I’m in the early stages of my font design and was wondering how does one create a Hpyhen, Em or En Dash? Obviously it varies from designer to designer, but I was wondering if there were techniques or particular rules to created the correct width of these characters.
The hyphen is the shortest and thickest of the three, usually also the lowest, and should fit nicely between letters, because it is supposed to connect letters.
emdash and endash have the same height and thickness, and significantly longer than the hyphen, emdash clearly the longest. As a rule of thumb, you can make emdash about as wide as two zeros, because in some orthotypographies, it is its only function to replace 19,00 with 19,—.
In most German typographic traditions (and I assume those of most other European languages), the emdash has no use, except for replacing tabular 00 after a comma. You ought to be able to find that in every other German-language book on typography. Not sure if there are English-language resources.
Thanks for that explanation. I am only familiar with English typography.
In my search for the information I did come across the Figure Dash, U+2012, which many if not most fonts do not include. I can see where that would be valuable so I intend to begin including it, zero sidebearings.
Well… In Czech typesetting dash can be represented either by endash or by emdash. During the period of letterpress, emdash was far more frequent than endash. I randomly checked 10 books in my library from this era and 9 out of 10 books are using emdash!
In the early days of digital typography dashes were often replaced by hyphens (partly because of software limitations, partly because of the people who used computers were not trained professionals). Typographic experts (including me) called for better typography; we wrote books about proper typesetting, asked publishers to follow the old traditions etc. It was worth it. The majority of newspapers, magazines or books now use correct quotes or dashes. With one change: emdash. The standard form is now endash, nevertheless emdash is considered correct as well and some typographic purists prefer it.