The new Merriweather italic

After starting and rejecting a few different approaches the new Italic for Merriweather is properly underway now. This italic is a kind of midpoint between a floridly italic design and a slanted version of the roman. It takes on many classic italic style structures and details but retains many of the element font in the roman to maintain better rendering characteristics on screen. So for instance the a and g take on the infant or single loop style as you would expect from an italic using traditional construction. Similarly there are in and out strokes. However these strokes are quite muted in their impact because they are quite short. The joins on a traditional italic would be expected to be much lower than the ones used in Merriweather’s italic giving a more triangular counter shape. Retaining a high join from the roman will mean that the counters stay more open allowing for better rendering at small sizes.

Arrotino Italic

Arrotino deliberately takes on the structure and manner of 15th and 16th century written italic.  Arrotino italic also shows the low joins and triangular counter shapes characteristic of this style. The flat middle join in letter e shows this is an unfinished design.

Merriweather Italic

Merriweather Italic - in progress

Merriweather Italic looks to integrate the flowing feeling found in Arrotino’s style with a more rational and quieter feeling

Helvetica Oblique

Helvetica Oblique

Helvetica’s oblique italic is a classic example of slanting the upright forms to make an italic. Note the two storied a shape and the flat middle on the e.

I know that I have been heavily influenced both by short time learning to carve letters at the Cardozo Kindesley workshop and by my teacher Gerard Unger who taught me at the MATD program, Reading University, UK.

Carved letters from the Cardozo Kindersley workshop

Cardozo Kindersley style italic

Coranto, designed by Gerard Unger

Coranto, designed by Gerard Unger

Coranto is available from Type Together. This image was captured from the Type Together web site.

Other designs can also be licensed from Gerard’s own web site

As I test the italic Merriweather font in web browsers I am sure there will be changes. So that you can get a better sense of the way the italic works with the roman I will post images of it in use with the roman.

I will also be posting image of the larger glyph set in Merriweather and some examples of the improvements that can be found in the design of the roman.

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About Merriweather

Merriweather: a type family being developed by Eben Sorkin.
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19 Responses to The new Merriweather italic

  1. I can’t wait to see the final result. :)

  2. Craig Smith says:

    Any chance of an update? How is the italic coming, and other improvements?

    A comment / question: in the current version on Google, the hyphen and n-dash appear to my eye to be fairly high, even with the x-height as tall as it is. Is there some rationalization for this, or should it perhaps be very slightly lowered?

    I also found that the hyphen and n-dash are not noticeably different in their lengths, whereas the m-dash is nice and long. I use the n-dash a lot in my writing and always prefer it to be distinct compared to the hyphen. Should it be lengthened a little?

    I like the other glyphs a lot. Lovely rounded quotes / speech marks. The old-style numerals (with descenders) are very nice too. Do you have any plan to add lining numerals for those occasions when they’re preferable?

    Very nice font in general. I intend to trial it for body text on a website with long articles; so far it’s beaten out other open fonts. (Do need proper italics though.) Good work.

    • Merriweather says:

      A new version of the basic letters in the italic is nearly done. Just a few more tests to do and I will show it. I am very happy with the degree contrast I am getting with the roman and the rendering as well.

      RE: the dashes, both the en and em dash are longer in the new version.

      RE: The hyphen, it is often used as a minus sign because the minus sign is not always available in fonts and because it is not on the English keyboard.I had it match the plus in the old design. The height of the math signs and the hyphen and the em & en dashes should all match. The next Merriweather will have these problems fixed.

      I am very excited about the next release in part because it will have the new italic, and because of the various fixes and shape improvements ( there are over 100 ) but mostly because it renders so much better on Windows browsers. The rendering on the mac will be very nearly identical.

      Tabular and proportional lining numerals (and many other numbers and other opentype features) will be available from from webfont services and from the print font which will be licensable from my company Sorkin Type Co.

      -e.

  3. marthastutteregger says:

    What a beautiful typeface!
    I would like to use Merriwheather for a Website.
    When will you release the italics?

  4. Muj (@m_u_j) says:

    When will Merriweather italics come out? Or is there an italics available already somewhere?

    • Merriweather says:

      The italic for the roman now looks like it will arrive at the end of November. It looks like the new upright roman Merriweather will come out later this week and the sans will come out perhaps in the following week. The sans italics will be out in Dec. The entire family will be available in an extended pro web and print version in early 2013. The pro versions will have small caps, multiple number styles, kerning and other features that a professional or commercial user may find useful.

  5. Muj (@m_u_j) says:

    Would love to see a preview of the Sans/Sans Bold. Is there an image somewhere online?

  6. Keep up the great work! I really like this font and I’m excited for the italic one to arrive.

    • Merriweather says:

      Thanks! I am doing an urgent new project for Google this week now and this has delayed things yet again. But i am committed to getting this out and into your hands ASAP!

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  8. 0gres says:

    The sans-serif “s” is an interesting contrast with its upright version and with the other letters. What made you choose it over the traditional “bulbs” for an italic s?

  9. Merriweather says:

    I like to keep the counters of the s nice and open in general and especially for web fonts. You are right though, I could keep a fairly open form and still use a more bulb-like terminal. Perhaps I will. :-)

  10. Alan Bauchop says:

    Hi. Merriweather is great looking and very easy on the eye. Any ETA on the italics? I would love to use MW in a project I’m working on, but the needs the italics too. Thanks.

    • Merriweather says:

      The basic italic in two weights ( regular and light) may go out to Google as soon as this week. I am not sure when it will go live however. That tends to vary. The soonest would be next week. What is the project?

  11. Hi Eben. That’s great news. I’ll send you the details of the project when I get the alpha online, hopefully within the next month or so. It’s pretty humble, mind. Thanks again.

  12. Amazing typeface! I can’t wait for italic version to come out though! Is it going to be published soon? Thank and keep up the great work.

    • Merriweather says:

      Thanks! The basic italic is done and the light to go with it but the bold italic is not done. I think I will publish them without the bold to avoid any more delay. The Sans serif was published into Google but I ended up finding things I didn’t like in testing so I have been revising it this week. The last revisions are happening this morning. Bit the Sans and the Italic will be out as soon as I can get them out.

  13. Hi, are the lining figures available from Google Web Fonts? Thanks.

    • Merriweather says:

      Lining figure are not available yet. I suggest you write to Google and ask them to add support for number styles generally!

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