Diacritical Signs in the World’s Languages
Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague
Department of Graphic Arts
prof. ak. mal. Rostislav Vaněk
Diacritical signs are used in writing most European languages, but even type designers do not attach sufficient value to the construction of diacritics. It would good if the type character set had diacritical signs for the Central European languages. They are often so badly designed, however, that they can ruin a layout. The reason for this, apart from a general unawareness of the local writing principles, is the lack of comprehensible outlines and clear bases for these diacritical signs.
Radek Sidun has tried to solve this issue, and has developed it skillfully and persuasively. He has put forward models of diacritical signs for 13 popular Latin types. Through his work, a typographer on the other side of the world can find a model most similar to his design and compare the diacritics. Sidun has developed this not only for the basic styles, but also for italics, and for bold and condensed variants. This presents an outlook on a proper method of designing an extended family of types. In some cases, he has even created alternative signs. For the shape, size and position of the diacritical signs, the designer consulted with specialists in many European countries. His work concludes with “Ten Commandments” outlining the basic principles of diacritic design. This work, based on extensive research and gradually published at www.diacritics.eu, will no doubt improve the quality of contemporary typefaces.