Whisk: A "Food" Face (uc & lc)

lapiak's picture

Hello Typophiles!

I never thought a sans serif would be so difficult until I tried it for the first time! I worked on this typeface for about six months now, just tweaking, scrapping, re-doing, and more tweaking. I have a rough set of uppercase characters and numbers, but I want to present the lower case characters for now as I feel it's closer to completion than the rest.

My intention is to make a "food" font, where the typeface will look good on food & beverage products, restaurant menus, cookbooks, personalized recipes, etc. I used keywords such as homestyle, aroma, fresh, delicious, tender, sweet, and organic, and tried to incorporate those qualities into the letters. At the same time, legbility is very important where text is versatile enough to be read from caption sizes to headers. It might be difficult to say that a typeface could be made for a specific use, so maybe this shouldn't be a "food" font as it is inevitable that the personality of the face could be applied to other projects and subjects?

I created Whisk in TypeTool and I haven't worked on the kerning sets yet. If it's something that should be pushed further to a family, then I'll upgrade to FontLab.

My biggest challenge is creating a typeface that is different from all the other sans out there, but at the same time, I would like a set that appears to have the same "genetic code," to be highly legible, and to conform to my goal of creating a type that is applicable for a specific category. Right now, I need fresh eyes and a new perspective, so I really appreciate any feedback, and if possible, a critique. Thank you!

Joachim

Updates: Whisk set v3, and 2 samples of it in use.

AttachmentSize
whisk set v3.pdf25.75 KB
bubblechewies.gif31.94 KB
whisk menu.pdf28.41 KB
Darrin Crescenzi's picture

This seems like a really great start, and I think that Whisk's overall communication is one of friendliness, creativity and approachability, which strikes me as just about perfect for use in cookbooks. I think the challenge for you will be to create really, really exquisite numeral characters, since in both menus and cookbooks, there is nothing more important or prominent.

Couple thoughts on individual characters. I think the left portion of the 'f' crossbar could use some shortening. As it is, the crossbar makes overall character width feel too wide, and I think it seems to point backwards which will distrupt the overall flow of reading.

I find the curved leg of the 'k' to be slightly problematic, as it seems to create a weak base and therefore a timid, off-balance letterform. Perhaps it would benefit from a more pronounced, traditional leg, and then bringing the curved stroke to the arm so it keeps the same attitude as the rest of the letterforms, similar to that of the "w."

The 'x' aslo seems to stand out as having almost too much character. I think that if the curved strokes were a little more subtle, again like that of the "w," you'd be better off.

Just suggestions, I think it's a quirky and beautiful start that will work well for its intended use.

Cheers!

lapiak's picture

Darrin, thank you for the great critique! I tried your suggestion to create more consistency with the 'v' and the 'w' and it's appears more unified now. I also tweaked a few letters (s, e, c, g, t, f) to be more smoother in the curves.

I agree that the numerals will have to be a big focus since numbers are important in cookbooks. Thank you for bringing up that point!

Attached is version 2 of the lc characters.

lapiak's picture

Finally have the upper case characters up, and several lc glyphs have been tweaked. The pdf attachment is attached above in the first post.

I would really appreciate some feedback! Thank you.

stimuli's picture

At first glance I'd say work on the widths of the 'A,M,R,Y,a' develop some of the playfulness of the 'K,V,W,X'. The overall feel is friendly and shows lots of promise :) (not that I'm an expert, but I love it!)

Great work!

eeblet's picture

Looks great! I'd love to see more food & wine branding use faces like this.... No more "Michael Schwab", please, for the love of god!

Ahem. I just finished months of work on branding for a high-end sorbet business, and am sick to death of gourmet cliches.

James Arboghast's picture

Hi Joachim :^) I love the individuality you've engineered into this face. It needs refinement but not much. Too much refinement will spoil its effect.

Lower case crits:
* bowl of a could be narrowed --- experiment with that and see how you like it. The bowl would also benefit from a more distinctive shape. Probably a downward droop will look okay, but subtle to avoid breaking out of the overall geometric form of this font. I can do a drawing if you want. Just say.

* lower bowl of g could use more width. Ear of g is diminutive and non-descript. Make it larger and longer, and bring it up off the x-line to avoid collisions.

* truncated tail of y may alarm some people

* u appears to be same width as n. I usually make u narrower as a basic refinement

* s is very nice but maybe a bit wide

* k is excellent

* v and w --- the curved parts are nicely drawn, but cause the characters to appear narrower than they really are. Solution is to make them a bit wider. Experiment until they look right in combination with other letters.

Capitals crits:
* outer curve on lower bowl of B needs some adjustment

* V and W --- same thing going on there as the loweer case siblings.

* S maybe a little wide for some tastes. Narrow it if you want to for more refinement, or leave as is if you like it.

* K is flipping excellent.

* Y, same deal as lower case y

* G bar level is in no man's land right now. It can be aligned with H bar, or left as is

* Middle bar on E and F in old skool mode, being shorter than the main arms. You may want to bring the length out some for a more contemporary look.

* A is sweet. One advantage of the gothic form is freedom in placement of the bar. This one can be aligned with the other bars if you want it to.

Overall this is an excellent first effort and I am of course going to push you to develop it further and finish it, and most important of all, I'll help you sell it to designers.

My intention is to make a “food” font, where the typeface will look good on food & beverage products, restaurant menus, cookbooks, personalized recipes, etc. I used keywords such as homestyle, aroma, fresh, delicious, tender, sweet, and organic, and tried to incorporate those qualities into the letters. At the same time, legbility is very important where text is versatile enough to be read from caption sizes to headers. It might be difficult to say that a typeface could be made for a specific use, so maybe this shouldn’t be a “food” font as it is inevitable that the personality of the face could be applied to other projects and subjects?

I set out to make an explicitly food-oriented font with Jellybrush, and succeeded in every respect. It turned out to be very useful for food product branding and packaging, and the part I didn't plan --- it works very well for soft and rubbery things like pillows and manchester items, bathroom products and kitchen stuff as well.

Beth, the fact is I'm in love with you. No, I'm kidding, I'm married. Just thought I'd mention you look very spunky ;^)

I know how it feels tho, I've done food branding over and over. I beat the gourmet cliches by writing new material about food. It was the only way to preserve my sanity.

j a m e s

lapiak's picture

Thank you for the comments Joe, Beth, and James!

James, I really appreciate the fantastic comments, and after running some print tests and incorporating the above suggestions, I've just put up the newest PDF file. I am also very grateful for your offer in helping me sell Whisk once it's completed, and your experience with Jellyfish is very inspirational!

In addition to refining almost every letter, N, M, Z, and z have changed from the previous version. I also added a rough set of numbers (going with old style figures) and some punctuation. Once I upgrade to FontLab (from TypeTool), I'll implement OpenType features that allow titling figures and small caps.

At the moment, I think I still need to work on g, as it appears too dark in colour, and I'm not entirely convinced with y or Y either. The numerals need to be more refined, especially for 3 and 5, and maybe it's just me, but 8 feels slightly darker in colour. Thanks again for all the comments, and I'm looking forward to hearing about what can be improved in this version.

James Arboghast's picture

Version 2 is an improvement all-round except for the curved arms on x and X. It's okay to widen them as you have, but now you need to revise the point where they connect with the intersection for improved flow-on from the lower left stroke. Alternatively, return x and X to version 1 as the width affectation of those curved arms is not really a problem for them the way it was for v and w.

New M and N go well with the rest of the font and help evoke the food-like organic theme, more so than the roman forms of version 1.

Curved spines of z and Z look good. This structure is often drawn poorly and unpopular with font buyers for that reason, but you've done it subtly and I think they will survive on merit.

g --- ear is improved but it could use more length. Keep working on the body to get the weight right. I think it's more a matter of uneven stroke density than the whole thing being too heavy. Experiment with making the lower bowl taller for a more balanced letter design.

a --- improved, but could be refined further. I've taken the liberty of doing a drawing as it's the best way of demonstrating what to do. The changes are aimed at refinement but also to add rigor to the bowl. Note this is a rough drawing done with pixels and only intended to show the direction to go in.

Numerals --- yes 3 and 5 need work. I'm sure you'll figure them out. Try tapering the diagonal strokes of 4 and 7. Spine of 2 looks a bit heavy and the structure shows the corruption of the Arabic/Indian form seen in many well-established fonts. The lower left corner bulges up and left. For examples of uncorrupted 2 form, study Bitstream Vera Sans, Gill sans, Futura, Frutiger.

Whisk is shaping up nicely! Keep a' going.

j a m e s

lapiak's picture

James, thanks for the comments and suggestions! Hopefully the revision that I put up today is a bigger step up.

Changes made: made minor revisions to virtually every lc characters and some uc characters. Made all of the horizontal thickness slightly thinner as it appears too thick at times. Opened up g more, and softened the curves for f, j, t, and y. The X and x branches out differently to appear more balanced. All of the numeral characters have been modified. I think I may have to continue working on 2, 3, and 5. The next revision will have more punctuation.

Also, I attached a couple of samples of Whisk in use, on bubble gum packaging and on a menu.

eeblet's picture

Looks really nice! I do feel like your examples don't use it to it's full potential, and am having to keep myself from designing fake packaging for you. ;)

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eeblet.com

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