Thin Grotesque

mattmc's picture

I wanted to create an elegant thin grotesque typeface for my own use and a collaborative project I'll be working on with a friend. I found some inspiration in Helvetica Ultra Light, Gotham, and Museo. I did try to combine the influences to create something with it's own unique characteristics hopefully (mostly in lowercase characters a,b,d,g,l,p,q,w).

I've noticed that some of the diacritics have rendered really poorly, but I haven't quite been able to figure out why (they are barely visible in the PDF, some not at all in the screenshot below, but they show up fine in FontLab)

I plan on expanding it to a book, bold, and black weight, I just want work out the kinks in this weight first and fix the kerning (right now I've been manually adjusting in Illustrator)


PDF version

Edit: I was able to fix my problem with the diacritics

Lysyszyn's picture

That's avery nice typeface!
There are only two things that seem weird to me:
- in @, there a lot of space above the "a" and very little beneth it... This could be a problem in small sizes.
- lowercase q - I don't think it needs this sherif, it looks really weird to me. But that's just me:)
Keep up the good work!
- Filip Łysyszyn

riccard0's picture

I suppose the hook is used in order to avoid that p and q look mirrored.
But now b & q and p & d have the same shape (albeit rotated).
Have you tried to place the hook at bottom of the p and at top of the q (which should create a nece pseudo ligature qu)?
Very nice work, by the way.

Number3Pencils's picture

You've got this geometric thing going on with the caps, and it works well there. The uppercase reminds me vaguely of Neutraface. However, the lowercases are of two minds. Some of them are based off of what looks like a perfect ellipse (most of the round letters). Others, though, have a humanist feel in the round parts (ahmnu, and to a lesser extent fjltr). I think the letters would work better with each other if they all had the same feeling. If you go with the elliptical idea, I think the round parts could be slightly more square. The humanist curves seem, to me, to work better with the serifs you have on abdglpqt, but perhaps not as well with your caps, which are more geometric.

There are also some curves that look a bit rough to me: BJPRSU, stu, and possibly a (depending on which way you go). For the B, P, and R, I would suggest making your horizontal straightaways a little longer. The J and U need longer vertical straightaways.

I think it's fine that b & q and p & d have the same shape when rotated. They do in lots of fonts.

mattmc's picture

Thanks for the all the feedback. I've been thinking about how some of the lowercase characters relate to the uppercase. Here are some alternate options I came up with. I'm thinking the straight serifs would call for a full redesign of all the characters but maybe an option for another version of the typeface.

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mattmc's picture

more modified lowercase characters

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Number3Pencils's picture

The bowl of your g joins the stem differently from any other letters that have a bowl and a stem. I think they should all be the same. True, the g's bowl is a bit shorter, but the a has a short bowl too and joins like the other letters.

mattmc's picture

are you suggesting the I design the bowl of the g to look similar to the bowl of the a? That seems like it would look strange. Or do you have another suggestion what what I might do to the g?

What do you think of modified abcdglpqhknrt in relation to the uppercase I posted initially?

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Number3Pencils's picture

I was suggesting that the bowl of the g should look more like the bowl of the d--in your d, the stem stops the ellipse shape and makes it incomplete, and the g is the only letter where that ellipse is complete.

I like the new serif structure in your latest set of letters, although I personally would leave the g with no serif (since all the other serifs are on the top left or bottom right of a letter). In the bowl shapes, though, I still see the clash that I was talking about before. If you drop a line from the top to the bottom extremum in your "o", it'll run vertically straight through your letter. If you stacked an "n" on top of a "u", though, and did the same thing, the line would run diagonal. That's what I'm trying to talk about.

Also, for the m and n I prefer the serif on the top left. I don't think the t needs a top serif.

mattmc's picture

ah okay, i see what you mean about both the g and o. here are some modified characters including the g with a similar connection of bowl and stem and two versions of the o with modified axis

thanks for all the suggestions by the way, i really appreciate the help.

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Number3Pencils's picture

Why doesn't the top arm of the k come up to the x-height line? Also, are the two o's in the latest image meant to be different? I can't see any difference between them.

I think I prefer the first g. And possibly the second y.

mattmc's picture

The axis of each of those o's is slightly different. I was trying to mimic the n a bit

the k was a mistake, I just fixed it in fontlab

I'm wondering if the bowl of the first g looks too large...

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mattmc's picture

more revised characters...

i think i might just be using the serif on the bottom right of lower case characters. it looked strange when setting words in the top left in the n and r

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mattmc's picture

I've cleaned up a lot of the capital letters and changed to the most recent lowercase letters with the lower descender

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sim's picture

Good work so far. However, I would corrected the space that is too large and the spacing too tight at my point of view.

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