Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Eszett: illuminated typography.... sort of

Watercolor on Strathmore
This is a gothic styled eszett created by combining the scharfes S  with a z. The Scharfes S is called a long S. In early American typography it resembled an F without the cross bar. And I don't mind telling you that it was very confusing to see George Washington's name written with a "goofy" F.

It is, as I may have mentioned before, a German calligraphic device that either stands in place of two esses or an ess and a zee. Modern writing standards have been challenged in recent years with the influence of the world wide web. German print standards are trying to get rid of the eszett. I hope that doesn't happen.

This is  beautiful special character. I especially like this gothic version. For one it uses a funky Z shape that you don't find very often instead of being a zig zig, it zigs and when the line comes down it dips below the base line with a half bowl extender... that's why this shape looks like a B. But trust me, it is a z.

The reason that I like this form the best is that it looks like a sword with a fancy quillon & guard.  Instead of a round pommel and button there is a tongue shaped flourish. And when I was sketching out this form, there were a couple of versions that reminded me a little of Van Helsing's silhouette.

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