Anatomia — from Scottish to Grotesk

Hello people,
I'm asking for feedback on a project I've been working on the past 9 months. Everything started with the Type Design course @ Poli.Design in Milan. In a group of three people, we recieved the brief of creating some typeface to be used in high-res starting from a typeface with a low-resolution.



We found this old anatomy book (→ from which the name, "anatomia") printed in the early XX century, set in this ugly scottish face with exaggerated details that made it work in small sizes.
Our idea was to bring the skeleton, the proportions and some characteristic aspects into a grotesque-formula based typeface, being that the historical evolution of these modern faces. The details used as optical-helping elements in small sizes would become characteristic elements in big sizes (eg. the "a", "R" and "t" end, the axis of the terminals in "c", "a", "f").

Need feedback now! I like the brief and the result of the course, that's why I kept working by myself on it these following months. The semi–condensed proportion make me think it's a bit uncertain as a weight, a bit lighter than a standard grotesk–regular. My idea would be to release to the public a regular, medium and bold weights with matching italics, but I know it would be a very long process. Italics sound so funny, though, judging on the italics of thestarting typeface.
What do you think of it? Please express your thoughts, every little opinion is very appreciated.
How can this character be fit in the huge range of quirky grotesks?




Thank you for any feedback!

Birdseeding's picture

I was ready to dismiss this until I saw the text block, it's certainly an interesting take on a text grotesque!

j_atz's picture

Thank you, it's been created out of a simple brief without the need of becoming the leader in innovation among grotesks. But I'm looking for spotting the strong points of it and giving it a sense.
— By the way, these images are huge. Is there anyway I can edit the post and fix them?

domdib's picture

I think it's quite an interesting experiment, and the face definitely has character. One little problem - because the tail of the 'a' is so exaggerated, it seems to be creating some spacing issues. Is there a way of taming it ever so slightly?

hrant's picture

Interesting! I think this can become a desirable typeface. The main tricky thing I would say is deciding how much to polish it versus leaving it "fauve" (noting that some of the letterforms are in fact currently too regular to fit in).

BTW some practical advice: if your former team-mates have given up on this, make sure you get that in writing...

hhp

riccard0's picture

What others have said. Plus, to me, the accentuated stroke modulation differentiate it from the majority of grotesques (which could be positive). For better legibility as a text face at small sizes, I would open up a bit characters like |C|, |G|, |e|, etc. Also, the |5| looks out of place.

R.'s picture

Reminds me a bit of Parry Grotesque (just mentioning it, not suspecting you of plagiarising it or recommending that you emulate it ;-).

bensyverson's picture

I love this. It's fun to look at, because it looks familiar, yet utterly idiosyncratic. And I agree with @Birdseeding—looking at individual letters, you think it's going to be frivolous, but then when you reach the text block, it's feels totally rational.

My only note is that it looks to me like the Frutiger /k/ is out of place here—maybe try a broken /k/, or simply add a slight spur or curve to its legs.

j_atz's picture

Thanks for the comments.
Yes I'm actually working on a more stable weight now, a more medium one.
@bensyverson thank you, it's a thing I was thinking about with this k. I'll try both the curve or the broken version, I'll keep you updated.
@riccard0, true I opened a bit the characters. I think I'll fork it to another project that gets rid of its roots (––> the scottish) and tries to give more power to this font's characteristics.
@hrant a good balance between polished and accentuated would be my goal. Thanks for the practical advice, maybe forking it to another project would do the job anyway.
@domdib My idea would be to keep this /a/ tail accentuated like other details in a "poster version". But...for the moment I'll maybe compress it a little. Even though I like to give a bit of non-equality.

j_atz's picture

Thanks for the comments.
Yes I'm actually working on a more stable weight now, a more medium one.
@bensyverson thank you, it's a thing I was thinking about with this k. I'll try both the curve or the broken version, I'll keep you updated.
@riccard0, true I opened a bit the characters. I think I'll fork it to another project that gets rid of its roots (––> the scottish) and tries to give more power to this font's characteristics.
@hrant a good balance between polished and accentuated would be my goal. Thanks for the practical advice, maybe forking it to another project would do the job anyway.
@domdib My idea would be to keep this /a/ tail accentuated like other details in a "poster version". But...for the moment I'll maybe compress it a little. Even though I like to give a bit of non-equality.

AlexanderKatt's picture

Cool!

However I agree with domdib

Martin Silvertant's picture

The E seems a bit dark. Also, I don't think the exaggerated tail of /a should be causing problems with spacing necessarily. If you see it next to /m the spacing is just about right, but then you have an /e kerned very close to the /m which disturbs the rhythm. I think I would kern some characters a bit loser and kern /a a tiny bit tighter.

Other than that, I'm absolutely ecstatic to see this! Others seem initially dismissive but I like the first images as well, but indeed particularly the text blocks. I don't know if this is an appropriate association, but it reminds me of French typefaces. I know that's a very general statement, but a few times I've seen typefaces like these which aren't perfectly balanced but you just know it will look amazing in print. Antique Olive is a fairly good example of what I mean. Coincidentally the few typefaces I've seen which have this kind of atmosphere were all done by French designers. I love this intuitive-rather-than-rational approach. I just commented on one of Alexander Katt's designs which I feel has a similar attitude to the design approach. I feel I need more of that.

I'm eagerly looking forward to get this typeface. Italics and a bold weight would be fantastic, if you're up to the challenge.

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