Whoa - an undead font sin from the past

nina's picture

Oh man… I just had a major blast from the past. And I have to confess that I kind of lied on Typophile. :-( It wasn't intentional, honestly – my memory failed me. I'm not sure that constitues lying, but I'm not particularly proud of it, and I apologize.

I said Ernestine is my first font. Now, while I did vaguely remember that I dabbled around a bit in Fontographer a number of years ago but quickly realized I didn't know what I was doing… I just discovered that I actually completed wonky lc, UC, and numerals, and put "my first font" up for crits on alt.design.graphics in 2001!

Kids, don't do drugs or you won't remember what embarrassing things you did eight years ago. :-|

Well it looks like there was reason enough to forget this, too. What better way to atone for past sins than to show this off in all its glorious ugliness? (Feel free to point your fingers and giggle.) Thanks to WayBackMachine I just managed to retrieve an archived copy of a .ttf off my long-defunct old web site. So this is what it looks like, complete with strange unintentional overlaps, mirrored bpdq, and an "A" that took too many blue pills.

I guess from now on I'll call Ernestine my "first serious font"…

Comments

Queneau's picture

It's a real beauty! Thanks for sharing :-)

cheerio Queneau

speter's picture

I think we all do this. I call Castor my first font, but in fact, it's something like my fourth. In college I did two bitmap fonts (one Runic, one Cherokee), but those files are long gone. Now in the outline era, I did one before Castor (used on the cover of this book, but I'm not entirely happy with it, and it's never been released. (And as for Castor, look for it soon in the critiques section...)

dezcom's picture

The police will be by to arrest you soon for such a criminal event :-)

ChrisL

nina's picture

"I think we all do this."
That is reassuring. But were yours as bad as this? And most of all, did you forget you made them? <:o)
By the way, Steve, if you still have anything of those funky bitmap fonts (any printouts, screenshots?), I'd be very interested. I collect the stuff.

Chris, would that be the Typolice? I'm scared.

jupiterboy's picture

The digital graveyard is a very quiet place. Not even theologists speculate about where all those 1s and 0s go.

hrant's picture

Let's just call Ernestine your second font and leave it at that, shall we? :->
Although it's certainly brave of you to show that...

But Steve is certainly right. My first bitmap fonts were decent (it's easy to make bitmap fonts decent, but very difficult to make them exceptional) but here's my first outline font - this is a panel from my exhibit at Montserrat University:

It didn't help that I did the imitation with the naked eye, sans scanner...

BTW, James, bad news:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/7886754.stm

hhp

nina's picture

I just learned a new word: I am duly contrite.

"Let’s just call Ernestine your second font and leave it at that, shall we? :->"
But then, to be quite correct: second outline font. I did mention my bitmaps on the Ernestine thread, right when I called that my first.

"Although it’s certainly brave of you to show that..."
It was pretty scary. Then again, this is *so* atrocious that I thought it could really only be seen as funny. (What's not so funny is the comments I got in that newsgroup: somebody called it "nice and clean"…)

Thanks for posting your first, Hrant. (Speaking of being brave: You showed this at an exhibition?!) I don't read Armenian very well yet, but that does look… strange. Makes me feel a little bit better.  :-)

hrant's picture

> somebody called it “nice and clean”

Clearly a case of FGD: Flickr Gush Disease.

BTW, maybe this can become a "first disasters" thread...
People, let's see what monsters you created! :-)

hhp

speter's picture

Steve, if you still have anything of those funky bitmap fonts (any printouts, screenshots?), I’d be very interested. I collect the stuff.

Any screenshots would have been lost when my Mac SE died. I'll look and see if I have any printouts anywhere. (The Runic font files may still be floating around cyberspace. I do remember that someone tried to pass off my Runic font as their own when I was in grad school. They didn't even bother to open the font and see that I had a copyright notice in one of the unused character cells. :-)

Ray Larabie's picture

I'm not sure which font was first but this is what I was up to on my TRS-80 from 1984-85.

Data 70 was done in a vector format using the Microsoft Extended Color Basic DRAW command. I used variables so it was the only scalable for in the bunch.

hrant's picture

Museum quality!
Very impressive Ray.

hhp

nina's picture

Great stuff Ray, thanks for that!
Guys, give us mooore. :-)

Just ran across this quote by Niels Bohr that kind of fits the theme here:
"An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a
narrow field."

paragraph's picture

Mine is on public display, gods help me: paperclip.
Been bubbling at the back of my diseased mind since the seventies but then, hey, it's free. The best thing about Typophile is that it's completely addictive, and so leaves me very little time to make more fonts.

nina's picture

"The best thing about Typophile is that it’s completely addictive, and so leaves me very little time to make more fonts."
LOL.

That thing's not so bad though. I mean, it has a concept. :-)

dezcom's picture

Niels Bohr's "narrow field” of Quantum Mechanics is a tough one. I think he was making a pun with "field" though.

ChrisL

Sebastian Nagel's picture

the first and only one of my fonts I have given up :)

eliason's picture

Here's a fonstruct lowercase set I made a while back. I wish I could say my phase of laughably ugly and naive designs was long past, but I'm afraid I'm still in it!

dezcom's picture

@Nina,
Just for your earlier comment:

http://typophile.com/node/54922

ChrisL

paragraph's picture

ChrisL: Off Typophile then, and onto more fonts. It's on your conscience.

Mark Simonson's picture

Here's the first "typeface" I designed:

It was done for an assignment when I was studying graphic design in college in 1975 or 1976. The concept was a geometric sans based on uncial forms. The letters are 2.5" tall (not counting ascenders and descenders), drawn with a technical pen (ink) on illustration board. Some serious compass action going on there. Some of it I like, but some of it, like the uncial-style "T", makes me wince.

nina's picture

Funky! But, you made that by hand. :-| Which makes stuff like the asterisk pretty impressive.
Is that a pound sign after the second "L"?

Mark Simonson's picture

Pound sign.

Sye's picture

awesome stuff everyone!

Yaronimus-Maximus's picture

my first one (called "horus") was done solely for a magazine i designed in a college course.
it was done by scanning my calligraphy and has no corrections of vectors (and i'm not saying this as a good thing). it's inspired by my favorite type style (guess what). i barely had time to correct it,
but i remember i did not want to use an existing font, and it didn't matter to me if i would be wrong, or if the font would be bad. i just wanted my on font!
the kerning of this font is heinous and abominable, i had to do it manualy in the little time i had. to this day, i still don't know how to make fonts (or kerning in font lab).

here is a sample and some spreads of the magazine:

microspective's picture

Leave it to Sebastian to have his first font be so well-made and have such personality and integrity.

Speaking of which, where the hell is Canapé?

hrant's picture

Yaron, that's beautiful stuff.

hhp

Sebastian Nagel's picture

Canapé is getting polished it's italics and bolds. Working almost every day on it for about an hour, that's all i can give at the moment. It's february, so i dare to say (again): it's coming this year :)

On my first one: i should have shown the details, which are completely no-nos :)

Ray Larabie's picture

Cough it up, font designers. Let's go.

Yaronimus-Maximus's picture

thanx HRANT!

dezcom's picture

I have to do some digging. My old stuff was last seen in an archeology dig in the Peloponnesus.

ChrisL

nina's picture

LOL. Don your excavation hat, Chris :-)

I am very impressed with the stuff posted by Sebastian, Mark and Yaron (deep awe there!) – but I'd also love to see some more ugly stuff. ;) Bring out the real monsters & sins guys. :)

Mark Simonson's picture

I don't know if they would be considered monsters, but these were my first "serious" attempts at digital fonts:

These are from about 1990. The first two were drawn directly in Fontographer, referencing paper sketches I did throughout the eighties. The third was traced in Fontagrapher from scans of large drawings I made about 1980. I consider them naïve. They have a lot of design and spacing issues. I learned a lot from doing them. I sometimes entertain notions of resurrecting one or more of these, but my tastes and priorities have other ideas.

BeauW's picture

Hah,

I haven't seen anything like these...

Not my absolutely first, but the first I can read text with.
The first was pretty amusing to set as the default serif in my web browser,
as long as the site didn't specify too small a pointsize.

I was just having fun and learning the software, not to say I've done anything much more impressive recently. I'm still learning and only now am I starting to to attempt a real text-face.

nina's picture

"The first was pretty amusing to set as the default serif in my web browser"

:-D  I would so have tried that too. Great stuff!

raph's picture

Fun thread! I decided to dig up some of my really old stuff and play too.

Here's one of the first fonts I ever designed, for an old Epson FX-80 dot matrix printer. The basic resolution was 72 dpi, but by taking multiple passes you could amp it up. I also, of course, wanted proportional width, which was a big deal back then. I don't have an exact date, but suspect it would have been around 1984, maybe 85. It wasn't my absolute first font (that would have been making new 8x16 bitmaps for the Tandy 1000, which was programmable that way), but the first for print.

I also did a Hebrew, and got started on a shadowed font too. Oooh, special effects!

But the first scalable font I ever designed was Zaltbommel, intended to be an industrial design, but with very open apertures so it would work in small print. My dad and I called it "Shmuro," as a kind of riff off Eurostile, before he chose the final name. As you can see, it was designed on a grid. I wrote the font editor myself, but that's not so impressive, everything was based on bitmaps at 256 to the em, and then scaled entirely in bitmap space. It looked pretty bad in large sizes. Anyway, the date on this one is "Thanksgiving Day, 1986".

Thankfully, I've gotten better since then.

hrant's picture

Zaltbommel's "a" was actually ahead of its time!

hhp

nina's picture

Zaltbommel looks pretty cool! (Maybe except for the "r", heh.)
Raph, were the bitmap-based ones forced to a narrow maximal width, or did you just prefer "W"s that look like upside-down "M"s? :-)

Pieter van Rosmalen's picture

Hi all,

These are my first typeface and lettering… things:

Pieter

ill sans's picture

Nice thread & quite relieving to see ;-)

Here's my shamefull first:

http://typophile.com/node/27678

I've only done a few vector 'fonts' & then I decided I was better off doing bitmap fonts since they make it a whole lot easier to disguise amateurism (although I've done some bad examples of those as well).

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