Geometric/Humanist Sans

Good evening fellow typophiles,

My name is Paul Cooley, I am third year student of Graphic Design at OTIS College of Art and Design. I have recently delved into the world of type design and am absolutely in love. The typeface below is an attempt to combine the languages of Geometric and humanist sans serif typefaces, especially focusing on attributes of Gill Sans, Futura, Akzidenz Grotesk, and Helvetica. I wanted to treat this as a sort of "dream team" of different attributes that I feel work the best in these examples and try and synthesize them into one cohesive face.

Right now there is only the lowercase characters which I will continue to focus on in the coming weeks and months. There are some proportion and unity issues and some characters (e, g,s,t,x,z) are proving to be challenging. Regardless, this is an exciting learning process that I hope will improve my abilities.

This is after a few months of work and research and is still in the developmental nothing is permanent. In other words feel free to throw out any ideas or criticisms. Also, If their are any faces that you would recommend I look at...please let me know, I interested in casting my net as broad as possible.

A full-size pdf is at the bottom...thanks!

plainlowercase.pdf7.57 KB
Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Hi Paul,
All right! Not bad after just a few months!

It's hard to tell from the jpg (there's no PDF), but it seems that /m/ and /x/ are too wide (compare /w/), /r/ needs a braver flag, /s/ and /z/ look out of balance, /t/ is too narrow. Colour of /g/ is too heavy.

A word of advice: don't wait too long to make a start with designing the capitals. Sometimes it helpes designing the lc having a sort of guide in caps, and vice versa.

As for looking at other fonts, don't limit yourself. I'm a amateur type designer myself and I get my technical inspiration from looking at all possible fonts I encounter. Some fonts are beautifully made but stylistic I don't like'm. Other fonts look fantastic but are constructed awfully. Nevertheless I study them all just to see how they're designed.

Keep going! Nevermind you're getting your inspiration from the great names, it's just like how I started.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Ah, there's the PDF. I'll look at it later.

Paul Cooley's picture

Oh The PDF is up now...sorry, I must have forgot to upload it!

Thanks for the keen insight. I definitely agree with all your comments. The /g/ is simply a beast. Your notes on the /m/ and /x/ are spot on. The /s/ is proving to be a very difficult letterform...but I'm up for the challenge.

Regarding design of the caps, I definitely do want to get started soon, as the main reason I wanted to design a font like this was because I love many of the characteristics of Gill and Futura's capitals...but I feel the lowercase just don't quite work for me personally. So I agree with looking at all types of fonts, even ones I'm not "into to" per se.

Thanks for all your input! I'm glad to see such a lively community here!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Judging from your PDF /s/ is too big (you're absolutly right, /s/ is a b***h). It seems that /m/ and /n/'s bowls are higher than /p/'s en /q/'s? I think you've got the contrast (thick-thin) in /v/ and /y/ mixed up. /c/ has vertical finials, whereas /e/ has a horizontal finial, and /s/ diagonal. I understand that you're making a mix of all great typefaces, but I think that when you make all finials more or less the same, either vertical OR horizontal OR diagonal, you'll get a more coherent design.

Try setting a longer text like 'the quick brown...' so I can judge it better.

If you're interested, I've got a design up for crits myself, check it here

Bendy's picture

Hi Paul
This has a nice weight to it. I love the c and the stick and bowl shapes. I actually don't mind the mix of horizontal/vertical terminals between c and e but I'd recommend s has vertical ones and a horizontal I think. I think your overshoot is quite variable and a bit large overall (noticeably on b, m, n and u).
g is really nice already, but have you tried lifting the bowl slightly above the baseline? Sometimes that's a trick that works to balance the counters better, but not too much of course.
The bowl of a looks quite rough, perhaps there are too many nodes in there?
e looks wide and I'd shave a tiny bit of weight off the crossbar.
Hood of f could be wider.
i and k are great.
s, again, looks like too many nodes, or needs smoothing. It's also too large. I'm sure you'll get there!
I think I'd make the top of t a bit taller.
v looks clotty in the middle, pull down the centre node of the counter. Also perhaps the whole shape could be narrower.
Uphill stroke of x could do with some offset.
y is neat.
z is falling left.

I'd agree with starting caps and numerals before trying to get all the lowercase working perfectly. Good luck :)

Paul Cooley's picture

First off, thanks for noting the variable overshoots...I just looked at it all in fontlab again and there is definitely a substantial difference in a variety of the characters mentioned.

Finials-I agree with both of you in a way. I still haven't fully committed to how I want to work these out. I do really like the way the c is starting to feel, and I feel that that attribute can be carried throughout. It's just going to take some experimenting to see what works.

And omashuisje I will definitely be checking out your work as soon as I get some rest...its 4am in LA...and this site and my font have kept me up!

I did take a glance and the /q/ and the /P/ are immediately appealing to me. I'm liking the open counter idea. Any notion that brings in more negative space is lovely in my book.

Thanks for all the astute observations you two.


Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Mornin' Paul!

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