My First Font, Please Review

soidjte's picture

I'm just learning type design and figured a good project for learning the ins and outs of the technical side would be to digitize my own handwriting. I used my wacom tablet to sketch up the initial designs in illustrator, and tweaked them there. Brought them into fontlab, and made this... even managed to get a few special ligatures in there on my first try! Any comments would be helpful. Thanks!

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Tim Ahrens's picture

I'm not a graphologist but the downwards-pointing t and I look a bit depressing to me. If you make them point upwards the font would certainly look much more cheerful, if that is what you want.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

This looks quite well to me already.

Some things I see at first glance:
"3" ist a bit strange, "k" in the same way. They need corners. See the "w" (which needs more weight)
"5" too (it's hanging to the left too much)
"t" should look upwards, Tim is right
"p" needs some more energy
"d" is very narrow (compare to "a", but don't imitate it)
punctuation seems to be too small, give it the appropriate size.
"slashed 0": make it an option via opentype

If everything is more mature and balanced (this will take you a while, don't be too hasty), you will need ligatures and maybe alternate versions of the letters for word beginnings and endings. This will give the font even more life. Don't start with this too early, the basic character set has to be almost perfect before you start, or you will generate a lot of unnecessary additional work.

Sebastian Nagel's picture

I just saw your "hy"-ligature:

If creating them, always consider whether this would be a possible natural form when handwriting. I can't think of a common writhing method that creates something like this "hy".

See this picture:

left you can see the stroke numbers how "h" and "y" are usually written.
There is no possibility how (4) could be written as extension of (2), it would not be natural (even if it looks good) as the direction of the strokes are the opposite direction and they are not drawn in order.
Drawing it like on the right side (red), this would mean to start the "y" from the wrong side. This does not feel natural at all.

"Real" ligatures would for example be:
ff, tt --> common bar
er, em, en --> the ending of the "e" easily connects to the beginning of r, m or n, it's a natural movement. Don't smoothly connect "es", even if it just seems to be perfect: "s" is not written from bottom to top, but if connecting the "s" with the bottom of the "e", the natural movement would suggest this direction.
ti --> the crossbar of the t leads to the beginning of the next letter

There are many opportunities for ligatures in script fonts, just look what happens when you write these combinations quickly and follow that hint. Don't invent "new" ones.

microspective's picture

I find that your capital O is a little D-like. I read "Oedipal" as "Dedipal" until I zoomed in considerably. However, your handwriting is your handwriting (Gertrude Stein, anyone?), and I respect that if that's how you make your O. Just consider that (hopefully) others will be using this font, so uninterrupted readability is paramount.

Congratulations! Having made a couple of my own, including my own handwriting, I know how time-consuming this is. Nice work!

Good luck,
Ray

soidjte's picture

Tim: I see exactly what you mean... I noticed something with those characters, thanks for pinpointing what it was.

Sebastian: all of your first glance comments are correct; I think I just took too little time in reforming some of the letters. I slashed the zero because I always do that in my handwriting, this will probably be more for personal use: it's just my learning experience. Same with the hy ligature, the characters didn't fit together so I just lazily made one that ran together, which allowed me a chance to try to code some ligatures (tricky, but I'm figuring it out, I think). I do not plan, as I start laying out my first real font, to use any ligatures other than those normally used, fi, ff, ffl, etc.

microspective: the capital O is an issue, not only in this font, but in my actual handwriting. They've always lacked character. Hopefully, this is something I can work on before coming back to this font later.

Thanks for your comments, guys, I'll be checking the thread for any further comments so if anyone else has input, please do share!

cerulean's picture

The slope of the t's crossbar doesn't bother me, but it does seem a little long for practical purposes.

AndersonMaschio's picture

Well, I agree with Tim about the depressing strokes, specially on I, f, t ones, with Sebastian about the 3, 5, p, d and about the ligatures and with microspective about the O/D...

But also I think the intention of the k is nice. I like the movement... Maybe if it ends more swatched... Ow! The N looks rotated... ;-)

The contrast you are using reminds me a bit of House's Castaways... :-)

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