Tired of Helvetica Light Extended - Part 2

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Continued from http://typophile.com/node/68138

Pure Wellness.pdf351.54 KB
Boon.pdf247.19 KB
Boon_2.pdf354.93 KB
Letterproef.pdf229.22 KB
Frode Bo Helland's picture

Hi Jean. There’s a lot of nice stuff going on here. I particulary like the d/b/p/q curves. They do, however, not fit all that well with the rest of your letters. It’ll probably be easier to see once you add some weight. Helvetica (your starting point) is a (neo) grotesque: see how the curve of the n starts low on the first stroke and forms a 180 degree half circle, how the terminals of letters like s/e/c/a closes up following the same (or a similar) half circle shape. The main characteristics of your design doesn’t share much with Helvetica. Perhaps that is a good thing (I think so), but you need to be consistent. If you’re sticking with open humanist forms like the e/s, the same openness should be evident in the rest of your letters.

Also, remember to consider overshots (round shapes look lower than flat shapes, a sharp v/A apex also needs to descend or ascend ever so slightly) and optical adjustments (ex: the u look too wide when it’s as wide as the n). Trust your eyes more than the numbers :)

I’m far from an expert, so please take my advice with a grain of salt.

Op45's picture

Good idea with this, it's looking promising.

I agree that overall it doesn't share too much with Helvetica and I also think this is a good thing. The curves on the letters Frode mentioned are really nice: clean and elegant. A good direction to go in.

I do kind of miss the earlier /g/ - it was quite quirky and the top and bottom loops created an interesting balance. I can see how the new one would probably work better though in general use, maybe keep the previous one as an alt? Seems a shame to lose it.

Like Paul mentioned in the other thread, the simplicity of the previous /G/ is very nice with its lovely smooth curve. I'd be curious to see how that idea would work with this new width.

I much prefer this new /Q/ the tail seems much more comfortable. I also like the /K/ more this way than the earlier treatment. While an interesting idea, it seemed to me a little out of place. The /r/ is also much better.

Nice work so far! Looking forward to seeing it progress.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thanks for your input Claire and Frode!

I think I wasn't clear when I said I'm using Helvetica as basis for this new design. It is certainly not my intention to copy Helvetica or parts thereof. I just like the general feel of Helvetica Light Extended; it's so clean, clear and crisp, yet over-used and not quite readable in smaller sizes because of it's lack of openness. It's my intention to recreate that same feel, but more open to optimise readability.

I myself am quite pleased too with the curves on /b/, /d/, /p/ and /q/. It's nice to know you two agree. These glyphs will be my startingpoint for others. I started out with stemless /n/, /m/, /r/, /g/ and other glyphs and I am going to keep them as alts, since you like 'm!

Thanks for your sharp insight on the apexes, Frode! I'll check them again and take a closer look at overshoots and /u/.

And Claire, maybe I'll keep my first draft of /G/ as an alt as well.

Finally, and I think this goes for most amateur type designers, I want to create a font that isn't boring, perhaps with a little bit of quirkyness and fun, yet useable as body text. It's hard...

Thanks again Claire and Frode! I'll keep working!

Frode Bo Helland's picture

If you’re after something that’s readable in smaller sizes, I think a heavier weight is a must. Good luck! I’ll follow your postings here. You don’t need to start a new thread, btw. Most of the old timers follow the tracker (instead of the frontpage) where new posts to old threads will still show up on the first page.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Hi Claire and Frode,
I've updated the design, please check out the 'Boon' PDF. The text in this PDF is set in AI, so don't mind kerning et cetera. The font size is about 9 points.

No alts yet (serious computer problems)...

Do you think the apexes are better this way? I've looked at Futura Light for inspiration.
I've also changed overshoots, narrowed /u/ a tiny bit and opened up the counters even more.

Op45's picture

The /C/ is much nicer - I love the curve and the counter being more open looks good.

While I like the /B/ at a bigger size, I'm not entirely sold on it in small text. There's something that bugs me a little the combination of the curves in the upper and bottom bowls, or maybe how it sits on the baseline.. I'm not sure what to suggest though, so that isn't entirely useful! However, the similar treatment does work well I think on the P/R/D.

At first glance, I'm finding it hard to judge its readability at smaller sizes in such a light weight. Like Frode said, a heavier weight is definitely a must.

Oh and I love the italic /f/, very nice!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

You were all right: it was too thin. So, i've made it heavier (still not very heavy though), in fact it's just as heavy as Helvetica ULE. Please check Boon_2.pdf.
I see what you mean with /B/. All take a good look at it this week.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Try printing a long text at these point sizes, and I suspect you’ll find it unreadable and extremely tiring. The ideal weight for something that is supposed to be read is in the ballpark of book types like Garamond and Caslon, and most type designers will even tell you most digital versions of those old classics are way to thin.

brianskywalker's picture

Boon_2.pdf appears to be corrupted for me.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

It took some time, didn't forget about it.
I've made she stroke somewhat heavier, see the 4th PDF above, lc only so far. Kerning is still way off.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Please forget about the previous post. By now I've changed so many details, it's become completely different. I've replaced the 4th PDF above.

My question: would you all please comment on character widths (internal white)? I've been working on them so long, I don't see it anymore...

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