Agamemnon 27! Now with Greek, Cyrillic, and Cherokee

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Eben Sorkin's picture
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You almost have me. What I am saying is that the glyphs which have bowl or arms that emerge from the left to right ( nmb&p & maybe r too ) will all benefit from being notched as in the Sansa example. Whereas the qd & g all seem to take to the wave shape ( on the top ) more naturally. Looking at the b I see is has the wave on the bottom. So there is your connection still in place.

Assuming you agree that this is worth trying out I should add that the n & m do have that 1st serif that make them semi cohesive already but the way the arms are coming out don't look quite right to me with the rest of the design. What if you used something more like the b's bowl top join. That feels more relaxed.

As for the r I would either give it a b like arm connection or alter the wave for that glyph. I realize that it was the concept glyph but I think it could be better. You could raise the height of the r's arm & ball too. And or you could try to make the glyph less wide. It's creating an odd break in flow as it is. The a might be slightly less wide too.

Jason Pagura's picture
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It took me a little longer than I expected but there it is, version 11, including a lot of the changes we've talked about. I do not like what's become of the r, and I'll likely revert back to the previous version.

Here is that short sample I posted earlier done up in the new version:

New PDFs are up on top too.

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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I like your first 'r' better also. Although the ball terminal works in itself, it's too slanted and sticks above the x-hight too far. And the serif is too distict. But you already saw that. ;)
The decrease in size of the loop in the Q opens the shape up, good thing. The rest of the overall little changes are improvements, I think.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I think some of this is exactly right. The b p & h now have a notch but they also look utterly natural. They fit right in. About the lc r. I agree it isn't working. Oddly enogh it looks you took both of the ideas I was suggesting for the r at once! I was thinking high or less wide. It's actually incredible cool to see both just from an interest point of view and I think you did a great job but I think one or the other is right way - especially now. I would try less wide and model it partly on the n. The g looks much more readable at small sizes. There rae still some letter relationship things left - like the am&b all seem to be thinking about different x heights. Do you see what I mean? I think I like the a as the model for ideal height the best. What do you think?

Jason Pagura's picture
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The a is a bit taller than the rest of the lc, a side effect of swithching to the two-story design. but looking at it that is probably a better height to aim for with the rest of the letters. It will mean making adjustments to almost half the characters, but it should be worth it.

Jelmar, I think you could be seeing an illusion in the Q. The loop is larger, not smaller, than in the previous version, but there is an overlap in the loop that got rendered even-odd by Canvas exporting to PNG and needs to be made solid. It should render correctly in the PDF samples.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I was looking at the PDF of pangrams and it struck me that when you are done with the next round of changes it might be most productive to start altering spacing and then maybe kerning.

I have been wondering what effect the rolling shapes would have when set into text. If for instance they would produce an unpleasant unevenness or if they would be colorful and attract the eye. Of course it's a little preliminary to say, but I think it's the later & better of the two. Nice. I especially like the z. It's really doing it's job.

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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Ohh, yes I see. I was mistaken, I switched them around.
Well I guess I like the previous Q better then. Although you did reduce the weight of the loop, which also works.

Jason Pagura's picture
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I think now might be a good time to look at how far this has come along. Remember, this is something I started a several years ago before picking it up again last October. Here is pretty much what I started with (corresponding with the agamemnon 4 PDF):

And here is where I'm at as of yesterday (v.11ß):

What do you think of how this is evolving so far?

Come to think of it, I should try that same layout with an even earlier version. I can't think of why I didn't.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Well here it is, derived from the oldest backup I could find, created 3/17/01, last modified 9/1/03.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Yes, it's gotten much better. What's next? Will keep on with it - or put it away for a while?

Jason Pagura's picture
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I have another update to show. There are just a few kinks to kick out of it.

I solved one missing glyph problem (seems inherent to Canvas 8) but for some reason the lc y acute and multiply won't generate in the TrueType font, and I'm having loads of problems when I output to PS1 format. A whole bunch of glyphs go missing and the space comes out four times too wide.

I might have to boot into OS9 and see if that solves the problem, though I dread having to do that.

PDFs seem to generate just fine from the print dialog in TextEdit, so I'll be using that for my character sample. I'll have to see if I have anything else that will do as well and allow a 2 cloumn layout for a text test.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Well, the above issues remain unresolved, but here is revision 12:

I normalized the x height overshoot of rounded lc to match the a, redid the r again, along with æ, œ, more subtle tweaks to move some serifs that weren't lining up across the board.
Loosened up the spacing a bit too and I think it's good, but the kerning pairs still need work. Any flaws you can cal my attention to would be appreciated.

The new PDFs are multipage documents. You may want to only print the first one or two of each.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Maybe there is missing info in the glyph itself, or wrong info. I ended up pasting my outline data into a whole new font 'holder' to get rid of a corruption problem. I don't know that any of this is what will help you - but it might. The other thing is you might want to search the Typo-L archives and typophile archives for similar problems that may have been solved already or create new threads on typophile with one specific problem per thread. There is also a MSN group for the company Fontlab - and you could post there as well to see if anybody can help you get a grip on the tech.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Aside from the technical issues I've already mentioned, is there anything that still sticks out as inherently flawed? How does the spacing look now?

I've already widened the feet on the Ohm from what I've shown. I'm still a bit concerned with the terminals on the C, G, S and c, e, s groups. Might as well bring 2, €, §, £, ¢, and $ into the discussion too. Should I force them all to match each other, or are they fine as they are, or do some need fixing and not others? I'm at a bit of a loss at the moment.

I've copied and pasted the characters into a new FOG file. Sadly, the guides and templates did not carry over, but there was so much dead weight in there I suppose that's for the best. If I need reminders of the past I can look in the old files.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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About the lc : I can thing of two things to try : You could pull the upper arm back slightly & see if you like that better at text size. OR you could add weight to it and move the spacing slightly further to accomodate it.

I think the e is fab. You could add a little weight to the bottom - not an issue at display size but it would make the text size work better. Maybe the s could benefit from some similar tratment above & below - but be careful. Even small changes are a big deal!

I basically like your CG& S. What issues do you see?

The main thing I am noticing at text size is that the X height portions of letters are maybe too contrasted with the overshoots. The w is dwarfed. The m & n seem to jump. I don't think you have to match the usual text convention. But the 'deviancy' could be softened.

BTW if all this seems too text centric the other thing you could do is go back & make a display version! That would be an awesome pairing.

What about a ball terminal on the 2? The Pound Serling might be better with one too.

BTW I really like the german double s. Could I see it in use?

I think the euro is okay but it is a little light. What about a heavier initial mark on the right?

The Bar D ( Eth) & Bar L have bars that are too heavy. The lc eth has the cross bar at too acute of an angle. and it is too far down. Have you seen this? < a href=http://briem.ismennt.is/2/2.11/index.htm>(link) Thorn and eth: how to get them right

What is next to that Yen Sign? It seem interesting!

The infinity is pretty weird. What's the idea there?

What if the fi lig joined at the top rather than the bottom of the dot?

What precedent is there for a curl under the 'mu' sign? That looks odd to me.

Apart from a funny feeling the sterling sign is going to fall over I think I like the Currency symbols. They seem to match the spirit of what your doing.

The Section symbol seems to belong in another font though. It's so quiet & small. Maybe try making a new one from a Cap S. Ahve a look at some other fonts. Also it should be bigger and taller - that is the Height should be that of the Cap but it should descend to the depth of the lc g.

I saw a lc k like yours the other day on a font caled Olive Green Mono. It's on the italic. I suggest you have a look at it! It has a motion woth emulating.

Jason Pagura's picture
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you mean this ?:

It's a personal logo of a sort. The father of my girlfriend at the time was a curator at the National Museum in Taiwan, and quite an accomplished ink painter and calligrapher himself, helped me with the design. I forget what it literally translates to, but it kind of sounds like "Jason". It's the first thing I ever literally carved in stone.

Since then I've put it in the "apple" key space in my fonts. Maybe it's not right, but I don't think it's right to put the Apple, inc. logo there either unless they're licensing the font.

The reverse curl of the mu is indeed rare (I've usually seen them extend left and hang straight), but I have seen it in other fonts. I'll have to get back to you on which ones.
Too many older fonts never even bothered with matching shapes for all these special characters and just substituted from whatever their basic serif or commercial pi font was. I hope that doesn't go on too much anymore.

I have read Briem's pages, but it looks like I'm due for another review.

If the fi lig connected to the top of the dot instead of the bottom, the arch of the f would be much wider and more open. The hook of the regular f is very tight in comparison already. Is it wise to make them more dissimilar?

I'm not sure what I was thinking with the infinity other than I did not want it to be a sideways eight.

This is something I've been meaning to ask in a more general context (rather than specific to this font alone) but exactly what features differentiate a text and display face (and other optical size categories, if that's the right term) of the same weight?

Jason Pagura's picture
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While I haven't found another mu with a similar recurve to the one in Agamemnon, the following have at least a noticeable rightward hang to the descender:

Adobe Garamond
Bodoni
ITC Cheltenham
Souvenir
ITC Veljovic italic

What I noticed a lot more of, though, was the use of an italic mu in otherwise upright fonts, and quite frequently a mu from an alltogether different font, often without even regard to matching weights. These are from the big foundries like Adobe, Bitstream, URW, etc. Those that do have a matching mu often look like a u with a p descender snapped on the left upright, though about as often there is a lachrymal descender.

Jason Pagura's picture
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The C, G, S, and € each have a different spur on top. I think the one on the C is the weakest, while the one on the S is a bit too strong to directly transplant to the rest of the group. I just feel there must be some way to make them more consistent without making the designs fall apart individually.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Ouu. I found a very good example of a right-hooked mu, in Halter from the Apostrophic Lab.
I don't know how much of a precedent that counts for in font court, but there it is.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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This is something I’ve been meaning to ask in a more general context (rather than specific to this font alone) but exactly what features differentiate a text and display face (and other optical size categories, if that’s the right term) of the same weight?

This is topic much discussed. There are ways of searching typophile - ( admitedly not all the search boxes work for me) but google can help. In general though it's things like x height being in a certain range and a a whole bevy of other tendencies. Really your face is never going to be used to set a novel or a whole story in a magazine even - so it will not be a text face per se. But it could be used for pull qotes and a whole range of other near text tasks now that it would not have been acceptable for before. Actually, do you agree it is better now - or not so much?

About the serifs- (CGS etc.) Your right about their needing to be different while maintaing consitancy. My adice to is to go look at the many & in some cases contradictory things that have been done & find a model which you think suits your font best & try it. Alternatively - trust your eyes. Find what feels right. Try things.

I was looking at the mu in the new Arno Pro from adobe & it actually kinda close to yours. It's basically down with a slight curve in & then a ball-ish blob. It's less wild than yours if you see what I mean. But realated. It comes with the trial version of the latest Photoshop. Maybe it's in the font shops too. The bold 36pt has a weight kinda like yoyr too. Have a look if you want.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Well, just to see how it looked, I did actually transplant the spur from the top of the S to the C, G, and €, and y'know, it works well enough, and much better than what was there before. I think the spur on the Euro mark is supposed to be angled, though, so I might have to alter that one some.

I've calmed down the mu. It still has a curved stem but the descender ends in more of a blob than a hook.

I ought to have the new one up tonight, or maybe early tomorrow.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Here is version 13 (associated PDFs up top as usual. randomtext shows ß, ð, and þ in use, though the passage is nonsense.)

In addition to the points touched upon earlier, I raised the lc serifs to the x-height, reversing the slopes on most of them. This results in some of the serifs being tapered, which I couldn't quite figure out how to match on the v, w, x, and y. Maybe it doesn't matter. At least there isn't that big jump between the serif and the humps of the m, &c.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I have printed out the latest. I am looking foreward to checking it out.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Overall I am finding the face really really pleasant. I especially like the k oe ae r s e h.

My opinion is not informed enough so take it with a grain of salt but I like the german double s too. Maybe ask a german speaker about that.

Nice!

But of course I found things that bugged me too. So here is what I noticed when I printed the pangram sheet:

- on the second line 'funtidrk' the ti seem to be clashing. It's a spacing kerning issue. But before you address that you might want to alter the 't' which looks odd & a little weak compared to the robustness of the other glyphs. The ending that works for l is not strong enogh for the t

- with such a robust face the 'eth' ( reverse italic looking d with a slash) will need to be ajusted the slash is still in danger of being swallowed by the bowl. Why not extend the height of the ascender to that of the h & d?

- I am still finding the Cap M looks pidgeon toed. Can you alter those serifs at the bottom? On a related note the serif in the upper right of the Cap N seems overlong to me.

- If the end of the question mark stroke ( near the dot) was just a bot lighter and perhaps had form more lik ethe end of the lc r I think it would be better.

- the lc u seems too wide. Try reversing that lc n perhaps. It needs to have that bite out of it too - like the nmr & so on.

Cheers!

Jason Pagura's picture
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So on the t, do you think it should have a full hook, as the decender of the j, or a flat base like the f?

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I think the t would look bizzare with the flat base. But try it & the reverse j hook & some other things besides. I suspect it will need it's own shape. But you can start from those places. Also you could try clamping on the trail end of the lc z for fun too.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Dang, I have a drawing of the t to share and now the "insert image" doohicky isn't working.

Anyway, I tried it with the ball terminals from the j and z, and they just seemed too out of place above the baseline like that, so I took the flare terminal from the c and shortened it up a tiny bit. With a lengthened crossbar, I think it looks pretty good. I hope the description is enough, since I can't get the picture to upload.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Let's see if this works:
link to picture on ImageShack.us

Can't seem to hotlink an image either.

Tiffany Wardle's picture
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Jason, what is the latest PDF. I want to peek and give you my 2¢ but am too darn lazy to play catch up.

Jason Pagura's picture
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Miss T: The last three PDFs at the bottom of the list of attachments are the most recent. Each begin with "agamemnon13-" and refer to the same font version. "allcahracters" shows all the characters in the font at 48 pt. except the multiplication sign and y acute, which for some reason Fontographer won't include when generating the font file. The other two show the font used in blocks of text.

The image linked above your post shows changes to the t after those PDFs were made.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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What about looking at other fonts with similar charcateristics? Ball terminals in them and a heavy weight like this & so on. It might be very useful to observe what they do and how they do it. Also : A pencil & paper might be just the right tool at moment. ;-)

Tiff, thanks for taking a look. If this font seesm like the cup of tea of any typophiles you know please let Jason know. I have been doing my best but I think he would benefit from a diversity of opinions now. Take a look at the 1st version. I think he come a long way. :-)

Nathanael Bonnell's picture
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Your y-acute appears to have the accent after the letter.

Jason Pagura's picture
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In the text sample, yes it does. The proper combined y acute isn't in the font so I typed in the accent after the y.

It exists in the FOG file, but it won't come out when I generate a TT font file from it. I guess I'll have to spring for the upgrade one of these days.

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Just for fun, I've been making some short words and testing them out on WhatTheFont over at Myfonts.com, to see if there is anything similar out there already. One thing I've discovered is that their OCR initially recognizes my k as an h, and that there is no other instance of a cursive k like this in an upright font, at least as far as the matching engine can tell.

Jason Pagura's picture
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In this 14th iteration, the t, r, u, &, ?, and £ have undergone significant changes. There are also subtler adjustments all around.
I'll get PDFs for your high resolution perousal posted shortly.

I'm going to be away from my computer for about a week now, so please take your time picking this apart in detail.

Nathanael Bonnell's picture
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To name but two, Bernhard Modern and Berlin Sans have cursive k's despite uprightness. (Incidentally they were both designed by Lucian Bernhard.)

Jason Pagura's picture
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I knew there had to be something out there. Either it means WhatTheFont is dumb or Bernhard Modern and Berlin Sans are not in its database.

Well, it is possible that those fonts are sufficiently distinct in other ways that they wouldn't score a match with what I have here, but still...

Anyway, any feedback on the latest update?

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Here is some:

- The exclam point is too uniformly fat. It's a good weight but it needs some thin parts too.
- The bottom of the lc g seems too light.
- The cross bar on the t & f seem too light. The bottom of the g too perhaps.
- The double l looks great. The k still seems tasty too.
- The w is too wide. It looks lile it's getting pulled to the left by the ear.
- The u is wider than the n. Why is that?
- The stem width feel irregular. The too wide d, the r too, the might be too thin. the 1 too.
- The 'el' l's bottom could drop past the baseline.

Jason Pagura's picture
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I appreciate all the help you're giving me, Eben. Still, I can't help but wonder what might happen if still other voices were to make themselves heard.

I'll give the ! a shot, but I'm not sure how much I can do with it.

I may be putting too much effort into making the thickness of the horizontals consistent. There is room for more variation. The t, f, g, and others will benefit.

All the letters with strong diagonals (e.g.: A, K, R, M, N, V, W, X, Y, Z, k, v, w, x, y, z) give me trouble. What am I doing right in some that can be applied to fix what is wrong with the others?

The u is not simply a rotation of the n. Is the difference in width causing further problems? Would the problems be resolved by matching the widths?

I'm fairly certain the stems are of consistent width, but I will measure them again to make sure, Even then, some might be giving the illusion of being irregular and need adjustment to compensate.

You mention a couple pairs of letters (ll, el) I hadn't really given much thought to those or other pairs besides kerning. Should I make a contextual substitution for the el pair? I don't think I can do that in Fontographer. I haven't even begun to touch on learning the wonders of preparing OpenType fonts, and the only tool I have to do that with anyway is FontForge. I'd like to get the basic letter shapes settled before trying the fancy stuff.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I appreciate all the help you’re giving me, Eben. Still, I can’t help but wonder what might happen if still other voices were to make themselves heard.

I could not agree more.

Do you have good relations with anybody else on the type board? Why not email some people you respect & ask them if youcan email them a PDF?

The u is not simply a rotation of the n. Is the difference in width causing further problems? Would the problems be resolved by matching the widths?

You are right about the n & u not just being rotated! But I think that your n rotated would be a better base from which to work out a corrected u than the one you have now. And you would be starting with a width & stem weight that was matching.

I’m fairly certain the stems are of consistent width, but I will measure them again to make sure, Even then, some might be giving the illusion of being irregular and need adjustment to compensate.

That might be going on. Yeah.

I’ll give the ! a shot, but I’m not sure how much I can do with it.

If it was me I would narrow the beginning of the base of the stroke inward to create a contrasting weight - so that the top flares out in comparison. Have a look at other faces though & see if any of them inspire.

About the diagonals. I have a couple of thoughts about that. One is that compared to the issues you have solved now these were more minor. It may be a good time to adress them now however. On some level I have been reticent to suggest changing these until I saw the effect of the other changes because the two aspects relate to each other and with one thing sorted out for the most part it's easier to se what to do about the next. I also had a sense from you (and I wasn't sure I disagreed) that some of the important character of the design might be caught up in these diagonals & serifs.

But now that I see where we are I think that yes you could adjust things. To my mind the biggest blockage in getting the diagonals sorted is the serifs. Most of the glyphs have an unusual pidgeon toes look to my eye. I think that may be fine now and a source of color in the face but I think it may just bee too strong. The serif have a big impact on how the diagonals feel. Why not bring them in on the interior a little in some cases or center them more? I would try both & see what you think. More centering could bring up letter spacing issues of course..

But let's do this. Let's pick just 3 letters & try a few things with them.

- UC V let's try trimming the inside serif on the right side.

- For the K let's try bringing the upper diagonal stroke back to the left a little. The join can occur higher up.

- In the case of the lc x offset the lighter digonals by making the pitch or angle more vertical. You could also widen & open the letter up a little by offsetting the heavy diagonals more too. You don't have to do that with the UC X because the glyph is less cramped with stuff going on.

There are other ways of doing these things too. Look around try different things.

With diagonals the solutions are often one-off. A common approach or priciple might be shared across letters but the circumstances are often too unique for the 'solution' to be common across more than one letter.

about the el: I didn't mean the e & the l. sorry. It's jist that l & 1 look alibe so I was sounding it out. All I meant was that with the base of the l having the shape it does I would be good if it overshot the baseline. You could also change the shape to be flat & sit on the baseline. I am not suggesting either one is better. I just think the l floats as it is & looks odd.

what don't you like about the lc z?

I’d like to get the basic letter shapes settled before trying the fancy stuff.

exactly. I agree.

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There isn't a particular problem I'm having with the z, but it, like the others I mention, has the diagonal stroke, which, by the function of the software's drawing tools, are a bit more difficult to adjust than the strictly vertical and horizontal lines and keep consistent angles and stroke widths, especially when they intersect another stroke. It isn't that difficult, but it does involve some extra steps.

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Good relations? No, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I have bad relations with anyone either. I just don't really know anybody.


So, how is it the I, lc l, and 1 resemble each other? I thought I had made them fairly distinct.
In earlier versions, the l did descend, as did the t.

(Have you noticed that dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses® have a subtle cinnamon flavor undertone?)

Eben Sorkin's picture
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So, how is it the I, lc l, and 1 resemble each other? I thought I had made them fairly distinct. In earlier versions, the l did descend, as did the t.

Oh! I see what you mean - I don't mean in general I mean as far as their bases were concerned. They have flat bottoms with serifs. The l does not. That's what I meant to get across.

(Have you noticed that dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses® have a subtle cinnamon flavor undertone?)

Yes. Sometimes. I think they do it when they cocoa they are using is lacking something.

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Here it is, version 15ß:

Tell me what changes you can spot before I post the PDFs. I have to run, so that won't be at least until next morning.

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Nobody spotted it?
In addition to most of what's been discussed, I changed the !, ¡, gave all the horizontal strokes a bit of a flare before the terminal serifs, evened out the length of the horizontal serifs all over (though I think in some cases I shouldn't have), reshaped the J and a few other things I can't quite recall.

PDF set 15 (3 files) is now attached on the first post.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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I am up to my eyeballs but I will look again soon. Looking good though!

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You do what you gotta do to put food on the table, Eben. You've already been a far greater help than I could have hoped for.

Now, if only I could somehow attract other experts to have a look at this project. Is it uncouth to advertise this thread in another forum section, like "Design"?

Should I be typing things I mumble under my breath like that?

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Joined: 22 Jan 2004 - 4:19pm
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Thanks! I appreciate that. You have been good at taking my suggestions in too. About the muttering: I think it's okay.

Here is what I would do: If you have been on the board long enough to know who you respect here; tell them. Ask them for help. Be ready for harsh reality or praise. Whichever it is. It might also be that they don't have time or they don't think enough of the design to rate it. That would be the worst I suspect. But be ready.

The thing is, when you started this design looked pretty scary. Not that it was ugly. It just had a ton of unresolved aspects. It probably looked like too much work to wade into casually. Now though I think you have a shot. You have done much of the that work now. Your face is decidely quirky but it's getting more solid all the time. And quirky & solid are a great combination I think.

And I do want other folks to have a look in. I think the font will benefit from that.

Do you know how to use the typophile IM?

Do you know how to access user profiles & find out if they accept email or not?

Cheers!

Jason Pagura's picture
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Joined: 10 Sep 2006 - 6:19pm
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So anyway, I'm getting more satisfied with how this is looking. I still have serif issues, but right now I'n giving another go at the Q. I have a new design, with the loop in a more customary position, but I'm afraid it is getting too "2"like, and not really fitting in with the rest of the font, no matter how hard I try. Tell me what you think so far, please.

Stupid Canvas 8 won't fix the overlap. I'll do that later, but I'll keep it while I'm working on the overall shape.

Eben Sorkin's picture
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Joined: 22 Jan 2004 - 4:19pm
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I think there is something worth keeping in this idea. And that there are several ways to find a way of doing that. The idea I have is that you could begin the stroke not inside the o but instead at the left of the loop. But that might be sucky. Try it & find out. I would sketch it in pencil over & over until you get what you want. And I would consider some more expected options too. Leave yourself open to the best solution. Have you contacted/email anybody on the board to ask about the font? I am glad it's giving you greater satisfaction. I have been told by people I trust that sometimes the best thing after an intense bout of development is to take a break & work on something else to give your eyes & brain a chance to freshen up. I am not saying that's what time it is - just that it's an option.