Mint

Bendy's picture

Hi,
Here's what I've been working on for the last week, taking a break from Eternal (in the serif crit section).

I started with the intention of creating something very crisp and clean, following the current trend for roundy corners. I wanted the shapes to look slightly experimental, so tell me if they work or don't work yet.

I wanted a large x-height and non-descending caps to work for small sizes and for screen use. It was a struggle to fit the tail of the g in there, and I had to break the rule with Q a little. I've got only autohinting at present, and need to work out how the off-verticals will work on screen (for example M anti-aliases rather badly).

Strangely, it somehow looks like there's a bit of Optima in there, which I've only just noticed. I don't have numerals yet. Hate drawing numerals.

I'll refrain from picking out individual characters for now to see what you guys think first.

AttachmentSize
Mint.pdf433.4 KB
Mint Ultralight and Ultrablack First Draft.pdf445.66 KB
Mint Booklet.pdf506.35 KB
Mint Specimen May 2011.pdf528.1 KB
Bendy's picture

Yes, you're right. Thanks :)

eliason's picture

If you do include a "quasi-tailed" U alternate, do you think it should be a little wider? To my eye the different shape calls for a wider counter.

Bendy's picture

Yes, nice observation. I wonder why that is.

Bendy's picture

New a on the right.

I like the reinforced verticality the top terminal provides.

Sindre's picture

Yes, that new a is good. But is that straight vertical terminal just a little too stiff? Do you think a slight rounding could work?

Bendy's picture

Do you mean to shorten the straight end of the terminal so the 'corners' have a larger radius? Or get rid of the straight section and have a teardrop ending? Hm, will see what I can try.

Here's the new d on the right. Is is too fat? I added 20 units.

Bendy's picture

Here's the a experiment.


I think I prefer number 2, without the rounding. It fits better with the other letters? I tried tilting the terminal the other way in number 4. It might work next to an r, as a contextual alternate. But if this is a display face it would be quite distracting I think.

nina's picture

Number 2 would be my favorite too. #3 gets a bit too "lyrical" maybe?
Though seen next to the "S", I wonder if your original "a" (that's the one on the far left, yes?) doesn't still match the font best. Hm.

Btw, might there something wrong with the weight of the "y"? It looks a bit heavy here.

Bendy's picture

Yes, y is dark. I can perhaps thin the left arm but the real problem is the dark patch where the tail joins, and I can't reduce it without changing the premise of active counters. I'll see what happens when I gnaw the top counter.

Yes, the original is on the left; it does fit well with S. Difficult to compromise.

eliason's picture

Would a notch under 'y''s left stroke (like Meta, for example) be too "stroky," or could that be achieved as an "active counter"?

I agree about 'a' #2, though #3 is not bad.

Sindre's picture

Gee, this is difficult. Isolated, I think the second and third a both work well, but I have to agree that the original's direction suits the face best. How about a compromise between the original and number three, by marginally increasing the radius of the no. 1 terminal and making the top shape slightly more curved? Er, this is just thinking aloud.

merkri's picture

I'd have to vote for the original a. It seems more consistent with the other letters. Number 2 is good too, though.

Bendy's picture

Ok so I'm not sure whether I should continue on this.

Seeing a lorry (truck) today, I suddenly got a bit worried some letters are really close to Miles Newlyn's (much more polished) logotype for Sainsbury's supermarket.


It seems the logotype has subconsciously been in my head all along. The proportions, x-height and even the shapes are almost identical!

I'm not sure if a full glyph set would have been developed for Sainsbury's, but I don't agree with plagiarism.

The choices seem to be:
1. Keep developing Mint as a natural process and not pay attention to the similarities with Sainsbury's; after all every font is somewhat derivative;
2. Keep developing Mint but intentionally differentiate it from Sainsbury's; this may risk altering some of the things that I really like about it.
3. Stop work on it?

So, typophiles, please help! What would you advise? :S

guifa's picture

I don't think they look that close. Keep going on your own.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Bendy's picture

That's reassuring. I got maybe a bit over worried: it's not cool to copy.

paragraph's picture

Bendy, designing type is really exciting, but your experience is what I find the most difficult aspect of it: we pick up visual cues all the time, below the conscious level, and they may surface at any time. On the other hand, people thinking about type share some trends, so it's quite possible that you will do something that others will do almost simultaneously, without any copying. With so many people working on type design nowadays, it would be a miracle if you'd get to the finished, polished stage of any of your fonts without a confrontation like this. Just keep going, you approach is original enough. See where it takes you. Best of luck.

Bendy's picture

That is really good advice. It's just a bit disappointing to realise what you think is your idea perhaps wasn't as original as you thought! Thanks :)

paragraph's picture

You're welcome. Looking at the G again, did you consider something like this?

Bendy's picture

I did try that, with a bit of a round corner, think it may be a good solution. Will post a revised pdf with the 'gnawed' counters and better cohesion later so you can see what you think of the G. It looks narrow too, for a slightly extended font. Thanks :)

Sindre's picture

That Sainsbury's logo looks clumsy and sluggish next to your elegant letters. I'm confident you'll make your typeface what those letters wish they were. Keep up the good work!

Bendy's picture

Actually I quite admire Newlyn's work on the whole. This must have been designed to withstand printing at small sizes on packaging, not as a display face.
Nevertheless your comments are good to hear! Will keep going with this, watch this space. Thanks :)

Quincunx's picture

Yeah, I would also just keep developing it.

I've had something like that a while back too, when I was designing a serif typeface. I had been working on that one for over a year, and somewhere in the end of that year influences from another typeface creeped in subconsciously. In the end it looked too much like the other typeface, but luckily I had some backup .vfb's from before I was influenced by the other design. So I could basically pick it up from there.

Bendy's picture

New pdf at the top. In a bit of a rush! Hope it works. Look forward to hearing comments!

eliason's picture

I know you're going for wide, but that y strikes me as unfittingly big. Maybe just raise the intersection a little to mitigate the counter size?

Tittles a touch too low?

Bottom half of ampersand could be wider.

b's bowl seems much more dynamic in shape than that of d/p/q.

I wonder if these flaring strokes will pose problems for the intended uses of screen/web. I get jaggies galore looking at it on screen now. That comes down to hinting I suppose, which remains unfortunately opaque to me yet (which I'll have to figure out for my own font soon).

K, k, Q, and q are just great!

Bendy's picture

Yup, hinting's not going to be fun. Let me know if you come across any how-to-hint instructions anywhere!
I'll have a look at the tittles. The y is driving me crazy. I didn't want to have the whitespace cut into the bottom like in Meta (I did that trick in Eternal too) but it means there's a lot of black under the join, which is why there's a lot of white above. Hm, will see what bringing the join up does. I can't get b right. If it has a circular bowl the bottom join looks rubbish, but yes the sheared bowl doesn't quite fit with the other glyphs. The same was true on q but looks ok there I think. I'm still not quite sure about the Q's tail. Ideally it shouldn't descend at all, so I might bring it up a bit (but then it crashes into other letters unless it's shorter, then it looks stubby. I tried curved tails in all directions and it definitely looks better straight.)
Thanks :)

nina's picture

Ben, thank you for making the "g" so prominent in your newest PDF.  ;-)

I feel your pain about the "Q", too many options in that glyph! I think yours is pretty cool, though something about it seems a bit goofy/uncomfortable to me. It's almost like the tail was a bit… self-conscious. OK, that doesn't make sense. Maybe if it was slightly heavier?

The "q" I love to bits! I think it's beautiful.
And the "b" is very different indeed. Maybe it could be just a bit wider at the bottom? Its NE "pull" seems a bit extreme. It also looks rather narrow as is.

Speaking of widths, in "zephyrs" I wonder if the "h" is a hair narrow compared to the (voluptuously round) "p"?

I'm not sure about the "k", it feels pretty… flamboyant? :-)

Your "s" is great! I'm envious. ;-)

Agree about the "y", I'd try just raising the left diagonal to make the bowl smaller.

"z" strikes me as a bit too light in text ("pizza").

BTW, sorry bout not saying anything about your Sainsbury incident yet. I was sick and pretty incoherent, so haven't been posting too much. For the record, I agree that yours is more interesting. The Sainsbury type is nice, but seems a bit more sleek and forgettable. In any case, please keep going: It's wonderful to see this evolve.

Bendy's picture

Yep, thought you'd like a nice big g!

I'm really pleased the q is going down so well. I really want the b to be attractive too. Gosh, it's such a multidimensional balancing act with all the widths and shapes and weights and flares and goodness knows what else. I wonder if I've over-extended the dp and q. The z does look light.

This is a good place to be. Thanks everyone :)

nina's picture

"Gosh, it’s such a multidimensional balancing act with all the widths and shapes and weights and flares and goodness knows what else"
Hell, yes! And the most evil thing is how you can't even isolate the variables. Like, you change an angle on a diagonal and then it looks like the whole thing is wayy too narrow. And then you change it back and then it's too heavy. And then you put in a trap and then it's just bumpy. Argh.
Now if it wasn't so addictive… and beautiful… :-)

johnnydib's picture

Very good name for the typeface :D

Bendy's picture

Thanks :)

I'm having trouble getting some of the letters to fit. I can't tell quite what's wrong with them so can anyone suggest why they don't fit?

G. It still looks freaky and I can't tell why. Is it too wide? Is the crossbar too high? Is it the odd SE curve?

Q. The tail. Most fonts with similar proportions seem to have a tail that dangles off the bottom, but I really don't want that style. Has anyone seen other fonts with a horizontal tail like mine?

b. Yes, it does have a twist that needs resolving. I think I can play with that and see what happens.

1. I can't get an effective head serif on it. I wanted a wide shape there but it looks very much like a tilted 7. I don't want foot serifs on it but perhaps I should try that?

The other things I've noticed are the incorrect stress on # and the £ needs much more of a curved spine. I'm not sure the comma is the right shape.

Craig, I wonder if the top of the ampersand should be smaller, rather than the bottom getting bigger?

I'm hoping the spacing on this will be easier than on Eternal, as there aren't serifs and the straights are straight.

Taking a break now :)

eliason's picture

Some horizontal Q's:
Univers and Avenir and Serifa
Rotis Sans and Semi Sans
Corbel

I wonder if the top of the ampersand should be smaller, rather than the bottom getting bigger?

Maybe so, or maybe a combination of the two.

Bendy's picture

So I fiddled with the ear and bowl of my g:

And the tail of Q, which because it was lower than the baseline, made the glyph look tall rather than wide.

More soon :)

eliason's picture

new = g with the curvy underear and Q with the higher tail? You may have to fit "before" and "after" labels into these animations! (Actually I find animations easy to see changes but a bit more difficult to evaluate.)

Bendy's picture

Sorry, that's right. :)

Bendy's picture

Ok, so there's a new pdf up top. I started generating the punctuation, symbols and extended Latin glyphs, and even thought about alternate caps which may or may not work. I'm much happier with G and Q, and have tweaked bdpq and widened o a lot. Minor changes on £, zero and e.

I realise I need to go back to the numerals again. Especially their sidebearings. After looking at Praxis I redesigned the 7 too. Like it.

Apologies for the overlap on some of the composites.

How's the spacing looking overall? And are K and k still looking too interesting? ;)

Anything else that isn't quite working?

eliason's picture

Good progress!

Overall spacing is too tight to my taste.

Are O/o thicker on the right than the left?

Period and comma should be quite a bit bigger, I think. Apostrophe and its relatives, too.

Squircular copyright is cool!

b's looking good.

I think your big wide figures are working quite well and mesh with the caps well, too.

Is pertenthousand really a glyph? :-) Array of bullets is great.

Okay, I've got to say this and then duck the shoes thrown by Nina and you - I'm not convinced by the g. :-\ I think my hangup is the weakness of its SE corner, or the too-great contrast between that thin and the thickened quasiserif terminal at the SW. Plus is looks relatively narrow. It's just jumping out to me in text as a wrong sort. (All of which is not to say that it wouldn't still look great blown up and hung on Nina's wall. :-) )

Bendy's picture

Thanks Craig! Good to have some crit :)
If I said this was not intended to be a font for body text would your suggestions about the period and comma and spacing be different? I'm thinking of Mint as a display font, also suitable for web and short runs of text. That's because it works well at large sizes but also the clean simple shapes and smooth counters render well on screen at 10-13 point (even at this unhinted stage). (Admittedly I need to figure out some fix for the jaggies at larges sizes on screen.) Perhaps I've misrepresented my intention by setting it in paragraphs on the pdf. I think I'm more inclined towards narrow spacing but if it's even narrow for display use then I'll add some more air in there and beef up the punctuation.

>Are O/o thicker on the right than the left?
It's possible, though not intentional. I did it purely by eye and haven't measured anything. Is the degree of optical correction necessary for symmetry the same for everyone?

I wasn't too sure about the squircular copyright, but will leave it for the time being.

Numerals. Hm. There's something about them that's not quite working, especially the 1 and 2. Good to hear you think they mesh well. I like that word.

Here's a preview of the alternates in context:

Awwww! You don't like g?!? It seems to me to follow the same pattern as s and the contrast is about the same as o, maybe a bit too much you're right. Maybe I can tug some of the weight of the crossbar down into that SE corner. You know, looking at it now, it looks kind of light next to the other letters. I originally designed it bigger then shrank it down so maybe that's where the weight has gone. As for widening it, I think the head would become too oblong. Somehow I'm reluctant to change it but you could be right, it could take the font to a whole new level. I don't like killing my babies...waah!

eliason's picture

Yes, if this is truly a display font then the punctuation size and spacing might be fine. And I probably would change your specimen accordingly.

And yes, I would say first thing to do on the 'g' is give that SE corner more weight - that may very well be all it needs.*

I forgot to mention one other thing before - I'm bothered by the low crossbar of 't'.

*Did you consider offering an alternate 'g'? I think your b/d/p/q have wound up among the best and most characteristic letterforms of Mint, so I'd be interested in seeing what you could do with a one-story 'g'.

nina's picture

OK, finally got a coherent bit of time to look at the new PDF! This is cool stuff, Ben.
Overall, I love the level of detailing. It seems very carefully designed. Like, there's even a lil' curve where the ogonek connects! Sweet.
I wonder how large the "g" will be in the next sample. ;-)

Some detail thoughts (salt to taste):

– No shoe-throwing on my part, but yes I still like the "g". I'm not married to every coordinate of every node, it's mostly the white space in the tail, esp the join, that just kills me. Overall, the glyph still looks good to my eyes (but what do I know!)
– I now wonder if the top-right of the "s" isn't recoiling a tiny hair.
– The "fl" ligature looks very nice!
– On reading, I'm not sure if the bottom terminals of the "c" and "e" don't jump out a bit much. It might just be my bad printer, that or my eyes are a bit type-tired.
– Spacing: Looks mostly quite good to me. I'm thinking your straight-straights could be a bit looser – look at "verticillasters" in the bottom paragraph, the "ill" seems to create a bit of a dark spot?

– Something looks strange about the "C" compared to "G" and "O" – might it be a bit narrow?
– I'm not sure the way the "Q" pulls up its right-side belly to accommodate the tail doesn't look a bit cramped now. :-/ In any case, I think it looks wide.

– I dig your cap eszett. It has an interesting balance of being angular and rounded.
– There might however be a problem with your lc eszett: Seeing it next to the longs, it looks like it stops short of ascender height? I'd say that's a bad idea – it tends to "look wrong" to Germans. I would just make it ascend all the way – they do look like they're too massive, but I believe Germans don't mind that. :-\
– Your eth is really nice. Making a bold version may be problematic though. I think you have enough room to raise the crossbar a bit.
– Dieresis: I would probably move the dots a bit farther apart (mind collisions in stuff like "fä" though). They might well be a hair smaller too. Don't make them *too* small – but they definitely don't need to be equal to the tittle.
– I'm personally no fan of the cap alternates (they look very 70s to me), but that's so subjective that you really shouldn't care.

– Numerals are cool. I love the new "7"!
– One thing I'm unsure about is the bottom-left of the "2"; might be a bit too roundy? Dunno.

– The asterisk is nice! I only wonder about its strange rotation. It looks a bit like it's spinning around. :)
– Your guillemets seem more boring than they need to be. Maybe they can borrow some features from the asciicircum (? the thing next to the pilcrow).
– I love the @ sign! Looks great.
– Currency signs look sweet. I'm wondering if the Euro could be a bit wider? But that's probably connected to "C" above.
– Punctuation: I agree with Craig that some of this should be a bit more distinct/bold/big. The comma seems especially small, as do the apostrophes / single quotes. And at smaller sizes (like in your 8pt sample), the semicolon looks too similar to the colon. I think these thingies could also be spaced a bit farther away from whatever precedes them, to stand out more (especially important for reading on screen, I presume).

Now I'll lean back and enjoy watching this proceed. It's really sweet. I mean… seriously crisp and refreshing! ;-)

Bendy's picture

Thanks Nina, really useful detailed observations...I'm sure I can get the g even bigger, if I zoom into its tail next time :)

Glad the 'crisp and refreshing' idea seems to have turned out well.

Not sure what happened with lc eszett; I thought I made it with an f originally but it seems to have shrunken badly. Thanks for helping with the dieresis too...I'm not really used to how it looks. 2 is my Achilles heel. Something about the glyphs that open to the left makes them really tough.

Someone mentioned the spinning asterisk on Eternal before, I think it might be a trademark glyph for me ;)

I think @ turned out good too! I did try different guillemets more tapered but they looked rubbish somehow. I'll include them in the next pdf so you can see what I mean.

I'll enlarge the punctuation and see what can be done about f_i which was more an experiment than a good idea.

I think I preferred the & with loops more equal in size. I might try a classical shape for it as an alternate too. Something like in Barmeno, which has a good ampersand. I don't somehow like my question mark either. Perhaps the same story as 2.

I didn't miss your comment about a bold version...hah, well! I'd love to try it :) Once I'm happy with the Medium, I'll do a Craig and post some ideas so you can advise what kind of bold and/or italic to tackle next.

I like the idea of a monocular g. Will consider it for an alt.

Thanks guys, good crit :D

Bendy's picture

I'm rather pleased with the way g.alt has turned out:


And I've widened the standard g, made the whole thing a bit heavier and put more weight into the tail.

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Really nice typeface!
Maybe you could try to turn over the top of the 5, like the 7. ;)

KUTGW! :)

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

eliason's picture

On the g.alt, nailed it! :-)

nina's picture

Man, those are some seriously nice "g"s. Wow. Yum!

The regular "g" looks a bit angrier now. Probably the determined ear coupled with the new tenseness of the tail? Or maybe it's just me.
In any case, I really like it. I even like the new one. ;)

Bendy's picture

Angry? I wasn't aiming for angry! Actually I was aiming for cool. Oh dear :/

nina's picture

Ben, mind the salt!
Maybe "angry" was a bad word. But I would say it looks more "determined",
more self-confident somehow, more assertive. In a good way. The old one
was a bit "limper".
But maybe I'm just listening to too much angry music at the moment. ;-)

Bendy's picture

I think the tail is a bit too squared on the right side. I'll loosen it up a bit and perhaps do reversed contrast (exciting!) so the parallel horizontals are heavy.

The 2 needed a larger top counter, I think:

Thanks for all the encouragement everyone! :)

eliason's picture

I think a more "bubbly" round counter for 2 is a fitting idea, but that SW corner isn't working, IMO. Did you try an outer contour that's angled instead of curved? Kind of like Z's bottom but more acutely angled - or better, take your M and rotate it 90 degrees CCW and use the (new) bottom as a guide.

Plans for 'g' sound intriguing...

Bendy's picture

Thanks Craig, think perhaps I got somehow attached to the interesting bend there at the bottom. Something like this?

Bendy's picture

I really want the binocular g to work. Here's my latest experiment.


On the left is the original that we thought wasn't quite working.

So I widened the bowl and made the tail thicker. Then Nina said it looked kind of angry. I thought the tail looked a bit boxy.

So I tried again and the one on the right shows what happens if the tail goes thick-thin-thick. Look at the shape of the bottom counter to see the difference most acutely.

Should I try something else?

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