In progress casual upright script

Reposting from here. This is my first font. It needs lots of work (especially the caps, although I've finally got a plan for them!) but I'd love some feedback in the meantime.



uprightsample.pdf482.45 KB
eliason's picture

I think you're onto something very nice for a first font.
I'm also a beginner at this so read this advice with skepticism.

/x/ is great. The more I look at the /o/ the more I like it.
Figures are generally great, esp. /2/, /5/, /7/
the /t/ crossbar variety is fun

/b/ threatens to read as /le/
descender loops seem too small, especially on /g/
/s/ (not the initial form) looks like it leans backwards - I suppose because it picks up on the angle of the stroke coming in. /z/ has a similar difficulty. I would keep trying new approaches for both.
/ti/ in "rationalization" and /at/ in "telepathic" and /yr/ in "polystyrene" have some lining-up issues
have more fun with the /?/!

the curving vertical of /t/ might suggest possibilities of making other vertical stems (/d/, /h/, /k/) less rigid.

hrant's picture

Very nice for a first effort. Either you're very
talented, or you've had good teachers. Or both!

Here's what I see for now (only in the alphanumerics):

- You're nicely varying the lengths of the descenders. I would definitely do the same with all the ascenders.

- Another variance I'm liking is the different leans, like how the "f" leans backwards. That's very nice, and there seems to be room for more of that.

- "d": I might try to disconnect the bowl from the stem at the bottom.

- "el": the discontinuity from the previous letter's join is jarring. Maybe you can just make its loop start from higher up (basically breaking the connection).

- The shifting bar of the "t" is great. But it shouldn't skewer the tittles (dots of the "i"/"j"); I would raise the tittles [anyway].

- "x": could work, but more contrast.

- "z": maybe the middle loop has to go.

- The numerals are out of character.

- The asterisk: nice that it's not vertical, but I'm thinking you might try something fancier; maybe a form like this:

BTW, about the name: I think "Retro" is cool and fitting, but it's over-used. So you'd need to have a second word in the name (and I don't think "Upright" cuts it). Or you could choose something related, like the name of a famous TV housewife from the 50s. Lucy?


gillo's picture

Thanks so much for the feedback!


Oddly enough I'd never really related the shape of the cursive s as I'd learned to write it in elementary school with the shape of the printed s. They've always just been completely different shapes to me, the weight of the cursive one being entirely in the fat round part on the lower right. So to me it doesn't appear to lean at all. I guess the little loop at the top undermines that. I added the loop intending that it would suggest a sloppy, hastily drawn corner, not a tiny little underdeveloped top loop. It's good to know how other people interpret it, though, especially when they interpret it so differently than I do. I have a big round-topped alternative z which I've been meaning to substitute back in. Perhaps that one will look more balanced.

What do you mean about lining-up issues? Are the connectors not lining up or..?

The vertical stems are one of my larger unresolved issues. Some of them I've left completely straight and flat, some of them taper a bit, the a is rounded off on the top, and of course some of them curve a little bit...still not sure how I'd like to unify it all.


Clearly both! :)

I'm not sure what you mean about the bowl and stem of the d.

The e is one of my least favorite of the letters. It always seems to stick out in an ugly way. I made some ligatures for s-e and b-e and some other combinations. I think they resolve some issues. They still need some finessing, though.

I have some alternate t's that I used in "title" and "situation" which resolve the t-i problem adequately IMO. I forgot to substitute them into "rationalization" (they used to sub in automatically with opentype but I messed that up when I tried to make the beginning and ending swashes automatic too).

It took me such a long time to make that x work that well! I agree that it still needs some tweaking. It's been such a relief that it finally works as well as it does.

I have some figures which relate better to the letters with bigger loops but they don't look as nice as these. Actually, quite a few of the older scripts I've come across have rather formal looking numbers. I was hoping that the teardrops on 2,3,5,6 and 9 would relate to those on the c and the alternative s and r. The 2, 5 and 7 have parts based on the F (one of 2 caps I'd started out with). Perhaps the contrast is different. They do seem to stick out a bit.

And "Retro Upright" is just my working title. Haven't really put much thought into a real title but had to call it something, so...

Thanks again for the suggestions. Back to the drawing board I go!


hrant's picture

> I’m not sure what you mean about the bowl and stem of the d.

I meant try not connecting the bottom of the bowl to the stem.


eliason's picture

So to me it doesn’t appear to lean at all.

I think of a cursive s rising to a point in the middle of the letter, not in the upper left. Here's a wikipedia graphic of cursive writing compared to your letters, with "axes" added.

Surely Hrant is right that varation of lean adds to the liveliness of your font, so I wouldn't suggest parallel axes all the way through, but I think it'd be worth looking at straightening /s/'s lean a bit (if the incoming stroke angle can be accomodated somehow).

What do you mean about lining-up issues? Are the connectors not lining up or..?

Yes, that's what I meant. This may be a function of how the pdf resolves the rendering—I see now that it changes at different magnifications. (I don't know if that's good news or bad news...)

gillo's picture

Aha. I see. Yes, in that case the position of the s is a result of my connecting strategy. Originally I had a slightly more sloping connector, but it was actually harder to match up evenly (at least as far as on-screen rendering goes—it jumped around even more when the resolution changed). I'd actually been considering switching all the connectors back to a slightly sloping position anyway. I'll see what I can work out...

In the meantime here's an earlier version with sloping connectors (probably the s still appears to lean quite a bit) and how I'd imagined the axes.

gillo's picture

Incidentally, I'm curious about the definition of "cursive" found in the typowiki.

"Being Cursive is a property of typography and Calligraphy which implies a certain inclination or angular tilt, either positive or negative, relative to the orthogonal “y” axis."

whereas wikipedia says (this is how I'd understood it):

"Cursive is any style of handwriting that is designed for writing notes and letters quickly by hand. In the Arabic, Latin, and Cyrillic writing systems, the letters in a word are connected, making a word one single complex stroke. In fact, the word comes from the Latin cursivus, meaning "flowing"."

hrant's picture

Terminology is tricky business.
In my book this is "cursive" - slant is secondary.


Stephen Rapp's picture

This is coming along nicely! I won't go into a very long critique, but will try to add a few tidbits.

I really like the way downstrokes have that subtle taper at the tops. I would just advise carrying that feature throughout. That may have been mentioned above. I just noticed some as flat and some tapered. You might even consider this sort of taper for crossbars.

I would try to see if you can strengthen the connections on the upstrokes of s and r. These are appearing perfectly vertical while the strokes that meet up with it taper into the point. This makes it look thinner on screen and weakens the connection. You might try having it slightly heavier at the top and overlap a bit deeper. I recently made an upright script myself and remember having to rework connections a few times.

I agree with Hrant about the contrast of the x. It also appears to be leaning left. The lowercase x is probably the most difficult as it doesn't naturally want to play well with the rest. Once you get it closer to ready you might still want to add some ligatures to further control how it looks.

I wish you the best with this as I think its going to be a wonderful and useful design.


PabloImpallari's picture

Really nice! I love it!

Another trick is to use ligatures for those cases when the connections are really problematic. I'm developing a script font too, and don't wanted to fight with connections, so ended up with more than 70 ligatures.

I also added 'terminal' alternates, because at the end of each word you don't need to connect to nothing, so each glyph has an alternate version with a shorter tail.

Maybe you can use the ligatures trick in your font.
Feel free to download mine at and check it out.
If you need any help with the OT programming thing, I will be glad to help!

thamilton's picture

Might I suggest using old style figures for the numbers, They look good on their own but not working to well when used with the letter forms.

Bernard B's picture

I love the negative on the overlaps, but maybe it's focusing too much attention on it.

Anyway it's already a great work ! (and your portfolio too!)

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