He couldn't just be Jr.?
December 12, 2008 8:22 AM   Subscribe

How can I style roman numerals after a personal name set in a script typeface, like Shelley Script?

This will appear on a formal invitation announcing a new board member who happens to be a "second." What is the best way to typeset, "John James Doe II"? My instinct was to spell out "the second," but that looks strange too.
posted by gladly to Writing & Language (12 answers total)
Best answer: Put the "II" a non-script typeface. Given your example of Shelley Script, I think Bodoni would be a good fit. Just think about it: someone writing in flowing cursive would stop and write the Roman numerals with block letters, just like with Arabic numerals. So look at the numerals in Shelley Script and find a typeface to match.
posted by zsazsa at 8:36 AM on December 12, 2008

Best answer: I don't know the correct answer if there is one, but I think zsazsa is on the right track. Pick a Bodoni, or another Didone face, which matches Shelley Script in stroke weight. That is to say the thick parts should be about the same stroke weight, and the thin parts should likewise match in weight.

If the font has them, you might try using sloped roman characters that have approximately the same slope angle as Shelley Script.
posted by kidbritish at 9:55 AM on December 12, 2008

Seconding zsazsa. You could try setting the II italicized so the transition isn't so jarring. I just did a test with Adobe Garamond Pro Italic and it looked pretty nice. Just make sure that you reduce the size of the non-Shelley font or it will stick out like a sore thumb. In mine, I set up Shelley at 48 points and the Garamond at 36.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:03 AM on December 12, 2008

The correct protocol is to only use numerals starting with the third generation, John Doe III. The first and second generations are John Doe Sr. and John Doe Jr., respectively.
posted by rocket88 at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2008

rocket88: No, John Doe Jr. is the son of John Doe Sr.

John Doe II is the second John Doe in the line, but his father is not John Doe (perhaps his grandfather is).
posted by mendel at 11:24 AM on December 12, 2008

"The correct protocol is to only use numerals starting with the third generation, John Doe III. The first and second generations are John Doe Sr. and John Doe Jr., respectively."

This is only true if the name is the father's and identical (same middle name). The second can be used when the name is the same of any living relative.
posted by bitdamaged at 11:25 AM on December 12, 2008

damn to slow ;-)
posted by bitdamaged at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2008

Best answer: I think all the advice so far is quite wrong. You shouldn’t be using a script typeface for any application that requires all-caps text. That includes II in this context, or things like acronyms, U.S. state abbreviations, or the like. Clearly, some abbreviations with periods (like A.M.) can work adequately well, but that is a different case.
posted by joeclark at 1:01 PM on December 12, 2008

zsazsa is correct.
posted by muscat at 5:21 PM on December 12, 2008

That's irrationally restrictive, Joe. zsazsa and kidbritish's solutions can work.
posted by Typographica at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for your help, everyone. zsazsa and kidbritish's answers were the best pragmatic solutions because the designer was too far along creating the invitation and the materials that were going along with it to change the typeface at this point. In the future though, I think I'll consider joeclark's answer and avoid script typefaces when there are these kinds of all-caps words to typeset.
posted by gladly at 8:47 PM on December 14, 2008

No, I’d say it’s quite rationally restrictive. Script fonts are like plutonium: A little gives you cancer.
posted by joeclark at 1:29 PM on January 16, 2009

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