Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Fonts with "the" as single character
August 12, 2006 8:37 PM   Subscribe

What are some old-time fonts that have a single character (one key stroke) for a fancy "the" and "of"? I've tried googling but "the" and "of" are hard search words! Thanks.

And, just curious, what do you call a full-word character like that?
posted by largecorp to Media & Arts (18 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's called a ligature.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:41 PM on August 12, 2006


The font renderer should recognize these special letter combinations and automatically draw them as a single graphical element. No magic keystrokes needed.
posted by ryanrs at 9:20 PM on August 12, 2006


This question is not about ligatures, or the fact that smart software inserts them automatically.

As for fonts, I know Brothers from Emigre has old-timey cuts for words like that. They call them word logos, but I don't think that's the typical term for them.

Briar Press calls them catchwords, and has a bunch of EPS versions you can download here. They use the term "cuts" more generically for ornamental elements that wer common in the days of metal typesetting.

A search on 'catchwords' brought up FF Catchwords from Jim Parkinson and Salmiak from Letterror. So I think that's the canonical term for them.
posted by O9scar at 9:34 PM on August 12, 2006


Are you sure that Unicode has numbers assigned for that purpose? I don't see "the" listed in the alphabetic listing of character names. How can a font have a character if there's no character code for it?

I also did a search of the index and found the following hits for "ligature":

Armenian Ligatures
Combining Ligature left half
IJ, Latin small ligature
Latin Ligatures
ligature ae, latin small
ligature oe, latin small
ligature tie

Nothing there about English ligatures at all.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:49 PM on August 12, 2006


How can a font have a character if there's no character code for it?

They use some other character's code, obviously, as with dingbat fonts.
posted by kindall at 9:53 PM on August 12, 2006


Bello is a gorgeous type family that includes an entire font dedicated to individual words, including but most certainly not limited to “the” and “of”.
posted by tepidmonkey at 10:06 PM on August 12, 2006


Adobe Wood Type Ornaments has a few.

'The' and 'Of' are not ligatures or unicode entities. Ligatures are things like fi, ffi, ffl and in a few cases st and ct. You'll only find 'the' and so forth in dingbat fonts.
posted by zadcat at 10:18 PM on August 12, 2006


They use some other character's code, obviously, as with dingbat fonts.

In that case they're not going to be accessible with single keystroks.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 11:44 PM on August 12, 2006


Emigre's Brothers and Council are antique-style faces which both have "word logos", including "the" and "of".
posted by ab3 at 6:31 AM on August 13, 2006


I really like the ligatures in Taroca Extra.
posted by Topkid at 7:01 AM on August 13, 2006


Darn, can't you edit an answer? The ligatures in Taroca are in Taroca Extras. Here is a full character map. Expand the N and the V to see "the" and "of".
posted by Topkid at 7:04 AM on August 13, 2006


In that case they're not going to be accessible with single keystroks.

[some anime graphic]

Er, yes they are. Like how L in Zapf Dingbats is a bullet point, F in some-fancy-font can be a character that looks like "the"
posted by bonaldi at 7:38 AM on August 13, 2006


You might like P22's Victorian font set. The "Victorian Ornaments Two" font has one "of", one "of the" and about seven "and"s. Plus an "Office of" and, of course, a bunch of little picture icons.
posted by amtho at 11:25 AM on August 13, 2006


Er, yes they are. Like how L in Zapf Dingbats is a bullet point, F in some-fancy-font can be a character that looks like "the"

which become accessible with a single keystroke only after you use a lot of other keystrokes to change the font.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 4:53 PM on August 13, 2006


Even if you do use the keyboard to change fonts, by this measurement there is only one font on your computer that lets you type the letter "a" with a single keystroke, that being the default font for whatever application you use to edit text. So, it's a silly and pointless measurement.
posted by kindall at 5:39 PM on August 13, 2006


C'mon folks, the poster asked for a font with fancy single-keystroke "of" and "the" characters. There's no reason to pedantically count the number of keystrokes required to switch fonts: that's not part of the question, and anyway it's kind of annoying.

Anyway, the best font of this sort that I know of is probably Headline Helpers One.
posted by bcwinters at 4:47 AM on August 14, 2006


IJ, Latin small ligature

IJ can be a ligature? That explains IJmuiden! (It's a place in Holland, a name I've seen in books and on maps, but I wasn't there with anyone who knew anything about the Dutch language so had no-one to ask why).

Thanks for accidentally answering the question I never even asked!
posted by Lebannen at 2:17 PM on August 14, 2006


Wow, great answers! Once I saw the word "cut," I knew that's what I was thinking of, though "catchwords" seems to be the newer version of that (I'm remembering back to letterpresses and moveable type!)

Great links--I never would have found these without you!
posted by largecorp at 9:14 PM on August 14, 2006


« Older Why do I get the dry heaves wh...   |  How to get my parents engaged ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.