MF Sweet Sans

Martijn van Berkel's picture

I will let Geometro rest for around a week, so now I made something new.
I always wanted to make a nice sans-serif font of text purposes, so I started my first project on that.
The name is Sweet Sans for now (or is it right?/do you know a better name?). After making some glyphs, I realised I started a little bit thin, so this will be the Light/Thin version. I did not take a lot of time for spacing- and kerning details, etc.

Here's a preview:

See the attachment for a PDF file of the glyphs I've made today.
I thought, let's place it here now, before I screw up the rest. :P
This is my second big typeface project, first time completely in FontLab. :D

I hope this will be a nice font. :)

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

MFSweetSansFirstBeta.pdf248.51 KB
MFSweetSansLightBeta.pdf76.94 KB
MFSweetSansLightBeta2.pdf49.69 KB
chrisherron's picture

This is strong work. Considering your age, you are obviously cut out for type design. I like the contrast is weight, and the overall feel. I am not a type designer like most of the other readers of this site, but I could make a few suggestions:
1) The rounded shapes of the bowls need optical compensation along the baseline etc. This will become more important as you design heavier weights. See below.

2) Some of the letters, like the e, m, and n, are a little left leaning, which is nice. But some of the other letters, like the f and c, feel very upright. There's a little tension there. But that's kind of nit-picky.

You are off to a great start...

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Thanks for your reply, Chris. I will adjust the rounded shapes soon. For now, I've been working on this font and the letters are finished now, together with a bunch of other glyphs. I've added a new PDF to the OP ("MFSweetSansLightBeta.pdf"), please review.

Replies much appreciated. :)

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Last Reply: 1 week 21 hours ago


sim's picture

Good work. I'll make some comments: the oblique of the Æ seems to thick, same for the M, Y. Also, I think you should use an ink trap for letter with an oblique in it (M' N in particular) or reduce the thickness . You should work on the top of the bottom bowl of the B, this section should be higher a bit. The bottom left of the 3 seems too square or the top on is too rounded. Keep going!

Bendy's picture

Hi Martijn :)
This looks good. Here are some observations (I'm no expert though!):
@ looks very large.
B needs a larger bottom bowl, smaller on top.
C, G and J look perhaps a little narrow.
I might consider giving K a different knee: a lower join with the bottom leg connected to the arm rather than the stem. Or take the arm and leg apart from the stem to give a bit more width?
M looks narrow.
OPQR are very pleasant.
The curves on S looks a bit like the curves go too far round into the spine. Perhaps you could make the spine a bit steeper with the BCPs nearer the extrema? See the S in Modena Light to see what I mean.
The lc is looking really nice.
I think the crossbar on e could afford to be a smidge lower.
h could be slightly too wide?
Tail on j looks a bit long to me.
The bottom of the bowl of q should be more shaped like the bottom of the bowl of d (more upwards in the SE corner)
The arm on r looks a bit thin.
Try making the crossbar on t a similar length to the foot.
u looks wide.
I usually prefer a straight y, but that's just my taste.

Good luck and keep going :)

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Hi everyone!

I haven't been working on my fonts for a while, because of school. End of the year, many tests, you know. Luckily I done everything good enough and I'm graduated to 5 VWO.

Thanks sim and Ben, I've corrected most from your comments and now I'm finalizing it for a new preview, but first I want you to choose between some pairs of glyphs. Which one do you like the most? See the image below:

Thanks in advance!

By the way, it's my birthday in 4 days, w00t!

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

Bendy's picture

Actually I'm preferring the first y :)
r...the first one, though I'd flare the terminal slightly.
l...the first one, I think...but would have to see a paragraph with each style.
G...I think the first one will fit better with the other letters but again should see a paragraph to judge best. Should the crossbar be longer?
Good work, keep going ;)

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Thanks for your comment, Ben!

Here are some sentences for you to judge better. If it's not enough, than I will make complete paragraphs, which I did't feel like to do just yet. :P

For the y:

For the r:

For the l:

For the G:

When I make a decision, the versions I didn't choose will be featured as alternates. :)
Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Just wanted to say that it is my birthday today! :D

I'd appreciate some comments about the pairs (above).

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

riccard0's picture

Second y
First r
Second l
First G

eliason's picture

Second y
First r
Second l
First G

I agree.

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Thanks for the replies.

I've added the file "MFSweetSansLightBeta2.pdf" to the main post to show you what I have at the moment.

C&C really appreciated. :)

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

nina's picture

Hi Martijn,
This is coming together impressively well! Congrats. I'm especially fond of the "a" and "e", they're truly beautiful. And the slight taper on top of the "t" is delicious!
But overall I'm most impressed with how well the "system" is expressed in all lettershapes. It looks quite mature.

Here are some questions/observations (but I'm not an expert either):

  • Maybe my biggest critique is that those letters that only have straight lines, especially diagonals, look a bit heavier and not as elegant as the "curvy" glyphs. Also, in some of these glyphs the joins are too dark (like in the "M" or "w") – try some [more] inktraps for optical correction maybe, or widen the joins. (You might enjoy this article by Mark Jamra: link to PDF, which explains some things about optical correction with useful before/after pictures.)
  • I wonder if you've tried to make the caps close together in width? The "L" seems rather wide, and the "M" (and maybe the "K") pretty narrow. Is that intentional?
  • Have you tried a "t" with a shorter foot, or a longer crossbar? This one looks nice, but it might be difficult to get the spacing right with that foot "in the way".
  • I'd suggest you give the stem-to-curve join of the "r" a closer look. It seems like the curve tapers less than in other comparable joins like the "n" etc.

Great work overall! Absolutely keep it up. :)

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Thanks for your comment, altaira! :D

1. I will put them together sometime and add more inktraps to the glyphs where needed.
2. The L could be somewhat narrower and the K wider. In my eyes, the M is good now, but I will review it later. ;)
3. I will try those two options out and see what's the best, or post them here for you to decide. :)
4. I've updated the "stem-to-curve joins" a while ago, but it seems like I've forgotten the r. It's fixed now. ;)

BTW: I have my doubts about the "S", "s" and the "2". Someone else too?

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

Martijn van Berkel's picture


What do you think about the “S”, “s” and the “2”? :)

Kind regards,
Martijn van Berkel

Bendy's picture

Hi Martijn, please remember I'm a learner too and take my observations more as questions than facts ;)
This is coming along very nicely indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing how you might approach a heavier weight.
The join of K is quite a dark spot. I think perhaps a solution might be to make the arm and leg one stroke, just touching the vertical, rather than have the top arm branching from the stem and the leg branching from the arm. Does that make sense?
M and N have maybe dark blobs at the junctures. I'd trap the counters slightly or thin them some more.
The crossbar on Q is unusual and slightly looks broken. I like the idea of tapering it inwards but there is a discontinuity between the inner and outer contours that is a bit arresting.
R's bowl is a bit wide in comparison to the supporting leg. Not sure whether the leg could be pushed out or the bowl brought in.
S I think looks a bit too wide next to T. Middle vertex of W needs lightening??
X could do with some optical correction; the crossover looks discontinuous — check Mark Jamra's article about this.
I'd add more rigour to the curves of e. To me it needs more superelliptical shoulders. It might do with being slightly wider too? Compare with o.
I think your l is causing problems in text. The foot is pretty long and creates wide spaces as Nina observed with the t.
Lowercase m is quite narrow compared to n. w and x maybe need similar treatment to W and X.
I think ring should have no observable stroke contrast. Not sure where I read that, sorry. It looks rather large to me. But I am not too familiar with its design.
Th ligature has an unbalanced crossbar — the stem of T is not centred?
I'll refrain from judging your numerals since I find them totally impossible to get looking anything like I hope. ;)
Hope that might be useful. Keep it up! :)

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Wow, that's a long time ago.
Have been busy with school for a long time, but I hope to continue working on this in my summer vacation. Maybe I'll finish the Geometro one first, and then complete most of Bendy's looong list and finishing the face itself.
*Nail biting*

Bendy's picture

Er, don't feel you have to follow my observations, I'm nowhere near qualified to tell you what's best. Be very cautious and critical as my tastes will be different to the way you envisaged this font and there is a multitude of possible ways to make a font work.

Look forward to the next update, in due course.

Martijn van Berkel's picture

Thanks for your comment, I'll try some ideas out and see what fits my tastes the most. :)

1996type's picture

Looks great so far, just one thing really bothers me. The r needs some adjustment. check:

the article about 'balance shapes' is what I mean but this is a great website in general. For a (kind of) text-face like yours these things are very important.

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