Eternal: more angled stress

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Ben Mitchell's picture
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Yay! 100 replies!
Thanks everyone!

With the diagonals, it was mainly the white space of the counters that was hard to reduce. I think i'm getting there though.
I'll go through these comments later, and see what can be done to sort out the wayward letters.
:)

James Arboghast's picture
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@Bendy(via email):The regular is falling into shape, but still needs more consistency with strokes as some are now narrowing in the middle and others are not there yet. Can you see any drastic problems with contrast, glyph shapes or bumps?

When printed your PDF for the regular font shows a basic issue which you should attend to before doing too much else. In the lower case the vertical strokes (stems) are optically heavier than the curves. This is most noticable on "a", "c", "o" and "e", and the bowl letter pairs. At serious text sizes the uncompensated weight of the curves may cause uneven or patchy color.

I'm not sure about the y tail, i think the Q is somehow still too heavy and the V and W need feet like the v and w.

For y, crank the curve on the tail tip back anti-clockwise and make the serif smaller. To reduce the ponderous nature of Q reduce the tail stroke width from joint to tip; is the Q body identical to O? It doesn't have to be. Q can be shorter in height with the top cuve overshooting the caps line and the bottom curve sitting above the baseline, no problem. I've done it a few times and it works.

Yes, match the feet of V and W to the lower case v and w.

I can't get happy with the 2.

Drawing a good 2 takes a bit of practice. For yours I would try to simplify the base stroke (foot?) by getting rid of the asymmetry. The spine of your 2 flattens out as it approaches the baseline. To make the spine look more agreeable redraw it so it's a concave curve all the way from where it starts at the top right down to the junction (joint?) Take the curve of the lower half of your 3 and weld that into the 2 as a replacement, then adjust as needed.

You can see I got carried away with the ligatures and went too far.

Yes ;^)

The black is what i've been working on lately, and I may need to change the shapes substantially. I've tidied up the disparate overshoot. I want to join up the A crossbar, and wonder about K curving like k.

Yes. It's a good plan.

W and w only looked right with opposite facing middles.

Yep.

The diagonal letters are hard in a fat font, yes?

Yes they are.

Again, the tail of y bothers me because I'm not sure why it fits there like it is.

Solve this in the regular first then adapt the solution to the black.

The numbers are fighting me again, but I think they just need fiddling.

Yes. I can speed that up for you by doing a quick tidy-up, if you output the nums as individual EPS files or send me the VFB file by email.

I had to cheat with the g tail, it's not as fat as it should be but overall the colour fits with the other glyphs i think.

Same as above.

Do you think D needs another serif?

No, just give it less turn-up from horizontal at the base, same with G

Lowercase l is not singing loud enough.

It's a very different design compared to the regular l.

e has a nice mood but looks a bit untamed. I wanted also the inner counters of s to be more vertical than diagonal, but they wouldn't go that way without ruining the angle of stress.

s -- give the outer profile of the tips less curve-in*. That will put more meat on the serifs and allow you to open up the counters a bit, and may even give more leeway with the angle (no promises, try it and see how it works out). Study the font known as Aachen.
* do the same for the sharp corners of b and q

I think the next move on the black is to add some texture to the strokes, like I did on the regular?

Sounds good. Don't get too carried away.

I think L needs more weight, so may need to add it to the foot serif.

That's exactly what it needs. The serif is the only place you can add weight to your L without fattening the stem.

Finally, it looks like the caps have rounder curves than the lc...should it be more consistent? (See Vv, Xx or Yy)

Depends how modular you want the finished type to be. You can try to make those parts better match each other, but does such a move really make the font "better", or only different? Only the designer can judge these things. The rest of the world is always wrong, even when it's right.

j a m e s

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Joined: 12 Aug 2007 - 4:05pm
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Ooh. Gosh! Thank you!
It suddenly feels very daunting to have so much advice :) It feels I have a lot to learn, which is fantastic and inspiring, and in need of an emergency exit.
James and Jelmar, very much thank you, I can learn a hell of a lot from you. You are seeing things I had no conception of, and that is great.
With the 2, keeping the curve along the spine made it hard to join up at the bottom, I did try to do that, and the bottom came up away off the baseline, and wouldn't go back. I think 2 is my least favourite glyph. I'd like to see how pasting the lower loop of the 3 works though. Thanks for the tip on the Q, I would not have thought of that. Similarly with the s.
I've got a long weekend, so as well as peace and quiet with my family, I will use some time to look into all these suggestions. I think it will be a while before my next serious revision, there is a lot of work here. (I wouldn't want this to be easy...:)
James, thanks for your offer with the numbers, I'll have a see what I can do with your suggestions and if I am still having a battle I will forward the vfb to you; but I don't want to disrupt your other work, and this needs to be a learning curve for me, even when it's impossible!
I've tightened up the top of the black l, I think the sloppy curve was all I was bothered about. I think the whole of the black weight is very different to the regular: an intentional decision.
L, let's see what happens. I thought that was the only place more weight could be added.
I'm struggling to believe there can be so much to know about type design. Respect to type designers!

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Joined: 12 Aug 2007 - 4:05pm
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Please see latest version pdf at top of page. Uppercase have been made heavier and more intentional looking. Feedback welcomed! :)

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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Hi Ben, good to see a new PDF! I think that its starting to look more polished overall, as in; nice fluent lines.

I see only a few minor issues at this point:

- X and Y look a bit too light.
- U looks too narrow.

If I see something else, I'll add it later. :)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Well, nearly a year after I started...here is the current state of this font. It's been a LOT more work than I naively expected, and I'm sure there is still plenty of work to be done on things like spacing, kerning and perhaps hinting (I don't fully understand even what that entails).
It's been a fun project for my spare time, something outside the 9-5, more as a personal thing than for commercial use.
Do tell me what you think so far. I'm sure there are a lot of useful opinions out there.
Here are my latest notes on the letter shapes.
The UPPERCASE LETTERS have more consistency of colour, the serifs are more pronounced and the strokes have better texture, to give a slightly cursive feel to the forms. Problem areas have included the D, P, R, and T. I am still not happy with these shapes. D looks slightly light, the serif is not strong enough and the 2 o’clock section needs to be thicker. P and R were too smooth and rounded; the R is now too square and the bottom of the bowl on the P wants to be straighter, perhaps. T is proving difficult to get the serifs at a sensible angle, width and height. My next uppercase glyphs for experiment include the A, J, N, V, W, and X. Of these, I have adjusted only the A recently and it is looking too wide. The others are in need of more texturing and stroke tapering. O and Q always look distorted and are difficult to make beautiful. I am happy with B, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, U and Y as these are the most expressive characters in this font so far, and the redistibution of the weight into the serifs and away from the middle of the stems has been most successful. H and U were widened, E and M are particular favourites.
 As for lowercase, I have added more quirkiness, taking the shapes away from their underlying geometric components to emphasise their individuality. In response to the heavier serifs in the uppercase, the lowercase has stronger terminals, especially on the vertical stems. The non-linear stems of the uppercase have also been transposed onto lowercase letters such as b, d, f, h, k, l, m, n, p and r. Some more adjustments will be needed on the remaining letters, which have been given better overall form but need more impact. The letters v, w, x, y, and z seem to present a difficulty as I have not decided which way the diagonal strokes should be weighted.
 It will be very interesting to see how all these latest changes will be implemented in the black weight, which was originated as a clean and square, blocky ultrafat headline font.
 The lowercase italic letters are beginning to coalesce into pleasantly coherent structures, with each letter looking more like a unit and less like a collection of parts, or like a sloped roman glyphs. I have started a set of italic uppercase letters but they look a bit of a mash right now. The letters that are working best, I think, are the a, f, g, j, n, o (interestingly), r, t, u and v. I have two versions of x (£ and x) which are fighting to be included. b looks too wide, c too oblong, e perhaps needs a smaller eye (though I’m fond of big eyes), h could be wider, k, m and s are in need of work, and w, y and z again have the problem of diagonal strokes which needs to be resolved. f and t of course need to have the overlap added.
 My numerals are still not fitting into harmony. Here they are: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0. I think they will perhaps become easier once the uppercase is more solid. They are quite different in structure to the letters, of course.
 Please let me know your observations and feelings about this font so far. They are very useful!

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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Nice, the longer pieces of text look really balanced, as in; nothing really jumps out when looking at the whole.

And the italic is really coming along nicely. That's a very tasty k especially.
I think the italic f could be slightly too light. But overall I think it's well in line with the roman.

I'll go over the PDF a bit better later. :)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Joined: 12 Aug 2007 - 4:05pm
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Hey Jelmar, thanks...i was wondering if it was a good thing that nobody commented yet...or whether it meant I should give up...not really.
I'm glad you think the italic is tasty...somehow there seems to be a freer structure and I wasn't sure it complemented the roman so that's very nice to hear. Sorry i wrote so much above! That's possibly quite off-putting!
It's nice also that nothing is jumping out. I think there is still quite a bit of work as I said there. I the best way to fix the sidebearings just by looking at a long page of text and refine/print/refine/print until it all falls into place?
I'm noticing things in the long text that don't come up in a short preview string, like the right side of the e has too much space, l has no breathing room, v needs some kerning etc. I don't know how the kerning works in fontlab, is there a tutorial somewhere other than the fontlab manual which I don't understans. (i'm not usually thick!)
Look forward to hearing your comments! Cheers ;)

Matthew Stephen Stuckwisch's picture
Joined: 7 Feb 2007 - 10:21am
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The capitals feel a bit off, their heights aren't quite as homogenized as i would normally expect, and at certain sizes it's painfully obvious on screen (printed it probably wouldn't be as bad). For example, the D is a good bit shorter, but since it's a curve, I'd expect it to be taller than the others.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Hi Matthew, thanks for noticing that. I see what you mean. Do you think that's the case for not only the D but also the C, G, O, and Q? Would increasing the overshoot on those help the capitals feel more regular, or is there more to 'feeling a bit off'? Cheers ;)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Any suggestions for the problem areas highlighted here?
The dieresis gives the beak of the f a ball terminal, which doesn't fit with any other terminals. And where the beak joins a stem it makes a bit black blob. Any fonts I can look at for ideas? Cheers :)

Jason Pagura's picture
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I think it's perfectly fine for the f to have a ball terminal where the beak crashes into a ball shape. It should be there on the fi ligature too. But then what do you do for the other i diacritics, including f_dotlessi?
You may have to do the Turkish dodge and just design a non-crashing f with condensed beak to go adjacent to i variants, in lieu of ligatures.

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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I don’t know how the kerning works in fontlab,

If you open Kerning Mode in a Metrics Window, it's actually quite self explanatory. You can basically grab letters and drag them to one side or the other, either adding positive or negative space to the pairs of letters.
It's handy to open the 'Kerning Table' on the Metric Window (one of the buttons at the top) so you get a list of all pairs you've already made for quick review or changes.
Also handy is loading a txt file in the Metrics Window with a good set of words that contain the most used pairs (like Kern King for example).

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Thanks Jelmar, I've figured out how the kerning works. Not very difficult at all thankfully ;)

Some questions:

Some of the serifs are bothering me as they seem to look weak now that most of the serifs have been darkened. The top left corner of the N (maybe needs to be a different shape?). I looked at Plantin's N and then it all went wrong for me... :(
The lack of a serif on the bottom of the D (originally I liked the unique shape but now think it may just be a distracting anomaly). The top of the 5 (again, was originally nice to be different but may just be annoying?). Some of the vertical serifs on the capitals I think need more bracketing...like the E and Z?

I've got round some of the other difficulties, such as the join of fl, harmonising the upward slope of the P, R, D and B, balancing the bowls of the &, and giving the S and s a less curving spine so the gradient is steeper and more in tune with the other letters. Should the arms on an x be slightly thinner towards the middle?

The numerals are slowly sinking into an obedient tempo with the 2 and 3 still acting slightly indignantly with their left-facing openings. They don't like to be jostled.

I've started some Thai characters and will need some advice on how the combining marks should be programmed and positioned...this looks hideously complicated.

I'll post a new pdf when I'm happy with the current round of amendments. The next task I think will be the sidebearings and kerning, so I'll do a pdf with text blocks at different sizes?

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Would removing some of the old PDFs help this page to display faster? It takes ages now :(

Jason Pagura's picture
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The PDFs are just static links, barely a line of text on the page that shouldn't add significantly to the download time. The inline images, however, do contribute to the download time, and I don't think there is much you can do about that except turn off image display in your browser preferences.

Or you can do what I did for Agamemnon when it got unruly and start a whole new thread with a link back to this original one in the first post.

Ben Mitchell's picture
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OH yes there are a lot of big pictures. And a lot of text.
I'll start a new thread when I'm uploading the next pdf. Thanks ;)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Does the colon have to have the bottom dot resting on the same baseline as the full-stop/period? The gap looks far too wide... :S

Jason Pagura's picture
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On text faces, I've observed that the lower dot of the colon and semicolon are generally the same as a period and comma, respectively, while the upper dot rides near the x-height. This is so it lines up with the lower case in body copy. With the quotation mark at the top above a colon, the dots are often evenly spaced vertically.

The colon and semicolon may ride higher than the period in display weights, especially when used in all-caps setting.

Ben Mitchell's picture
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That's good to know. I need to decide if this is a display face then!

See the last pdf, i just wanted any opinions on the shapes and/or serifs and/or stress. I realise this would be easier with text in paragraphs but sorry I'm on the way out now and don't have time. Any suggestions would be great.

Especially in the Thai letters, I don't know quite when a serif needs to be a loop or whether that is my choice.

Happy Halloween!

Jelmar Geertsma's picture
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I really like those italics. They are nice and clean like the roman, but also have artifacts in them from the broad-nibbed pen.

Can't write a longer reply now. I'll do that when I have more time. :)

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Thanks Jelmar, can you tell I went straight to beziers rather than drawing by hand!? I think it still needs a lot of tidying up. Look forward to hearing your longer reply.

I noticed the stress on a, g, and e (there are other examples) is too vertical: the glyphs hadn't changed much since a few iterations ago and I'd left them as I thought they defined the face but now the stress is more angled and i've had to reengineer the curves... new post soon.

Where can I get feedback on the Thai characters? Although I lived in Thailand for several years, and can read and write Thai, the characters will never be as familiar as the Roman alphabet and I may quite easily be bypassing essential stylistic coherencies with my foreigner's eyes.

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Well, working backwards from the italics, I began to wonder what would happen if I moved the angle of contrast round a bit more on the roman. Some of the letters already had more 'oldstyle' stress, so I've tried to take the lead from those.

The top is the previous iteration, with the more modern, vertical stress, which didn't quite work, or I hadn't managed to balance it consistently.
The bottom is what I've tried lately, with a more angled stress. It's most obvious on the s, but I may have overdone it there. There was something amazingly wrong with the height of the f, which is now corrected. I'm very surprised it took me so long to spot!
I'm not sure what I'm doing with the foot of the d and on the p and q too...every time I try to resolve them I come up with a different solution.
Anyway, I think I'm going with the latter. Will post a pdf soon, but would be interested to hear what you think of the kind of new direction this has taken...thanks!

Matthew Stephen Stuckwisch's picture
Joined: 7 Feb 2007 - 10:21am
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Yes I agree. The newer stress angle looks much better. The p and q with the double sided serif is best. The single sided q is interesting but since it occurs with as great or greater frequency than the p in some languages (like Spanish) a body face like this really needs to have the same style of serif

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am
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The new one looks much more polished. But it also looks much more mundane. We have plenty of fonts like it already. Sorry, but I'd go back.

This happens often. The initial creative spirit is overpowered by "education".

hhp

Ben Mitchell's picture
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Hrant, thanks for stopping by exactly one year on! :)

You are completely right: I have changed the design concept entirely. Now Eternal is pretty chirographic and probably too pretty for body text. But it has character, which I somehow wasn't getting with the upright stress and the clean, sansy lines.

I may come back to the previous iteration at some point, but for now, that's not the font I want to create. I think I need to fully explore the easier (perhaps) option before 'progressing' backwards. I know what you're saying about education and following the conventions but in this case I think education and learning is the right way.

>This happens often
That is a relief and a mystery to me — to be in the same path as other people when following only my own judgments. Fascinating.