Cut and then curved

ebensorkin's picture

I am looking for examples of typefaces that that use the curve & cut interior shapes shown here. Urbana is one.

This sample is from Malaga by Xavier Dupré

It looks a little like a calligraphic interior married to a typographic exterior to me. What do you think?

dberlow's picture

"What do you think?"
I do't think in interior and exterior. ;)

Cheers!

eliason's picture

The c of Yale that I posted in the Why Bembo sucks thread has a bit of that effect, though there you might consider the counter notch to be simply the beginning of a serif.

To my eyes (when blown up big, anyway), I start to see a three-dimensional fold from that combination of cut and curve. Almost like a subtler version of Calypso! Can't you imagine, for example, the inside curve on the right side of the o you posted coming down past the notch at the bottom of the counter and sweeping tangentially into the outside curve of the left side of the letter?

Stephen Coles's picture

Whoops. I think you stumbled on your 'F' key there, Eben. Urbana is not a FontFont. I may wish it was, but it's not.

Florian Hardwig's picture

[Here’s a link to César Puertas’ Urbana – for those who are also interested.]

Miss Tiffany's picture

I think it is Dwiggins's Marionette Theory through and through. You've read that, right Eben?

kentlew's picture

Eben --

I'm not certain that I understand exactly what you're looking for. But to the extent that I think I do . . .

Xavier Dupré plays with this sort of construction a lot, so in addition to your Malaga example, you should be sure and look at Absara.

John Downer has also done some work in this vein. Look at Paperback and Vendetta. Oh, and Sam Sans.

Jeremy Tankard has some of this sort of thing going on in Enigma and Shaker (especially in the italics).

Matthew Carter has used some of this kind of construction, but only very subtly. In addition to the little bit from Yale mentioned above, you can see some of this in Alisal, Charter, and Fenway (again, especially in the italics).

I've been known to play a bit with this sort of thing myself. The arch of Whitman is well-known. I continue to explore it in some of my designs in development. However, I don't usually take this approach to round counters, focusing instead on arches. (But you're probably only interested in finished, published examples.)

Is this the sort of thing you're looking for?

I can generate images later, if you don't have access to some of these. But I don't have time right now.

-- K.

ebensorkin's picture

Stewf, hey yeah! Sorry about the FF all! I don't think I can fix it without reordering/confusing the sense of the thread though.

Tiff, yes. Solid stuff that. And I agree. And actually, that's a reference that César Puertas’ has acknowledged to me as well.

David, How would you suggest putting it instead? Would it be better if I said bowls?

Craig, Actually the Yale italic has more still! Nice. In addition to the c it has an a the upright has an a sor sure and almost an s defending on where you draw the line. Nice!

I agree with what you are saying about the quasi 3d thing. I think it is partly a pen related effect although in urbana it starts to feel also like tape or ribbon or something thicker like taffy. I say pen because partly because if you look at Sheila Water's calligraphy ( and lots of other folks too ) you can see the same structure and in a more pronounced way than is typical of a font. This is true from her humanist miniscule to her blackletter. So I think it's a kind of chirographic echo. Not that these fonts are (or are not) "chirographic" ( separate issue) but I certainly I think they are they are drawing on that history/structure to some extent.

eliason's picture

And yet the differing treatment of inside and outside brings to mind the manufacture of punches, too (with a counter-punched counter and a carved outside).

ebensorkin's picture

Agreed. Or at least a typographic mindset.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Fred Smeijers’ FF Quadraat is the mother of all cut and carved typefaces…

Read his book Counterpunch and all will be revealed ; )

. . .
Bert Vanderveen BNO

Quincunx's picture

There has been an excellent sample of this style on the crit boards, called Kompilat. And Suite Serif from Textaxis also has it. So does Nomad from Derfaber (direct link to pdf). And one of my favorites is probably Xtra Sans by Jarno Lukkarila, which I think is very well executed.

I found these a while ago when I did a bit of research for my own experiment with the kinks. I don't think it's appropriate to plug the url here, but it's on the sans serif crit boards. But I definitely have a weakness for this style. I haven't really found any others than the ones I mention above.

ebensorkin's picture

Actually, if you post the link I would appreciate it.

Quincunx's picture

I don't think it's safe to edit my previous post without screwing up the timeline, so here is the link to my thread. It's still in the works.

Reed Reibstein's picture

There's a touch of it in Prensa and a bit more in Quiosco. The upper stem of the "a" and "c" are quite obvious, but there's a slight change in direction in some of the Prensa bowls and a stronger but rounded cut in Quiosco's. Font Bureau's site talks about this explicitly as the Dwiggins' influence: Spanish for press, Prensa is a new series from Cyrus Highsmith, who arrived at this family’s character through his process of ‘wrapping outside curves around the inside, deliberately creating tension between the two,’ a technique epitomized in Electra, a 1935 bookface by twentieth-century master W.A. Dwiggins. This tension really appears in the italics, which stray from the traditional forms to balance simplicity with vitality.

Reed Reibstein's picture

Continuing with the Font Bureau vibe, Meno has some subtle cuts as well. Interestingly, in some letters ("e," "n," "r," "s") it seems like the outside is cut more sharply and the inside smoother.

ebensorkin's picture

Great stuff. Thanks very much. I will reply in more detail later on.

ebensorkin's picture

I just noticed tonight, the logo for Hoegaarden white beer does it too.

http://thumbnail.image.rakuten.co.jp/@0_mall/kawachi/cabinet/products2/h...

And speaking of Flanders, G Noordzij's Calligraphy has this feature in abundance.

Jelmar, You blew me away. That was an awesome list. And your font is super sweet as well.

Reed, Meno is interesting in that the roman is the way you say & the italic has a bit of the reverse emphasis.

Quiosco is fascinating because it is 100% bizarre when you get nice and close but all that goes away and quietly contributes to as they rightly say - the vitality of the font, from farther away.

Again, thanks!

Quincunx's picture

No problem. I think there might be more, especially from people who have been educated in typedesign via the methods of Noordzij (as you already mentioned). I had a little booklet in which I think there might be another example, but I can't find it right now. I will post the names if there are typefaces in there which have the kinks, if I can find it.

And I forgot to add Weka from the serif crit board. But I think you've probably seen it.

ebensorkin's picture

I had seen it. But I hadn't formally associated it with this feature. So thanks very much! I think Paul was right about it actually. It does feel a bit bit Kris S like. It's interesting that this seems to be an especially popular feature Scala forward. I will get into my Linotype book to see what non WAD fonts might be using it prior to Scala/Noordzij.

piccic's picture

To the ones you already mentioned, I would add Patrizia by Aldo Novarese.
I don't know when it was designed but I saw a sample of it in his book "Alfa-Beta", so it's probably prior to the 1970s.
And if I am not wrong, Calcite Pro by Akira Kobayashi carries this idea to the extreme.

ebensorkin's picture

Stephen Coles brought up Calcite too. It's interesting but it does only one half of this thing so I am on the fence about it. Thanks for the others! I will look at them soon.

piccic's picture

As I said, the idea is carried to an extreme, and it does not apply, although the idea of Calcite starts from such an initial concept.

Ehague's picture

This topic came up in a critique a few weeks ago, and I said some daft stuff about Ad Lib.
http://www.typophile.com/node/40587 Good times.

kentlew's picture

Here are follow-up images to some of the faces mentioned in my earlier post.


^ Paperback 12 (John Downer)


^ Sam Sams (John Downer)


^ Enigma Italic (Jeremy Tankard)


^ Shaker Italic (Jeremy Tankard) -- obviously related to Enigma.


^ Fenway Italic (Matthew Carter)


^ Fenway Roman -- it's subtle, but those are corner points at the inside stem-curve transitions.


^ A version of something that I've been playing with on and off for the past few years.

-- K.

kentlew's picture

Also, I know you said non-WAD, but I thought you might enjoy seeing these unpublished pieces:


^ Dwiggins "thin paper" drawing for Experimental No. 223. (Jan 1939)


^ Dwiggins pen sketches for an unexplored newspaper heading design. (ca. 1946)
.

Was this guy ahead of his time or what? I doubt you'll find anything else quite like this pre-digital.

-- K.

piccic's picture

I firmly believe it's not a question of digital or non-digital.
In Dwiggins you see dedicated work bearing its fruits, and it's always a rewarding and encouraging thing. It's great.

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

Luciano Perondi’s Zotico and Minotype are all about this kind of tension between curves and broken lines. Marco Comastri’s in-progress Laulitere is, too, to some extent (sorry, no online specimen yet). I seem to recall Perondi and Andrea Braccaloni making use of this technique as well in their recent typeface for the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, Solferino.

Kent: the typeface you’re working on looks wonderful, and that Dwiggins sample is golden! BTW: the ball terminal in your a reminds me of OurType’s recent Amalia face.

piccic's picture

You, damned Italian! :=)

paul d hunt's picture

Eben, I hear this phenomenon is all the rage more and more lately. Here's a bit of my version of it:

piccic's picture

Some faces by Aldo Novarese following the same line:


> Basilar (Haas)


> Ornatus (Haas)


> and the aforementioned Patrizia, also shown in Alfa Beta.

I had a curious digital version by The Font Company, which could explain, since I read their collection includes faces "licenced from the collections of Alphabet Innovations and TypeSpectra".
But after some research (and with some surprise) I found this, which is an URW version.
Besides not listing Novarese as the designer, the MyFonts keywords are "1990s, american, sansserif", which is pretty funny, considered the face is prior to the 1970s, and by Novarese.

ebensorkin's picture

Antonio & Claudio, I am looking forward to checking those links out.

Kent, Thank you very much! I had been thinking that folks have seen the WAD stuff already but a) maybe not & b) you seems to have some mighty fine stuff!

Your design does remind me of Amalia because it has many features in common. But I think your design is geared to extended text and so is robust whereas Amalia is more delicate and is suited to magazine story use and headlines subheads etc. When I wrote it up for best faces of 2006 in Typographica;

http://typographica.org/001103.php

... I started to get the idea that the eclectic feature set was really novel. When you look at it really close up the sheer cheek of it is hard not to notice. But I realized after a while that it was an extension of previous work. Fleishmann's work. What was novel about Amalia instead ( I think )is the tone it generates using that feature set, and the deep harmony it has.

ebensorkin's picture

And now there are more images! This is great!

Quincunx's picture

> I hear this phenomenon is all the rage more and more lately.

I had no idea it was, until I started doing some research on it when I started my own typeface about 5 or 6 months ago. But it seems it is a trend at the moment indeed! Of course it has been around for ages, but it's interesting such a feature is starting to appear more frequently.

Good that you started this thread, Eben. I wonder why I didn't start one when I was searching around. Especially because all of the images and names of typefaces that people have posted so far. Good stuff!

kentlew's picture

Eben --

Yes, I remember taking notice of Amalia when I first saw it. Was that just last year?

That design of mine goes back to 2004 and grew out of a comment Cyrus made about some sketches I was working on (for a different concept). In my case, the sheared ball terminal derives from things I was already exploring in Whitman Italic. Which in turn I think I borrowed from Matthew's Charter.

The above characters are from a small text version, conceived as a potential newspaper text face -- hence the sturdiness.

-- K.

piccic's picture

Kent, your "untitled" face looks amazingly strong. I think there are few typefaces with these qualities, it surely deserves to be finished: please do it!

ebensorkin's picture

I like the sturdiness like Claudio. Would you tell us about the g? Is the ear shape mostly about ink or is something else going on there as well? Was charter the first sheared ball?

Paul, tasty stuff!

miha's picture

> I hear this phenomenon is all the rage more and more lately.

Oh, I didn't know that! And I started a new typeface in naive believe that it's going to be a little bit more unique:D

There are some letters where this previously unknown influence is clearly seen, maybe even too clear:)

David Rault's picture

Kent, this looks indeed very promising. Please go on... And let us know.

dr

kentlew's picture

Gosh, thanks for the votes of confidence, all. This project hasn't been active since last summer. (And the previous hiatus was three years.) I wasn't necessarily thinking of picking it up again. But you never know.

Eben -- I'm not sure what you want to know about the g; I don't quite follow your question about ink. This design has some much of its structural roots drawn from an unreleased Dwiggins face (why are you not surprised? ;-) which in turn was inspired by a small Rosart sample that WAD saw in Updike. So, that ear shape traces back to some Dutch oldstyle traits -- Fleischmann and Rosart -- reinterpreted through my personal stylistic filters.

I don't know if Charter was the first example of "sheared ball" (or "half teardrop" or whatever you want to call it) terminals. I've pretty much absorbed and internalized this style device, so I no longer think of it as emulating anything else. But if I look back for possible influences, this is the earliest example that comes to mind.

-- K.

piccic's picture

An excellent thing about Carter is that he incessantly assimilates.
When he will be 90 he will draw better typefaces than middle-age designers…

Kent, I am pretty ignorant about Dwiggins, but I always admired a lot his work.
Where could you get the most comprehensive presentation of his developments and conception?

And… yes, I don't know what you are working on right now, but you should definitely work on that face. Keep it sober.

kentlew's picture

Eben --

Now that we've tossed around various, wide-ranging examples of what you might have been looking for, can I ask: What are you really interested in? I'm curious: What's your angle on this? Have you found what you're looking for?

-- K.

ebensorkin's picture

My angle is - I am doing a write up on a font for Typographica and The font I am describing uses this feature. Before I had taken a decent stab at sample books or anything I started the thread so that I might finish writing the article in time. In the font the feature seemed spookily familiar! But this font's use of it seemed exemplary. Still, before I could say so I wanted to get a better sense of it's history, derivation and impact on the faces it is used in. And to see if, having seen plenty of other faces I still felt it was as exemplary as I originally thought it was. And I do. So I definitely did get what i wanted - and more really. It's a wonderful micro typographic feature.

crossgrove's picture

Eben,

I think it's worth considering (maybe for a longer essay than a typophile review) that there are some very different origins here, that are easy to confuse or conflate: The pen artifact in counters which comes about from tight or small letters written with wide pens, and the M-theory of Dwiggins, which, you can see by inspecting his drawings, does not really follow calligraphic logic at all. For example, he carved out space near the ear of a g where no pen would ever leave a notch. His interest was in creating exceptionally clear type at small sizes; avoiding clots and making something small read correctly at its native size. The impulse to include calligraphic artifacts can seem similar, but if you keep looking, I'm sure you'll find examples of calligraphic artifacts like these that actually obscure or mar clarity in small sizes; in other words the 2 origins may not be linked at all. Look at the bolder weights of Trajanus. There's a consistent calligraphic logic here, but not necessarily a high priority on clarity at small sizes. One approach might actually work against the other.

The funny thing about this trend is that printing conditions are so good, the M-theory has much less usefulness than in hot metal days. Remember, Dwiggins designed for the foundry with the most business in book typesetting. Type wasn't scalable, and display type didn't use these tricks; they were meant to be hidden. Much of the typography now that features these adorable quirks is explicit display layouts, in magazines, meant to show off the cuts and angles.

ebensorkin's picture

Thanks as always Carl! Those are great points. Especially your point about calligraphic artifacts having the potential to "obscure or mar clarity in small sizes".

It will be interesting to revisit my text and the font one last time with all those ideas in mind. If you are willing, I would love to hear your critique of my critique when it comes out!

dezcom's picture

Eben,
While we are showing works in progress, here are a few Froggy glyphs which seem to fall into the mix.

ChrisL

ebensorkin's picture

Thanks Chris! You are certainly not following a pen derived notion of where to put those cuts. Not recalling perfectly; still, my sense is that this is a departure from the previous froggy. Is that right?

dezcom's picture

Actually. no. Those cuts were in my original drawings from day one. As I recall, there were even a few comments about it on the original posting in the critique area. I will check it out later.

ChrisL

piccic's picture

What is the M-theory of Dwiggins?
Anyway, I don't think that devices to improve letters for small sizes are less useful now, nor that it will be less useful in the future.

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

Claudio, see Tiffany’s paper on WAD, which also talks about the M formula (where M is for marionette).

kentlew's picture

Claudio -- You asked about where to read more on Dwiggins. Tiffany Wardle's dissertation (which Antonio linked above) is a good primer on a few of his designs. Gerard Unger wrote an article about Dwiggins's Experimental No. 223 newspaper design in Quarendo xi, 4 (1981), which also discusses the M-formula at some length. It's been a while since I read both of these, but I seem to recall that there are some background elements to the M-formula that aren't drawn out.

But, of course, there's much more to Dwiggins than just the M-formula. A good overview of his other type designs can be found in Walter Tracy's Letters of Credit.

Paul Shaw recently wrote an article for the Italian bibliophile journal Bibliologia about one of Dwiggins's book designs.

-- K.

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