Character vivisection (衍)

I know you’ve all got character peeves. You must, because I do, and I’ve got all the visual aesthetic of the Generic Brand product line manager. The character 罚, for example, always seems strained to me, with the lower half looking like one of those typesetting snafus where a single word gets j   u   s   t   i   f   i   e   d across an entire line.

But this isn’t about peeves, especially 罚, because then someone might get excited about how it looks better in traditional characters (罰) and this would turn into a simplified vs. traditional free-for-all. We definitely don’t want that.

This is about tools for character analytics.

How does one go about finding another — or, alternatively, demonstrating that there exists no other — character like 衍, which has a three-drop water (三点水) in the middle of the character. More narrowly: how does one go about doing it without just asking people? How can you do it systematically? Continue…