Squidot (a.k.a. Questa)

Jos Buivenga's picture

For now it's just a little exercise:
I always wanted to draw a fairly simple squarish didone like font.


Stephen Coles's picture

It's a winner. Highly recommend adding alternate glyphs (such as 'a' and 's') with ball-terminals for the Kate Moss crowd.

blank's picture

Stewf is right; finish this!

Jos Buivenga's picture

Ok! I will pursue it a litlle further and work out some more characters. In my first attempts I had ball terminals on the a and s, but I got dissy looking a sample text with all those balls. Adding them as calt is a good idea.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Some more ...

mili's picture

Looking delicious!

Jos Buivenga's picture

Thanks mili! Not sure which shapes the calt's should have, but I'ld like to add some excessive curlin' that does't prevail at first glance.

studio punkat's picture

oh god, that's another great one !

Nick Job's picture

Squidot... really?

It's a looker.

William Berkson's picture

Nice idea. I don't think the 'foxtails' on c,a, and g work so well with the rest of the design. Did you consider some kind of split-in-half ball, for the a and s anyway?

pica pusher's picture

That st lig is killer!

The balance of the bowls of p and q seems off... Does anyone else mind them?

FeeltheKern's picture

The word "sparfuc" looks so high-end for such a gross sounding word.

boardman's picture

I love that "g". Congratulations. For what it's worth, the "H" seems a tiny bit too wide and the period is perfect.

DrDoc's picture

It looks gorgeous, Jos, especially the ligatures, but you really couldn't come up with a better name?

Jos Buivenga's picture

Thanks all for the kind feedback!

@ William – I could lessen the smoothening of the transition to the "split-in-half" balls...

@ Nick Job & DrDoc – Squidot is a working title. It's a conjunction of Square & didot. I will change the name later.

William Berkson's picture

Jos, I think that's an improvement, more harmonious. Maybe the terminals on the a & s could have a bit more weight to match the weight of the terminals of the c and z, while having the different shape you've given them?

Jos Buivenga's picture

You're right about the weights, William. I still have to determin the right weight for all terminals, but first I have to make up my mind about which ones I should choose also in relation to the caps. I tried the half ball terminal on the capital C and S, but that didn't work, so they will have a more classic approach.

William Berkson's picture


Looks like you've got a choice of whether to go more 'dazzling' with the ball terminals, or calmer with the half balls. If you go for half balls should the 'c' be the same as the a and s?

I may be wrong about this, but I suspect the way you've gone with the half-ball terminals is more of a distinctive design, compared to other Didones. --I actually had a different idea in mind, but I like what you've done; it's got a nice combination of grace with still some of the geometric quality.

Stephen Coles's picture

> you’ve got a choice of whether to go more ’dazzling’ with the ball terminals, or calmer with the half balls

Oh, but he doesn't have to choose — both can exist via stylistic alternates. Well, I guess he does have to decide on the default. But including both makes this a very versatile face.

I think the main decision to make is whether this should pretend to be a text face. I would avoid that. Didones only succeed in text if they have significantly less contrast, and extreme contrast (along with its stylized terminals) is key to Squidot's charm.

Jos Buivenga's picture

I've made up my mind and go for the half-balls because they are more distinctive. As for now I'll leave the lc c with a "full ball". I will also follow Stephens suggestion of making contextual alts for lc a & s. Squidot (or perhaps Sidone or Yasmin; I would like to give a femine name) will definitely be a display face as it was intended from the beginning.

jt_the_ninja's picture

Here here! Good stuff! I could see this in headlines :D


Miss Tiffany's picture

yey for ball terminals!

@Jos — I really, really like how you solved the st ligature. Crazy, but it seems to work. And I also like the subtle fl ligature.

Jos Buivenga's picture


Jos Buivenga's picture

Some more ... with half balls as standard.

mili's picture

Lovely Q and cheeky gi ligature!

Solt's picture

Wow! i’m jealous, great concept!

eliason's picture

Has anyone experimented with some way of bringing some black to the serif-ended thins in a high-contrast didone like this (e.g. bottom left of A, bottom left and top right of N, top right of y and V)? Terminals that end in curves (e.g. S, C) get a little "webbing" to blacken them a bit, but thin vertical or diagonal straights get no such help and really disappear.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Thanks Mili & Viktor.

Nice thought, Craig. If there are I hope someone comes up with some examples. I'll try and experiment with it a bit this weekend.

Jos Buivenga's picture

@ Craig –> Torino (found here).

eliason's picture

Good find! What do you think of the combination of unbracketed thicks and bracketed thins?

Jos Buivenga's picture

Maybe it could work, but I'll have to try. The Torino ones are too fat for my linking.

William Berkson's picture

Still thinking the nice 'half balls' need to be fatter for balance, except for maybe in the g, where it is ok ... Should they relate to the weight of the stoke they are opposite in the glyph?

nina's picture

I am totally in love with this! Any idea when it will be finished?

Jos Buivenga's picture

Worked out the rest of the UC & lc. Still lots and lots of refinements to make.


Should they relate to the weight of the stoke they are opposite in the glyph?

Maybe, but the weight should also relate to the terminals of UC C & S. lc s is ok I think. Maybe the terminals of lc a & c can have a little more.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Cross post :-)

Nina, I hope to release it next year. First I have to finish this.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Three in a row...

My wife has come up with a name for Squidot: Quirine. I kinda like it. Do you?

nina's picture

Hmm, not sure. It sounds scientific and medical to me – something between Chinine (which is also known as Quinine) and Quarantine. I also wouldn't know how to pronounce it ;-).
Also, the word looks kind of stiff and blocky. And I don't think it shows off the best / sexiest letters you've got in there.
Just my $.02. Sorry – I can't think of a different name to suggest…

Jos Buivenga's picture


Thanks for the ¢2! This could be the first time that I find it hard to come up with a name for a font/typeface. We/I still have some time :-)

Stephen Coles's picture

I think it was Matthew Carter who said a name should be chosen for how good it looks when set in the typeface. With that in mind, I think your name needs more balls. Try to get an 'r' , 'g', and 'c' in there.

Jos Buivenga's picture

I think your name needs more balls

Sure right ... but ... oh man ... How am I gonna explain that at home ;-)

Stephen Coles's picture

I guess I'm hoping your wife's name is Engracia.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Nice find! It's Anske but I'm sure she doesn't mind.

William Berkson's picture

Matthew Carter did "Postoni" for the Washington Post headlines. How about quadrangle + Bodoni = "Quadroni"?

Nice observation about how the s, like the g, works with the smaller 'half balls'. Personally, I don't think you have to worry about the matching of the upper and lower case c. In a lot of fonts they are quite different, including Bodoni and Didot.

eliason's picture

Escargot? :-)

mili's picture

It would be good if the name started with Q, as it's very attractive in this font. Unfortunately I have to agree with the others that Quirine sound somewhat medical and lacks balls ;^)

eliason's picture

I actually like Quirine - I think the "antiseptic" flavor is appropriate for an unbracketed serif, and the "quinine" association (the first to come to my mind) gives it more of an old-fashioned apothecary feel (rather than a high-tech pharmaceutical).

That said, it'd also be great to be able to use the st or sp lig in the name.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Thanks for the suggestions. I've made a little list with also some new names.

btw ... Quirine is a (apparently not so familiar) woman's name.

nina's picture

Wow, nice stuff.

FWIW, out of these, to me Questa and Escargot probably look / feel the best. Engracia, to me, sounds more scripty and decidedly elegant (in a non-sturdy way) than the font is, if you know what I mean.

Also, I keep thinking of the following, FWIW:
Ernestine / Ernestina
Justine / Justina
Celeste / Celestine

… and as an alternative to Claudine, you could try Christine to get the st lig in, although you'd then lose the a (maybe Christina? or Cristina?).

Speaking of the a: Is is possible that it is a tiny bit narrow? I didn't think this before, but in ca and ga combinations it looks a bit small to my half trained eye.

victor ivanov's picture

wow! another nice effort Jos!

not sure if the 'st' ligatures are doing it for me, feel a bit too light, but maybe thats just on screen. I really love the 'Q'. Half-ball terminals give it a pleasant character!

Well done!

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

Quirinus is a Nebiolo typeface with a distinct modern / square feel to it, I suggest it might be a good idea to steer clear of the Quirine name to avoid confusion, even if there’s no digital version of the former.

Jos Buivenga's picture

Nina – Thanks for your input! Constance, Justine, Celeste, Augusta and Christina are nice names, but unfortunately already taken. I like Questa myself most so far. The a might be a bit narrow. It is more noticeble at smaller sizes I think. I'll have a look at it.

Victor – I still need to balance the st ligature a bit more (because a half ball is "missing"). Glad you like it overall!

Antonio – Thanks for pointing that out.

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