Rendering Serbian italic forms with OpenType

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue May 02 2000 - 21:59:09 EDT

Since the question of Serbian italic forms raised its head on the Unicode
list again recently, I thought I would prepare a small example of Serbian
rendering using an OpenType font. In fact, as they say on cooking shows, I
had one cooking in the oven already because I've been preparing
illustrations for a recently completed article on OT for _Multilingual
Computing & Technology_ magazine.

The example is online, in Acrobat PDF format, at

I concur with Michael Everson and others on this list who maintain that
Serbian italic forms are a rendering issue, not an encoding issue. This is
not to say that this issue is in any way trivial -- although the OpenType
solution is both simple and efficient -- or should not be seriously
considered by anyone who believes that localised typographic cultures
should be served by international character encodings. On the contrary, the
Serbian italic rendering question is a excellent example of the need for,
and versatility of, the kind of advanced typographic layout features
offered by OpenType, even for a 'simple' script like Latin.

The example shows the same Serbian text, a poem by Miodrag Pavlovich about
bombs falling on Belgrade in April 1944, set in italics using both the
default, Russian glyphs and the Serbian variant glyphs from the same
OpenType font, Adobe's Minion Pro. I wanted to avoid any overtly
'political' text, so it's April 1944, not April 1999.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

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