A post from Shady Characters

Shady Characters in Polish is Ciemne typki

Cover of Ciemne typki. (Image courtesy of Robert Oleś.)
Cover of Ciemne typki (Shady Characters), published by d2d.pl. (Image courtesy of Robert Oleś.)

First things first: happy new year! Welcome back.

For me, the new year has started with a bang: courtesy of Robert Oleś at Varsovian publishers d2d.pl, Shady Characters is now available in Polish! Translated by Magdalena Komorowska and entitled Ciemne typki (I am reliably informed that this is quite a clever pun in Polish), the book is available now from empik.com and other online stores. If you read Polish, have a Polish friend who might enjoy a book about unusual punctuation, or, hell, you already have an English edition and you’re just a damn completist, now’s the time to lay your hands on a copy.

In the spirit of the rich, elegant Hoefler Text of the English editions, Robert has selected a great typeface (or rather, a family of typefaces) for Ciemne typki — in this case, Martin Majoor and Jos Buivenga’s comprehensive Questa and Questa Sans. You can see it in action below. My copy has yet to arrive, but from Martin’s own photographs of the composed pages it looks like Robert has made an excellent choice.

So there you have it! Another edition of Shady Characters, and a great looking one to boot. If you happen to buy a copy, please do let me know what you think in the comments below or via the Contact page.

Detail from Ciemne typki. (Image courtesy of Robert Oleś.)
Detail from Ciemne typki (Shady Characters), published by d2d.pl. (Image courtesy of Robert Oleś.)

7 comments on “Shady Characters in Polish is Ciemne typki

  1. Comment posted by Zeissmann on

    Well, I wouldn’t say it’s such a great pun. In fact I’m not sure what Grzegorz Rolek meant there. “Ciemne typki” means exactly “shady characters”, in the sense “suspicious people”. But it cannot be understood as “grey marks”, the way the original title could be. So in fact I don’t think there’s a pun here in any way comparable to the original, but maybe I’m missing something. Of course, language puns are notoriously hard to translate and I don’t think I would know how to do it better.

    I do agree that the book looks fabulous in the picture. D2D is an exceptional publisher of typographic works. They also made the Polish edition of Bringhurst’s “The Elements of Typographic Style”, of which I have a copy myself.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Confined to English as I am, I have to take the word of others on this sort of thing, and so thank you for commenting! Perhaps some other Polish speakers would like to weigh in?

      I’ve been very lucky with the degree of care that each of Shady Characters’ publishers have taken over the design of their respective editions. There’s still the Chinese simplified characters edition to come, and I wait with bated breath to see what they do with it.

    2. Comment posted by Smyru on

      Well, typki in this context clearly draws from typography to me, though I am heavily biased by professional background. So I sort of agree that the title translation could be quite hermetic.

  2. Comment posted by Brian Inglis on

    Expanding on the “reliably informed” link above with the help of Google Translate thesaurus functions (when you enter single words), the title could also be read as “umbrageous sorts” or “obscure hooligans”, which echo some thoughts Keith has expressed in the past.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      “Umbrageous sorts” is a tremendous phrase, and sure to appeal to typographically-minded types/sorts/people. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Comment posted by Przemysław on

    There is no pun here. Typek ‘unknown/suspicious person/fellow’ (diminutive from typ) is used wrt people and never wrt written characters.

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