Notanutha Serif

protimient's picture

Hello all,

This is my first real attempt at a text face. I wanted to make a legible, modern(ish) looking font, suitable for setting continuous text. There's only the roman and italic so far and the spacing still needs tweaking.
Any advice? Observations? Criticisms? Mild chastisement? Be ruthless.
(No... be gentle, this is my first post).
(Be gently ruthless).

(BTW, Notanutha is only a working title)

application/pdfNotanutha Serif
NotanuthaSerif1.pdf (36.1 k)

Eric_West's picture

Nice. 1st text face you say?

protimient's picture

Thanks! I have tried to make text faces before but they've always turned out to be more like display faces (I'm relatively new to this whole font business). This time I figured I'd learn from the experts and scoured almost every post on the serif board, reading the advice people gave to others and applying it to this font (worthwhile, but quite time-consuming). I think it's worked out...
Really, I'm looking to see if this is good, bad or ugly before I start working on the bold and other bits.

And I still haven't thought of a name yet.


l_vazquez's picture

Good work Ben.

Overall looks good. I'm not an expert, but here is my critique:

I will make thinner the arm of the 'r' (the part the joins to the stem) at the moment seems too thick. Make also the right serif a bit longer as well.

'c' seems to narrow. The loop of 'g' as well.

The numerals need some work. For example the ranging 3 and 5 are too prominent.

You're getting in there.

dan_reynolds's picture

Let's keep up the discussion on this design. I've selected it as the "Serif" face for the first Typophile Critique Thursday.

KatMTstd's picture

I love the uppercase E in this font, it has a lot of personality. The italic is friendly and graceful. I agree with the comment about the numbers 3 and 5 being too prominent, I wonder if there's another solution for these. The lowercase s looks a little squat to me. Overall, it would be nice to see less extreme thick and thins in the Roman face. Nice work!

TBiddy's picture

Ben, very nice! I like it! Congratulations on your first text face. Right now I haven't looked at it closely enough to make a critique, but just wanted to say that you should "definitely" keep working on it. :)

deafmetal's picture

Very nice! I like the Baskerville style serifwork, though for me it is perhaps a touch too clean. I love the R and P, not so keen on the B.

Why not let the B take a little more style from the R?

I would be sorely tempted to buy and use this font often!


hrant's picture

I'll try to find time to be here for this one (like if Tina is a no-show).


paul d hunt's picture

Overall very, very nice!
For the Roman:
There are two characters that rub me the wrong way: the g and the j. The ear on the g just looks depressed. it looks like it's in pain. and that kinky tail needs to see a chiropracter. and the j stubbed it's toe, i'm afraid. it looks like the whole tail of the j was well-formed and then got abruptly shoved to the right.

For the Italic:
the head serif on the ascending lc characters would look better if it were slightly flatter.

protimient's picture


I'd largely given up on this one (actually, more put on hold indefinitely).

Thank you for your comments, everyone.

I completely agree that I need to work on the numerals and now you mention it, the 's' does seem to be too short (not sure how I missed that).

I also agree with the B looking odd, I don't really know what I was thinking with that one (probably something along the lines of "yeah, I'll carry the curve up into the upper counter but only a tiny little bit, that'll look good").

I was going to ask about the g (and that pretty much answers my question!)
I do like it but it does look like it belongs in a different font. I'm thinking that making the bowl rounder and stiffening the ear will probably help it.
And the j wasn't particularly well formed to begin with. Initially I didn't have the serif on the bottom but it just looked like it was missing a serif. I might try a few things like basing it on the top of the f or maybe just 'stretching it back out'.

Oh, and I still haven't thought of a decent name yet.


hrant's picture

First: It's nice to see somebody scouring old crits to learn stuff; that's the mark of a craftsman. Second: This is quite good for a first text face! Some of the glyphs (like the "a") have a lot of maturity. With some polish it'll be a winner.

Macro stuff:
Some of your corners seem confused, or indecisive. Like the bottom-left of the foot of the "a"/"d", and inside of the top serif of the "c". Considering how nice -I think- your general angularity is (like in the spur of the "b") I would just make those sharp too.

- I'd thin out the top bowl-stem join of "d".
- The top-right of "e" is too light.
- The tail of the "j" needs to... morph! :-/
- In the "k", that join is too choppy.
- "s": a bit wide, and top-heavy.
- "t": the head is way too timid.
- The tail of the "y" is out of character.

Caps: Your proportions are nicely classical (although I'd make the "L" a bit narrower). And for some reason the tail of the "J" seems to work here, I think; so does that stub in the "K". But the disjoin in the "P" isn't working - although I think it is working in the "R". The "Q" though seems entirely too 19th century. I'd make the "U" a hair wider, and the "W" slightly wider. BTW, you're using my favorite form of "B"!

Numerals: the head of the "1" is best for making the numerals fixed-width (which right now they aren't); and its base could be a lot stronger. The "4" and the "7" need more presence I think. The OS "4" isn't working.

Others: the Pound has an unusally strong top, but I think it's cool. The Florin should slant. The "a" in the At should be smaller. I'd remove the x-line tick in the Eszet.

The Italic is quite refreshing, and its distinction from the Roman balanced very delicately, very... 21st century - wonderful. There's something old about it, like in its long diagonal serifs, but also something new in its ampleness and gentle slant (which I like a lot). Interesting, the "f" with a partial descender; I'm glad you've left the flourish out. The "k" might need to be less Art Deco. The "&" is a flop.

Spacing: assuming you keep the nice slight darkishness, I would tighten it all up a bit.

Overall, quite encouraging!


hrant's picture

I forgot something important: the descenders are too long. Unless you're shooting for large text, in which case I'd make the ascenders slightly taller.


raph's picture

More micro crit. Either the bottom bowl of the 'u' doesn't go far enough below the baseline, or the lower right tail goes too far, or maybe a little of both. At very large sizes, the curve of the left side of the 'e' doesn't seem to match up (try temporarily removing the crossbar to see what I mean). Righthand bowl of 'R' could probably be a bit darker.

Righthand bowl of 'm' may join the middle vertical stroke too low, although maybe this is the effect you were looking for. To my eye, it's a bit asymmetrical.

Italic 'agy' seem a bit wide. (btw, 'vwxy' are very nicely executed! I may have to steal ideas from those). I personally miss the lower left tail on the 'f', but again that's a matter of taste. The curve on the top arm of the 'k' stands out to me - you'll note it's backwards from the curve you usually see on a Greek kappa.

Misc characters. The two-stroke '$' seems especially dark. Either going to a single stroke or pulling back on the darkness of the serifs would fix that. Braces aren't very curvy, a pet peeve of mine. See how I dealt with those in my Century Catalogue. The florin has a similar problem - the segment of the central stem which is perfectly straight should be shorter. The eszet seems topheavy, but I think that could be fixed by making it a bit narrower (especially the 's' part of the glyph).

Spacing on the italic could use some adjustment. rbearing on 't' is too loose, on 'i' too tight. ge is too tight 's' seems a bit loose. I think you've overkerned the 'ke'.

Overall, very nice!

protimient's picture

Having tweaked and tuned and generally tried to follow everyone's advice, an updated pdf can been found at:

I think I've covered all the suggestions made. I've also slightly expanded the character set (although some of the ligatures may not make it to the final version).

I must admit I'm still not 100% happy with the tail of the y, but I think it's going in the right direction (metaphorically speaking). The number of different approaches I've tried is quite astounding (second only to the ear on the g, which I have spent far, far, far too much time tweaking and changing).

I think I've improved the tail of the j, as well as the tail on the Q, although I'm not totally sure about it yet. Does it work? Also, is the new italic ampersand good or does it look a bit too uncial? Is the italic k working? How are my numerals?

And, again, much thanks to everyone who's commented so far.


hrant's picture

The "f" and "y" are rockin' now. The "g" though is starting to look more and more homey - it needs to be more elegant; try making its head smaller and its curves more rigid. The head of the "t" is out of character. The "Q" is... interesting. It might work, but I'm not sure.

Italic: I'd give the leg of the "k" some pizzaz. That ampersand is novel, but I have to doubt it's good enough. The little Roman alternate is cool though. Italic spacing: a bit loose.

Your blank space is too wide in both Roman and Italic.

I might just remove the tick from the long-s.

That's it for now, sorry...


protimient's picture

So it's been an entire year (exactly) since I first posted this and over half a year since I last posted. Yes, I know, that is quite a long time... I've been busy.

Since then, however, I have actually worked on it, making the semi-bold, bold and black weights and their italics, as can be seen in this third PDF (Nosta.pdf). I haven't included the entire character set for each font but I have put in the character set for the regular weight (all the fonts have the same quantity of glyphs), as well as the a-z's for each font and some text settings.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

(Oh, and I will most probably be calling it 'Nosta' (unless anyone can suggest a good reason not to!))


Number3Pencils's picture

Congrats; this is very well done. I can hardly find anything to criticize. Here's what I personally think. These are extremely minor.
-bowl of P too big
-make the top of the q bowl rejoin the stem as a hairline (don't rethicken it)
-maybe lighten lower bowl of g a tiny bit
-make the t a bit more chiral at the bottom left; also maybe a bit less smooth up top (maybe)
-x a little out of balance
-perhaps s also a little out of balance
-zero could be a bit more square
-tail of the italic g seems out of harmony for some reason--maybe not
-I can't shake the feeling that the italic f should come all the way down, or at least some farther.
-italic a needs more chirality
-rethink top italic k arm serif ?
-black k too lo-fi at join
-perhaps give black C,c a smidgen more underbite
-you mistyped "black italic"
-pi too narrow
-Euro could use a little more underbite
-maybe don't rethicken tail of eng (not sure what you would do about Eng in this case--perhaps treat it like y)
-what'choo want an etc ligature for?

Most of these are so minor I can't even definitively say if I'm actually seeing them or not. Overall I think it's very near to perfected. The vision is well captured. Where does the name Nosta come from?

protimient's picture

Thank you!
All good points (and I'm quite glad they're not major problems like "change all the serifs"; I don't think I could really handle that at this stage). I'll look in to it all and update as and when.

you mistyped “black italic”
$*#!... damn.

what’choo want an etc ligature for?
A good question... I think it seemed like a good idea at the time. Who knows, maybe someone, somewhere will have a use for it. And besides, what's the point of designing type if you can't make ridiculous ligatures?!

Where does the name Nosta come from?
It's a shortened form of the working title I was using for the font, Notanutha (serif). I'd been calling it Notanutha for the last twelve months and I think I'd grown too used to it, because I never liked any of the names I came up with that were a radical departure from it. Nosta is the closest I could get to it that sounded good (and not as silly). (It's a made up word, btw.)


Number3Pencils's picture

Now keep in mind, tho', I'm by no means an expert, having been alive less time than many here have been designing fonts. When I roam the forums somethimes I see that someone very astute has caught a big-picture sort of thing that I might never have noticed. I should be very nervous saying "perfected". (The gist: My comments aren't the definitive ones.) Hmm. Seems like I end up saying this to everyone I comment on. Maybe I should just put it on my profile instead.

Now, about your ligature. If it's fun, I have no good cause for eliminating it. You're right: what's the point if it's no fun?!

protimient's picture

Well, it seems that I've finally finished it (that is to say I've decided to call it finished, or rather, to stop endlessly tweaking it, ad infinitum, with no discernible benefit to either the font or my mental health).

I must say thank you very, very much to everyone who has contributed to this thread (and, in fact, to the critique section in general). I have learnt many, many things (including, I know, that I'm rubbish at regularly posting to this forum, but I'll be working on that).

A complete, full-on, final typespec can be found here (PDF, 320kb), replete with full character sets (including daft ligatures), text settings and headlines.

Oh, and if anyone fancies buying it, it's available through MyFonts.

All the best,


Erik Fleischer's picture

For a first text face (or even a second or third) this is amazing. It just works. Of course there are several little tweaks and adjustments to be made, but I'm afraid that no matter how long you work on it, you'll always find someone who'll tell you to improve something else. In a sense, no typeface is ever perfect or 100% finished.

I'm not really in a position to criticize your design and can only hope to be as good as you one day. However, my overall feeling is that this face looks somewhat "generic". The capitals have quite a lot of personality, as someone else pointed out, but the lower case just looks very good and clean and well-behaved, without looking personable or unique.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, if this was just an exercise in type design, you should give yourself an A+, summa cum laude.

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