Arial Redux, complete lowercase

[Edit: This idea started in the Fix Arial Type Battle]

I was casting around on a client project for a sans where I could modify the n & m to match the geometric look of the logo (stemless) for their identity package. The project gave me an excuse to tinker on the Arial alphabet. Here's the lc (with alt n m) and a text setting:

I don't expect this to go further anytime soon. There's just enough to meet the deadline for the stationary package.


I'd hit it.

- Scott

I digg the "k" ;)

This is rad. What does it look like with the stem cap on the "m" and "n" as in the "r"? What are those little protrusions called, by the way?

I like that k form too. I think I originally got the idea from Walbaum, and originally implemented it in one of my first efforts to draw a workable font. It took me a while to find, but it dates way back to the dawn of Typophile, and my type journey. *Warning* the following link contains graphic images of font brutality:

It played a bit part in a Typecon presentation in 2004, and there was some distinct snickering when the title went up. *sniff* Hehe. It is good to look back and see some progress.

Edit for Nachos: It reads, but looks off balance, especially at the end of a word like "butter" ie round+stemless-r. The more the stemlessness goes in, the less workable in text. Dax and others counter this by injecting a corner for the missing stem. That allows them to bring the feature into the r,u,b,d,p,q etc.

My eye double-takes on every stemless letter.


I thought this was a gnarly challenge, yet one that really needed to be done. If you finish this, you will have to be sure to leave the word "arial" out of the title. This is wholly new and fresh, yet nicely references the challenger.


Eliason: If people use this for text with the alt n & m the fur is sure to fly, since a great many already detest Arial/Helvetica for text. FWIW, there are regular n/m in the font.

macursus: Thanks.

Did you try the same alteration on the 'u'?

Very nice dude. In response to macursus I think we SHOULD call it "Arial", that way they might be forced to stick that pig of a type travesty and make way for a better animal. IMAGINE! Positive connotations attached to the word "Arial" haha Ah, who am I kidding macursus it'll never work. Let's just cut our losses and focus on better work.

Arial has one good connotation, Good Rendering on Screen.

Not to me — I immediately think the opposite. The letterforms were not designed for legibility, and it shows. The superhinted screen rendering is nowhere near the legibility of, for example, Verdana. One needs the more open counters of a humanist sans design.

In any case, I think I like what Randy did here. The corner treatment feels like overexposed phototype, and combines with the missing stems to yield an interesting retro-futuristic feeling. (Having not gone back to re-read the whole thread, probably somebody else already said that....)



Thanks for the comments. I think Arial is well hinted as rui abreu mentions, but also that the design is not as effective as other options for long stretches of running text, per Thomas.

The forms do have a benefit:
I recently watched the Helvetica film, and one comment sticks with me (I forget who it was). They were saying that all the letters in Helvetica feel like they are set in concrete when next to each other. It is down to the closed forms, and vertical stress with low contrast IMO. There is massive lockup for almost all letter combinations. This stability results in fonts well suited for making logos and setting headlines. Sounds like a recipe for overexposure and dulled creativity, which I think is the root of most people's issues with the genre.

However, as I said in the main post, this project has shed a positive light on both Helvetica and Arial for me. Whenever I've tried to improve something I perceive as lacking, the result is that I esteem it more.