Does this suck? (and if so, why?)

grod's picture

I've made this font and I don't know what to do with it so I thought I'd stick it on a website with some samples and a pricetag and see what happens. I'm trying to make the samples interesting but I'm not much of a designer. Any suggestions? here's what I've got.

Eric_West's picture

No, it's quite nice actually. Needs work tho. Some of the lig's look off, I do love the idiosyncrasies. Check the overall color. What point sizes was it designed for ?

Dan Weaver's picture

Grod please post this under Serif under Critique. It won't recieve the kind of attention it needs here.

grod's picture

Dan, I started a thread asking for feedback on the font itself months ago. Since that has pretty much died down and my persistent question "what do I do with the damn thing after thousands of hours of work?" remains unanswered, prompting me to try to strike out on my own and offer it (and two others) through a website. However, thinking that a sample of the font would help to sell it I thought perhaps I ought to seek some feedback on my attempted sample. Of course, I'm not certain I'll ever get around to actually making the face available but as long as I learn something new it isn't a wasted experience. You'll find the original thread here I'll crosspost in that thread, too, I guess.

Eric Originally I was thinking 9 to 11 points but I like the way it looks as high as 42. Of course the contrast between the outer curves and the inner angles throws a lot of people and I've had mixed reactions to its use in titles and headlines.

Eric_West's picture

I only asked on the type size, because I could see a variation of this as a titling style, but the you'd have to figure out how to de-weird it at higher point sizes, while making it feel like it's still in the same family.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Interesting way to show your typeface. I think you might benefit from mocking up a book-spread as well.

grod's picture

Sorry, I had a few things to attend to. tiffany, do you mean something like this? [aside] I've no practical experience with book design so any pointers are more than welcome. Likewise, I've had no structured education in any of the stuff I'm doing, so any rigorous critique is always desired and appreciated.

Dan Weaver's picture

Grod go over to The Font Bureau and look at how some of their type styles have been displayed. It might give you a direction.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Noah, that's what I mean, exactly. You could also show poetry, scripts, quotes, dictionary/thesaurus, magazine. Just think of the different ways you think it can be used. You can pace the pages with variety of sizes and maybe throw in a few of the tried and tested ways, such as those which Font Bureau uses.

grod's picture

I was thinking some more about possible typographical uses for the various fonts I've made and of course advertising is a fairly obvious one. The only emotional appeal I remember from the one course I took many moons ago was sex appeal. Sex appeal to sell a font? It sounds dubious to me, too. Nonetheless I mocked-up three ideas in the form of mini-posters. Like I've said before, I know very little about design but I do know when something can be better. These can definitely be better. I'm just not certain how to do that. So here aretwo ideas for Kisbefe. And here is a poster for Frimbo. The press (well, inkjet) ready version is a 32mb download and can be found by clicking this link. As usual, I'm trying to learn a skill set I don't currently possess, so comments, suggestions, encouragement, and constructive derision are all solicited by this posting.

timd's picture

I think the minimum you should show is a character set and some body setting in various sizes (if applicable for the font). The n!samual setting is working better but you need to pay careful attention to the setting to get it as polished as possible for the Cervante's text I would start the copy in the counter of the e and avoid situations like you have at the bottom where "the" hangs out and the rest of the line is justified with rivers appearing while page 2 is not working at all try having the copy in two columns. The 4 looks modern compared to the rest of the numerals, the gy lig is out of style and the currency symbols need attention. For the book setting it is probably best to follow a conventional layout, justified type, running heads horizontally in the top margin, etc. The sex sells angle is not working, I think you should show more of the (type)face and find a less obvious image, the people you are trying to appeal to are visually aware and might dismiss the mini-poster before considering the type design.
Tim

grod's picture

Timd, thank you for the feedback. I think you've raised several valid points. The only one I outright disagree with being p2, the text there is not intended to be read as text -- although one can do so if one wishes -- the point size and the tint were both chosen to be difficult to read as text. In other words the small print is there as a visual element to serve as a ground for the three sentences in black and to create the white space of the lc -g-. I think you are spot on regarding p3.

I have to reluctantly agree with you on the mini-posters. I'd hoped that visually aware people would get the humor, but either it isn't funny or it's too subtle. Most likely the former. Let me explain my thinking.

The copy in the first of the two Kisbefe posters reads "Kisbefe, classic beauty with a sense of fun." Classic = classical = antiquity = Greco-Roman. Ever notice how the majority of statues that have survived to the present day have done so sans limbs and head? And neither limbs nor head are visible in the photo? And Kisbefe is a sans-serif? Well, I thought it was clever, guess I was wrong.

The second Kisbefe poster reads "Elegant / Daring / Colorful / (the font, not the model)." Why, because elegant can (well, it will with a bit more photoshop) describe the model. Daring, note her right nipple is pierced, daring but not outrageously so, and colorful note the tattoo. Ideally these thoughts would run through the viewers mind concurrently and then they reach the parenthetical and are asked to look more closely at the medium that communicated the thoughts to them -- the font. It should all happen too fast to register that it is happening, hence the three word description. I guess that one falls flat, too.

Finally, we have Frimbo. This one is far more direct. The photo would work in an Abercrombie ad if the model were wearing jeans, nothing unusual there. But the text, "Classic Beauty / Contemporary Style -- he's got it all: Meet: Frimbo (the font, not the model)" anticipates a similar mental process as the second Kisbefe poster and tweaks the readers nose just a tiny bit. Classic Beauty, fine, no problem, Michelangelo's David, the Olympics, the ideal of male beauty is familiar to everyone. But who thinks about living breathing men as beautiful? OK, so women might, but more common is "handsome," "stunning," "gorgeous," "a hunk," and the highest praise "Grodesque" and "like a Grod." So we have a model who loosely (hey, free stock shot by amateurs, when I get my camera fixed I'll shoot something better) conforms to the classic ideal but isn't made of stone. And here is why it could be funny. Take a straight white male insecure in his identity bombarded daily with images of young, virile, stallions and confronted each morning in the mirror with once muscular abdomen going to pudge and a distracting glare from his head. He reads "classic beauty" and looks at the picture and starts to feel uncomfortable on a level that he isn't aware of. By the time he gets to "(the font, not the model)" he feels relief and mistakes it for amusement. Meanwhile, a woman reading this might appreciate that it isn't yet another image of a woman as a sex object and then chuckle when the image itself is dismissed.

Only, apparently, I was completely wrong about all of that. Oh well. I'll come up with something more appropriate.

I'd hoped that a slightly unconventional spread would work given that I'm pushing n!samual as nontraditional but suitable for text, but I guess that gets weakened if I don't show it performing well in a traditional application. I'll make something bland that screams 1:1.62, after all, the other samples of n!samual are, well, a little different.

The gy lig was done on a lark and you are totally right about it.

Thanks again for the feedback, you've given me a lot to think about.

timd's picture

My comments about page 2 still hold – even if the type is tricky to read it should be set at a high quality and that would include the areas around the ear, top of the counter and left side of the lower bowl of your g. The text in black may look better if it weren't hyphenated.
If you have to explain a joke it probably isn't worth the telling. I think your thinking is sound(ish) the images just don't quite do it if the models clearly didn't represent the ideals of classic beauty while still having a certain something, and here we get into depths of subjectivity, the joke might work better.
I don't get the 1:1.62 reference – maybe a transatlantic thing.
Tim

Miss Tiffany's picture

Noah, I think the concept for those two ads is fun! However, I don't think you've fully explored your execution options. Are they posters or ads. I read them as ads because of the horizontal nature, don't hate me I'm a vertical poster lover. Can you rotate or are you locked in? Watch the K in that ad, it looks as if it doesn't match the rest of the letters. Did you enlarge it?

grod's picture

E.E. "Doc" Smith, food scientist turned author, is commonly regarded as the granddaddy of Space Opera. His influence persists to this day. If you enjoyed Babylon 5, Star Wars, Star Trek, or a dozen other popular television series, movies, and novels you've enjoyed brain-candy he made possible. I've been a fan of his work since the age of 15. It's a challenge to describe his style save by analogy. Here in Baltimore we have something called Berger cookies. Imagine an oversweet, dense cookie smothered in the cheapest, least nuanced chocolate you've ever tasted. They hit the stomach like lead but they're impossible to stop eating. The Lensmen series is the reading equivalent of eating Berger cookies.

Timd, you said a traditional page spread, what do you think of this? The text is from the Foreword to book four of the Lensmen series, Grey Lensman. In case you're curious I didn't use the ratio phi (the 1:1.62 reference you didn't comprehend), instead I made the page 2:3 and the textblock 1:1.7. Sadly, Doc's work is not yet in the public domain or I'd have happily set the entire series as a public service.

Tiffany Thanks for the feedback, using those images in a vertical poster is an interesting challenge, but I've a few ideas. That 'K' has been nothing but trouble since the day it was drawn.

You've both been very helpful and the next iteration of samples and posters and stuff is definitely improved for it. Thanks, and I hope you'll continue to critique when I add more samples.
Yours,
Noah

timd's picture

I realised shortly after I'd posted that it was a ratio. I'm more Jerome K Jerome than E. E. Doc Smith, but yes, just the bog standard is what I meant although I would not have para spaces as well as indent and there are elements of "design" – wide outer margins, huge footer, off centre running head. I would also include folios. I look forward to your next series.
Tim

grod's picture

Primarily out of boredom (being unemployed and having a cold offers far too much free time) I made a ton of page layouts and designs. Two of them are almost not terrible. The first is set in Frimbo. The second is a bit different and is set in n!samual. There's also a print ready version with uncompressed images etc. So now I'm thinking, yeah, OK, I've shown a bunch of examples of how these fonts can work, should I post them all on a website and distribute them through MyFonts?

Not a rhetorical question

Btw, timd, I know you said bog standard but fully justified text drives me nuts. Lots of books are now printed with a rag.

Oh, and that second link, it helps if you imagine it printed on cheap pulp.

grod's picture

Putting it all together we get something like this Needs work, I think. But is there enough to start a foundry? How many fonts and things does a person need before trying to sell 'em?

timd's picture

That is an improvement, although I think Kisbefe needs more work before being let loose, especially to the numerals, the Q seems cruelly abbreviated and lowercase m isn't working as part of the family, but also on the general colour. Frimbo and n!samual are working much better, although from a purely artwork/production angle bleeding off rounded boxes is tricky. The second line of Fu Manchu’s description is falling a bit short of the measure. As for the justification that is entirely up to you (although I cannot remember the last time I saw a novel with a rag) and it is working except for the last line I think if you bring healthy up you would lose the widow. I am sure others here could crit the actual type design more extensively than I.
Tim

hrant's picture

Reading through your posts in this thread, I can see a whirlwind of ideas - a lot of them good, especially the unconventional ones (like the "beautiful guy"). But there's too much there. You need more self-discipline, you need to throw some of it away (or at least store it away for another day), and focus. Let the font do more talking than you.

Trying to get specific:
The two things that stand out for me are the human bodies, and the way you're using letterforms for whitespace and boundaries. For example I think you can indeed use sex, and even have some plays-on-word in the "background", but do it more tastefully, with more focus. Like the woman might need to be "grubby chic" style (not so 80s), maybe heavily posterized and in sepia (or another tone). You know what I mean? More abstract, more reserve on the surface, hiding the strong expression/idea under the surface, leaving more to the imagination. And I really like that "e". Maybe you can have fills like that inside silhouettes of human bodies [too].

hhp

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