" GP and Brill. Only it feels a bit like italics.
 
Regarding readability alone, I'd say Brill is better legible in block text compared to others. It has better proportions and accurate spacing suited for smaller text.

Minion BTW has same pen orientaion (stroke modulation) like Latin, others have it opposite, just like most historical Greek fonts. I don't like Minion to be honest, kind of annoying to read. But what I mean, there are maybe fonts with same stroke modulation orientation and then it definitely would help for matching it visually.

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Mikhail V.

For example Palatino Linotype has fairly good romanized Greek style, but I am not sure about polytonic part.

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Lukas Novak

I don't like Palatino's Greek at all. It is very inconsistent - some letters are striclty verical (mu, tau, eta, iota, phi...), some are slanted (alpha, pi, lambda, omega, even epsilon), some more (alpha), some less (epsilon)... It is a mess - especially the alpha's sticks out rathr awfully. Also, the diacritics are too light in comparison to the letters. Someone should make two fonts of Palatino's Greek: one upright, with the slanted letters corrected, and one slanted, with the upright letters corrected (and thicker accents and breath marks in both)...

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Lukas Novak

Thanks, Mikahil, for the rich feedback on Crimson. I am not sure I agree about some of the "issues" you mention. I am not a native reader either but I know the basics of the language and so can actually read it, and to me, the readibility (not just legibility) of Crimson Greek is not worse than that of GP or Brill (judging from a print-out) - in fact, to me Crimson does better than GP in this respect! It is substantially worse than Minion, to me, but I blame that on the fact that Minion is romanized and I am a native Latin script reader (I've heard native Greek readers complain about their native style being progressively infested with Latin customs, which looks unnatural and less readable to _them_). What you call "excessive curly strokes" is actually what I like on the font (it is a rather small detail when printed in small type size). And some things I just don't see (e.g. no problem with nu, on my part).

But I don't want to dismiss your expertize. I will seriously consider Gabriola once more - the "italic" look is no problem, it is proper for Greek. (I am not necessarily looking for a Greek that would be stylistically as close to Goudy as possible - i.e. romanized etc. My ideal is a genuinely Greek-looking font which nevertheless combines with Goudy pleasantly. This is why Minion is out (beside its tonos-oxia issue it shares with GP). Brill is distinctly Greek, but very 21st-century-like: it would be like combining Goudy with -- well, Brill, on the same page...)

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R::bert

Maybe also these would be an option:

  • Arno Pro
  • Skolar
  • Libertinus Serif (Linux Libertine)


Another thought would be to use a Sans Serif instead of an only almost fitting Serif font. Here is a list of our german “forum sister” where you can find a bunch of further options (in the first section called „Besondere Empfehlungen“ for “Special recommendations”):

https://www.typografie.info/3/Schriften/listen.html/sprachunterstützung-griechisch-r104/

 

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  • very interesting! 1
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Mikhail V.
On 2/25/2022 at 1:10 PM, Lukas Novak said:

My ideal is a genuinely Greek-looking font which nevertheless combines with Goudy pleasantly. This is why Minion is out (beside its tonos-oxia issue it shares with GP).

I see now, so basically something not too far from GP.

Well the only thing left I can tell, "EB Garamond" might be worth trying as well, it is very similar to GP but with forward-inclined accent.

As for Crimson - I didn't mean there is something bad, but still for my eye it is a bit emmm.. I don't know, it is subjective, just a bit chaotic. And it looks slightly condensed compared to Goudy.

 

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Sunspark

There are a few promising ones worth checking out at this link such as GFS Artemisia: https://www.mrgreekgeek.com/2021/06/03/the-best-free-polytonic-greek-fonts/

  • very interesting! 1
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  • 4 weeks later...
Lukas Novak

Thanks! I know the site. But I must say I rather detest Artemisia: it looks inconsistent to my eyes (as if it cannot make up its mind if it is drawn or printed - chiseled serifs here, soft finials there, some strokes straight, some slightly curved -- the effect is that there always seems to be something vaguely wrong...). And I cannot stand the n-looking eta without the proper tail! Besides, Artemisia's Greek is heavily romanized...

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Lukas Novak

Mikhail: as to EB Garamond: the font is beautiful, but its polytonic Greek is unusable - accents and breath marks are wrongly stacked. Maybe I find time sometime to correct it.

  • very interesting! 1
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