Olicana - On sale now

Nick Cooke's picture

Hi typophiles, (or typenerds as my wife calls us),

This is my first post inviting criticism of my design.

I'm working on this informal script at the moment. I drew it with pen and ink first to get the thick/thin contrast, but I didn't want it to look 'Dickensian' - I'm trying to achieve a naturally flowing style without formal stiffness. I have completed the 'rough' style, and I thought it might look pretty good as a smooth style - so that's what I'm doing now. I'm also going to produce a more refined 'fine' with as-thin-as-I-can-go thins style.

At the moment it is Postscript, but I'm toying with the idea of contextual alternates in Opentype. The FontLab manual is no great help as I find it to be written from a programmers viewpoint, unfortunately I'm a designer and a lot of that stuff goes way over my head. I wish Leslie Cabarga had written the manual, as his 'Learn FontLab Fast' has excellent illustrated step-by-steps, but is a bit brief in the OpenType section.

Does anybody know of any easy to understand intructions of exactly what to do, as I'm very impatient with plowing through the manual to extract the info.

Thanks in advance,

See new pdf. 28 November 2006

Nick Cooke, G-Type.

AttachmentSize
NewOlicanasample2.pdf136.55 KB
TDC2006.pdf560.59 KB
antiphrasis's picture

Nick,

The script looks really beautiful. I like both the rough and clean styles. Since it's thicker than a lot of scripts it would be perfect for setting logos, and lots of other uses too, of course.

Sorry, I can't help you with OpenType, but check out build section for lots of posts on the subject.

paul d hunt's picture

it looks lovely, would love to see more! for some OpenType help, check out OT_How-To, post questions to the build forum, or you can contact me directly.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks for your comments. Here's some more.

I will take you up on your offer Paul.

'Bezier wrangler' - like it!

Nick Cooke

crossgrove's picture

Nick,

This last sample shows how interesting and vital this design can be. Please, DO take it to the next logical level and add contextual alternates. 1, 2 or 3 alternates per letter, plus a bunch of ligatures and final forms would make this a really exciting handwriting face. I think the rough version is best.

If you are not versed in OpenType code, you might want someone to help you set that up. It can be confusing, and it definitely requires patience in testing, but I think the shapes you have already have terrific promise.

This is unique in that it seems to be written with a pointed quill dipped in an inkwell. Very few script typefaces give that feeling. The 'splat' alternates will be like icing. Keep going!

dave bailey's picture

This looks excellent, as stated above it's a very hand-crafted/familiar feel to it. Not an easy task!

Nick Cooke's picture

OK, I've now worked on it some more and have finally got my head around OpenType features.

This is as far as I am to date - do I know when to stop? I don't think so! I could keep adding and adding forever, but have to draw the line somewhere, I do have other stuff to finish as well. I might do some fancy swash lower case alternates like the b, d, h, k, l, p, q and y, to go with the caps.

Many thanks for the previous comments BTW.

Nick Cooke

Miss Tiffany's picture

Nick, this is really lovely.

I can imagine that if I were to design a script typeface I would also have a difficult time knowing when to stop.

If anything your suggestion to make some swashier lowercase alternates to pair with the swash uppercase is a good idea. I feel like the lowercase doesn't quite match the swash uppercase, but a few alts would go very far in mending that.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks miss T.

I know what you mean about the Swashes not matching the lower case:
The rest of the font looks 'fast' whereas the swash caps look like they were written by an enfeebled oldster.

I don't know why, but I can't achieve that same fluency with the swashes, but I quite like that amateurish feel for them all the same.

Nick Cooke

hrant's picture

Nick, if you could incorporate "mistakes" (not just irregularity, variance and errant ink) using OT then you'd be breaking the one true barrier blocking type from looking -sufficiently, if not truly- like handwriting.

hhp

Nick Cooke's picture

Got any suggestions Hrant?

Nick Cooke

hrant's picture

Typos (so to speak), crossed-out stuff, scruntching to fit lines, etc.
I have an article somewhere that goes pretty deeply into the types of mistakes people make when writing.

The hard part I think might be simulating randomness. I know that PS code has/had something like that. But if there's no random function available, sufficient complexity (like making contextual decisions based on multiple and/or non-obvious criteria) can appear random.

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Hrant, post that article as PDF, if you could kind sir. :^)

hrant's picture

Oh man...

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

When you have time, Hrant. It just sounds very interesting.

hrant's picture

So it should be an OCR-ed thing, right? What a pain...

Here's an idea: I'll snailmail you a photocopy of it, and
you can do the rest. Since you're the one who asked... :->

But wait, what about copyright? It's from Visible Language.
Oh, I know: email them and ask for permission. Yeah, you. :->

hhp

Miss Tiffany's picture

Which issue? I could go to the library to find it myself. Then you could save on postage too. ;^)

hrant's picture

My Excel doc of the VL index doesn't show
it for some reason, so off to the garage I go...

hhp

hrant's picture

OK, got it - plus another relevant article.* One is "Slips of the Pen" by Andrew W Ellis, pp 265-282 in Volume 13, #3 (1979); the other is "Variability in Handwritten Characters" by Alan M Wing, immediately following, pp 283-298. You didn't think I keep this sort of thing, did you... :->

* BTW, both of them were indeed in my index, but I
had searched only for "handwriting"... Dumb 'puter.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Looking very good Nick! Glad to see you ended your writers block after a year :-)

ChrisL

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks Chris, I've been busy with this and a few other families.

I've just realised - Is that another of your groan-inducing puns? ;^P

Nick Cooke

Nick Cooke's picture

Including mistakes is a good idea Hrant - these can be inserted in the text using the glyphs palette. There are 8 lengths of deletion lines which can be placed over entire words, and a fair bit of other mess.

Nick Cooke

hrant's picture

Wonderful! :-)

hhp

dezcom's picture

"I’ve just realised - Is that another of your groan-inducing puns? ;^P"

Only the last part about writers block. I really do think you have done some sweet work on this and that part is no joke!

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Status update: apparently Tiffany does have access to those articles.
"When you have time, Tiff." ;->

hhp

Nick Cooke's picture

Here's some more swash lower case characters to add to the mix:

Nick Cooke

Miss Tiffany's picture

Looking fun, Nick. I can see what you mean about the swashiness getting out-of-control. Perhaps you could do stylistic sets with increasing amounts of swashes? The swashy lc does work with the swash UC better than without. I still love the entire idea of it and the shapes, swashy or not, are really nice. This looks hand-written to me. Fun!!

Nick Cooke's picture

I've been thinking about these and I think they are too much. It's starting to look a bit silly. A bit of restraint is needed. I'm going to re-do them to rein them in a bit.

I noticed the first post of this thread saying I'd finished the Rough style - Ha! what WAS I thinking?

I'm glad you think it looks hand-written. That's what I was trying to achieve with my first 2 scripts ITC Dartangnon and Gizmo, but I didn't have the technology then.

Nick Cooke

Nick Cooke's picture

Here are the new improved swashes:

Nick Cooke

Miss Tiffany's picture

Improved. :^)

How will you approach combinations such as that in "Dea(r M)iss?" The way the r and M still bump I mean. Will you do a little replacement or are you going to delve that deeply?

How are you going about implementing these? I don't know the technology to tell how to do it, but I'm familiar enough to know that stylistic sets could help you. (I'm being redundant. Apologies.)

A clean and rough version of this would be nice as well. I'll go find my pom-poms so I can cheer you on. ;^)

Nick Cooke's picture

The Dea(r M)iss is easily solved - there needs to be a space between the r and M ;^)

I don't know anything about stylistic sets - I guess I'll have to look into it. I may even have to resort to reading the dreaded manual ;^(

I don't speak Geek so it's pretty difficult for me to fathom.

Nick Cooke

TBiddy's picture

Although, I'm not offering in critcism...just wanted to say that this typeface is GORGEOUS and I can't wait to see it completed!

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks Biddy - that's what I like - positive criticism.

I really don't feel like doing stylistic sets, as there is enough going on there anyway, and who in reality would use every feature? I have been neglecting other stuff which needs urgent attention.

I feel I'm coming to the end of this marathon, so it just needs finishing off now, and with a pdf of instructions for use!

Thanks everyone for your comments, it's good to have feedback on a project in progress. It has been a great help, and has given me some new ideas for making the font better and more complete.

Nick Cooke

ebensorkin's picture

I too need to learn aboutr Kerning classes. But from what I understand I agree with Tiff they could save you GOBS of time. Then you might actually have time for the errata.

And like everybody else - I agree it's a sweet face!

It sounds like you got your contexual altrenates happening. Yes?

muzzer's picture

**** mate this is great! just chuck in as mucgh as possible otherwise mondo wil get his back up! nah just kidding!! the more the better, cos if your going to fake handwriting with a font then you'll want heaps of stuff and a manual cos most designers dont actually know how to use opentype properly!

Keep up the good work mate!

Muzz

Nick Cooke's picture

Here's a pdf of the final typeface;

.... or would be. How do I import it?

Nick Cooke

William Berkson's picture

>How do I import it?

You have to attach it to your first post.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks William – see above.

Nick Cooke

ill sans's picture

Nice work!

crossgrove's picture

"finishing off now, and with a pdf of instructions for use"

If you think through the substitutions, alternates and default behavior, and get some assistance with the OpenType programming, instructions won't be necessary. You can definitely add dozens of alternates and ligatures, because I agree those will make this design all the more convincing and fluid, but it's unrealistic to think people will carefully select alternates. Wouldn't it really kick kiester to provide 2 or 3 different "states" or conditions? Consider offering stylistic variations like Formal, Casual, Feverish, Passionate. You set up the alternates and ligatures that create those different effects, and any user can choose which one is suitable for their copy, as a simple OpenType feature choice.

One reason for this is that if you offer all the swash letters as a single option, you get a mess. It's likely to never look very good if all the swashes always appear together; and as you've already noticed, it really looks cool when you judiciously add a few swashes here and there. That would only be possible if you control what happens with each user choice. If you want assistance in setting up OT feature code, I suggest contacting Tal Leming or the House Industries gang; they have done great work setting up automatic substitutions, and I really think this design will be fully realized only with a lot of OpenType enhancement. I really like it, and I encourage you not to try to finish it too hastily.

hrant's picture

But don't take 14 years either please. ;-)

hhp

crossgrove's picture

"Finished" is neither "perfect" nor "good enough".

hrant's picture

I was just messin' Carl. :-)

"Finished": Perfect, it isn't, and can't be. But good
enough, it must be, at least in some -important- way.

hhp

Nick Cooke's picture

Carl - I was thinking only of simple 'turn this option on and you get this' type of instructions. There are already dozens of alternates and ligatures which don't need to be carefully selected - they are standard replacement ligatures, even the swash variations.

A lot of 'designers' (these are seniors and art directors in London - and I'm not saying that London is the creative hub of the world either) haven't even heard of OpenType. Just that there is a lot of ignorance in this profession.

I'll think about what you say anyway.

Consider offering stylistic variations like Formal, Casual, Feverish, Passionate. – sounds like a good idea.

Thanks.

Nick Cooke

Nick Cooke's picture

Yeah, it's not Beorcana, nor do I want it to be my life's work ;^) (It's brilliant BTW Carl, and so's Mundo).

I only started it as a bit of distraction from doing more 'formal' stuff – I just got a bit carried away. One can always add something more. It's knowing when to stop that's the problem.

I thought I had.

Well, Hrant I would say that it's good enough. And I know it's not perfect.

But is that good enough?

Nick Cooke

crossgrove's picture

Ah, then you are really talking about a specimen, which I fully encourage. Definitely keep the options simple to use. Looks like we understand the user similarly. It's not just London where OpenType is still a foreign concept. ;) I just don't want you to miss opportunities for each of the options to be compelling, distinct, interesting, memorable, and especially, believable as handwriting. Your design is so vivacious, and there haven't been any really compelling, loose handwriting faces with all those bells and whistles, and yours could be the first one! Again I say, it's worth the extra fuss.

Here are some other names you could consider for different states:

Humble Servant (very regular)
Wish You Were Here (more casual)
To My Dearest (gushingly, yet tastefully ornate, maybe add flowers, birds?)
Mad Genius (violent spatters)
Admiral Bombast (excessive ornate swashes, since sometimes this is what's wanted)
Beat Generation (spatters, fingerprints, coffee rings, etc)

Continue having fun.

Nick Cooke's picture

Ha ha! Like it Carl.

But wouldn't a coffee ring be absolutely masssive compared to the other glyphs?

BTW, can anyone tell me on which page I can find Glyph sets in the manual?

Nick Cooke

paul d hunt's picture

here haven’t been any really compelling, loose handwriting faces with all those bells and whistles, and yours could be the first one!

not to take away from what nick has done here, which is wonderful, but do you really feel this way? Surely Dear Sarah or Ministry Script must qualify???

Nick Cooke's picture

Of course you're right Paul, I think Carl was stressing the loose.

Nick Cooke

Miss Tiffany's picture

Nick, did you get my reply to your e-mail?

TBiddy's picture

Man oh, man— I can't wait wait to buy this mofo!

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