Furtive (working name)

matt_desmond's picture

This is not my first attempt at a serious sans design, but it is my most recent. It is in the very early stages of development, only the lowercase is drawn. It's a very sterile design with one goal in mind, legibility. It has sacrificed unique features to be extremely usable in a variety of typographic situations. Does anyone have comments?

furtive_test.pdf (12.5 k)

micah_cowan's picture

I'm only a beginner, but I personally think it's terrific. Very readable. My only thoughts at the moment are that for some reason, the opening at the top of the x gives me the illusion of being larger than the bottom. It would probably help the x to look a little more solidly "grounded" to open the bottom just a tad. Also, personally I think the lip (right word? bottom bit) of the e could come just a teensy bit further out. I didn't notice this in the running text, but in the display "furtive" the e seems to be slightly too far right.

matt_desmond's picture

Heh, I did the same thing with my first posts. This forum software isn't very noob friendly. :-)

I see what you are saying with the "x", it is currently mechanically even, maybe some optical correction is in order. I am bothered with the "e" also and the "a" and a few others. I need to work out a few bugs I'm seeing with those little guys.


matt_desmond's picture

Oh, and that part of the "e" and "c" is called the finial. It's the end of a loop. :-)

kris's picture

> it is currently mechanically even, maybe some optical correction is in order.

Definately. This is probably why the 's' looks top heavy. I like the neutral feel to this.

hdschellnack's picture

Very nice. I'd really like to see the numerals.

eomine's picture

Matt, I may be wrong, but I think this face resembles Frutiger too much.
I think you should try diverging from it. My humble and honest opinion.

eolson's picture

I agree with Eduardo.
The Frutiger influence is far too apparent.
Some faces to consider as you navigate this area:
FF Kievit
Corpid by Luc(as) de Groot

I'm sure there are others but these expressly
reference Frutiger and move beyond the model*.

*At this point, I would consider Frutiger
a "model" as it has more or less ushered
in a new genre of typefaces.

matt_desmond's picture

Man, You guys are right. I got caught up in the construction and didn't even compare it with the others to make sure it was different enough.

Check out this comparison:


Back to the drawing board, um, I mean fontographer.

aquatoad's picture

Hi Matthew.

Have I ever been there. But what a great learning opportunity. Just looking at the hamburger sample above I see three things you can learn from Frutiger's genius.

1. The first is the terminals on the a, e and g. Frutiger brings the weight farther into the curve which makes for a more natural modulation.

2. The bowl of the g rests above the baseline. Yours looks raised maybe a hair, but still low (ie. very close to the b).

3. Check out the stem endings in the following glyphs: a, m, b, u, r, and g. Notice how Frutiger shaves his stems a bit to open the join, but also to appear optically the same width as the other side of the join. By comparison, yours are looking hefty.

The resolution is too low to tell, but check to see if the counters on your b and g eat in to the stem (rather than run tangent, actually overshooting the stem).

That said, yours is very well crafted. Nicely done.


matt_desmond's picture

Good eye, Randy! Here is today's result after some tweaking.

First, the bowls now intersect the verticals instead of blending into them. The top and bottom of the bowls also hit the stroke lower/higher to make more room for ink collection at small sizes.

Second, I canted the top of all of the ascenders and tops of the vertical strokes.

Third, the "i" and "j" now have round dots.

The letters most changed were the "a" and "b" and "q".

Now the question, should I keep going and try to sell this thing or start over?

furtive_test_02_09.pdf (12.9 k)

hrant's picture

I think genericity is rarely useful. Put something of your "soul" into it.


matt_desmond's picture

Are you saying Frutiger has no soul and is rarely useful? ;-)

aquatoad's picture


matt_desmond's picture

Since it's been so long since I've drawn a serious face, I'm going to let this one die and call it a re-learning experience.

You are right, I'll need to do something more unique for it to sell...

piccic's picture

Try the pencil alongside with bezier curves (and anything else coming to mind), Matt. Even a dull semi-humanistic sans will then become *your* sans. ;)

matt_desmond's picture

True, Claudio. I've been sketching a lot lately and need to sit down and take the time to make the characters "mine". In general, I just use my sketches as a quick starting point. I think what I need to do is spend more time in that phase.

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