Type designers naturally specialize in the characters of their native language. However, this inclination places British and American designers at disadvantage, since English lacks the diacriticals that are common in other languages.
My goal for the first edition was to enrich Vietnamese typography. Published in November 2015 as my final thesis for a master of arts in graphic design from the School of Art at George Mason University, this book had quickly become an essential guide for designing Vietnamese diacritics.
Many type designers used this book to help them understand the unique typographic features in Vietnamese. They learned the subtle details and the nuances of the Vietnamese writing system even if they do not speak or write the language. As a result, they gained more confidence in designing diacritics, which play a crucial role in the legibility and readability of the Vietnamese language.
Diacritical marks are cues that guide readers to comprehend the meaning of certain words. Without clear and proper accents, the flow of text can be disjointed and disrupted. Without them, written communication is distorted. Furthermore, the original meaning of the text is obscured.
Since the release of this book, I have been advising type designers in expanding their typefaces to support Vietnamese. In interacting with them, I gained more understanding of the issues and confusions they were facing. I have nothing but positive and supportive experiences working with them. I appreciate the caring and the attention they devoted into crafting diacritical marks for Vietnamese.
To show my appreciation to the type community, I have revised and expanded the second edition to provide more useful information, supply more illustrations, and feature more Vietnamese-supported typefaces.