Wedge

Aaron Sittig's picture

Wedge has been my primary project for a couple months now. I was inspired at first by the headlines of the SF Chronicle, set in titling Electra. I was also intrigued by the wedge serifs of Underware's Dolly, providing the design's temporary name.

Two goals for the project are, first, exploring new ways of modulating strokes, second, establishing an interesting rhythm in continuous text. I'm not sure yet how well I'm succeeding on either count. I think my modulation in the bowls of bdpq is unique. This same modulation seems to combine with the similar shape in hnmu to provide a nice rhythm at the top and bottom edges of a line of text.

In the attached PDF I included a recently hacked up sans version of font. It is truly a sans since I preserved the modulation of the serifed version and just whacked off the serifs. It's mostly an experiment though and I'd prefer critique of the serif design.

I'm very anxious to get feedback on this design. I have a whole summer ahead of me to work on this so I'd like to know if I'm going in the right direction.

Wedge Sample

Download PDF

dweekly's picture

holy freaking gorgeousness.

This is a very nicely readable font. It's difficult to put one's thumb on what's new about it; it's only evident when zoomed in or looking at large caps.

It would be sweet if there were ligatures to handle "fi" "fl", etc, given your overhangs. Also, combos like "nc" seem to mush together when zoomed out a lot. But on the whole an amazingly strong design; incredibly professional.

kris's picture

Bravo! To me, his is a superb typface. You, sir, are definately on the right track.

stefan_h's picture

Very nice and classic. Reminds me of Caslon old style somehow, but this one have a nice attitude. keep up the good work. Include as many weights and caps etc as possible. Makes the family much more useful in the end.

fonthausen's picture

this could become very good.

I like the serif a lot. Its very subtle. Text looks good, although i'd tighten the spacing more.

Maybe you could try flatening both endings of the lc 's', like you did on the lc 'c'. Or make more look like the uc 'S'.

I'd expect a downwards going tail on the ampersand ('&').

I think you should try lowering the contrast in sansserif. To me its looks too much like being the serif version with the serifs cut away.
Giving the sans a incised character (e.g. angie sans by JFP) could work here. Although I wouldn't make its character too strong, but more subtle and detailed like your serif version.

Some quick remarks.

--Jacques

PS: dont make too much wheights. Your not Lucas de Groot and you should question the need for a lot of wheigths

fonthausen's picture

Forgot something.

Why did you decide to make soft endings, serifs and forms? You said you were inspired by the electra, which is harder and sharper.

Even iff Dolly gives an wooly impression, its has very sharp details.

--jacques

eomine's picture

Very nice, Aaron.
Maybe the q's descender (on serif version) is too heavy. Lowercase r is too "shy"/narrow. I agree with Jacques about s.
The descender of p is shorter than q's (is that intentional?). I would fix that.

Really good work, keep it up.

hrant's picture

I think you can be duly proud of having made such a serviceable, polished face so quickly. With some finishing tweaks (and a bunch more extra characters!) this face could be used to set many types of works very nicely. The color is right on for the proportions.

I do have palpable reservations however if this is more than an academic exercise: it's too "80's Adobe". It has that flow (which of itself is nice), but honestly it's hard to see too many third-parties getting too excited over it. A certain original modulation is too subtle a thing to be appreciated by people outside a certain circle of type designers! :-/ The overall softness in your joins seems somewhat "nostalgic", in a way that most people don't seem to appreciate these days. Or it could all be in my head! :-)

Assuming the above even bothers you, I'm not sure what I'd recommend. Probably just finish it in the direction it's going (since it's doing it so well), and have a very nice usable font that strongly demonstrates your abilities of making a solid mainstream text face - not as easy task when you're not closely following an existing source!

On the other hand, there are certain things in the font that speak to me a lot, like the beak of the lc "f" and the tail of the "q" - wonderful features, well executed. If you feel like you have the energy to make Wedge really great, consider pushing as many of the glyphs as possible in that direction. If you do that, I'm not sure what you would do with the stately but static caps: maybe just leave them as is - caps actually exist in a somewhat different world than the lc set (annoying but true).

Some specific things:
UC: I'd make the "L" and "T" narrower - helps spacing. I think the tail of the "Q" should dip lower.
lc: make the ascenders a hair taller. Give the "g" a stronger ear. Make the "m" narrower. Make the "r" braver. The "s" is way off. Give the "y" a much stronger tail.
The asterisk is cool - maybe close it up just a bit.

Spacing: It seems slightly loose for the point size that it would sing best in. And it's a bit uneven in spots (like "e" is especially loose on both sides).

Weights: I'd make four.

The sans: It creates a very interesting paradox! The softness really explodes here, and it's hard to say if it kills it or if it makes it highly original! :-/ Looking at it some more, I think I'm liking at a lot, actually - it seems to have a singular voice.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Your design also looks to me like something between Minion and Adobe Caslon. But I like it better than either: less fussy than Minion, but more lively than ACaslon, which is dull. It has the sturdiness of Caslon without the somewhat awkward shapes. I think it could be a very useful text face.

On the spacing, I like that it isn't too tight - which I think Minion is. I suspect it is a bit uneven, but I don't have the knowledge to tell you how or where. The round vs straight letters might be something to check.

To my eye the round part of the C, D and G look very slightly too fat in relation to the rest of the caps. They would be more elegant if corrected also. The O and Q don't bother me the same way, I don't know why. This all may have to do with the degree of old style slant and what this dictates about the relation between the slightly diagonal and the vertical 'stroke of the pen'.

The sans doesn't work for me - it doesn't have the virtues of the serif as it stands.

I am an amateur, but the fact that I like your face as a good text face - something rare - moved me to comment.

Aaron Sittig's picture

> Text looks good, although i'd tighten the spacing more.

There are two reasons that the spacing may seem loose. First, i've tried to emulate the looser spacing of older type. Second, I've targeted sizes 9 through 11 which makes the spacing too loose at larger sizes.

> Maybe you could try flatening both endings of the lc 's'
> Or make more look like the uc 'S'.

The lowercase s has consistently bothered me. It may be good to give more flare to the ends of the s, like that found in the lowercase c. I've made a concerted effort in my uppercase to make all the characters structurally different than their corresponding miniscule, to make the two sets belong to one another because of their style instead of just a difference in scale.

> I think you should try lowering the contrast in sansserif. To me its looks too much like being the serif version with the serifs cut away.

The sans is precisely 'the serif version with the serifs cut away'. I hacked it together in a couple hours just to see what it might look like. If I lowered the contrast in the sans, it might become more useable but I'm certain it would lose it's unique character, it's handwritten feel. Like you suggest, it would be curious, if I find the time, to sharpen the corners of the sans and see what that feels like.

> Why did you decide to make soft endings, serifs and forms? You said you were inspired by the electra, which is harder and sharper.

I suppose because I was also inspired the Electra of the ratty sci-fi paperbacks I've read so many of. Cheap paper and printing gave the pages a mottled texture and denied Electra its sharpness. On the other hand, my laser printer is woefully capable of reproducing the sharpest corner so I prefer to manually warm and soften the joints of my glyphs.

I began work from Electra in the proportions of the lowercase and by the structure of some of the letters: c, f, j, n, p, t. But over time, my initial shapes changed quite a lot.

> Maybe the q's descender (on serif version) is too heavy.
> The descender of p is shorter than q's (is that intentional?)

Maybe the descender on the p is too light? The serifs at the ends of all my ascenders/descenders are heavy compared to the baseline serifs. I stuck a baseline serif on the p, but I think it could use some additional heft to make it fit in. The descender on p is shorter than q, though not by much. I think the effect is exacerbated by the comparative lightness of the serif.

> Lowercase r is too "shy"/narrow.

Good catch! I guess I really had my designer blinders on here.

Aaron Sittig's picture

> I do have palpable reservations however if this is more than an academic exercise: it's too "80's Adobe"

They say fashion travels in 20 year waves, and though I'm too young to confirm this firsthand, it might be the right time to revisit the style of the golden Adobe 80s. Just two more years lie between us and the 20 year anniversary of the Laserwriter. Or maybe I'm being too optimistic.

> The overall softness in your joins seems somewhat "nostalgic" [...] Or it could all be in my head!

It is nostalgic. I'm trying to recapture the heavy softness of older print. Because of this, I'm actually starting to prefer books printed from xerographic copies of the old print than those re-typeset. The text is more relaxed on the page. It doesn't march and shimmer like, say, a page of Minion.

> I'm not sure what you would do with the stately but static caps

Here's what I have done in the weeks prior to posting here. (Download PDF). My previous capitals are stylistically closer to my lowercase but I wasn't satisfied with text in all-caps, and depending on my mood, they galled me within continuous text. The newer set pleases me more in both cases.

> I'd make the "L" and "T" narrower - helps spacing.

When they were narrower (once upon a distant time) they bothered by at small sizes where they seemed too weak, but I'll give them another look.

> make the ascenders a hair taller

Good point. I read recently (I forget where) that the top of the capitals should align with the bottom of the serifs of the ascenders. It seems like good advice and Wedge is just shy of that measure.

> Make the "m" narrower.

My working theory at this point dictates that the width of the counters of the hmnu shouldn't vary too much, to maintain a consistent rhythm in text. I'd prefer to make them all the same size but I'm too accustomed to having the m and u be narrowed, as I imagine we all are, so I've narrowed these to align with expectations.

> Spacing: [...] it's a bit uneven in spots

I'm not sure where my problem lies but I think that the sidebearings on my rounds may be too loose. I'd left them this way to avoid bunching on round-round pairs. Perhaps the solution is to kern round-round pairs? I was hoping to achieve great spacing without kerning, since few people can be bothered to use a program that uses Opentype kerns, but I may have to bite the bullet.

Aaron Sittig's picture

> ACaslon, which is dull

No! Don't say that. Adobe Caslon is lovely, though I agree that Minion is fussy.

> I suspect [the spacing] is a bit uneven, but I don't have the knowledge to tell you how or where

I don't have this elusive knowledge either. As time passes, I'm beginning to suspect that such knowledge is impossible for us typographic mortals. Only the gods (Carter, Zaph, &c) can suffer spacing mastery.

> To my eye the round part of the C, D and G look very slightly too fat in relation to the rest of the caps

I'm glad you pointed that out because I was beginning to suspect the same thing. I think there is too much diagonal modulation left over from the previous uppercase design in the thick part of the curved stroke. In particular, the curve of the counter needs to be shifted to lessen the stroke.

> I am an amateur, but the fact that I like your face as a good text face - something rare - moved me to comment.

Well I am an amateur as well, and I'm glad my face isn't so bland to escape all interest.

hrant's picture

> the top of the capitals should align with the bottom of the serifs of the ascenders.

Or set the word "The" and work from there.

BTW, I think your old caps are very nice - but I agree they're less functional in the mainstream. Since they're so much more original than the current set, it would be nice to have them as an alternate.

> the sidebearings on my rounds may be too loose.

That's actually a direct side-effect of spacing using control strings - assuming that's how you did your spacing... :-/ In real setting the rounds have to be tighter than that, and you can add positive kerns for round-rounds for optimal setting. All this is because round-rounds are linguistically rare.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

>My previous capitals are stylistically closer to my lowercase.
Your new caps are more elegant, but I don't think go with your lower case. Now they are wider, the stress more upright, the serifs relatively thinner etc. If you can refine the old ones without losing their character, I think that would be a better solution for this face. -You can design a different lower case for the new caps!

rs_donsata's picture

I prefer the old caps, most of the caps are much like the new ones...

Syndicate content Syndicate content