Heathen slab serif

oli smart's picture

I've been working on this a while, started as a very geometric slab serif but I've now softened it a little:


Any critique / comments will be appreciated!

riccard0's picture

Interesting quirkiness.
Some point that you could consider:
e suffers of a little overbite/is a little wide
h and n are a little narrow
G and g are uneven in colour
t is very steep at the top
Not enough context to judge numerals.

Tristan Bowersox's picture

I agree about most of what riccard0 said. I don't see any problem with the 'g's though, and the slope of the 't' appears to be referencing the wedge shape of Garamond and Caslon's 't's, while not actually going through with it, which seems to fit with the font. (Of course, you could bring the height down while still pointing the slope at the tip of the crossbar, but then it wouldn't align with the dot of the 'i.')

The width of the n, h, and u do seem a bit narrow compared to the geometrically round characters, but on the other hand, they do fit with the 's.' I would try to bring the width of the round characters in a bit (including the beak on that 'e') as you nudge the n, h, and u out very slightly. The 'a' especially, does not need that serif adding any extra width; try making it into just a nub and see how little you can get away with. Along those same lines, you can probably bump that stem to the left a hair (this goes for the g, b, d, p, and q too) so that the counter cuts into it just slightly. That will not only cut its width down, but will make the line width look more even.

Doing what I just described may preclude the need for this, but one other thing that bothered me about the a was the straightness of it's stem at the bottom. It looks like it should be sloped on the inside edge to fit with the serifs.

Another issue is the descender length. The p seems cut off compared to the y, but it does look good with the serif on. Maybe you could bend that y's tail a bit, to bring it closer to the p. You should also indent the side of the y just a hair. If you look at professional fonts, many of the 'y's do not have perfectly straight sides, even though they look that way at a glance. If you take the anchor point at the bottom of the valley and move it down slightly, that's another form of optical compensation commonly used on 'y's.

Looking more closely at some of the letterforms, I can see some subtle issues that could be tweeked. The serifs on the bottom of an r are generally weighted so that the serif under the overhanging stroke is a bit longer, but yours seems to have reversed that principle. Presumably you took that section from the n or h, where it makes sense to be shorter. Because the vertical serif on the end of the r hangs down so close, you might not net to extend it beyond the length that it is on the left side, but it shouldn't be shorter.

Lastly, I like the terminal on the narrower version of the t, but I think it would be improved by making it align with the tangent of the round characters at approximately the point it aligns to them. In other words, if you look at the relationship of the t and the e in "alternates," I'm suggesting you tweek the angle of the terminal counterclockwise so that it "cups" that curve perfectly.

As for the font overall, I think it is very fun, but sharp. That 'r' should be a defining character of the face. In fact, I would encourage you to change the name to something with an r in it. I mean, lets be honest, "Heathen" the weakest word in your example as far as exemplifying the face. "Solution" and "alternates" are much stronger. Then again, the e and a are both problem characters so maybe it will look better once you solve those issues.

I like all of the alternates and varying strictness of serifs, though I'd like to see two separate examples that strictly use one set or the other. I love the numerals. I want to see the full set.

Great job. Once you finish fine-tuning, this would be a font I would use.

(Wow. My first post was a long one!)

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Oh! I forgot to mention the 's.' I saw wut u did thar—with the slant on the outside of the serifs. I think it's a good link to the rest of the face (on a character that's generally hard to make unique in slab-serif fonts), but I think you should emphasize it a bit more.

oli smart's picture

great feedback, thanks! Its good to get a fresh set of eyes to look at something when you've been working on it a while. Here's the current set of characters I've got:
http://www.nautilusdesigncorps.co.uk/complete_sample_set.pdf

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Is this set the same version as above, or have you done some revisions?

oli smart's picture

Its a revised version. I've made quite a few changes, but nothing too drastic

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