How to make an eth

Home page

Thorn and eth
Making thorns
Making an Eth
Making an eth
Eth troubles

The lower case eth isn’t easy. Let’s begin with the letter o, and add a curve to its right side. A parenthesis or the numeral 9, upside down, may help. They aren’t always worth much, but we’ve got to start somewhere.

Ascender slant
We need a good, tense curve all the way from the top to the baseline. The ascender can taper to a point; slicing it is better still. Too much slant to the left is a common mistake. In these variations, the middle is a safe choice.


Crossbar slant
Fitting together the ascender and the crossbar is probably the most difficult part of the design. The four areas of white space around them need not be even, but they must be in balance. The crossbar should either be at right angles to the ascender or slightly off towards the horizontal. I prefer the letter in the middle.


Crossbar height
The crossbar belongs midway up the ascender. Too low is often better than too high. I prefer the version in the middle.


Crossbar length
Both sides of the crossbar are usually the same length. This has many exceptions, however, that look all right. If you make it too short, it looks silly. If it’s too long, it interferes with the texture of the page. And I prefer the version in the middle.

Heavy display faces with great x-height have problems of their own. Many haven’t got room enough for a crossed ascender. You can gain a bit by using a smaller bowl. (You can save a bit more, in a real pinch, by doing without a crossbar on the left.)