Feldspar (Nee Mixteca)

Bendy's picture

Ok, so I thought it time to come back to the crit forum after a bit of a break from here working on other designs.

Here is my new design, Mixteca Serif. You'll see in the pdf a bit of background about the design concept. Any crit would be very welcome; I'm hoping this can turn out to be really useable so tell me if there's anything you don't like or looks wonky. This has been six evenings' work, so I'm sure there's lots more to do. It reminds me a bit of Charter and a bit of FF Olsen, though I was thinking more along other lines: it actually started from playing with my first font, Eternal.

For some reason kerning didn't export with the otf file so the spacing looks a little gappy.

Look forward to hearing your opinions! :) Thanks!

Feldspar Specimen.pdf490.07 KB
Feldspar with Italics.pdf949.05 KB
Igor Freiberger's picture


answering your question about tilde (as it's also very common in Portuguese, in /ã/ and /õ/): large terminals are possible, although very unusual. If it works in conjunction with general design style, there is no problem.

I like Mixteca design very much. But I think the terminals in 2, 3 and 5 closes very much the counterspace. Oldstyle 5, for example, reads better (to me) because it has an open curve.

I love that /f/, but the /y/ terminal seems strange. Sure, it is part of Mixteca personality, but it could be interesting to include an alternate /y/.

Bendy's picture

And some ideas for the italic:

More on Flickr.

eliason's picture

Hmm, that's very minute contrast with the roman. Mixed text settings would help judge, but I fear it's too minute. Maybe your fear of "softness" has dominated too much?

nina's picture

I was secretly hoping for an Italic like this y'know :-)  Really nice work!
I agree with Craig that it would be good to see it in context to see how it differentiates from the Roman – I also wonder if the contrast might be a bit too subtle (maybe it'll have to be a little bit lighter, or narrower, or something); but I personally find many Italics too un-subtle, there's certainly room on this side of the uh, subtility axis. (Not very eloquent today, sorry, but I hope you catch my drift.)

Some comments, to be taken with usual salt!:

My first reaction (after the «wow, nice») was to wonder if that "f" descender curl isn't indeed a bit much. Dunno, have you tried a straight descender (without a terminal)? Might nicely connect to the "y".

Why no foot serif on the "r"? I can see it follows the «stroke pattern» of things like the "n", but I'm not sure, does it look a little naked?

The "g" seems uncomfortably slanted somehow.

Is the nose of the "e" a little too high up, or the counter too open? It almost seems backslanted. But maybe it's just me.

I really like the "k"! Especially that cheeky leg.

What a wonderful font. Please keep it up :)

hrant's picture

High-contrast italics is so 20th Century.


Bendy's picture

That's quote of the week, Hrant ;)

>Maybe your fear of "softness" has dominated too much?

Perhaps; I find italics can lack rigour and get too flowy or flabby. I guess I was subconsciously finding Nina's experiments with minimally slanted Italics quite inspiring. Once I've done the full set of alphabetics I'll post something so we can see the contrast. I hadn't considered narrower, but maybe there's room for that. I wonder also if the foot serifs could have a higher flick. Or maybe this is a font where there could be a choice of italics.

I've already fixed the f and g, but posted the old image by accident. I narrowed the s slightly too. With the r, it looked really weird with a foot serif. And I think it helps distinguish from the roman. I'm glad you like the kick-ass k! Ping!

Bendy's picture

Been working on the thin and bold weights. The bold might need to be a bit bolder to contrast properly with the Medium, but there will probably be a regular too, which would fit with this bold. Sorry, no pdf as this is quite preliminary for now...

eliason's picture

Interesting what happens to the top of /i/ in the bold. I wonder if you might consider clipping that corner in the medium, too.

Bottom serif of light /i/ is surprising - did it just look too topply with a more even serif? It looks a little odd to me as is, but then the extra white space of having a /v/ come after might be coloring my read on it.

Light /g/ ear seems too long.

Did you toy with doing something at the top right terminal of /r/ (and maybe /f/) in the light weight?

Generally speaking it's the sturdiness of the font that's one of its most appealing characteristics, so the light version is much less interesting to me.

Bendy's picture

Thanks for spotting that error on the i! The bottom serifs should of course be the same as on the n. I'm not yet sure what's going to happen about the top of the i. The extra overshoot for the bold made that corner rather too high, same with the b. Something to resolve at a later stage I think.

It hadn't struck me to do anything with the thin r and f terminals. I might have a play with those, thanks.

andrevv's picture

I know this isn't the most helpful comment, but I would definitely use this typeface and I could see it right at home in a magazine. Great job Bendy.

Bendy's picture

Thanks Andrew/AJ, that's very encouraging. Here's a new pic, and I think I've retitled this 'Feldspar'.

The sturdiness of this typeface seemed to require a nice crusty title, and Feldspar has a nice word-image.

The regular is feeling much more finished now. Spacing I think is looking good, though I may need one more iteration on the cap spacing. Kerning still requires some work, then I'll have a proper look at all the accented and non-alphabetic characters. Funnily enough, the word space seems a tad wide.

Following Nina's suggestion, I condensed the italic some more, to give a tiny bit more contrast with the upright. The curves on the italic D are proving rather complicated!

Bold — curves need quite some tidying up, especially the uppercase, which also need to be condensed just a few units.

Thin — the toughest to draw. I'm happy with the overall design but the curves are still quite bumpy and inconsistent (the e is troublesome). This will take some work.

I think both the thin and bold need wider sidebearings than the roman, the spacing here looks quite tight.

eliason's picture

This is looking very nice.

Have you set text blocks with mixed italic and roman? In the sample above it looks to me like the italic is noticeably lighter than the roman.
Arm of italic /r/ isn't convincing me yet.
The right stroke of italic /h/ and /n/ seems in a hurry to snap into parallel with the left stroke. If you want to soften the italic a bit that would be a place to do it, though maybe you don't. (Is that "wooden," or "sturdy"?)

On the light, I know Nick Shinn as talked about making a light by tracing the strokes with single lines and then expanding the stroke - basically, working with the strokes as lines rather than outlines. Did you do anything like that when developing your light?

New name is fitting, I think!

Bendy's picture

Thanks Craig,

Yes, I think the italic does look lighter, which is funny because the stems are the same weight as the regular. Italics are usually a bit lighter, aren't they? Do you think it needs to be heavier? No, I haven't yet set any text with roman and italic together; I havent' finished drawing the italic caps yet...soon!

Re the r, I suppose you want more weight on the beak? Once I've got some text samples printed it'll be easier to judge I think.

>If you want to soften the italic a bit
Ha, hmm...

And the thin has been drawn as outlines, though I can see the logic of doing it as strokes too. I'll give it a go with the remaining glyphs and see what transpires. Good suggestion.

Bendy's picture

I think the reason the italic looks lighter is that a lot of the serifs are missing, so there's more white space.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Bendy, it's going really well. Feldspar has a lovely feeling. Do you plan to have just the regular italic?

Stems in diagonal appear to be lighter than those in 0/90º. A simple test could be done with plus and multiply signs. This explains the effect Eliason saw in your italic. But you're right about the serifs, they also influence this.

(Side note: I updated the alternate /g/ of palimpsest, please take a look).

And what about Melia? Any new development? I'd love to see it released.

eliason's picture

Re the r, I suppose you want more weight on the beak

Perhaps, but not only that. It branches from high on the stem, which may suit Feldspar generally but doesn't feel very italic to me. And I think my eye sees it as a little wimpy that the arm on the right doesn't go up anywhere near the height of the top of the stem on the left. The effect of all of this is more like a crossbar intersection than a branching arm. Does that make sense?

brianskywalker's picture

Yes, I think, because of the angle it comes out of the stem, the r feels like it doesn't quite match the arched letters.

Aside from that, maybe the eye of the e is slightly large. It might be just me. Though it feels just a tad lighter than other letters.

Bendy's picture

First test of inline italics!

I've reduced the eye of e. The lowercase r remains the same design (although thanks Craig I've corrected the height of the arm). I'm quite attached to the shape with the way it echoes the foot of the t. I wonder if anyone else has an opinion about the italic being too rigid? Or not italic enough?

riccard0's picture

I would call it “subtle”.

Bendy's picture

New pdf up top, showing thin and bold weights.

traviskochel's picture

This is looking really nice. You've done a great job of translating the character and keeping things consistent through the weights. Just a few quick thoughts (feel free to ignore):

The jump from Regular to Thin seems a bit too much, but I'm guessing you're going to add a few more weights in between?

The bottom of the Thin 'p' in the right column seems a little too thin. It looks like you've fixed it on the left column though.

The italic doesn't seem to contrast enough when set with the upright. Perhaps it could be slanted a tiny bit more.

I like the rigidity of the italic, but maybe that is also adding to the lack of contrast.

Just curious why you went for the single story 'a', but kept the double story 'g' in the italic?

Bendy's picture

Thanks Travis, it's really encouraging when people say they like this :)

Yes, I think there will be a couple of weights between the thin and regular, then probably one between the regular and bold, then we'll see about a black or something.

I don't know what happened with the thin p and q. They look fine in FL but when setting type in ID, the lower curve stops at the baseline. I wonder if it's something wrong with the metrics or alignment zones. It fixes itself when converting to outlines, so it's very strange.

Italic, as others have said, might need a little something. I'm starting to see the problem. Not sure why the a and g structures ended up like that, perhaps I'll try a cursive g, or add it as an alt.

Michael Green's picture

nothing to add but its looking very good so far bendy. nice work

Bendy's picture

Just added a new pdf up top, including some regular and italic set in running text. In the italic, the widths are substantially narrower (especially bowl and stick letters). Crossbars of /f/ and /t/ and the foot of /t/ are more defined, /e/ and /g/ have been tweaked, arched letters branch slightly lower (higher in the /u/), /q/ has a foot serif, /s/ has a steeper spine, /w/ has a quasi-serif at its central apex, and /y/ and /z/ include faint curves.

I'd be interested to hear if you think this tweaked italic contrasts a bit better with the roman.

nina's picture

Cool to see this again!! I love this face.
Some comments, please by all means add salt:

In the Italic, I'm not sure you had to go this far with the narrowing? It's *definitely* distinct enough now – I would actually try pulling the narrowing back a little. Squinting at it, it also looks visibly darker than the Roman to me now… but maybe that's my printer.

Some other stuff (in the Italic):
– To my eye the "n" looks potentially a hint too wide compared to the bowl-and-stick letters. And the "u" seems quite visibly narrower than the "n" too.
– Out of curiosity: Have you tried a different bottom to the "t" in the Italic – maybe something that «snaps back up» more? Not at all sure that'd work though. Generally, I would want to make the crossbar more prominent than the foot (which is darker now), but I must say I don't really understand what matters in a "t".
– Your Italic "e" still feels potentially too soft and narrow and «open» (but maybe that's really just me).
– Those serifs on the "v", "w", "y" look quite cool I think, but they might be giving you spacing problems? Like in "they" for example… You might also consider making the left-hand \ stroke of these letters steeper maybe (and/or making them narrower).

BTW: Looking at p. 1 and 2 of the newest PDF, all this really looks to me like it would be happier set a point or two smaller… but then it might have to be looser.

Bendy's picture

Thanks a lot Nina, you're right about the /n/, I'll take a few units off the width.
With the /t/ do you mean something like this for the foot?

The /e/ keeps tricking me. I think you're right about too soft and narrow and open, but I can't reconcile those three things yet.
I'll set another pdf at 8pt and 9pt for you.

Bendy's picture

I've had another go at the /e/, left is original, right is 'improved', as it were:

I've brought the terminal up and made the tail heavier, as well as widening the eye slightly and moving the crossbar down and less curved.

eliason's picture

I actually think that bottom of /t/ is working (though I agree that the crossbar is relatively too slight).
I do think this looks a bit too "sturdy" at this size (and probably will need more space at a more fitting, smaller size).
I think the contrast of italic and roman is working well now.
Are your smallcaps too big?

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