A new "old style"?

afonseca1974's picture

dear typophiles!

I've been work over the last weeks on my typeface. Although not finished I decided to post the Caps in order to get some feedback.
Its based on a "old style" letters I found on an old Portuguese typographic book.
Any comments or suggestions are, as always, highly appreciated.

António

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Italico.pdf710.63 KB
afonseca1974's picture

hmm...no image. Let me try again.

António

afonseca1974's picture

hmm...no image again!. Let me try one more time.

António

j_p_giese's picture

Hi António.

My very first impressions:

J looks cut off by the baseline.
K, F, T, Z have very sharp points (might be a problem under not so good printing conditions?).
I find that some characters (e. g. K, H, Y) are heavier than others (i. g. C, G, X).
For example, stems of H are quite bold (H looks heavy next to some other characters – maybe make the right stem a bit lighter?).
There are sort of funny angles in W.
Right serif in U is almost a slab serif (for balance reasons?).
In my eyes, some serifs seem to make for slightly clumsy feet (like in P, Y) and stand in contrast to the strong overall stroke width modulation.

Please understand that this is not a balanced critique (I focussed on what I considered possible problem zones) and that not everything that struck my eye is necessarily a bad thing. I just wrote what came to my mind.

JP

afonseca1974's picture

Hi JP,

Thanks for your feedback.
I already had notice that the sharp points could be a problem in small or not so good printing conditions.
So here are my changes to the original post so everyone can comment 
1-Correct the cut off by the baseline in the J. Build a new one more “familiar” with the rest of the letters...
2- Remove the sharp points in the K, F, T, Z.
3- Lighter some characters like H (right stem) and Y.
4- Correct the angles in W.
5- Correct the right serif in U.

Please feel free to add comments to my (in) development work.

António

dan_reynolds's picture

This is looking better! Your K could use a lot more work though…I'd try to make the diagonals more like the X in terms of weight. You were better off with the earlier K. The two arms don't necessary have to meet at a point, the bottom leg could grow out of the top one. Also, the bowl of you P could come down more so that it doesn't look optically smaller than the bowl of the R.

afonseca1974's picture

Hi All (again!),

Thanks for your feedback. After some further work:

1- Did some changes in K after dan reynolds comments. The result is 2 diferent K. Not sure for the best...
2- Also after dan reynolds comments, change the bowl of P in order to get optically bigger than the bowl of the R.
3- Some optical corrections (height) in C, D, G, O, Q and S.

Please feel free to add comments to my (in) development work.

António

Randy's picture

For an Old Style, this type is pretty modern. That A would feel right at home in bodoni and the stress is vertical. Can we see your original source?

• Make all the thick strokes the same width (see the K), cuved thick strokes also need more weight.
• Beak terminals and serifs on thin strokes are all to light. Weight them up to match the thick stem serifs (see the I vs C)
• Curves need to be smoother. Its hard to tell in a gif, but the R and P for example seem to have a corner going from straight to curved.
• Y should join lower
• W should be wider and the angles corrected as mentioned.
• The leg of the r feels like it bends to much. The idea is fine, but a little to wavy.

Again: can we see your original source?

afonseca1974's picture

Hi Randy
Thanks for the feedback.
My original source is the book "Breve tratado theorico das letras typograficas, offerecido a Sua Alteza Real O Principe Regente Nosso Senhor"
The author is Joaquim Carneiro (1727-1818)
The book can be seen here http://purl.pt/257.(see pictures below)
This was my start point but of course I made some adjustments and corrections.
Feel free to add further comments.

António Fonseca

Randy's picture

Thank you so much for posting that. Now we can see what is you, and what is Joaquim! It looks like it would be interesting to read this book (and understand it!). Do

This kind of early rational grid-fitting in type design is definitely facinating (such as the Romain Du Roi), though I wouldn't be very excited about using the results for text. It suffers from many of the issues that happen when an engineered approach is applied to letters. Again the thinking is interesting, but the results flawed. For example you can clearly see his Y is based on the X. But that pushes the crotch too high. And the X is made of 2 straight lines. But optically the thin stroke looks broken. The bottom of the Z is too narrow (because it's exactly the same width as the top). Same with the S. F crossbar is too high compared to the E. Likewise, the P too high compared to the R Not to mention the proportions suffer from being crammed into a box. Etc.

Maybe for your purposes, try less fixing and use a straight interpretation as a starting point.

Randy

JCSalomon's picture

This thread crashes Firefox pretty reliably; looks like something got attached in the first two posts.

—Joel

afonseca1974's picture

Joel,

Even in IE that "something" don't show...server issue?

António

afonseca1974's picture

Hi again,

So I decided to follow Randy suggestion and as a starting point I made no fixing and use a straight interpretation.
I like the result.
I guess I have now some work to do in "S", "W", "X", "Y" and "Z"...
Any comments?

Thanks in advance
António

Randy's picture

Yes definitely better. The font is now much more consistent.
And yes SZXYZ will need attention.
After that, I have more detailed ideas to look at.

I like the proportions of that B. Very nice.

Randy

afonseca1974's picture

Hi again,

So I made some changes in the “S”, “W”, “X”, “Y” and “Z”...
Some optical corrections (height) in C, G, O and Q.
Any comments?

Thanks in advance
António

JCSalomon's picture

There are files included in the first two posts here, but they seem to be corrupted pictures of some sort.

Can you please edit your posts and delete the image references?

—Joel

afonseca1974's picture

hmm...Joel how can I do that without double posting?
I did the edit but it created a new post.

António

Randy's picture

Here are some specific comments. Easier to draw a picture!

Some are technical problems, others are my preferences... you will need to find your own way as you listen to us, and the source material. Good luck!

James Arboghast's picture

Most of the changes I've made are in pursuit of harmony. Typeface design involves a good deal of philosophy. So-called "humanist" philosophy accomodates and encourages anomalies, aberrations, inconsistencies attributable to a human effort eschewing modularity, matching angles and widths, and dogmatic abeyance to the grid. So-called "modernist" philosophy favors the opposite. The changes I've made can easily be construed as reductive modernism aimed at modularization. While I dislike modularity and have moved away from it in my own type designs, modularization is to some extent an inescapable function of the desire for harmony.

Which phiilosophy, if either, is appropriate for this font? If it had angled stressing, proportional character widths and calligraphic artefacting or finish, the conventional answer would be Go Humanist, let it all hang out baby! But the plot here is vertical stress, even width and a strict synthetic finish. According to conventions in type design, modernism wins. According to convention this is a modernist type, not old style.

Acceptance of conventions in type design is not mandatory. You're at liberty to reject them.

I don't see any reason to drop the bowl of Y as Randy does. That kind of preference seems to be a personal one---years ago I had the same preference, but presently I favour Y's that harmonize with X. Nevertheless, I'm glad Randy made the suggestion as it is no less valid than mine and he has every right to make it.

* A -- widened. I used a flipped V. Now it looks a tad too wide.

* C -- overshoot corrected, fixed upper serif.

* D -- narrowed. Why? If you make D wide (enough) the counterspace starts to rival the counterspace of O. Is that really a bad thing? In most fonts the capital O contains the largest counterspace of any letter, and the same can be said for the lowercase o of "most fonts". The reason has to do with saliency and cueing value in relation to readability. The large counterspace of an O is thought to have a significant saliency or explicit cueing value that helps the eye / brain reading hardware recognize it as an O. If that's true, a wide D with a cueing value rivaling O might compete with O for recognition. The most visible example of this is Helvetica. Another reason for keeping D narrow is enhanced elegance. Elegance seems to be one of the key characteristics of this font. Wide fat D's look ungainly.

* E -- extended crossbar fills counterspace, creates more even tone and density. Thickened crossbar.

* F -- same plot as E.

* G -- overshoot corrected, fixed upper serif.

* H -- widened, solves former heaviness problem without narrowing stems. H width now approximates N, increase in harmony.

* K -- redesigned so that diagonals harmonize with X.

* L -- narrowed for improved fit with other letters.

* O -- overshoot corrected.

* S -- baseline overshoot corrected.

* W -- new unit built from two overlapping V's. Diagonal angles harmonize with V and A.

* Z -- corrected horizontals, serifs replaced with E units.

Another thing to reconsider is J. The thin part looks a bit thick, and it sports the sole ball-end in the caps set. In settings combining the caps with the lowercase the ball end will blend in, but in all caps settings it will stick out like a sore thumb.

Keep going with this font. It's been done before, many times over, but it's a good learning opportunity.

j a m e s

James Arboghast's picture

Finishing touches

"For the sake of refinement and artful design" statement to fill vertical space demanded by typophile layout engine---film at eleven :^)

A -- extended point.

G -- same plot as E, F, K, H. I like the original G just as much. If there is any point to this move, it modularizes the font and dehumanizes it slightly.

N -- narrowed slightly, extended baseline point.

Alternate B, E, F, L, P, Q. All except the phantom Q are ratio cousins for occasions warranting their presence. The phantom Q concept is borrowed from a poster I have for the famous QE2 passenger liner.

j a m e s

afonseca1974's picture

Thanks James for the feedback...and yes your are 100% rigth..."It’s been done before, many times over, but it’s a good learning opportunity"...Thats why I'm doing it

So after read carefully all feedbacks (Randy and James) I worked around and made "lots" of changes/upgrades. Some more visible them others but I will try to explain all:

A — New. Used the flipped V.

E and F — extended and Thickened crossbar fills counterspace. Also reduced the length.

G — fixed upper serif and corrected (up) a little the horizontal

H — widened

J- New. I already presented in inicial posts another J. Does not fit quiet well (the old one).

K- New

Q- I like the phantom Q...

R- New.

U- correct the curve

W — new. built from two overlapping V’s.

Z and T — corrected horizontals, serifs replaced with L units.

Thanks all again for the feedback.

António

James Arboghast's picture

Thin the curved tip of J just a tiny bit...a tiny bit.

Width of new J is good. Gaps on Q might need to be wider to give good size range.

j a m e s

Randy's picture

P: I'd lower the p even more (a good 15%)
Q: I don't like the phantom Q :-)
N: upper left serif. It should be a smooth continuation from the diagonal (see James' N)
S: Bottom curve has a lump (both you and James)
A: Looks a little thicker at top than bottom (should be the reverse)
V: Same as the A only flipped
J: It's point should feel similar to the R and Q (maybe a hair thicker)

Finally, where your horizontals go from thin into thick curves (B,D,P,R) there is still a corner. try moving the point to the left and extending the bezier handle to make it smoother.

Keep in mind that most of the advice you're getting are sound type-design principles, but some of it is preference. You've certainly created a useful set of caps. Much improved compared to your original and also your source. Good work!

afonseca1974's picture

Hi again

New improvements

A and V: Optical correction (a little thiner at top than bottom)
J: Thin the curved tip of J just a bit. Point similar to Q
K: Correct the upper right serif
N: Correct the diagonal in order to have a smooth continuation in the upper left serif.
P: lower now
R: Remove the inner curve from the middle out curve
S: Corrected

I also noticed (for a while...) That the size from the top counter in letter "B" has the same height as the bottom counter. I know that usually there is a "optical" need for a small counter on top. But like Randy, I like the proportions of that B!

Finally, I tryed to correct (remove the corner) the horizontals that go from thin into thick curves (B,D,P,R). Look better now.

Randy/james,
I'm please to see the improvements compared with my first post and also from my source (if he had the help from Typophile...:-)), thanks for the comments and support!

António

James Arboghast's picture

Quite so Randy---the phantom Q is not for everyone. I only recommend it as an alternate Q. António can you make a Phantom Q with a gap on just one side of the tail? say the top one only, leaving the bottom part sealed. That might look better.

D looks perfick meow! You've hit the sweet spot.

If I was preparing this font for retail sale these are the changes I would make:

J -- default = lining (not dropped), alt J = dropped

K -- integrate the arm angles better

Q -- default = regular unit, alt Q = phantom

X -- fix optical crossover illusion

j a m e s
"that's all I could come up with in five minutes"

Randy's picture

X: The thin stroke needs to be broken and moved apart. I posted something about this a few years back, but couldn't find it when I searched. Here is a fresh image showing the optical illusion in the X:

Y: The crotch looks off. I think it's because the diagonal thick stroke is too narrow, or tapers too much. The point is too far left, so it doesn't look like the thick strokes join smoothly.

Q: Phantoms aside, I think the underlying form is one of the key "features" of your source material, and I think you've treated it well. I happen to not like it though :-) The tail feels like an appology. Like the rest of the oddities in your source, I think it comes from too rational of an approach. Just a comment, no advice here.

afonseca1974's picture

Hi again!

New improvements

J- One default = lining (not dropped) and another alt J = dropped. Not sure about this one: I think that the lining will look always smaller them the rest of the letters.
K- Built 2 new. Still not very happy
Q- Built 2 new. One with a Phantom Q with a gap on just the top side of the tail as suggested by James.
Still love the first one and as Randy said is one of the “features” that stands out from my source material.
Y- Corrected the crotch off. Now the diagonal thick stroke is "link" to the thick strokes (join more smoothly).
X- fixed the optical crossover illusion

António

Randy's picture

Good work!

afonseca1974's picture

Hi!

Thanks Randy :-)
I’ve been work over the lowercase for my typeface.
Here is the inicial work to have a feedback from typophiles!
Any comments or suggestions are, as always, highly appreciated.

António

Randy's picture

Take it away James! :-)
Sorry, no time right now.

James Arboghast's picture

Oh wow I found ten minutes hiding underneath the sofa!

I was playing, "You give me forty dollars" with my friend Amanda. Amanda won as usual, and I looked around for forty dollars to give her and couldn't find any money around the house, but I found ten minutes :^) weee!

I'll go away now and edit this lower case, mark it up with corrections and so on, and when I'm done I'll post the result.

j a m e s

James Arboghast's picture

a -- bowl widened, tension increase, curved stroke thickened in vertical axis, resulting shape similar to original but more rigor. Tail curled upwards. Hood right corner harmonized with h, n, m, u. Ball end reposition, size increase.

b -- bowl widened, curved stroke thickened in vertical axis, contrast increase.

c -- stroke contrast increase, curved stroke thickened in vertical axis, ball end size increase and repositon.

d -- stroke treatment same as b but bowl narrowed.

e -- stroke treatment same as c. Sharp right outer corner rounded off.

f -- hood redesigned, ball end repositioned, bar extended both ways, baseline seif extended right.

g -- ear repositioned, ball end size increase, lower occulus flowed asymmetrically.

h -- body widened a very small amount, right corner at x-line reflowed.

j -- tip trimmed back, descent shortened---see also p and q.

k -- arm thinned, arm serif symmetry reversed for improved letter fit.

m -- body widened a small amount for more improved color.

n -- same as h.

o -- vertical strokes thickened, body widened.

p -- same treatment as d, descension shortened.

q -- vertical curved stroke thickened, bowl vertically compressed up from baseline, descension shortened.

r -- arm moved up, ball end size increase.

t -- bar extended right, baseline curl thickened.

y -- descension shortened.

The curved corners of m and u could do with reflowing but I ran out of time.

j a m e s

James Arboghast's picture

The tail of y might work better with a ball end but I left it as you drew it, figuring you want it that way. Also think about whether s should have ball ends or serifs. The source material s has a ball end up top and a serif at bottom.

j a m e s

Dan Gayle's picture

I vote titling face. Kill the lc. They feel totally, immensely different, like they are in different leagues.

James Arboghast's picture

Dan, you should make a few fonts of your own and experience first-hand the same phenomenon every type designer runs into early on---the dual case roman latin alphabet is two different alphabets constructed on different rules.

If you've got something more constructive to add---please do. Like a revised lower case that does away with the pen influence. Draw that and post it. Let's see it.

j a m e s

Bendy's picture

i had the same problem James describes. The upper and lower case seem to be two different things altogether, needing different envisioning and following different rules. I did think it was jhust me though :)
The uppercase looks great! My preference would be a larger lower bowl on the B and fiddle with the K some more...but perhaps that would throw out the balance with other letters.
I like the non-round shapes of the lowercase counters.
I like the original y in the source scan with that little ball on the end. the s there looks unusual!
Why does the alphabet end with x, z and y?
Why do you call the Q a phantom?
:)

James Arboghast's picture

Hi Ben : ) It is possbile to build a font using a consistent set of rules for upper and lower case. I made one such font and realized the solution required a reductive design. Other type designers discovered the same thing long before I was born, and the general consensus is that reductive design is a cul de sac---the types are consistent, and efficient, but not much fun compared to designs in which the lower case preserves pen-derived rules of construction. People desire idiosyncracy but thrive on eccentricity in the same breath.

I think x, y, and z wound up at the end because they're the least-used letters. A bit like Google and the internet, the pecking order is based on relevance.

I call the gapped Q a "phantom" letter because part of the structure isn't there, or is not shown, but spectators infer the missing parts from experience of complete examples. I borrowed the term from anatomy / medicine, where amputated limbs are called phantom limbs because 1) they used to be there, 2) amputees experience a "phantom limb effect", percieving the missing limb to be there, much like seeing a ghost. This Q isn't a particularly strong example of a phantom glyph. A better example is a P with the stem section between the bowl removed, or an N with one stem removed. Aldo Novarese designed a typeface featuring a large number of phantom letters---Stop. Disappointing that page at Myfonts has no description of Stop. I should talk Laurence Penny into letting me write one for them, it's such a significant face.

j a m e s

Bendy's picture

I also found that the numbers need separate ideas, not just following the structures of letters. Probably more so than the differences between upper and lowercase.
I meant really that the original scan here had not x, y, z but x, z then y. Maybe just visually more interesting than x, y, z.
I know Stop, which i initially thought was exciting, but seems to be used rather badly on the whole. I've seen 'phantom' ampersands or dollar signs in other fonts too. :)

Dan Gayle's picture

My bad. I simply meant that if he were to stop at the uppercase, he'd be a success.

Since this is a learning exercise, I say go for it. Trying to match the two cases is going to be quite an experience that I'm sure will pay dividends over the long run.

James Arboghast's picture

Dan, it's okay man. No offense taken.

I simply meant that if he were to stop at the uppercase, he’d be a success.

That's different. You could be right. One way of developing this font as a commercial product would be to make a set of smallcaps to help it appeal to more tastes.

j a m e s

afonseca1974's picture

Hi all!

Thanks for the feedback. And now I want to give my feedback to yours feedbacks....

1- James is rigth. This is a learning experience in type design. Of course that if I can make it a commercial product I will. For that I need to see its "value" at the end. Again James is rigth when he says that a set of smallcaps will help it "appeal to more tastes".

2- Like stated before my source is a old typographic book. Again and again I think james is rigth: the order for the x, z, and y its because they’re the least used letters- We dont use Y in Portuguese words!

3- The caps (at the end) are quiet diferent from the caps at the beginning. I think I will do the same "learning curve" for the lowercaps and the results will be much more interestings that the first one!

I will "study" all sugestions and do a re-design. Stay tunned...
Thanks all for the support!

António

afonseca1974's picture

hello!

Here are my improvements:

António

Dan Gayle's picture

Wow! Big time improvements! How could I ever doubt? Great start!

afonseca1974's picture

Hi all!

In my continuous effort to improve my typeface I made this ampersand.
Any comments?
The numbers are giving me some fight...so I will wrestling with them a little before post...
Thanks!

António

Bendy's picture

Numbers fight with me too. Sorry I don't know enough to talk about your ampersand. Your caps are looking good :)

James Arboghast's picture

Numberals* have fought with type designers for as long as anyone can remember. I was rudely awoken in the middle of the night by a vicious gang of Fibinachi numbers. Being an ex-fontcop I recognized their faces --- Signor Gelati, Ravenna de La Rochelle and Henri Duke de Orleans a.k.a Scarface, Saunier "train wreck" du Clunk, and the notorious Claude St.Cyr.

* in correspondence between Arbo and Ray Larabie numerals are referred to as numberals to eliminate the other two terms.

j a m e s

James Arboghast's picture

j a m e s

afonseca1974's picture

dear typophiles!

I’ve just finish my (first) studies for the italic lowercase.
Although not finished I decided to post it in order to get some feedback.
Any comments or suggestions are, as always, highly appreciated.
At least V, S and K need more work.

António

James Arboghast's picture

Keep working on it (the italic) António. I don't want to say anything at this stage that might stifle your individuality or instincts. Follow your instincts. When you're ready, post a PDF with the italic text set in columns, 10pt on 14pt slug or thereabouts will tell us a lot.

Looking good. Looking great actually.

j a m e s

afonseca1974's picture

Hi again!

Here is the result of my work in the italic!
Please feel free to comment! Please note that I didn't work in the metrics (kerning) yet!
Thanks again for the feedback!

António Fonseca

PS-I posted a gif because I don't know how can I post a PDF. I try to search but did not found the topic! Its possible?

Bendy's picture

It's possible to post a pdf if you edit the original post and attach it there :)
I think the letters need wider sidebearings but the shapes are very pleasant.
e is too light; s too dark...and n looks wide. That p is very pretty. I like the f and y too. :)

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