g's anyone?

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Dave Bailey's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005 - 3:07pm
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Messing around at work and figured I woul digitze a quick 'g' sketch I did. :-) Some sort of display type glyph...it wouldn't survive at small sizes with the lack of space between the upper and lower stories.

James Arboghast's picture
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005 - 1:09pm
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David that's a beauty!* :-)

It would be very useful for packaging and signage design of the commercial eye-catching variety. To make it practical, sort out the inline to get rid of the overlap, tame the abberation in the lower oculus and make the whole lower storey more compact.

Now make a font out of it ;-) Keep the upward-skewed italic attitude. That's what makes it so suitable for advertising---dynamism.

Another of mine:

This answers to the convention described earlier; antiqua form for the regular font complimented by a cursive form for a matching italic.

* Naw, naw, I don't sport a strong ozzie accent, as in "bewdy"

j a m e s

Brad Isbell's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006 - 8:53am
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James - your italic g is nice, really close in spirit to Spurius's original Roman G. I believe your pair is a winner.

Dave Bailey's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005 - 3:07pm
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Oi! :-D I never expected that much enthusiasm about it. I got bored like I said and was drawing on post it notes, saw the thread and drew myself a 'g' in my favorite style! I hear you on the issues you said. If tomorrow is slow I plan on refining it. What do you mean by 'tame the abberation'? are you talking about the lower counter?

James Arboghast's picture
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005 - 1:09pm
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If you reduce the height of the lower bowl and lengthen the stroke joining it to the top one, that will leave plenty of space in between them---whether there's an inline present or not.

The "abberation" is only very slight and worth keeping for flavour, so, Nyyt! forget that crit.

Is the inline built into the glyph, or an effect added when you rendered?

Oh cool, you're from Philadelphia. My favourite U.S city.

j a m e s

Dave Bailey's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005 - 3:07pm
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The “abberation” is only very slight and worth keeping for flavour, so, Nyyt! forget that crit.

Fair enough, I was just wondering what you were referring to since I've never heard that term before. I'm assuming that you're talking about the sharp corner in the top left of the lower oculus.

Is the inline built into the glyph, or an effect added when you rendered?

The inline is actually the original sketch, but when I digitized it, the glyph didn't seem to have enough impact by itself...hence the added decoration. You're thinking that I should go with the outline shape for the glyph?

Oh cool, you’re from Philadelphia. My favourite U.S city.

That's where I go to school, but I'm currently living in NYC.

EDIT: I've kinda hijacked this thread...but how does it look going in this direction, Frank?

James Arboghast's picture
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005 - 1:09pm
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Go with the inline/outline treatment, but make the outer border (black line) and the white inline, wider so it will work at smaller sizes.

To get the extra width for those, rather than eating into the glyph body, grow them outwards. The overlap of the first sketch was part of its charm. Now that you have breathing space between the bowls, thicken the outline/inline until the edges of the bowls come close to touching, but not quite.

Sorry I've got you going in two different directions.

j a m e s

James Arboghast's picture
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I never expected that much enthusiasm about it.

It may not look like much, and it isn't if you judge its worth on things like modulation, rigour, contrast between counter and outer contour, distinctive shaping/sculpting. But its a no bullshit happy kind of grotesk letter with an unassuming plainness certain kinds of advertising design thrive on. It makes no cultural assumptions thru fashionable high-style or snooty appeal. Its honest & friendly. That also makes it versatile. The happy-dynamic bent and inline treatment gives it visual impact in the absense of sophisticated design.

I often set text on large scale out-of-home ads in one or another grotesk font---I have access to a large collection---for subject matter that needs it, where a trendy sophisticated type design would alienate the target consumers.

j a m e s

Dave Bailey's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005 - 3:07pm
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How's this look? I'm thinking if I'm going to expand this beyond the 'g' I should start a new thread. Thanks for all your comments...when I initially was working on it, the AD here walked by and was like 'that's rad' and it made me smile...cause I liked it too. I'm glad you're as enthusiastic about it. The enthusiasm gives me motivation to continue with it. There are some obvious places that need cleaning up where the offset path is rather pointy but for now it's cool.

nick cottrell's picture
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Joined: 14 Oct 2005 - 12:47pm
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i think it's super sweet when the g's are different on the italic. especially when it goes from a two story to a more cursive g with a tail that wips back.

…so freeking cool!

-------
nc

Robert Mason's picture
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Joined: 30 Mar 2005 - 6:55pm
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It's funny that you guys bring up the 'g'- Around this time last year, I began to wonder about it myself.

I did some research-- it looks like the bicameral, two-storey spectacles 'g' came about through the mingling of the carolinian 'g' with the insular 'g', becoming the Middle English 'yogh'. You can read up on that by clicking here.

Interestingly, the bicameral 'g' had at one point entirely stamped out the unicameral 'g'. The latter wasn't revived until the development of the first modern typefaces- when typographers began looking for ways to simplify letters, the bifocal 'g' was an obvious target.

It's interesting to see how many variants the 'g' has, and that so many of them are recognizable instantly as the same letter, without question. It demonstrates how language can still change in times of globalization and grand cultural diffusion.

I personally perceive at the bipartisan 'g' as a written form, even when it's present in a modern font. I was experimenting with it here:


(click here for larger version)

Brad Isbell's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006 - 8:53am
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I take the binocular g to be warmer and the monocular to be colder (Northern European?) - especially in sans/non-italic. I also have an idea that when I was a kid I thought of the serif book face binocular g as a "real" g and the monocular as a phony that I could only poorly excecute. The fact that the monocular g is closest in form to Spurius' original form is beside the point...

Göran Söderström's picture
Joined: 15 Feb 2006 - 2:53am
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Speaking of g?

This is a sneak-preview of a new typeface, Neptuna, (will be released this year).

The g to the right is the standard figure, but the other letters are to be found on alternate places in the font for those who are interested in experimenting with the words.

Personally I like the two middle ones, the best - but the Foundry that will distribute Neptuna, prompted to do a regular g aswell - as shown to the right. Probably a good idea since many people perhaps like to use standard shapes.

However, as we placed the alternate g's in the font - people can chose whatever shape they want, and combine them. It's quite nice when you print words with two following g, like "begging", "dragging" or something, and chose to use two different versions :)

Dave Bailey's picture
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Joined: 25 Jul 2005 - 3:07pm
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^^^ This is an interesting development. Thanks for the preview!

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> Does anyone else care?

Dude.

--

The "g" is the only really interesting character in the Latin alphabet.

> Didn’t Eric Gill mention something about g’s and eyeglasses in his Essay?

Ezzactly. If he were here I think he might've
throttled Brad... But I'd be on Brad's side.

> A binocular g stands apart from the pack, but the form is
> not so different that it presents problems of integration.

Actually, I think the conventional form of the binocular "g" with the closed bottom bowl is in fact too divergent from the essence of the Latin lowercase. I greatly prefer the open-bottom binocular form, although it's rarely done right (not that the closed form is done right too often either).

> What kind of type designers put trinocular g’s in their fonts?

Maybe Alessio Leonardi. Think Forchetta.

> Regulator

Huh, Hobo.

Goran: nice.

BTW, check THIS out:
http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/horned_g.gif

hhp

Brad Isbell's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006 - 8:53am
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If he were here I think he might’ve
throttled Brad

Or worse - we're talking about Gill after all!

My real question was whether type users like me (as opposed to type designers) care more about the look of a typeface as a whole, not worrying so much about the peculiar forms of individual letters. G is obviously a letter that people feel passionately about, which I suspected.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Actually I'd say that non-type-designers care more
about individual letterforms (I mean consciously).

hhp

James Arboghast's picture
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Yes, when they're conscious of what they're looking at.

Actually, I think the conventional form of the binocular “g” with the closed bottom bowl is in fact too divergent from the essence of the Latin lowercase. I greatly prefer the open-bottom binocular form, although it’s rarely done right (not that the closed form is done right too often either).

Technically you're right. The full binocular form is a stand-out. Yet, even tho it is true they go against the essence of antiqua lower case, they are widespread in text romans, and integrated readily enuff by the brain/mind. What designers won't integrate the brain will. Or maybe it's really a mind trick :^)

The ideal g solution is, I think, the Schwabacher form. It's differentiated from p-d, b-q, and suggestive of binocular g without seriously breaching cursive flow.

Maybe Alessio Leonardi. Think Forchetta.

Thanks for the references. I'll check those out. I was imagining a tri-ocular unit arranged like the futuristic vehicle seen in a particular painting by Chris Foss.

Hrant, that horned g is cool. Not just the horn but the stressing thruout the rest of it---is it an example of Bloemsma-inspired ordered irregularity? The horn, looking like Tin Tin's shock of yellow hair, makes the whole thing anthropomorphic. It could be practical in a display font if you tame the length of the horn some.

I take the binocular g to be warmer and the monocular to be colder (Northern European?) - especially in sans/non-italic.

They have that effect, yes.

j a m e s

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> integrated readily enuff by the brain/mind

I posit that we don't know that. There's reason to believe that -especially when it's doubled- the closed-bottom binocular "g" can cause a -minor- reading hiccup. In contrast, the only people who are really adversely affected by the open-bottom binocular "g" are... certain type designers! :-)

> is it an example of Bloemsma-inspired ordered irregularity?

No, I think it's just tom-foolery.
It's actually from an early 20th-century ATF face.

> Tin Tin’s shock of yellow hair

I was thinking Elvis.

hhp

Brad Isbell's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006 - 8:53am
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closed-bottom binocular “g” can cause a -minor- reading hiccup

This may be, but what bothers me about the single-story open-tailed g is that it faces left - against the reading direction. I don’t think any other glyphs (even a, j) do this as strongly as the single-story g. A word that begins with such a g is not sealed off, sort of like a layout that has a picture that looks off page left. The standard binocular g seems to seal off the word or at least “look” in the right direction - to the right.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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I was actually talking about the open-bottom binocular "g".
I don't like the monocular "g" myself, although for reasons
of anti-modularity, not direction (which is essentially moot
for immersive reading, although admittedly not for display).

What's interesting though is that I had the exact same faux (see below) epiphany in 1998, while reading the chapter in Smeijers's "Counterpunch" about the "j". He wanted the "j" to be sitting down on the baseline; and suddenly I noticed, subconsciously I swear, that an "a" was facing the wrong way; except it wasn't; except it was. I figured all the letters should face rightward (or at least not leftward). After all, all the UC letters are like that (except for the "J", and that's a phoney letter), and, perhaps like Cassandre, I wanted to bring some order to the mottled Latin lowercase. I started trying some glyphs, but then was made to realize that it doesn't make sense; direction is moot. The good news* is that this aborted effort spawned my long-standing alphabet reform work.

* Actually, really bad news as far as many people are concerned.

hhp

Brad Isbell's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006 - 8:53am
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Most of my epiphanies turn out to be faux.

James Arboghast's picture
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I posit that we don’t know that.

We experience it. I mean, I read a heck-load of text in print and can't ever recall tripping up on a binocular g. Once your brain has been axon-modelled by reading experience the integration is automatic. Only when we discuss it, as now, do we decide we "know" any different in terms of design theory. And of course "different" is not neccessarily better or worse, just different.

If it works, it works. But the story never ends there...I could go on.

...the only people who are really adversely affected by the open-bottom binocular “g” are... certain type designers! :-)

Yes. In a lot of those cases it does seem to be a matter of ideology, of what one believes or has adopted as incontravertible about Latin letter forms---about certain structures in particular. Type designers without those beliefs tend to enjoy a greater range of expression and wider structural palette, with impunity :^)

No, I think it’s just tom-foolery.
It’s actually from an early 20th-century ATF face.

Its very effective, whatever you call it.

I was thinking Elvis.

In that case you want a bouffe bob with a horn lick coming off it.

Your horn, by the way, looks like a shock of hair coz its facing backwards. Point it forwards and will become a horn.

j a m e s

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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Well, I certainly agree that readers can handle a lot more
variance than many type designers give them credit for.

But if you allow one letter to have a strongly divergent
form (the "g", in its closed-bottom binocular form) you
better be ready to leverage divergence to that extent in
the alphabet as a whole; otherwise all you're really doing
is engaging in creative lethargy.

hhp

James Arboghast's picture
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005 - 1:09pm
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This is exactly what I am driving towards. More divergence of form, everywhere. I'm beyond "ready to leverage" this principal. I've already designed a whole font based on it.

...creative lethargy...

That's what binocular g has become. Atrophied design with no relevant rationale to support it. Its perpetuation by type designers over five hundred years along with all the other long-standing typographic design conventions, and the extreme reticence to break those conventions, is the essence of type design and what type designers do. It's a lazy black art of compliance.

j a m e s

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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> That’s what binocular g has become.

Among many, yes. But the form itself (especially in
its open-bottom version) is better than the mono form
for readability; in the same way that the bino "a" is
versus the mono one.

hhp

James Arboghast's picture
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Joined: 20 Sep 2005 - 1:09pm
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Quite correct. In that light, calling it "Atrophied design with no relevant rationale to support it. is a bit harsh. It's a bizarre atrophied structure that happens to have advantages for readability :^)

More dangerous is the "lazy compliance" part, resulting in over-modular, over-uniform fonts.

j a m e s

Nicholas Shanks's picture
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Joined: 30 Jun 2004 - 10:58am
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I have a g‐related question so thought I'd pop it into this thread:
Does anyone know where I can get a free font with insular g at U+1D79 ?