Hardys: a new custom typeface.

kris's picture

Kia ora folks,

I've just finished a custom typeface for the Hardys wine range, owned by Constellation Wines Australia. You might be interested to see it, it's quite different to what I normally draw & what's currently fashionable. Your thoughts are welcome, as always!

—K

boardman's picture

It's gorgeous. Congrats, Kris. I only wish we didn't have to wait until 2011 to use it.

Stefan H's picture

Well done, looks great. The client must (should) be happy?!

Miss Tiffany's picture

I like the flower petal curve on the finials. I like the semi-serif feel of it. I like the roundness of it.
I sense a little Dutch-ness ala how Gerard Unger deals with joins and overall crispness.
Beautiful.

ebensorkin's picture

Congratulations! The numbers are especially compelling.

jselig's picture

That's gorgeous Kris. I agree with Ebin, those numbers are beautiful.

blank's picture

You really nailed it, Kris! I agree with Tiffany—those curves are great!

Quincunx's picture

Very nice. My compliments! :)

I think it has a nice informal feel to it. It's still luxurious, but not too much.

rectangular's picture

Very nice typeface.

off topic: I love that you posted your type sketches. I always enjoy seeing parts of others process.

Dav's picture

Lovely one. (I especially like the 'a'. Smoooooth as wine. ;)

Dav

brett jordan's picture

Absolutely beautiful, and appropriate. Hope they reserve it for their 'high-end' varietals :-)

iffy's picture

Your sketchbooks made me drool.

honk if you love the status quo

i cant delete my username's picture

Relative n00b here, first time seeing your work. The eyeglass g is awe inspiring.

nana's picture

Wow, so beautiful! I'm not very fluent in typography terms, but I love how confident it looks, as well as the roundness. Yummy but very sophisticated!

oprion's picture

Holly jumping asterisks! This is gorgeous! I hope the client has the eye to appreciate this work.
_____________________________________________
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov
www.ivangdesign.com

sarahcazee's picture

I loooove it! The lowercase a is especially pretty.

Sharon Van Lieu's picture

Loverly, Kris.

Sharon

dezcom's picture

Spectacular work, Kris! You are really on a roll now, keep them coming!

ChrisL

Jos Buivenga's picture

Wonderful! I'm with Eben on the numbers and I was also struck by that beautiful acute accent.

satya's picture

Outstanding work, Kris!
But Feijoa is still among my loved ones. :)

Ehague's picture

The numbers are great. I really like the height on the old-style figures.

William Berkson's picture

Ok, I'll be the skunk at the picnic.

This is beautifully drawn, as Kris can't help it :)

However, I do think that there is a problem of the relative widths of the lower case characters. To me some characters are too wide and disturb the word forms. I'm not sure what would fix it, but to me the e and a, for example, are too wide, and maybe others as well.

paul d hunt's picture

never judge fonts on screen.*
of course, you can,
but it's not a true representation
of how the type functions
on the page

*except, of course, screen fonts

dezcom's picture

"...but to me the e and a, for example, are too wide, and maybe others as well."

I don't see what you see, Bill. Particularly at smaller sizes, it helps keep the color even. The proportions may not be the old classics but to me they are consistent and work quite well.

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

>The proportions may not be the old classics

I have noticed that after being immersed in work on the italic, the roman looks slanted and wrong.

So admittedly my eyes--or rather brain--may be distorted from looking at classic proportions.

Or not.

And of course you're right Paul that the screen is tricky. A PDF is better...

crossgrove's picture

William's perception may be an example of what James Mosley identified in his ATypI talk about English Vernacular: The more attention we pay to the "Classic" model of the Renaissance, the less likely we are to appreciate the strengths of other styles, and Kris' typeface looks to me to be a really beautiful example of this other classic, the 18th-century vernacular style: wide, stout letters, squarish shapes, baroque finish, derived less from broad pen and more from pointed pen.

I really like this design and think it carries a wonderful amount of elegance and luxury without being fussy. Nice work, Kris!

somol's picture

Congrats. It is fabulous.

kris's picture

Thanks for all of your kind words, folks!

Absolutely beautiful, and appropriate. Hope they reserve it for their ’high-end’ varietals :-)

I'm not entirely sure what it will be used for exactly, I think it will be for most of the range. Have to wait & see I suppose!

However, I do think that there is a problem of the relative widths of the lower case characters. To me some characters are too wide and disturb the word forms. I’m not sure what would fix it, but to me the e and a, for example, are too wide, and maybe others as well.

Tiff made this same comment offline. Carl has nailed it, though (thanks mate!). This is based on some of the quirkier English styles, particularly the Latin styles. I had to fight the urge to 'smooth' everything out, as that would make it a bit too bland & average. I'd love to put a PDF up, Bill, but pretty sure the client wouldn't be into it!

—K

William Berkson's picture

>Tiff made this same comment offline.

Ha! I thought of e-mailing you instead, as there was this love fest going on. But you know I show love through critique, too, right? And I figured others would then have interesting stuff to say, as has turned out to be so.

>Latin styles

Maybe this is the problem. I really can't put my finger on it, but maybe the small serifs with the wide style feels awkward to me.

Ah yes, maybe that's it. The original Latin style has big honking triangular serifs, right? I really don't like Americana, which is well executed but also wide with small serifs. Your design is different, but maybe it made my Americana allergy flare up :)

blank's picture

William’s perception may be an example of what James Mosley identified in his ATypI talk about English Vernacular…

Is this talk online somewhere?

kentlew's picture

I noticed the reference to English Latins -- like the Stephenson & Blake Lining Old Style No.3, or their Lining Booklet -- and judged the whole in that light. (I've got both those pages flagged in my specimen.) I don't know if you were looking at those models specifically, Kris; but I feel like I'm bumping into you wherever I turn next. Good taste you've got there, mate. And an excellent hand. Well done.

Bill -- I think this makes an interesting case study. I suppose when you've been immersed in Caslon for quite a while (and it has been a while now hasn't it), these proportions are really going to come at you from left field. Like Carl pointed out, think about how remarkable these styles must have seemed when they first came about (for better or worse).

BTW, wouldn't that have been more 19th-century vernacular than 18th?

-- Kent.

William Berkson's picture

>I had to fight the urge to ’smooth’ everything out, as that would make it a bit too bland & average.

Kris, I don't know if this is what you mean, but I do think it is possible to have extremely even color but still have a lot of 'flavor' in the shapes. The 'Moderno' that is now the Typophile display font achieves this. In other words, it is possible to be 'smooth' in a certain sense, but not bland and average. My concern on this font of yours--and not others of yours like National or Meta Serif Black--is with uneven color. While I greatly respect the 'eyes' of others commenting in this thread, the fact is that Tiffany noticed something, too. I think that means my reaction is not just a result of my looking too much at other styles.

kris's picture

I don’t know if you were looking at those models specifically, Kris; but I feel like I’m bumping into you wherever I turn next. Good taste you’ve got there, mate. And an excellent hand. Well done.

Thanks Kent! I wasn't referencing them specifically, but they were indeed looked at.

Kris, I don’t know if this is what you mean, but I do think it is possible to have extremely even color but still have a lot of ’flavor’ in the shapes

So if the 'e' 'a' etc were narrowed, the colour would be more even for you? How even does it need to be? Is 100% "even" the most desirable thing to have? I think that 'evening' out the widths would kill the spirit.

—K

William Berkson's picture

>Is 100% “even” the most desirable thing to have? I think that ’evening’ out the widths would kill the spirit.

Well, I admit this is my pet theory, but I think that in order to look even you have to make the letters more different, not less different--but in specific ways. So it's not a matter of evening widths; it is a matter of their relationships.

I'm can't tell you physically what it is, but I think I can see it when I put a letter between others, and play with its width and weights of strokes. I think it has to do with the overall density of the black (or white) within the advance width, but also it is affected by the distribution of weight in the letter.

It ends up with there being a relationship among widths within a design, where making some too narrow or wide in relation to the other disturbs the rhythm of the way they set, and makes words look not as good, even though the individual letters may look good.

It is related all the readability stuff I've been blathering about on typophile. Hopefully I'll very soon be able to give you a detailed illustration of how I've carried it out, but I think there are a lot of typefaces that do this quite well--including some of your own.

Kent, might you put up a scan of those you were referencing?

loremipsum's picture

Very nice, really.

(At first sight, lowercase g seems to belong to another typeface - like Caslon g used in Versailles (extreme exaggeration). Also, lowercase a looks inclined to the left a little. But it's really just the very first look.)

kentlew's picture

Bill --

I think some of what you're talking about is also a function of different environments -- essentially display vs. text. I'm guessing that the Hardy's commission was a one-size-fits-all and was probably skewed toward display, since I imagine packaging will be a primary use.

I think the even color you're looking for can also be a matter of distribution of weight as much as relative proportion. In a "transitional" style like Hardys there are some real challenges when trying to get good display qualities. The way that weight is carried on the shoulder of the arch letters (which tend to retain more oldstyle characteristics) vs. the weight around the "corners" of round letters (which are more upright in angle) can be a tricky balance to achieve while still retaining the style's essential qualities. Keeping contrast crisp for display exacerbates the problem, while reducing contrast for more sturdy text performance tends to ameliorate the issue.

If I get a chance later, perhaps I can get up a scan of some English Latins. But don't hold your breath. I don't know that they're that germane.

-- K.

William Berkson's picture

>I think the even color you’re looking for can also be a matter of distribution of weight as much as relative proportion.

I agree; that's what I was attempting to say above.

>The way that weight is carried on the shoulder of the arch letters

Yes, that's one key feature of a type design. I'm not clear about the point you're making, though.

In Baskerville, the stress is vertical, and the weight of the shoulders much reduced compared to old style. This goes together as both are a natural result of using the pointed pen--as I learned in the thread on that issue.

In Caslon's designs, the vertical o contradicts the slanted stress of the b d etc; its stress doesn't follow the rules of the broad pen held at a constant angle. This variation is a characteristic of what Bringhurst calls 'Baroque' faces, of which Caslon is an example.

I agree with you that in a display face you can contradict good text rhythm for the sake of a gain in artistic or decorative effect. But I don't see the gain here. For example, in Hardy bold, I don't see the same problems in rhythm as in the regular. I don't see why the regular couldn't be the same...

kris's picture

Again, thanks Kent for your acute input.

Well, I admit this is my pet theory, but I think that in order to look even you have to make the letters more different, not less different—but in specific ways. So it’s not a matter of evening widths; it is a matter of their relationships…I’m can’t tell you physically what it is…It is related all the readability stuff I’ve been blathering about on typophile. Hopefully I’ll very soon be able to give you a detailed illustration of how I’ve carried it out…

So you don't dig the rhythm in the Regular, but reckon it's OK in the Bold? Fine by me. I do disagree with you, of course. I'd love to see a concise, detailed illustration of your pet readability theories! When can we expect this?

—K

kentlew's picture

> I agree; that’s what I was attempting to say above.

OK. I didn't get that.

I thought you were saying that the relative widths of some letters -- e a, for instance -- were too wide and caused uneven color. My point was that it might not be so much their relative width as choices in how the weight is handled.

I can imagine pulling just a little more weight around the lower left, 7:00-8:00 region on the a c and e, for instance, without adjusting their relative width, and perhaps achieving more of what I think you're seeking.

The second part of my point was that doing this will subtly affect the nature of the stress in the glyphs. This will be negligible in a low contrast, text environment; but in a higher contrast, higher style, display environment, it will be more apparent and the choice of where to strike that balance may be different.

It's hard for me to say whether in this case the Regular could be made more like the Bold in this way without losing something. One would have to try it out.

-- Kent.

William Berkson's picture

>not be so much their relative width as choices in how the weight is handled.

Yes, both weights and widths are involved. I just first noticed the a, that it pushed itself to my attention a little more, which is not so good. My first guess was that it is too wide. In general to improve color and rhythm, is a matter of playing with both weights and widths, and hopefully combination of them ends up working.

Kris, I wish I had a comprehensive theory, but I don't. I just have ideas, which I apply by trial and error. Some of the ideas are:

1. Even color is paramount in the lower case of a text face, because uneven color constitutes 'noise' that interferes with readability. The idea is that the only thing that should be different are the shapes, and not the *apparent* darkness or lightness of any parts. This goal can't always be realized, as with the L an r, but closer is better.

Caps, however, don't have to be even color with the lower case, since the caps are supposed to stick out as markers. Maybe for German even color between caps and lower case is more important--I don't know.

2. Even color does involve the same black/white density within the advance width, in the x-height region, I suspect. The counters need some kind of harmony, but it's not a matter of strict equality, either in width or area. I can't characterize it more precisely, at least not yet.

2. Often achieving even color often means more variation in among characters--a design that is less 'modular.' I have ideas on how to do this for the design I have been working on, and will put up an illustration after I finish the text size--I hope very soon!

3. As a practical matter, as I work I compare on the screen the same words in my design and another typeface I think is very even. My main standard has been Adobe Garamond, but I have used others, including recently Kent's Whitman, which I think is admirable in that respect. It probably helps to have a design that is in the same general category, but the idea is *not* to match the design, but the evenness of the look.

Some tricky stuff is going on with vertically divided letters, like a e s A E S. Generally, when you divide a space, the top half is going to be vertically smaller, and often narrower as well. That is often going to affect the counter, or how wide it will be. Generally, the whole thing seems to get narrower to look right; a's are usually narrower than n's or o's, I believe.

Nick Shinn's picture

That's lovely, Kris, I'm thirsty already. Fresh concept, and nicely done.

The even width and weighting of the letters are fine. This is a style which is very modern, in a mid-19th century kind of way, so that's how it should be.

kris's picture

Bill,

That all sounds fairly straight forward. But if you've been using Adobe Garamond (!) as a 'spacing standard' then you're bound to be a bit sensitive/biased against other styles.

Nick,

Thanks! How's your Modern/Figgins coming along?

—K

Nick Shinn's picture

It's pretty much finished, except I am waiting on a third party to check all the encodings, etc., before release.

William Berkson's picture

>But if you’ve been using Adobe Garamond (!) as a ’spacing standard’ then you’re bound to be a bit sensitive/biased against other styles.

As I said, even color is a product not only of "spacing", but also of width and weight distribution of the glyphs--aspects of glyph design. I usually have several different styles open to compare mine to, not just Adobe Garamond. And I've not just re-spaced, but re-drawn in response to this comparative process.

Also, I don't think only old styles can have good color. Chronicle is an example of a recent 'Scotch' that I find strikingly well done as far as even color. And as I have said, I find Whitman also very good in that respect, and it also is not an old style. Moderno, now in our headings, is a display face, but it also is very even--even without kerning, which is pretty impressive.

typetard's picture

each to their own thank goodness.

@Chris: Well done Kris and "4 more years boys, 4 more years" well 3 actually before we can buy it.
I wonder what high calibre of typefaces you would have produced by then, should I start making automatic payments to your foundries now?

Stefan Seifert's picture

Hi William,

your theories are very good!

Stefan

William Berkson's picture

Stefan,

Thanks. There's another important factor here, which is not my theory but that of David Kindersley. He wrote that there is a 'visual center' to a character, and that visual center needs to be equidistant from the side bearings to look balanced within words. The visual center is something like if the letter were solid, and you put it on a board, the visual center would be near where a fulcrum would have it balance. Except that the left and right extremes of the letter have more weight--Kindersley used the square of the area in a column slice of the letter (square of its weight, if solid), rather than just its area (weight).

There is another factor noted by others, which is that the spaces between letters need to look visually even. But the need for visual centering and for visually even spacing between different letters don't necessarily work together, so not every design will space well as far as even color.

Kindersley gives the interesting example of the L, and the often heavy serif at the end of the leg. What this heavy serif does is to shift the visual center of the L to the right. And that means that if you space the left side bearing of the L similar to the I, the L will look visually less unbalanced than it would without the serif. It still leaves a hole, unless you have an all caps setting very widely spaced, but it helps.

Kindersley's theory doesn't capture all that is going on visually, but it is a very interesting insight, I think. It shows that how you distribute the weight in the glyph affects how even the color will be, and how you should space it.

ebensorkin's picture

Bill I am sorry but I think the idea that an a (or s) has to be narrow to make it look even on the page is silly. It's an optical question not a question of tradition or anything else.

Carl's point about this being designed with display in mind is a more important point even than mine. A great text face with great even color wouldn't work well in this context. It would be far too dull.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Might be a good time for a new thread as it has spun into something more about spacing and less about Kris' lovely new typeface.

William Berkson's picture

Eben, I think you've misunderstood me, but probably Tiffany is right; it's probably better to take this up in another thread, where it's more on topic.

kentlew's picture

Hey, this wouldn't be Typophile if we just stuck to the topic, now would it? ;-)

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