>I have a few questions about the 'hanging numbers' that typefaces like
>Why are they 'hanging' below the baseline?
>Is there a purpose to it or its just something that German/Dutch type
>designers like to do?
>I have done a few projects and most of my clients don't like the hanging
>numbers- to them it looks like a mistake. So I find myself having to
>'correct' the hanging numbers by using the CAPS font. In the case of FFMeta
>there is a CAPS version and the numbers are set- 'normally' on the baseline.
It's a truism that typographers of the most discriminating and
exquisite tastes will prefer in nearly all cases old-style /
non-lining / lowercase figures (OSF) to the crassly commercial lining
figures typical of so many parvenu fonts these days.
In fact, old-style figures are good only for use in running text;
even there there is, typically, a case for the full- or mid-height
capital / small cap figures; the OSF 0 is often too like the o, etc.
Capital or Lining figures are necessary in all-cap settings (ACS);
and though some will say that ACS is not typography, it certainly
has a certain history that tends to certainly repeat itself. OSF
figures in ACS tend to look misplaced, as they are; they belong in
Some OSF will go well with small caps (SC), so in those settings,
small caps with old-style figures (SCOSF) are pleasant.
The concept behind OSF is that the figures, with their small bodies
and several extenders up (6,8) and down (3, 4, 5; 7; 9) blend into
the general color of a text. But, for there to be a general color, we
need an extended text, not a headline; the odd extenders of a OSF
head such as "4567 Killed" with the mismatched descending figures and
many ascenders cries out for redistribution.