a sketchy garalde

juhani's picture

hello everyone. here's an oldstyle lowercase with a collection of features that aren't probably very original in themselves. i've been sketching with a broad pen and looking at Quadraat's italic, trying to arrive at some crude approximation of a garalde face. i thought i'd ask your opinion if there's any novelty in this try. all comments welcome!

hrant's picture

First, dump the pen.

Think with your brain.™

hhp

dojr2's picture

First: IMVHO I think there are many good things.
Second: using words to check a font does not work at such an early stage. you'd be better off checking all combinations, or at least all combinations with lead characters (typically: o, n, i)
Third: it already looks better on your small size than on your large size because of the harsh transitions in curve but is this what you want?

Drop the pen and think indeed. The pen is only a start, mostly to find the ductus, IMVHO.

Gary Lonergan's picture

This looks promising but the setting you have made looks very loose.
How about some caps and a decision on just how calligraphic
the face is going to be.

The broad nibbed pen remains a great way to generate ideas.
Even when you have a final character that looks off
ask yourself how a pen would form it.

hrant's picture

Ask yourself what the reader needs.

hhp

Gary Lonergan's picture

It was Bernd Möllenstadt gave me the tip about the broad nibbed pen

hrant's picture

Yes, 95% of type people will do that, some to a greater degree
than others. People tend to repeat what they've been taught.

My own thoughts have led to what I presented at the Mexico City
conference in October: that not only the pen and cartesian grid are
artificial constraints on type design, but the even the fundamental
idea that letters are "fattened" skeletons prevents us from properly
serving the reader.

To me the design expressed here is best rendered as faux type,
not a font. In that medium it would look quite charming I think.
Some recent discussion here: http://typophile.com/node/64369

hhp

Gary Lonergan's picture

On looking at the sample again I think the s looks a bit jerky.
Top and bottom should be more rounded and flowing. Centaur would
be a good face to look at because of its calligraphic construction.

hrant's picture

In fact it's arguably the prime example of reliance on the broad-nib pen, since Rogers physically traced over photographic enlargements of original Jenson prints to arrive at Centaur's forms; of course he was thereby necessarily assuming a certain design philosophy on the part of Jenson.

hhp

Gary Lonergan's picture

I remember reading about the genesis of Centaur and how Rogers wanted
to capture the spirit of Jenson's type. So rather then use a printed
example with its distortions due to ink squash etc he drew over bleached
out photographic enlargements.I think it's very successful.

But another type which has it origins in those times and was drawn by
Monotype to be a facsimile of an Aldine type is Poliphilus. This was meant
to recreate the appearance of a 15th century printed page.
In text sizes it works very well nice and dark much more character
than Bembo for example.

Wouldn't be brilliant if any drawings or sketches which punchcutters
used in those times remained. Of course it may be they didn't use
sketches just had perhaps a calligraphic page as a guide.
I've strayed sorry can Juhani tell us whats happening with his type?

hrant's picture

> Wouldn’t be brilliant if any drawings or sketches
> which punchcutters used in those times remained.

Indeed, but only for people who know how to "read" them!
Especially in the case where the type designer and the
punchcutter were not the same person, the latter would
be a "silent modifier", greatly affecting the results.

And in many (most?) cases where the designer and punchcutter
were the same person, there were no drawings - the guy simply
started cutting!

hhp

Gary Lonergan's picture

I have often wondered about the ability of someone to make typeforms
when they don't understand the language or letterforms.
Hermann Zapf for example designed Arabic and Greek typefaces.
This should probably now be a fresh topic

hrant's picture

Yes, it would be great to start a new thread!
(I've done that myself, like for Hebrew and Georgian.)

hhp

juhani's picture

thanks for the comments & sorry for my late response. the typeface hasn't gone much further yet.

my main concern is how the type works in text size. i was hoping the pen characteristics, like abrupt transitions & asymmetric serifs, would come through as more than just calligraphy reference. i think these features are less eye-catching in smaller size and contribute to the overall feel & rhythm of the text. the contrasts of form are more important than their tool origin. i'm not saying the features of the pen are an improvement to general readability, but they don't appear to me as a hindrance either. i admit they're a bore if they only raise associations of arts & crafts.

i think i've broken the constraints of the pen more than once, though. the flatted counter forms in some of the letters (f, s & t esp.) don't have much to do with the broad pen in my view. i just thought there's a slight visual resemblance (round outer curve vs. flat counter) to the pen 'fractures' that would hold the type together somehow. also it seemed like something that a smaller size would allow to do: short counter curves look almost superfluous in body text.

Sonoraphobic's picture

OH GOD SPAM ^^^

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