Shark - A blackletter / roman hybrid

glyphobet's picture

Here is a preview of an extensive revision of "Shark," an old typeface of mine. I started it a few years ago as a hybrid between blackletter and roman, before I knew anything about blackletter. The revision has ligatures, alternate characters, upper and lowercase numerals, small caps, Cyrillic and Greek alphabets, and the kerning and metrics have been fixed.

Let me know what you think. Should I keep working on it? I'm especially interested in feedback from people familiar with blackletter typography.


sample-revised.pdf355.8 KB
sample2.png124.49 KB
miles's picture

cool stuff matt. first time I've ever seen a blackletter style applied across roman, greek and cyrillic.
well done.


ebensorkin's picture

I think it would get used more if the angle were a bit less sharp.

glyphobet's picture

Thanks for the feedback, Eben & Miles. I will try making a variant with a less sharp angle... unfortunately the whole font is made around that angle, so it'll be a lot of work. But if it looks better, it's worth it. :)


ebensorkin's picture

I want to encourage you not to treat it as a mechanistic job. EG - don't assume that the same angle works best for all the letters. On one maybe it stays the same on another maybe you move it 20 points down on another 22 on a yet another 5 etc.

The variation may give you a richer more interesting feeling, and you may be able to make better letters that way too.

For instance my guess is that the i could maybe stay the same whereas the r will benefit from a lower angle.

Another thing I saw was that the lc s looks a little thin compared to the other glyphs. Maybe the middle can be fatter.

glyphobet's picture

I've decreased the angle of the downward-pointing spikes, and in the process I ended up fixing a bunch of other things that were wrong with it. Here's the revised version. I've attached a new PDF as well.

mr's picture

Your Xi is distractingly light. I don't think it would hurt to put a bit of black on them (I don't read Greek, though, so I might be wrong).

I like your longs_s and t_z ligatures, and Cyrillic especially.

ebensorkin's picture

It seems better to me. What about a cut a ball terminal on the lc r? also a Think I would begin the connextion further down on the stroke. I think the lc g could have a more complex/weighty ear. I would jet the j descend further before making the slash cut. The lc z is strangely wide compared to it's fellow letters. What if you let some letters like the q have the slash angle in the opposite direction? Can you see why I would think of that?

glyphobet's picture

@eben: I tried a ball terminal on the r long ago, and I just couldn't make it look right. U, d, q & u all have slash cuts going in the other direction. I think you were right about the j... I've pulled it down, along with a number of other characters. I made the z narrower too.

@mr: I've fixed the Xi.

Thanks for all your feedback. :)

ebensorkin's picture

I see I should have been clearer. You almost have a 'cut ball' as it is.

These are also examples

glyphobet's picture

Ah, I see (I thought 'cut' was a typo, and I didn't even know that 'cut ball' terminals existed. :)

Here's a comparison. The first is the original, the second is the same ball terminal from the 'c' and 'e', the third is a squished version of that ball terminal, and the last is a cut ball terminal.

I think I might like the cut ball terminal best. Thanks!

ebensorkin's picture

I encourage you too keep tweaking & trying new things with that such as making the angle of the cut on the ball not match the cut on the stem by even more & maybe in the other direction too. A cut ball might look nice on the lc s as well. What about lowering the pint at which the arm of the come out from the stem?

rtype80's picture


Have there been any updates/modifications to this font? I quite like it... maybe with a bit more of a less sharp angle?

many thanks


glyphobet's picture

@daved: I haven't made any modifications since the last images posted in September. Glad you like it, though. I'm planning to release Shark for sale in the next few months. I'll let you know when I do.

ebensorkin's picture

I hope you can fix some more stuff before you do. I think this has some potential to be really solid.

tinezz's picture

Have you tried to offer it to a designer so he/she can use it and maybe give you some feedback on how it works in real design? Or have you tried it yourself? Just curious.

glyphobet's picture

@eben: What stuff do you think I should fix? Or do you just want to see more variation?

@tinezz: I have used it myself in a lot of places, but I haven't given it to a designer to see what they think.

ebensorkin's picture

It's little details like the top of the arm of the r. At smal sizes you might not notice but big you can see that the curve is lumpy. The bottom of the e and it's end need a little more weight. The aldine style diagonal on the echoed in the s is a different angle from the diagonal cut of the descenders. I wonder if it would be good to reduce it in the descenders to that of the s & e. The s falls over backwards. It needs a wider base. I wonder if the r would benefit from starting the crotch of the r deeper down. What if the s had it's terminals out just a little more so the end s might be heavier? What about lettering the ascenders be a little taller? I think that might make the face read better & help make the teeth at the bottom less of an impediment to reading. The bottom of the d seems like a make do solution. In general it is the joins on the letters that need the most help. Look at Cooper Black and maybe the bold weight of DTL Fleischmann, and Freight.

(pull the the weight

I might comment further but I don't have a full glyph set with the cut-ball terminals.

On some level it's a spit & polish thing. Are all the details the way you want them? Obviously you don't have to do any of this. You may decide that I am mistaken which is quite possible. Or that it's good enough. But what I like about the face is that it's outrageous but it nearly works - very well. I see potential. The ball terminal for instance work better than I thought - even. I would hate to see it be less than it can be. If you are sick of it maybe put it away & come back... But that's just my 2.5 cents.

What do you think?

j_polo9's picture

Very cool! Do you know of any other combinations of blackletter and other styles?

glyphobet's picture

I'm pleased to announce that Shark has been renamed Haylurker, and is now available for purchase at

For the first week, (until March 11th) Typophile readers will get a 20% discount with the code TYPOMAR10.

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