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Paramond: An extreme display serif

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Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
Paramond: An extreme display serif
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Here's an idea that jumped me today when I wasn't paying attention, and now I can't shake it:

An exaggerated light, contrasted, space-taking Garalde with impossibly tiny counters, long extenders and no respect for long amounts of text or small sizes. Where other fonts may be touted as workhorses, this one would be the unicorn.

I'm toying with the name "Paramond", hinting to its Garalde genome and its delusions of grandeur.

Now, has this been done to death, or should is it worth pursuing...?

Bob Evans's picture
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Joined: 18 May 2005 - 7:20am
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This idea might produce a very nice font - the small counters and sharpe serifs are interesting.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Just, please, don’t turn it into a garalde University Roman! ;)

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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No, don't worry, I can't stand University Roman. ;o)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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It hasn't been done to death... recently. But it's like a few things ATF et alia did about a century ago. And even though I think it would probably look quite charming, I don't think it would sell very well.

Paramond sounds almost right. But it's not... bucktooth enough. Paramonde? Tourdumonde?

BTW check out Paganini, which is a design I favor.

hhp

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Hrant, do you have examples of those things ATF did...?

Not sure what you're getting at with the bucktoothiness...

Paganini's really nice, but transitional.

As for selling, I don't mind if I don't get rich off of it. That's what Traction is for. ;o) I envision this one to be useful for glamorous magazine titles and book covers — maybe it can gain some sort of popularity through that channel? And I could always make a high-x-height, short-ascender version that could be more widely used.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Oh, I'm having way too much fun with this already. :)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Aren't those ascenders a little puny?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Hrant: That pop reference is entirely lost on me.

Riccardo: Yeah, the ascenders currently reach the height where I had foreseen the cap height. I do like it that way, though. Maybe I can make a compact cut of the font along with a tall cut.

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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the ascenders currently reach the height where I had foreseen the cap height

A peculiar design choice for a serif.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Well, it doesn't have a meaning yet before I make an actual capital. ;o) Obviously I'd make smaller capitals for the compact cut of the face, sort of like Gauthier.

How does this look for the full-sized cut? Cap/x is the golden ratio, asc/x = 2, desc/x = 2/3 (desc/x = golden ratio seemed too short). Are the descenders maybe still a bit too short?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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That's from Monty Python. Those are British twits who are self-important and quite nasal. :-)

hhp

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Hmmm, asc/x = 2 seems a bit on the excessive side. Maybe I should bring it back down, even for the "tall" cut. I usually like Garamond's /f, but I had trouble with this stratospheric one (and I still don't quite like it).

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Your |f| looks like it's ready to set sail to faraway islands... ;)

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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That sounds like a good thing. :)

Anyway, I've shortened the ascenders a bit. I think the /f looks saner now, too.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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And now I'm having way too much fun with this /g. :)

And full basic lowercase:

Johan Palme's picture
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Joined: 23 Jan 2011 - 6:07am
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I like where you're heading with this, but some of the characters seem uncharacteristically dull for such a fun face – some by nature, of course (there's only so much you can do with serifs and stems), but at the very least I'd look at s and z again – many garamonds have some great shape ideas there that you could steal.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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A agree that the /s is a bit out of character — too wide and dark for a Garamond. Not sure what could be done about the /z, though...?

Note that while I want the face to look energetic and fresh, I want to stay clear of "goofy" or "funny". I know that /g is dangerously close to tipping over into that regime, but I think it pulls it off through sheer charisma. ;o)

Johan Palme's picture
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Joined: 23 Jan 2011 - 6:07am
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Well, for z you could add a top serif, as per a lot of garamonds. But even if you don't do that, the ductal flavour of the other characters gets lost a little with the rather constructed z – those serifs are unlike any other in the font, very circle-segmenty.

I don't know if you do comparisons (because of possible undue influence, etc.), but perhaps take a quick look at Amsterdamer Garamont, another rather extreme version of the form. Or even Nick Shinn's Oneleigh.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Alright, I made a slender /s and a serifed /z to better fit into the Garamond flavor. I agree they look more appropriate. Thanks!

I've also made the /r shorter again to fit the tiny /r's of the typical Garamonds.

I try to avoid comparisons as much as I can, and when I do, I look at a large number of Garamonds on MyFonts to get a general impression rather than trying to emulate a certain specific solution. I don't like the Amsterdamer Garamont at all (that droopy Jannon /a!), but Oneleigh is brilliant (especially that /g!).

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Starting on the caps... do these proportions look about right?

I wonder if I can really pull that /A off...

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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More caps, calmer /A:

Nina Stössinger's picture
Joined: 19 Jun 2006 - 3:01pm
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Cute. It’s going to be interesting to see how this will gain weight. It’s very cute and elegant – those qualities will be trickier to keep up in bolder styles.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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I'm going more for elegant than cute, but I'll take both. ;)

If the Bold will end up less elegant, well, book cover designers will just have to use the Light!

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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First draft of the full alphabet:

Bob Evans's picture
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Joined: 18 May 2005 - 7:20am
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Looking Good - this direction has merit.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Thanks Bob!

How is this /Germandbls working?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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For those familiar with the matter: Do those /Schwa/schwa work?

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Schwas are generally poorly made, so there's no strong precedent. Here I would make the eye in the capital form huge instead of tiny.

hhp

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Hrant: I can't imagine that looking anything but weird...

Is that spike on top of /fl working?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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I tried old-style numbers that rise to 3/4 the cap height. They strike me as a bit coarse. Maybe I should rather reduce them to x-height?

Ahana Ganguly's picture
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Joined: 12 Dec 2014 - 11:27pm
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I really like this.

- The spike on the /fl looks a little awkward with the sample you've posted, but I'm not sure what it would look like in a word. Could you post a sample with a word?
- I really enjoy the numbers you have, but I agree; the extenders would look better reduced to x-height.

Ps. To be honest, I preferred the other /A (with the more funky apex)

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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I preferred the other /A (with the more funky apex)

+1

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Funky apex /A will be in the final release, just not as the default glyph. I might release a version with the .ss01 alternates cycled in as the defaults separately for ease of use, as I've done with other fonts.

Ahana, here are some ligatures in their natural environment.

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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New x-high old-style figures. I think they fit the Garamond flavor better than the 3/4 cap-height ones. I'm somewhat intrigued by that /I-shaped /1 version, but I think I'll stick it into .ss02. The other /1 design is just much more legible.

I also changed the stress distribution in /5/7.

Steve Gardner's picture
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Joined: 27 Oct 2014 - 5:03am
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Hi Christian,

The stroke modulation of the /ſt/ link looks really odd to me. I wonder if the shorter form of the /ſ/ might work better in this ligature?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Yeah, I took the design from Traction, where it works out — not so much here, apparently. I'm just going to revert to /ſ/t, they work together just fine without a ligature.

Ahana Ganguly's picture
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Joined: 12 Dec 2014 - 11:27pm
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- I love all of the ligatures (especially the /fj one). Also, it turns out I was wrong about the /fl - it looks fine in a word.

- The new numbers look a lot better (and the /1 (not /I-shaped) is much better).

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Thanks Ahana!

Steve: I just removed the x-height spur from /ſ, and I gotta say, I love it that way. It might be less historical, but way more legible (which is a rather sensitive subject for /ſ!).

Steve Gardner's picture
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Joined: 27 Oct 2014 - 5:03am
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Christian, I really like them both, but I can't decide which version I like best.

I have a feeling the serif version might work better when in close proximity to letters with x-height details and vice versa.

Take 'assistance' for example. In terms of rhythm, the serif plays well with the /a/ terminal, the top serif in the /i/, the bar of the /t/, etc. I suspect the serifless version of the /ſ/ might not flow as well in words like this. However, I think the serfiless version is likely to work better in words like 'psychosomatisch'.

Is it possible to see both words with alternate versions in one image for comparison?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Hi Steve,

here's the comparison. While I can see your point from the intellectual point of view, I feel the forest of spurred stems in the second instance of /aſſiſtance/ blurs like a herd of zebras (though, I admit, a relatively attractive herd), whereas the first instance is cleaner and IMHO more legible.

I suppose I could make the spurred version a stylistic alternate, but that seems like an awful lot of work for something that's probably never going to be used (especially considering the dozen or so ligatures!).

EDIT: Actually, I just did the work. It wasn't that much after all. ;o)

Craig Eliason's picture
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Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm
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The obvious answer is a contextual alternate that removes the spur when neighboring letters have head serifs.

I'm joking.

Steve Gardner's picture
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Joined: 27 Oct 2014 - 5:03am
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On balance, I think the serifless version is nicer, but I do like the serif version as well. It does seem like a lot of trouble to create alts for a potentially little-used character, but if you've done the work already, it's a win-win! :)

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Small caps! And yes, that's a small-cap /longs right there! So sue me! :D

Johan Palme's picture
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Joined: 23 Jan 2011 - 6:07am
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Nice small caps! I like how substantial some of the character changes are.

Not entirely sure about the alternate Q and Q.smcp, something feels disjointed about that tail. (Maybe it's a stroke logic thing, that it's placed at an oblique angle intersecting at the thinnest point. But I don't know enough ductus theory to tell.)

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Johan, the /Q.long architecture mirrors that of the Roman monumental capital, as far as I can tell. The angle of the thin stroke where the tail connects is quite close to the pen angle implied by my lowercase onstrokes and diagonal stresses.

On the other hand, I'm a bit worried about the stylistic difference between /J and /j.sc. The tapered tail works well for all-smcp, but together with /J, it looks a bit off. Maybe I should also adopt a tapered design for /J?

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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The smallcaps now come with a unicase alternate feature. :)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Looking at:
typophile.com/node/104308?page=1#comment-596972

I'd say the "fists" are... indelicate compared to the letterforms. The hedera is more in character, but maybe a bit too mainstream?

hhp

Christian Thalmann's picture
Joined: 2 Apr 2012 - 8:35am
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Dunno, they're meant to draw attention, so they need a certain heft — much like the pilcrow... I rather like how old-fashioned they look alongside the caps.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I didn't mean the color, more like the cuffs looking so bulky, and the fingers a bit sausage-like. But I've actually never made manicules, so I might be asking for too much.

hhp