Barmy Project (TDP)

dojr2's picture

Good Morning!

Here is a barmy project of mine. I have undertaken it to research the compatibility (or lack thereof) of two styles of fonts I really like. So basically, I worked on drawing Didot upper-case letters with the rhythm of the Trajan font. I have made things more complex by adding a lower-case which works on the idea of the Trajan. Don't look too much at the figures, they have not really been worked on properly.

I look forward to hearing your reaction and comments (so far, type-creators hate it and graphic designers are intrigued by it, because I made bold and non-fashionable choices, some of which I almost regret).

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dojr2's picture

Goodness me! I did not exactly expect everyone to come rushing and criticise but I thought the design was provocative enough to attract some attention.

speter's picture

I love the upper case. As far as the "lower case" goes, I guess I'm more a type creator than a graphic designer. It strikes me as in the same range as Peignot. There was a time when Peignot was used right and left for book cover, so perhaps your type would find a life there as well.

But the upper case as a titling font... That's what I'd use it for.

dojr2's picture

Thanks for the comments. I did indeed design the whole as a titling font (originally only the upper case, and then the upper case for 'subtitling') and you are right about the Peignot idea too. I just realised I wrote Trajan twice instead of:
"I have made things more complex by adding a lower-case which works on the idea of the Peignot."

I may blacken the D slightly and round the leg of the R a bit, following some advice I received, then make the font available to whoever wants to use it (just mail me).

speter's picture

Hmm, the user profiles seem not to have the ability to send email any more. (That, or I'm going blind.) I would love to use it.

speter ( at ) mac ( dot ) com

dojr2's picture

Yes, it does not sem to work. I have just sent you the file. I decided to call it SimonVouet Initiales. Not sure it is the right name, but now it is the name!
Thanks a lot for your interest! I feel very flattered.
Feel free to use it, but don't distribute it without letting me know and please advise if you use it for anything published, or tweak it (I am very interested in seeing how someone else might interpret the original idea).

speter's picture

David, I got the file. Very nice, indeed. I'm looking forward to finding some place to use this, especially the long-tailed Q!

The only thing I think I'd tweak right now is to pull the top of the S over to the left just a bit. (Since my name begins with S, I had to try it out!) The current version feels like it's falling to the right.

Thank you very much!

dojr2's picture

Glad to hear you received the font. It is funny you should say that: I always thought that the S of the Trajan looked like a difficult exercise in balance, the very steep diagonal being corrected by the fact the loops seem to be falling the other way round. I have made two other versions of the S, but I think they don't work very well either: the lower loop seems to fall to the right and the upper loop to the left. I'll send them to you by mail so you have more choices.

Re the long-tailed Q: it is not really complete, methink (hence the three parts are only next to each other and not linked) & works only with the Upper Case U.

speter's picture

That's true about the long-tailed Q and U, but I think the upper case is where this type shines.

And S is always difficult. I love the story of when Donald Knuth was first working on Computer Modern. He made several Ss and showed them to his wife Jill, whereupon she asked, "Why don't you make it S-shaped?" Only g causes me as much grief.

glyphobet's picture

I like this a lot, but then again I've always liked fonts that blur the line between upper and lower case.

In mixed case, it looks like a small-caps font, but in all lowercase it looks like an arty lowercase. Very weird effect -- I love it.

-matt

ps. I wouldn't mind a copy either: matt (at) theory (dot) org

dojr2's picture

Matt, thanks. Glad to see you like it. I agree with you: it is almost as if there were three fonts (upper case, mixed, lower case). Not sure whether it works very effectively yet, though I like it. I am away from my computer at the moment but shall send you a copy of the font at the end of the month!

dojr2's picture

Matt & Steve,

I have posted samples of the latest version of that font, SimonVouet Initiales, and a font I derived from it here.
I shall be uploading the samples here and sending you the fonts soonish.

Best,

David

dojr2's picture

Ok, here we are. These are the two images. Costructive & helpful criticisms etc. are, as always, welcome. Kind regards.

SimonVouet Initiales D.R

JeanMarcNattier Initiales D.R

nithrandur's picture

I love the uc G. The lowercase somehow puts Peignot into mind.

dojr2's picture

nithrandur: thanks about the uppercase G, which one do you prefer? The Vouet or the Nattier? The lowercase is indeed based on the ideas of Peignot, though it is fairly dissimilar as a design...

I am always interested to hear more comments, remarks etc.

Graham McArthur's picture

I think this is one of the more interesting faces to be presented here for a long while. A few things that I would consider adjusting would include making the A a little larger over all in both versions as it appears to me to be a tad small and light, the top of the A needs to cut through the cap height a wee gnat hair more as well. I would make the V a little wider and increase the size [but not the weight] of the O, Q, C & G in both versions. The serifs on the C are little too heavy for my taste and look at odds with the rest of the characters [I am not used to calling characters glyphs]. The tail of the Q is nice but I would also give it a tad more weight just to see how it looks with the other letters, this one is really just a personal thing and not a criticism.

The Z looks a tad heavy to me as well and the top curve of the upper bowl of the B could tapper further up the curve like the bottom bowl just a wee bit and although I also like narrow B, P & R I think the bowls need a little more air in them as they close up too much and look a little weak in the 'lowercase'- although this again is a personal thing. The bowl of the D also needs to be adjusted to match that of the O as it appears to me to tapper too quickly to the thin unlike the O, G & C which tappers a little more gradually.
At first look the S seemed to be a little out of whack with the top a tad too small, but I am in too minds on this although I have the urge to make it a little more graceful by increasing the size of top half, again to add a little more air in the curve as it closes just a little too much in the lower case and at a smaller size.

Very nice work with a lot going for it.

dojr2's picture

Graham McArthur:

Thanks for your many comments. I am indeed trying to do something original, and hoping I manage to make it work at some point!

I need to go back to my drawing board and see how I can use your advice to improve my font. I understand many of your comments but I am not sure I have the technical know-how to solve some of the problems: say I have failed to improve the D, which I agree is too light, mostly as a result of the horizontal thin line being too long. If you have a look at the first pdf, you'll see the upper loop was bigger but I did not manage to get an S which does not fall to the right as speter pointed to me.

Interesting about the C serifs: do they shock you as much in both versions? Do they shock you more than the upper G serif?

When you say increase the size of O, Q, C and G - do you mean width only or height & width?

dojr2's picture

On a general note to everyone who has been kind enough to comment: it is very interesting to see that the comments I receive differ hugely from person to person. On typographe.com, it is the size of the M which has attracted the more comment, and in general, the very basic idea of the font has been put into question. Some doubt it is possible to produce a balanced font which is very vertical and has very differing letter widths. Not sure what people think on here.

dojr2's picture

What I forgot to say in my last post:

I am surprised the leg of the R does not look too thick to anyone. Sometimes it seems to me that it works, sometimes it seems too dark... Erm. Not sure why!
In general B, R, S and D have been the most difficult letters to design so I am not surprised to see they attract a lot of comments!

dojr2's picture

Also - what B & E do you prefer? The larger version of the Nattier of the diminutive version of the Vouet ?

dojr2's picture

nithrandur:

I forgot to say that I understand your taste for fonts that blur the distinction between upper-case and lower case. What I like about the Peignot, as opposed to a font which only has small capitals like the Trajan, is that it preserves ascenders and descenders, which means the text still has a shape which is easy to recognise. In that respect it is quite the opposite of the way a font like Filosofia unicase works: in that case shapes are largely different but height is the same and ascenders + descenders have disappeared.
I also like the way Jean-François Porchez's Anisette STD works. I want to work on a font with very similarly sized upper and lower case, with upper cases being far bolder. Not sure it will work!

Graham McArthur's picture

Interesting about the C serifs: do they shock you as much in both versions? Do they shock you more than the upper G serif?

Shock is not the word I would use, but they do stand out too much in both versions. No need to try to be different, just be yourself and go with your gut feelings. The upper G serif is lighter than those of the C and looks fine.

When you say increase the size of O, Q, C and G - do you mean width only or height & width?

Height is the issue. These curved letters need to the extended above the cap height and below the base line to appear to be the same size as the other letters. The U also needs to 'cut' through the base line rather sit on it as it looks as if its floating above the imaginary base line. At the moment they look a fraction smaller than the other letters.

Some doubt it is possible to produce a balanced font which is very vertical and has very differing letter widths. Not sure what people think on here.

I am not sure what people think here either :) But as for different width letters in a font, I say go for it because that is what I do as par for course. I believe its the only way to get a visually interesting design otherwise you end up with something as ugly as Helvetica.

I am surprised the leg of the R does not look too thick to anyone. Sometimes it seems to me that it works, sometimes it seems too dark... Erm. Not sure why!

It does look a little heavy depending on which way the wind is blowing. Usually diagonals need to be a little wider than verticals to look optically the same. Its a fine balancing act. If it looks a bit dark to your eyes, then it probably is, so adjust it and see what happens.

Also - what B & E do you prefer?

I prefer the B in Nattier and the E in Vouet.

dojr2's picture

The upper G serif is lighter than those of the C and looks fine.

OK I shall check what went wrong. I seemed to remember I used the same design, dot for dot... Perhaps I corrected one and failed to correct the other?

Height is the issue. These curved letters need to the extended above the cap height and below the base line to appear to be the same size as the other letters. The U also needs to ’cut’ through the base line rather sit on it as it looks as if its floating above the imaginary base line. At the moment they look a fraction smaller than the other letters.

They actually are slightly below (by 32 points in a 2048 em but perhaps this is not enough... Or perhaps it is the low resolution image which makes it look ilke that. I'll check that again with pdf and print.

But as for different width letters in a font, I say go for it because that is what I do as par for course. I believe its the only way to get a visually interesting design otherwise you end up with something as ugly as Helvetica.

Well, I don't dislike Helvetica very intensely but I see your point. In that case, I have tried to exaggerate the differences in width - perhaps too much, perhaps not enough.

It does look a little heavy depending on which way the wind is blowing. Usually diagonals need to be a little wider than verticals to look optically the same. Its a fine balancing act. If it looks a bit dark to your eyes, then it probably is, so adjust it and see what happens.

I'll try to print a text and see whether it really stands out: it is often difficult to judge based on a few titles.

I prefer the B in Nattier and the E in Vouet.

Probably the B in Vouet in not large enough. Or is it that the shapes of the B rounds are a bit more square? I'll try to play with that and see what happens. Thanks.

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