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What Do You Think About Hydrogenic Sans

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Jose Luis Ruvalcaba's picture
Joined: 21 Nov 2014 - 10:15am
What Do You Think About Hydrogenic Sans
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Hello my name is Jose Luis Ruvalcaba and I'm currently attending The Art Institute of Phoenix. I'm a senior and pursuing a degree in graphic design with a minor in typography. I'm currently enrolled in a font design class and I just completed my typeface! I would love your personal and professional opinion. Please let me know what you like and what would make this typeface better.

Hydrogenic Sans
By: Jose Luis Ruvalcaba

Hydrogenic Sans is geometric typeface based on fractions of a square. This font is really just meant to be legible at any size on any type of platform. This typeface was meant for body copy but along the process of creating this typeface the purpose of this font changed to be used for display, wether it’s used on a poster or on a billboard. A problem or issue that this font would be able to fix would have to be legibility issues. It can easily replace any other font to make something important legible.

Something fun and special about this typeface are the alternate letters. These alternates can be used to make a headline stand out. It also allows the user to mix and match between the regular and alternate alphabet to create unique words and phrases.

K Cerulean Pease's picture
Joined: 19 Oct 2003 - 5:03pm
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It succeeds as a student exercise, but I must express some dismay to think that an instructor somewhere is probably encouraging, or requiring, these sets of arbitrarily mutated alternates that will be put to no purpose but being made fun of on this page.

Alison King's picture
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Joined: 5 Dec 2014 - 3:31pm
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Hi cerulean, I'm the professor that you feared required a particular style in my intro to type design course. :-) Sorry to burst your bubble, but no. Each student's work reflects their own particular interests in selecting a typographical design problem to wrestle with.

You might have noticed that about ten students have posted their projects this week. Thanks to all of you here at Typophile for your constructive feedback so far.

Let me be clear: the objective was not to create a new paradigm of earth-shattering new font designs. This is not a Masters level design course, it was an introduction to the entire font design process.

The objectives of this assignment were to:
• Create a design brief that proposed a solution to a typographical design problem.
• Learn the fundamentals of font construction including re-learning type anatomy from a new perspective, that of a creator not a consumer.
• Examine and resolve issues of type color, letter pairings, metrics, ligatures and yes, the role of alternates or swashes and their placement in Type Tool
• Learn FontLab's Type Tool program, including file setup, organization, metrics, font generation and installation.
• Design of a type specimen sheet that highlights the font features in their best light and sample collateral pieces that show an appropriate application of the font which speaks to the target demographic.
• Solicitation of constructive criticism from a professional forum in order to improve aspects of their font.

Looks like we've only half-succeeded on that last point in this thread on "Hydrogenic Sans" ;-) We got the criticism, but not much that was constructive. Personal distaste for and mockery of this style seems fairly irrelevant.

We're all learning here, and you're right cerulean, this was a student exercise that met the criteria for understanding the font design process. Anyone have anything constructive to add?

Thanks!

Riccardo Sartori's picture
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 - 4:20am
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Kevin’s comment could be seen as a bit blunt, and perhaps not very articulate, but I don’t think is’s completely non-constructive: he points out that the alternates look arbitrary and directs to a place showcasing a good number of examples of the genre, including Paul Renner’s early studies for Futura. In short, an useful resource to making oneself familiar with current trends and their historical antecedents.
That said, given that

A problem or issue that this font would be able to fix would have to be legibility issues. It can easily replace any other font to make something important legible.

I would need to see something typeset in it to be able to give some meaningful feedback.

K Cerulean Pease's picture
Joined: 19 Oct 2003 - 5:03pm
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Sorry if it was glib, but it was the only thing to remark on because I truly can't find any fault in the construction, execution, or presentation. As for my assumption, it was primed by having first seen this classmate's entry; I hope you can see why. I still feel you might ponder whether there is something about how you've set the task that steers students this way, perhaps by tacitly giving them the choice between doing twice the work (i.e. making a lowercase) and doing something like this.

On a second look, I do have a few constructive observations. Many of the numerals seem lighter than the appropriate weight, and the question mark particularly so. My highest praise is for the design of the ampersand.

Alison King's picture
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Joined: 5 Dec 2014 - 3:31pm
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Students were given a choice of designing a full uppercase and full lowercase plus basic punctuation.
OR
Full uppercase and 10 numerals, plus 16 glyphs (ligatures, alternates, or additional punctuation) and the same basic punctuation set.

There is a lot I'd do differently next time around, and eliminating this choice might be one of them. I enjoy offering choices in general but I feel those who stayed in a single case may have had an easier time than those who did both. I was concerned that cranking out both uppercase and lowercase in the 4 weeks allotted might not have been enough time to develop anything of high quality. The estimated time spent on task, including all of the steps illustrated above which included rounds of sketches not mentioned, was 40 hours.

Results were mixed in both quality and complexity, but nobody failed. This is the first step in an important journey of understanding just how deep and wide the subject is. Some students will try it again with even more resolve, and some will just be grateful it is over :-)

K Cerulean Pease's picture
Joined: 19 Oct 2003 - 5:03pm
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In my opinion, your concern is well-founded, and the students who bought themselves the time to pay attention to refining the outlines of one case probably learned the most. I suggest you give future students the choice of an uppercase alphabet or a lowercase alphabet, plus an equal amount of other characters, and specifically tell them not to try to do both until after the review is over. Harmony between the two cases can be an unexpectedly advanced thing, a powerful distraction from understanding basic skills.

Alison King's picture
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Joined: 5 Dec 2014 - 3:31pm
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A single modular case with a little punctuation wast the first assignment given to them, in order to learn the ins and outs of Type Tool/Illustrator collaboration and the introductory principles of type design over 5 weeks. Most of what we're seeing here is their second font, a chance to take everything they learned the first time around and apply the new skills in a faster prototype without the software and process getting underfoot. Then the course ends. I'm not sure what's more important at this stage -- learning to refine characters of a single case better and being stuck with two single-case display-only alphabets at the end of the course or letting them give two cases a shot and learning just how amazingly different upper and lower case is. Its hard to say at this stage of development which path is better. Being a student-centered classroom I ultimately decided it was more important for the student to take a degree of ownership over the direction of their own learning. Students were given a choice the second time around, and each got a taste of what they wanted to learn, with the obvious outcome that there is so much more to learn regardless of the path they took. They are responsible for critiquing and helping each other refine their fonts every week some much of the learning of the struggles of what the other track is doing is served through observation and application. Often what's best in sequencing can only be judged by what's best for that particular student.