Codan — typeface inspired by the city of Copenhagen

David Brezina's picture

I'm working on my first typeface. It's inspired by the city of Copenhagen and it should be used for titles or posters. Any critique welcome.

Lowercase ‘m’ is emphasized, because it doesn’t look very well for me (any suggestions?) — fixed already.

Thanks,

David

— updates

More examples attached on typophile.com

You can find even more examples at http://codan.davi.cz

AttachmentSize
codan.png18.4 KB
codan_specimen-lc.pdf428.9 KB
codan_specimen-uc.pdf433.07 KB
codan_specimen2.pdf425.11 KB
magnus_gaarde's picture

Hello David

I think it looks extremely nice. And you got the 'ø' perfectly right in the true spirit of danish designers such as Thorvald Bindesbøll, Knud V. Engelhardt & Gunnar Biilmann Petersen. (You need an Æ though)
A suggestion would be for you to draw some nice uncommon ligatures such as 'AV', 'MV', 'ME', 'ND' and so on. That would really hit the spot when designing titles or posters. And it would fit the tradition well.

Concerning the 'm', have you considered bringing in the right leg a little bit. Not much... just a little so that optically the whitespace within the 'm' looks even? This is a thing a danish typeface designer (Poul Søgren)once told me look out for when drawing the lowercase 'm'. :)
Other than that, I think the 'm' looks fine.

By the way did you know that Codan is a danish ensurance company. (You probably did)

Good luck

Magnus

David Brezina's picture

Oh, thanks for the comments. I was thinking about some ligatures. In old Carlsberg logotype was beautiful LS.

About the name. I have been told about the Codan company, when I was working out first uppercase in Denmark. Perhaps, it comes from COpenhagen DANmark. Name of my typeface comes also from the czech name for Copenhagen, what is Kodaň (Kodan without diacritics).

magnus_gaarde's picture

Nice. I didn't know about Kodaň being the czech name for Copenhagen.

Yes, ligatures as those in Carlsberg are exactly what I was thinking about. That logo btw was designed by Thorvald Bindesbøll a long time ago. :)

MG

Jan Sandvik's picture

I like your efforts very much, in my opinion this design has clearly some potential.

If I'm being nitpicky, I find some minor issues in following
characters (I'm by no means any expert, so don't take me too seriously. And these are just opinions)

M looks too wide, the upper white space is too big
G lacks something, it looks too much like C
k looks just a little bit too weak/tiny
w has some weird qualities
s is tilting backward (very little)
a is tilting forward (very little)

I like the overall feel still very much, I would certainly like to see this developing to a full family of different weigths.

(I would also like to hear from other people if you agree/disagree with my opinions, I'm still very new at this:) )

David Brezina's picture

Hello,
be nitpicky. It's the only way.

— you are right. I was trying not to see this. But it is not too wide, I think. It needs only smaller upper part.
— I know what you mean, but I think It is ok.
— I don't know. :)
— w, hm. I think It is all right. It is different, but (I hope) all right.
— a, s, hey you are right, but it's only a little :)

I wasn't thinking very much about big family, but maybe you'll change my mind.
I'll make some changes at the end of this week, I'll post it.

David Brezina's picture

I placed a new version at http://codan.davi.cz — Å, Æ, Ø, å, æ, ø and some fixes (lowercase a, s). Yes and kerning (very fast done — I have to fix it).
You can find some examples (poster, specimen, headlines) there.

I welcome every feedback.

magnus_gaarde's picture

Hi, David

I think it looks nice. You can always work on the kerning when you have all the characters ready.

Recently I have been looking through some danish typedesign. (Yes, it actually seems that there is a distinct danish way of drawing letterforms.) And I still think you have a lot of Knud V Engelhardt's and Gunnar Biilmann Petersen's trademarks in your typeface. The way the A is drawn with the big flat top and the way the Ø is drawn as well. And that goes for most of your letters but the C and G doesn't seem to follow the tradition. The terminals should end vertically and not horizontally like now. And the G would not have the horizontal crossbar as it does now but only the vertical. I hope this weird babling makes any sense to you. Of course my words are just guidelines to the way of drawing like the classic danish typedesigners and you should not necessary listen to me but just go ahead and do it your own way.

I think the lowercase s is too thin on the middle where it should probably be the thickest. But it is tilting nicely now as is the lc a.

The first one of your two lowercase y's is the best in my opinion. :)

I think it is looking nice.

--

Here's a link to a pdf about ligatures (it's in Danish). And I think you can find--on the first page--an example of the kind of G I was trying to sketch out for you. (In the lower right corner are some logotypes by knud v engelhardt and gunnar biilmann pertersen)

www.grafisk-litteratur.dk/ download/btm/10%20Ligatur/btm10b.pdf

Regards

Magnus

David Brezina's picture

Thank you very much for the sources, Magnus. I'm quite busy last days, because I'm finishing my thesis and school as well. So, I have some latency...
The kerning is really awful. I know. :( Actually, it seems, that uppercase looks much better than lowercase (not only kerning). I don't know why exactly.
C + G (weird babling :) I see. I was thinking very much about it, but it works much better now. A, R, V, etc. have sloped endings, but C, S, G would have horizontal endings. It is kind of inconsisteny for me. It was done in a "danish" way in a first version of Codan (I call it Codan 1). You can see it at exhibition posters (it was for school exhibition of course) at http://codan.davi.cz. (I'll place them now).

David Brezina's picture

I would like to make a detailed overview of the Codan typeface development. Do you think it is a good idea?

magnus_gaarde's picture

Nice posters and sketches. Great stuff.

I think you should make the overview. It would be interesting to see the progression.

BTW: All this talk about and looking at your typeface and gunnar's grotesk has inspired me to give it go at drawing a 'danish' typeface myself. I thank you. :)

Magnus

William Berkson's picture

Just saw this. Your link doesn't work for me, so I only see the .png

Wow! This manages to look old fashioned and fresh at the same time. Congratulations.

Even though the wide joins of the AMN are part of the look, I think some might benefit from being made just slightly narrower. The N particularly, and the top of the A and bottom of the M a litte also.

hrant's picture

David, I always find expositions of type development fascinating, so I hope you do it.

hhp

David Brezina's picture

OK! I will make an overview of the process. Give me a time.

For anybody interested in danish typeface design: There is a great danish book from Steen Ejlers "Arkitekten & grafikeren Gunnar Biilmann Petersen". There is a lot of good and typically danish typedesigns (Many of Magnus "snapshots" are from this book. I think.). Pity, that I can say only "Hval hedder du?" in danish. :)
Yes, and there is some old red book about Engelhardt. I don't know the name and author exactly.

http://codan.davi.cz (no www) should work properly or try this one http://www.davi.cz/codan/

David Brezina's picture

Magnus, I want to see your work! :) I mean danish typeface. Good luck.

magnus_gaarde's picture

Hi, david.

I know the book about Biilmann on several occasions I have borrowed it from the library and I actually have it right now:). It is really nice. I think maybe the Red book about Engelhardt you mentioned is by Erik Ellegaard Frederiksen (another danish graphic designer) and it is called KVE or Knud V Engelhardt. I have never read it though.

I will try to get a sample of my font together and post here.

David Brezina's picture

Yes that's the red one.

magnus_gaarde's picture

Hi David

Here's a link to my site with the typeface I mentioned before.
TypeEinz

See Portfolio > Skrifter > Aarhus.

With you calling your face something with Copenhagen I couldn't resist calling this one Aarhus.

MKSG

David Brezina's picture

Hi Magnus,
I saw it. I like it (with some exceptions). I can't recognize details very well in such a small picture. You already have more letters/glyphs than I have! :) How is it possible?
Are you asking for some critics? I think it would be better to start a new discussion thread. I can write down some critics there for you.
I like your 'g'! I forgot this danish "curiosity".

David Brezina's picture

Yes, I have seen it. Somebody (Tomas Brousil) told me, that it is too similar. I hope it is not. :) Actually roots of these typefaces are completely different.

magnus_gaarde's picture

Hi, david. Thanks for taking a look at my typeface. I will make a pdf soon.

I just checked out the link to stormtype. I don't think your typeface is too similar to Metron at all. There are some similarities but it is also very different in many ways. And as you mentioned the background of the face is completely different.
I do also like Metron though.

David Brezina's picture

Since now, you can contact me via Contact in Typophile.

btw. I have finished my master studies. :)

I will place an annoucement here after finishing the "development page" of Codan. In the September probably.

magnus_gaarde's picture

Hi, sorry for the delay.

Here's a pdf with the characters so far.

http://slartok.psychosium.dk/blandet/characters.pdf

btw. Where did you study in Copenhagen?

Magnus

hj_kid's picture

Well i thinks it looks awesome,
and i can't wait to see the finished result.
I love the smooth curves,
makes it very easy on the eye

dezcom's picture

David,
It looks very good! It has the charm.

ChrisL

hj_kid's picture

Well how about an update on the progress ?
Are you anywhere near an end result ?

Grafiskanstalt's picture

Hi
regarding the name...

I'm (or was) quite sure that Codan is the latin name for Copenhagen (like Aros is for Aarhus) - thought when researching where Codan the ensurance company had their the name from they state that they got it from the latin name for the Baltic sea "Sinus Codanus" which apparently means "the sea surrounding Denmark".

So I'm a bit confused now...

hrant's picture

> “Sinus Codanus”

Ah, the infamous medical condition whereby one's nose starts
looking suspiciously like a certain North Atlantic fish's rectum.

hhp

dezcom's picture

or the Coda in Strauss' opera "The Nose" :-)

ChrisL

Grafiskanstalt's picture

ohhh now i remembered... The latin name for Copenhagen is "Hafnia" which is another danish ensurance company.

David Brezina's picture

Should I rename the typeface now? I am twice as confused. :-)

Regarding the progress: I was quite busy, but I am going to work on it now (almost one year after first post :-). At least I will place the design process description in few days. I kept it exclusive for one magazine, which seems to be dead now.


www.davi.cz

David Brezina's picture

Well, here is the typeface design process description finally: http://codan.davi.cz/process.html

The description may sound simple in some respect. Nevertheless, it is how it was.


www.davi.cz

William Berkson's picture

Looking at this again, the bent top horizontals on TEFZ are distracting. Overall, it is wonderfully 'fresh' and 'old' at the same time! If you release it generally, I think it will find steady use, as it has quite a distinctive and good look.

hrant's picture

David, thank you for putting that up!

hhp

David Brezina's picture

No problem.

If you have any opinion to point out, please put it here.

D.


www.davi.cz

David Brezina's picture

Last weeks, I worked a bit on Codan and it is much better now. I will post pictures as soon as possible (why it is not possible at the moment? I do not know. Typophile do not like my computer. :-)


www.davi.cz

William Berkson's picture

David for posting images read:

http://typophile.com/readme

To post new PDFs, you need to click 'edit' on your first posting, I believe, and then post.

David Brezina's picture

Thanks a lot.
Here it is. I was quite busy til now,
… and PDFs are here:
http://codan.davi.cz/pdf/codan_specimen1.pdf
http://codan.davi.cz/pdf/codan_specimen2.pdf


www.davi.cz

David Brezina's picture

If you are interested in trying Codan, you can buy Building Letters 3 — Tsunami Edition magazine. It will be, besides other fonts, on the magazine CD.

All proceeds from the sale of BL 3 magazines and CDs will be sent to Direct Relief International, a leading charity that guarantees to target these donations to victims of the Tsunami disaster.

Note: Codan is presented there in caps-only variant. Unfortunately, I was not able deliver refined lowercase on time. Nevertheless, it contains characters of almost all European languages and some ligatures and alternative glyphs. OpenType.


www.davi.cz

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

way too close to Metron for liking :-(

1996type's picture

Too close to Metron? If that is too close than I can give you ten other fonts that are also too close to metron.

I like the robust feel of it. The G is a little distracting to me. In the W, I think you should try taking away the top part of the right stroke (seen from bottom part) of the two strokes that cross. Get it? Perhaps you should also make the part where they cross now (if you get what I said in the previous sentence, they won't cross, oonly touch afterwards) a little higher by shifting the right part of the W to the right. That will make it too wide, so you should then make the angle of the strokes steeper to make the same as the original width. The s also looks a nit quirky. Anyway, I'm no pro, so feel free to ignore my comment ;-D

Cheers, Jasper

SuperUltraFabulous's picture

alright... give the other ten fonts that you think are closely related to Metron

1996type's picture

I thought about this, but no. I'm not wasting my time on this. Just one that comes to mind would be Gotham, which means that proxima nova and alright sans can also be included. Metron is a fairly plain typeface, so it's not hard to find any other look-a-likes.

dezcom's picture

Gotham? Really? Not even close. Both are sans, other than that, nada.

1996type's picture

Thats my point.

1996type's picture

I'd say the similarity between codan and metron is smaller than the similarity between gotham and metron. Metron has a large x-height, relatively round shapes. Codan has a small x height, a much more robust appearance, a more mono-line look and much more square shapes. There are two very different metrons out there btw, but I assume we're talking about the 'Storm Type library' one.

I just saw this is a thread from 2005, so this will probably never become a full-grown typeface anyway.

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