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Centra - A Rounded/Hairline Serif

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Aaron Thesing's picture
Joined: 6 Jul 2009 - 1:10am
Centra - A Rounded/Hairline Serif

Hello. I'm new to this site and I'd like some feedback on a font I initially developed in the fall.

I "drew" it all in Illustrator CS and used TypeTool to actually make it into a font file. It is based on circles and lines. Every curved element is an arc cut right off a circle. You can see this in the image where I mark the arcs in magenta and the lines in cyan.

I'd like to remake this entirely in TypeTool because I'm pretty clueless with that program, and going from Illustrator to TypeTool didn't give me the precision I wanted. Ideally this is for display, so i don't see it getting any smaller than 16pt. The construction allows for multiple weights to easily be added.

So, thoughts? Any particular characters that don't work in the circle/line structure? Any recommendations for good TypeTool tutorials? Are there basic type things I'm overlooking/destroying?

Thanks for any help.

P.S. I call it Centra. The name sounds like a mash up of Century and Futura, which wasn't intended. It is supposed to suggest circles. Thoughts?

Asparuh T's picture
Joined: 1 Nov 2007 - 11:26am

Warning: I'm not a professional designer, so do not take my notes too seriously.

Generally I like the whole spirit of it, but you follow too strictly the geometrical proportions - which does make it look somehow unbalanced. Visual balance is not an exact plain geometry.

C is too wide, while H is too narrow. K is quite close to H, so try to make the difference between them more obvious. M seems too wide, but maybe it's just me; same goes for U. One of the hardest ones to draw - S - looks nice, but again unproportionally narrow. Generally you get the idea, the width of some of the characters bothers the eye.

The height of lowercase t is too small - no ascender at all, and looks considerably thinner than the other characters - obviously this is just an optical illusion, but you need to compensate this. Here I should repeat the width matter too - the y is too wide in comparison to v, for example.

Both Z's - uppercase and lowercase - seem too rounded to be distinctive. Same goes for numbers 3 and 5, which look interesting, but do not match with the other characters.

These are just my 2¢, so better wait for more qualified opinion - after all I'm still an amateur in this field.

johnnydib's picture
Joined: 13 Oct 2008 - 11:39pm

>>Any particular characters that don’t work in the circle/line structure?
N and V. Maybe they should be an exception.
>>Are there basic type things I’m overlooking/destroying?
"Offshoot" is when rounded letters (like O and C) exceed the cap line and the baseline as opposed to straight letters (like E and T and L) that sit on the baseline not below it and they do not exceed the cap line. I's not as noticeable in a lightweight like the one you have here but when you start building the bold version (which you should) you'll start noticing the C and O to be shorter than the rest if you don't pay attention to offshoot.

There's a million things to fix here but start with ditching the grid and fixing the widths as mentioned above.
The fact that you have a basic character set is a great start and I really like the "a" and "q".

Keep us updated.