Palormak v.22 - It's a big bunch of revisions this time

cuttlefish's picture

OK, it has a name just because I need to call the file something. I think it could do with a better one.
So, here's my attempt at a kinda-sorta semiserif font.
All the cahracters I have so far are inthe PDF. Trying to do it all with off-brand software is taking some getting used to, but it's all I can afford right now.

-EDIT- OK, there's a revised PDF also attached, but the original is still there for comparison.

-EDIT- Upon further reflection, this is hardly a semi-serif at all anymore. I might generate a sans version eventually, then I'll have something to work between.

AttachmentSize
palormak-sample.pdf80.95 KB
palormak3-sample.pdf83.78 KB
palormak4-sample1.pdf84.61 KB
palormak5-sample1.pdf84.79 KB
palormak5b-sample1.pdf43.91 KB
palormak7-sample1.pdf25.65 KB
palormak15sample.pdf29.05 KB
palormak17sample.pdf29.45 KB
palormak22sample.pdf30.52 KB
Pixion's picture

Cuttlefish,

Interesting. The serifs and shape of some of the bowls have a very Art Deco / Jugendstil feeling. Personally, I am trying to link design elements like serifs, contrast, stress etc. with how letters where drawn with pen or brush etc. With that perspective, some of the letters feel a bit off (v/w: bottom serifs, o/g: contrast, s: no serif etc.).

Note that this is just one way of looking at it, which is probably a bit too restrictive. But in general, I think letters of a font should form a cohesive set linked by a common design language.

What about for instance use the same contrast / stress for all the letters?

Sebastian

cuttlefish's picture

I'm not sure what you mean about a lack of contrast in the "o" and "g". I thought the entire font was lacking contrast. Or did you mean something else?

I have an alternate "g" around here somewhere... give me a sec...

cuttlefish's picture


So here I've swapped out for the alternate "g" and clipped the lower serifs from the lc "v" and "w", and placed a ball terminal on the "y".

Also I did up some of the ligatures that weren't there before and expanded the numbers. They felt too narrow before, but some still don't work for me. The "2" is much improved, but I don't know about the rest...

not sure what I did here... can't upload a PDF to a reply comment, I guess. I'll try editing the first one.

Pixion's picture

You're right, there is no contrast throughout. Maybe thats why I can't seem to find that 'binding unity'.

I like this g and v better. Why did you put inktraps in the v, w etc?

The numerals seem a bit flat, besides the 1, they lack serifs and /or other common design elements.

The fi ligature is funny. It is sort of a non-ligature as the dot of the i is still interfering with the arc of the f!

Sebastian

cuttlefish's picture

Aww, and I had to make the "i" on "fi" so short to make the dot fit like that. I prefer to think of it engaging the arc of the "f" in a deep sensuous kiss than interfering with it.

The inktraps felt like a good idea at the time. With or without serifs, the angle joint of the "v" and "w", etc., get too thick for my eyes. This might not be the best solution as I've implemented. I'm open to suggestions for a better one.

I had hoped the nearly consistent line weight would be enough to provide "binding unity" as you put it. The crossbars and the long, inconsistently applied serifs do throw that off a bit. I'm not convinced serifs would work on the "s" at all, and I'm debating whether to remove the one from the "c".

But, y'know, it's all an experiment until it goes to market, if it ever does. I wanted to do a monoweight font with long serifs and this is how it's coming out.

cuttlefish's picture

I made some pretty significant revisions in this version, most notably in totally redesigning most of the numerals and the "g" again. Tell me if you can spot the rest of the changes. Vector PDF up at the top again. I know the space glyphs got too wide somehow this time around. That, I will fix.

cuttlefish's picture

So, what do I need to do now? I'm experimenting with serifs on the "s" and "S", but I don't really like them.
Do I need to put a right hand serif on the "i"?
Anything else?

cuttlefish's picture


Here it is again (and in PDF #5 up top) this time with the serif'd "S"s, an new "G" and "Q", more universally applied ink traps and some other miscellaneous changes. I have a bigger view here of the numerals. I'm trying to keep them monospaced, which could explain why they're still a little wonky, but much better than what I started with.

I'm still taking suggestions on the name, and anything else that might improve this.

cuttlefish's picture

Gee, is the only way to get any comments in the critique forum by whining that one isn't getting any comments in the critique forum?

Pixion's picture

cuttlefish,

I don't think whining helps. Sometimes it takes a while before you get a reaction. Also note that a lot of the experts in this forum make a living as designer and they just have to balance their time.

Anyway, I am not an expert but followed your updates lately. Here some observations.

-Still not sure about the razor blade ink traps. They seem distracting and if they are an integral part of the design, you may want to consider widening whilst shortening them so they are visible. Right now I feel they are off-scale. Also, why are they not in the Y, K, 7, 9 etc. as well?

-Crossbar of F and H is a bit low

-nr 1 a bit too narrow

-upper part of bowls c, d and e a bit too wide (seem top heavy)

-where arc of h becomes right vertical stem: kink

-Spine of S is bulging up at lower right

I hope you find this usefull.

Sebastian

cuttlefish's picture

Sorry. I came off a little jerkey there. I'll try to suppress that.

I've taken out the ink traps and made the number 1 wider. Still working on the other details, and I have to generate another image. I'll be back with that in a bit.

cuttlefish's picture

All right, this includes the above noted changes and a new "Q". I can't make up my mind on that damn thing. Canvas 8 has been giving me a hard time in this round. I couldn't figure out how to make the upper bowl of the "d" narrower without doing the same to the bottom but I think I found a solution for the rest. new PDF 5b.

cuttlefish's picture

Are my umlauts too wide or something?

Choz Cunningham's picture

Are my umlauts too wide or something?

Yes (on the umlauts). I like seeing how this is evolving. keep it up. :)

Choz Cunningham
!Exclamachine Type Foundry
The Snark

cuttlefish's picture

Thanks Choz. I've put this one on the back burner a while to work on Agamemnon, but I'll have something new here before too long with this one too.

cuttlefish's picture

Seriously, though, I seeded this design with small problems to spark conversation, and now I'm forgetting some of them. Could anyone help me out finding them again?

cuttlefish's picture

Finally, I bring you the next stage in this font's development, but I think I might have done a bad thing to the G, J, O, Q, o, p, and q. At least the umlauts are closer together now.

Character set PDF 7 up top.

cuttlefish's picture

Maybe it's time to have another stab at this, give Agamemnon a rest for a little bit. Any advice on proceeding?

Number3Pencils's picture

I suppose. I think the g is out of place here; I actually like the second one you drew. The leg of the 9 could come farther left, and I think the bottoms of v and w are for a different font. Then keep going wherever you feel you need to do something.

cuttlefish's picture

I'm finally revisiting this after a year and a half, and with what I've learned while working on Agamemnon, I can more easily see the flaws in this design, but I think it can be saved and made into a useful product. I'll still keep this far less ambitious, maybe expanding the character set to Adobe Latin 2 but no further until the market demands it, and once finished maybe developing it into a standard 4 style family.

Updates coming sometime.

cuttlefish's picture

So anyway, as to questions of what this font is useful for: at first I was thinking about a somewhat old-timey movie titling font, such as what might be used for subtitles or captions. As it has progressed, especially through this most recent iteration, I see it more as a potential replacement for or text-sized complement to the likes of Copperplate, for those times when you're feeling locked into using Copperplate, but would really like to try something different. Well this is probably too different, but it captures enough of the same feel, and it actually has a lower case.

cuttlefish's picture

Here's the latest update: version 15, thanks to a bunch of software crashes corrupting the intervening iterations.
I think it's greatly improved. A bunch of letters have been added or corrected to bring the character set up to Adobe Latin 2 plus some ornamental extras.

The ascenders have all been stretched a bit and the upper LC serifs have been unified with a clipped wedge shape with a bracketed underside. Circle based letters have been made more, but not perfectly, circular, with the overshoots brought down a notch. Many of the letters that had a butt stroke end now have a tapered terminal, giving the impression of bent railroad spikes. The eszet and Sterling are totally new. A very tiny bit of contrast has been added overall, just -5 ems vertical and +5 ems horizontal, maybe getting just a little thicker on some of the curves. The numbers have been given a bit of extra spacing and other improvements, but are still tabular.

The image sample above is just a Q&D from the same template I used for the earlier ones. A more complete PDF sample is coming soon.

cuttlefish's picture

All right, the new PDF sample is now loaded into the file list up top: palormak15sample.pdf

I completed the character set and rearranged them into somewhat logical chunks, though that does not in most cases have a relation to their positions in the font.

cuttlefish's picture

I think I may finally have this one down! I've already made a few tweaks from the last posted version, but I'd still like some feedback if there is any out there. The "z" is still giving me trouble, of all things, and I'm thinking of clipping the serifs off of the "s". Those just don't really relate to the rest of the font, and don't exist except for the purpose of putting serifs on the "s", but what would work better there?

cuttlefish's picture

Coming soon is version 17 (16 had a file error). I've stripped the serifs from the "s" leaving it with tapered terminals and it looks fine to me amongst the other letters. "f"and "t" now have tapered crossbars which looks odd close up but works in other ways. Also the "N" and uppercase "ß" are redesigned. I'm still not happy with the "x" and I am torn between the current "r" and a redesigned one with more curl, much like the arm of the "k".

speter's picture

I still find the apex of the V/v and W/w too visually heavy. Also, try making the h and n a bit narrower, since you don't have the right side of the left serif to balance the shape. (Oh, and see if you can taper the ear of the g a bit where it joins the bowl; that strikes me as a bit too heavy, too.)

Overall, I do like the progress you've made.

cuttlefish's picture

So...

I have the stubby base serifs clipped off the v and w. To do the same to the corresponding caps would be a bit much. Would big ink traps do the job? Also, I am trying angled serifs on the Z. Would it be necessary to include that feature on the E, F, L, and T too? It seems to work without a global change.

guifa's picture

I think on the v and w you could also clip off the right serif and taper it off.

For the l perhaps pull it down just a bit. It feels a little too floaty.

I don't think you need to worry too much about the capitals. The lc z with the diagonal and the uc without it looks good. Especially for letters like cC mM nN sS vV wW xX and zZ the more distinction that can be made the better, since the x-height is so close to the cap height. Would would a C with a straight serif look like?

Also your super3 is a noticeable bit larger than the super1 and super2. This is really starting to mature.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

I've neglected the superior/fraction numerals. Time to revisit them.

I'll try some of the variants you suggest (like the C with straight serif).

cuttlefish's picture

For the l perhaps pull it down just a bit. It feels a little too floaty.

The tapered hook base of the lc L already descends slightly. I'm afraid pulling it more will start looking like a weird elongated backwards j. I could go back to a flat serif base like on the i, but that would mean redoing all that spacing and kerning, which needs to be redone anyway.

cuttlefish's picture

I always seem to post an update while I'm just about to leave for something.
Anyhow, version 17 here has a few alternates that have been suggested, along with various more subtle changes. Which ones should be the main selection? Your feedback, as always, is appreciated.

cuttlefish's picture

You can catch a sneak peek of version 18 in action in the book cover type battle

cuttlefish's picture

I've been working on something here, but after leaving it idle for a couple months to work on other fonts I've lost track of what changes I've made. I probably still have a lot of work to do on spacing and kerning (for some reason this is a lot harder to do on FontForge than Fontographer, even though the interface is similar).

cuttlefish's picture

No votes on the alts?

I've decided to make the C with the vertical spur the normal style, with the angled and horizontal serifs still available as alternates. It kind of violates the rail spike theme I had going here, but it goes along better with the changes I have in mind for the r.

cuttlefish's picture

The bottom of the crossbars of "t" and "f" are different. "t" is flat, while "f" is bracketed in the manner the serifs of other letters are. Should these crossbars be unified, and which way should I go?

speter's picture

The f is too splotchy, so I'd go with the t treatment.

Bendy's picture

Hi Jason :) Here are my observations, please feel free not to pay too much attention to them as I'm only a beginner too.
This is an unusual design and I'm not sure I understand it. To my eye, there isn't enough unity between the different letters. I'm not sure there is a consistent pattern to the stress, the serifs, and the amount of 'weirdness'. I think some of the weirder ideas are wonderful! Look at your curly r and k and alternative C, they're great.
Some of the bits I don't understand...
n has foot serifs only on the outside. H has all serifs. u has a normal serif pattern. m is somewhere in between.
The curves in geoqs are quite relaxed and soft, and wide. abdp are quite sharp and strong shapes. m and w are narrow.
The ovwx seem to be monoline, but the stress is very pronounced in egrs.
I quite like the oddness of all these things, so I wouldn't try to make everything conventional, but the overall feeling is a bit complicated and disorienting.
I think the lc diacritics could have a lot more space below. I don't find vwxy work very well. g and p could do with more space on the right. I think h and n look too wide because the inner serifs are missing and there's a lot of counterspace. The quotes and comma don't fit.
Yes, I think the t and f should have the same crossbar, or at least the same general shape.
Keep going with this, it's very curious!

cuttlefish's picture

I thought I'd pounded most of the quirks out of it by now.

At the beginning, there was no stress or contrast in Palormak, it was a relatively simple mostly monoline semi-serif. That origin is probably where the remaining quirks reside. Any hint of stress or contrast was added later as I learned things from other projects. The serifs took a new shape and the tapered terminals were introduced on many letters. The tapered terminals give the appearance of ductus but for different reasons than the usual causes. It all makes sense to my eyes and way of thinking about it, except where I'm still struggling, where it doesn't.
The serifs of "vwxy" are notably troublesome.

As I made various changes through the process, I recognized a kind of "rail spike" motif. It doesn't literally apply to every letter form, but the spike shaped directional arrows I included reinforce it in a way, if at least as a reminder.

Significant changes are underway, but you'll recognize it.

cuttlefish's picture

I realized only now that the "p" descender is too short, and my em square is to big and stuff and junk. The "p" and thorn though are the only ones with a serif on the descender. The rest all have pointy things and/or curves.

cuttlefish's picture

Now I find an actual serious problem. The serifs of the T crash with the lowercase short letters when I try to kern them.

The only practical solution appears to be to shorten the hanging serifs from the top of the T. Would that be wrong?

speter's picture

Welcome to the iterative world of type design.

Remember that you're designing a system of signs that will work in concert. You're not just designing a T, but a T that will be used with other glyphs. That interaction will inform your design decisions.

cuttlefish's picture

I know, I know; beautiful collection of letters not collection of beautiful letters and all that...

guifa's picture

Wow, I haven't looked at this one in a while, and it's really coming along well! Later tonight I'll try an actual critique

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

I may have a new iteration up by then. Just have to finish this pass at kerning and 'll have some new samples.

Unless I have yet another file error (and I've had a few between the last one and now), this will be version 20 coming up.

guifa's picture

I need to get back on top of my current font too, I need your work ethic :) I'm going to be without internet for a few days so I'll download your PDF and see what I can find in it in the meantime.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture


Here is version 22. Yup, between a file error and an experiment gone awry, I've skipped five versions from the last one I put up here. There are a lot of changes between this and 17, many of which were already discussed, and I didn't document them well otherwise. Taking notes is something I never developed a knack for.

PDF of the above image on top.

If there is a more useful sample layout, please feel free to suggest one and I'll try to set one up, bearing in mind the only fully OpenType capable program I have to set it up in is TextEdit.

cuttlefish's picture

On a technical side, this font rides... how does one put it... low in the em? It looks really short for whatever point size it's set at, which isn't readily apparent in the samples since I didn't note the sizes.

If I reduce the size of the em square will that fix this problem? If I do that, would I then have to rescale the em square back to 1000 and risk distortions due to rounding or is an arbitrary em square OK? Is there a different setting that would correct the problem?

cuttlefish's picture

So, continue with the spacing and kerning, yes? How is the "q" with the serif working? What of the newly flat-topped "vwxy"? Should those go back to the sloped serifs of the rest of the lowercase?

sim's picture

You type face is pretty interesting. I'd make some comments on the design. I find the bar on some letters too big (compare the E with the ŁÐ), the punctuation seems too big also. The oblique bar of the Ø could be longer. I like what you've done with the l but I wonder if this kind of terminal suited well on the q. To my eyes this q seems to be an a with a long tail. The “curve” in the r r should be less large at the junction with his stem. The connection of the a with the e in the æ could be lower may be at the same height of the bar of the e. The ampersand is nice, but it would have more punch if you increase the lower bowl and reduce the upper one. Hoping that will be helpful. Keep going.

cuttlefish's picture

To my eyes this q seems to be an a with a long tail.

But isn't that what a "q" is supposed to look like? Notwithstanding that it doesn't look at all like the "a" in this font. Better this than just a reversed "p", which is why I made the "q" without the serif at first.

The punctuation is a bit bold, but I did that on purpose to prevent it washing out at text sizes.

The "r" has been exceedingly tricky to get while maintaining the rail spike paradigm that has evolved. I'll keep changing it til I get it right.

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