pablohoney77's picture

okay so i'm kinda excited to post this one, hopefully it won't flop too hard. anyhow, this is my first sincere attempt to develop one of my own original ideas for a face. this one was actually inspired, in part, by a thread here on typophile (Display vs. Text).
it got me thinking about reading speed and what my own thoughts were on the ideal font for reading quickly. i based the design on my own hare-brained thoughts on the subject, no research of any kind was performed, so thankfully no literate people were injured in the creation of this font. anyhow for me the ideal for speed would be an italic, as the slant supposedly keeps the eye moving forward. however the decorative nature of the italic hampers speed in reading, or so they say. i hate the sloped roman breed with a passion, so i tried to come up with something inbetween a sloped roman and a true italic. i'll let you judge on whether or not i succeeded.
besides the slant, i thought that a serif structure that moved from top to bottom and left to right would also keep the eye moving forward. and i dreamt up this serif structure so that the letters in a word would interlock (hence the working name).
anyhow, that's probably more than you really wanted to know, so i'll spare you the rest and let you go ahead and look at it. i'm rather happy with the results thus far, but i'm sure i have plenty to improve upon. help me find those areas. thnx for looking!

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interloc.pdf (429.6 k)

meir's picture

I don't know about reading speed, but it sure does convey the concept of velocity. Very intriguing!

The s looks a bit too slanted. I don't know... Some combinations like a+u or e+w sort of look like one letter is about to collapse over the other, don't you think? Maybe fine-tuning the slants a bit would help.

William Berkson's picture

Paul, the way you have used the usual 'u' serifs on the vwy is inspired. I agree with Meir that it needs work to balance and knit it together, but it's very promising.

hrant's picture

Now this is interesting. Bravo, Paul.

Although some of the mechanics of reading you're assuming aren't based on any actual findings (as you readily admit), much of what you've arrived at speaks very dearly to my heart, and mind. If you search for "Harrier" in my Daidala interview* you might see some interesting parallels. Your stuff is a lot less rigid, and has some traditional overtones - makes me think of the first half of the 20th century, like Gill.


Basically, this is exactly the type of work I very much hope catches on in the world of type design - it makes me happy to see you go in this direction.

Some specifics:
- If this is a book face, I'd make it slightly darker, and I'd pull in the descenders a bit.
- Tighten the spacing significantly - apply the concept in the name!*
- The bottom of the "t" is malformed.
- The "c" is nothing short of charming.
- The ear of the "q" looks spliced in.
- To me the "a" is too self-conscious.
- The "w" is very nice.
- I'm surprises that I like the "f". But do make it wider.
- The "d" seems somewhat constructed. But I think you should keep it.
- The "y" needs more size, and a stronger tail.
- I think the "r" is very good. Maybe a stronger beak.
- The "s" is indeed leaning too much, but its narrowness is superb. BTW, try making the "e" narrower.
- I'm unsure about the tail of the "j".
- The "g" is amazingly good! I'd make the ear stronger, and expand the bottom bowl more to the right.

* BTW, "Interloc" ("Interlocq"?) is interesting - I'm assuming it derives from the semi-serifs interlocking.

Paul, please take this all the way. But be prepared for many people to not understand.

I dare say I think you've got what it takes to make a mark - which means you should plan some contingencies for a life of poverty and obscurity. ;-)


William Berkson's picture

I knew this reminded me of something. Harrier is also very promising, and already more polished - when are you going to finish it Hrant?

While there is a similarity in concept, your way of handling it, Paul, is quite different. I think they both promise to be excellent additions. I wonder what an upright version of yours, Paul would look like also, with the flying serifs on the vwy.

hrant's picture

Thanks William. Anybody who wants to buy a pre-release version of Harrier can contact me; that's actually how Paul himself got a hold of Patria for his newspaper.

An upright version of Interloc would indeed be interesting - the problem is the serifs: putting half-serifs on totally upright strokes makes the font lean backwards. You can see this problem clearly in some of H E Meier's work. In Avance Bloemsma solves it by putting flares on the opposite sides -which however gives a certain feminine/calligraphic skew- although that might actually work great (better than Avance, and certainly better than Harrier would) in Interloc. The other obvious avenue is leaving a very slight slant (maybe 1 degree) in there - but that causes problems in lo-res rendering.


pablohoney77's picture

i thought you'd like this one hrant. i musta abosrbed your serif structure unconciously as i'm sure i've read that interview before. and i think this has a bit of patria in it's blood (and hopefully a bit of palatino and goudy)

no plans to do an upright version as i feel that that would subvert the whole theory of this face. however this one is on a 5 degree slant, i thought i'd try 3 and 2 degrees as well once i finish up all the characters.

i do plan on doing a full italic version, though. i'll keep the same slant but ad a caligraphic flair. this will solve the problem of an italic breaking the flow of the text (in theory).

thanks for the help with the characther's i've got thus far. i put interlocq in the speciment cuz i had no place to stick the q. so it's interlock (no k drawn yet), interloc, or another name i've been thinking of

hrant's picture

> 2 degrees

Note that there's a range where the slant is neither here nor there - between [consciously] visible and not. This is a "dangerous" range - although I guess it might be possible to use this ambivalence to good effect, somehow.

> Running Text

Although I think that would be too literal, I like the basic idea. That's where the name "Harrier" comes from, btw: the hunting dog breed - running purposefully and tirelessly, with the flag on its tail held high for good visibility! :-)

> what exactly do you mean by the a being too self-conscious?

You know, looking at it again I think it's fine - just maybe make the middle join stay straight, not turn slightly up.

BTW, check out the "a" in Octavian... which happens to be one of my all-time fav fonts.


William Berkson's picture

>there's a range where the slant is neither here nor there

I don't really agree with this. Syntax has a 1/2 degree slant and you can still 'feel' it even though you don't identify the source of the dynamism. The eye is extremely sensitive to verticals, and the slightest variation, I think.

I suspect that if this is too slanted it will never be used much for text, only display. The slant now is a bit dizzying, but this might have other causes, I don't know.

Note that Jenson is slanted on one side (bottom left, top right), so that some slant can work well for text. The assymetrical serifs of Jenson could work for an upright version. Check out also Trinite, a fabulous piece of work with some slant and assymetrical serifs.

pablohoney77's picture

wow! thnx william. i guess i hadn't taken that close a look at trinite before. i think i like the subtle slant more than what i've currently got. i'm sure i'll tone it down a bit, i don't want it to be a distraction, that'd defeat the whole purpose of my idea here. thanks for pointing that out.

hrant's picture

William, that's sort of what I meant. Half a degree is well below the zone I'm talking about, so it's "seen" (by virtually everybody) in the heart and not the mind. Above a certain degree (maybe around 2) it's the other way around. It's the range between those where the slant might flip-flop between visible and subvisible (even within one individual, certainly between different people), and I think that might be disconcerting, or at least unpredictable.

Also note that the visibility of slant (just like anything else) is greatly determined by scale: the larger the size the more "conscious" it gets.


William Berkson's picture

>Above a certain degree

I see what you mean now. Seems right - I would like to see examples.

kris's picture

subtle slants are where it's at mate! Imagine my shock when I found out that PMN Caecilia, a slab no less, has the slightest slant to it

eomine's picture

I think you've got a good concept here, but since your aim is 'speed reading', I'd consider shortening the extenders (especially the descenders). Also, the slant is too strong, IMO.

pablohoney77's picture

yeah, i'm back! anyhow, i've been fiddling with this on and off for a while now and am almost ready to show a re-worked version, which hopefully is a bit more refined. here's a sneak peek

in keeping with the speedreading theme, i'm thinking i just may make a fully upright version and designate it as the italic. my thinking being that the full uprights impede speed, slowing down for items of emphasis. i just need to draw up the x and maybe a few bits of punctuation and then i'll see about figgering how to make a pdf accesible to look at a text setting.

anyhow, thanks for looking!

William Berkson's picture

First reactions. You have 'tamed' the design a bit in a good way from the first version. The ascenders seem too tall for this design. It seems like the a needs some kind of beak like the c and r and like your old version. The current Optima-like terminal I think is a bit light. Zapf himself gave the a in Optima a beak in the new Optima Nova! The top right of the e seems heavy. The k is awkward.

hrant's picture

Great to see this is still kicking!

I think:
1) The "a" is not entirely happy. Don't know why.
2) There's some clotting at the stem-bowl joins of "b", etc.
3) The "g" needs more zing. Maybe a more aggressive bottom and/or a spiky (Goudy-style? You like Goudy) ear.
4) The tail of the "j" is moping.
5) The "k" I actually find admirable.
6) I might do something about the serifs of the "m".
7) "r": stronger beak. But no wider.
8) "s": maybe more zing too.
9) "t": higher head.
10) Maybe give a twist to the middle part of the "w".
11) The "z" is totally out of character. It's not even leaning!

An upright for emphasis: this is not a bad idea, and I've actually seen it applied (although at the typesetting level, not the font level). The most accessible example is the English inserts of tipoGrafica. But a word of caution: in a body of italic, upright settings actually look slightly backslanted - very disconcerting. So your upright should actually have a slight slant, maybe 1 degree. Oh, and I'd keep the semi serifs!


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