I was reading some articles on jacobinmag.com and I noticed that their letter j has a sort of tick or tail on the right hand side at the base. I was wondering if anyone could tell me what this tick is called or provide some info about where it originates. Thanks! Pictured is a word with the j I'm describing.

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I also see that tick on that website. There's something suspect to that Antwerp font on jacobinmag.com. Looking at the code, the font-face is Antwerp. Look up Antwerp font and I found this link: https://www.a2-type.co.uk/antwerp which shows the J without the tick (u&lc). Digging deeper, I noticed the Antwerp webfont on the typographer's website is called f-Antwerp_Light. I would suspect that the webmaster from jacobinmag.com is hosting a custom font that was recoded with a glitch. Another test confirms this by changing the font on jacobinmag to Arial shows the J as just being the normal J as we know it.

The answer to your question is, "there is no name for that improvised nick by the webmaster."

  • 3
    typophile.com/node/115888 "Antwerp" font made by Henrik Kubel for Playtype"; "The Antwerp lowercase ‘j‘ was designed this way. It is not a mistake, in fact it helps the direction of reading and matches the ‘i’ better. There will be a future version of the Antwerp font(s) without this detail."
    – Yorik
    Jun 2 '17 at 14:38
  • There are at least two fonts with the name 'Antwerp'. The one here: vllg.com/a2-type/antwerp/specimen has the funny little extra appendage on the j and the J. You're conclusion is correct though, there's no name for it it's just a little idiosyncrasy.
    – Westside
    Jun 2 '17 at 14:39
  • So, maybe more complicated than that. I dug a little and found other examples such as a 2000s font purportedly based on a "Viking Old Style" from 1909. The thing is: "J" didn't even exist as a letter (it was a swash I for roman numerals prior) until circa 1575, so the Antwerp designer who said he based it on 15th century typefaces is...stretching the truth.
    – Yorik
    Jun 2 '17 at 14:39
  • @Yorik could you leave that as another answer option.
    – Ryan
    Jun 2 '17 at 14:53
  • @ryan: excepting the little tidbit about viking old style, this is all a simple expansion on jhurley. If I come across anything more specific to I might lift that part and make an answer. I think it is idiosyncratic and unlikely to have a name aside from the usual serif or crossbar.
    – Yorik
    Jun 2 '17 at 15:32

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