First font ever - please criticise and help

dojr2's picture


I am a newly registered used and I need your criticisms, your advice and your help.
I wanted a Didone font that I could use in my PhD thesis which has to be double spaced.
I could not find it. So I set out to design one, based on a 1930s Hachette book that I have. I chose a very high x-height to fill the page, and a very vertical and symetrical design.

Let me know what you think. I shall be eternally grateful.


PhD test.pdf25.13 KB
Quincunx's picture

It looks good, at first glance. However, I wouldn't think this as a text face, to be honest. The contrast between the strokes is so large. And the thinnest strokes are quite thin, almost gets eaten away by the white of the page.
So I think it could use some tweaking here and there.

Number3Pencils's picture

I agree; it looks good, but with strokes too thin. All your alphabet seems to work pretty well, except probably the s, where the problem is the rightmost spot, where the thick flows into thin. Too angular. Also, M too thin and S too wide. Your numbers don't flow as well as the alphabet. Especially compare your 9 and 6 to your zero, which looks better. 3 and 2 are stilted; 4 too bold. Also, I think your question mark ought to be wider, as well as the ampersand. Euro too bold, yen could go with two lines just as well. Your mathematical operators are too weird; in type, normalcy is often a virtue. The tildes in the approximation sign are annoyingly asymetrical. Also, I don't understand your single-quote scheme--why isn't the left one like the corresponding double quote? The font, though, besides this stuff, is very interesting, especially with the finial-less finials, and the straight y, and I like it.

Quincunx's picture

Had a moment to check the specimen out a bit more closely.
I think your numerals are a bit.. weird all toghether, exept from the zero, 1, 5 and 8. I agree on the 's' part, odd curves. Openings need to be larger and rounder. Like in the uppercase version.
I'm not sure about the Registered and Copyright signs, that they are in an O or an extended zero. But it might work. Grave and acute signs are not too recognizable, maybe make a bit more slanted? The Euro sign too bold. Question mark too small.
And some of your curves are bumpy, like the ampersand and the section character, for example.
But my curves are off a bit as well sometimes, so I won't say too much about that.

I like the general shapes of the alphabet though. Like the lc y and a.
It just needs a bit more love. ;)

Lex Kominek's picture

This is pretty cool. Just a few suggestions:

The serifs on your lc 's' are out of place with every other lc letter. I'd recommend using a solution similar to your lc 'c' for this.

The bracketed slabs in the UC look a little too thick compared to the non-bracketed ones. You should thin them very slightly to make up for the extra ink in the bracket.

Like the others have said, you should take a look at a lot of your curves and make them a little smoother.

I love the Registered and Copyright signs. They match the font well, and if someone using the font doesn't like them, they can substitute the good old Franklin-Gothic-in-a-circle variety. My only suggestion is to make them a little smaller.

Keep posting your progress.

- Lex

jstypo's picture

I must agree with quincunx regarding his observations on your font's contrast. If you aspire to use this font for the composition of legible text you may consider making the contrast somewhat less extreme, at least for body sizes. It would be nice if your italics were true italics and not just a slanted roman. I also found your puntuation to be a bit on the thin side. It might be worth spending some time to differentiate your apostrophes and quotation marks because they look a bit like the generic quotes many typographers love to hate.

On the plus side the overall design seems quite fresh and has a nice rhythm to it. Congrats for an interesting first effort.

dojr2's picture

> I agree; it looks good, but with strokes too thin.

I have thought about making it with slightly less contrast. On the other hand, I believe that it's the high contrast that gives Didone their elegance. So the balance is rather difficult to strike. Most nineteenth century french books I have come across are also using this high contrast, if not higher.

I agree with the comments on the lower case 's', the numbers and mathematical operators which I have not given enough thought too yet.

Finial-less finials is indeed one of the ideas behind this font and it took me hours and hours of tests to find something that worked.

dojr2's picture

I am glad you like the y and a, since with the g and the r, they are the letters that it took me most time to design.
Do you think there are bumps in the letters? I thought I had smoothed out the characters. I shan't need the non-letter characters and that's why I have not polished them enough (yet).

Quincunx's picture

The alphabet is smooth, only the 's' isn't (also apart from the shape itself, theres a bump in the curve as well).

The rest is fine when it comes to curves. :)

Jongseong's picture

Just a couple of quick comments...

The 'å' is almost unrecognizable with a much too small ring. Even if you decide to leave the thickness of the thins as is, you should make the ring much larger than a hollowed-out period.

The curve in the 'f' is a little abrupt at first glance.

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