My first serif

mattmc's picture

I'm working on my first serif face. I feel like I've got a pretty good start on defining the identity of the typeface, but I'm trying to work out the inconsistencies of it now and any letterform awkwardness. Any suggestions?

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eliason's picture

The unbracketed serifs seem very rigid given the swoopy curves and pointy terminals elsewhere.

mattmc's picture

agreed. I've tried bracketed and unbracketed, not as happy with the latter.
updated brackets:

omatveeva's picture

Much better with the brackets.

Couple of observations on the latest image:

-I like the stress you have in the lowercase letters, but it doesn't seem consistent. The thinnest parts at the joints of the 'r,' 'm,' 'u,' etc. don't match the thinnest parts of letters like the 'a' and the 'g.' The 'S' in general, and particularly the spine, strike me as being too thick as compared to the thickest parts of the 'Q' and the 'C.'

-The top terminal of the 'c' is much larger than those of the 'C,' 'S,' and 's,' which are all different from the one on the 'r.' The one on the 'f' seems to be having its own party. Personally, I like the one on the 'r' the best.

-The serifs on that 'K' are huge. o_O

On the old image:

-The diagonal of the z's seems too thick, and I wonder what they would look like if either the bottom or top serifs (not both at the same time though) resembled more the top terminals of letters like 'c,' 'r,' etc.

-I have no idea why, but the 'x' looks backwards. I know it's not, but something about it makes it seem like it's the mirror version of what an 'x' should look like.

-Maybe I'm just seeing things, but the 'S,' the 'Q,' and the 'C' look like they're sitting just a smidge too high on the baseline (in both the old and new image).

mattmc's picture

Made some more updates based on suggestions

Steven Acres's picture

I'm digging what you've got so far. The mixture of curvy/pointed finials and the wide, adnate serifs combine to make a nice overall visual. I think some of the awkwardness of the letterforms comes from the curved letterforms not dropping below the baseline. The bowl of the /a/, /d/, etc. should dip just a little bit below the baseline/above the x-height when compared to the serifs of a letter such as an /m/... this balances the visual weight of the letters. In the word "Quagmire" the /a/ seems a lot smaller when compared to the /u/. I might also suggest reducing the size of the finial on /l/ as it's much larger than most of the other letters.

The face is coming along nicely. Thought about naming it yet?

mattmc's picture

Thanks Steve
All the bowls dip a bit already, but I've dropped them a little lower
Also made the /a/ a little larger
No idea what I'll name it yet

My current problem is trying to get a satisfying disconnection from the stem on the /B/. I'm happy with my /P/ and /R/
Suggestions on how to make the /B/ work?

Steven Acres's picture

Yeah it was hard to tell at that size for some reason (for the bowls etc.)

As for the /B/... I definitely prefer the last one. The crossbar on both the /P/ and /R/ are both in the same vein, in that they have two corner points, so I think the /B/ should follow that paradigm, if it remains disconnected. You could also have /B/ be the only character of the three that actually has a connected crossbar, as a lot of faces seem to do that.

mattmc's picture

more updates

PDF Sample

Steven Acres's picture

Things are coming together quite nicely.

The only glaring things I now see: the bottom part of the /C/ seems a bit too short... it looks like it's slightly rotated to the right as if it's tipping over; The /Z/ also looks a bit top-heavy, especially when compared to its lowercase counterpart; and lastly the /?/ also looks off-balance, almost as if it belongs in an italic version. On a personal note, I think the bottom part of the /2/ needs some type of terminal on the right side as you did with the crossbar of the /4/. Maybe end it the same way you did with the top of the /7/? Not sure how it'd look, but it's worth a shot. i think my favorite letter is either the /K/ or the /R/, both look great.

edit: Just noticed the descender on the /j/... it looks just a tad funky compared with the elegance of the g/q/y. Maybe try emulating those more elegant curves there, too.

mattmc's picture

hey steve,
some changes based on your suggestions

Steven Acres's picture

Looking awesome, well done. Gonna be a pretty face.

mattmc's picture

thanks steve

started on italic today

looking for tips on the /g/ /k/ /x/ /z/ mostly. not feeling quite right yet.

eliason's picture

You could always try a one-story /g/ for the italic.

omatveeva's picture

The middle of that 'w' looks way funny.

I quite like the 'k' and the 'g.'

Maybe try not curving every terminal of the 'x.' Leave one or two of them straight like the 'u'?

Not sure what you could do with the 'z,' though I agree something is off about it.

Steven Acres's picture

Yes, the /w/ looks super awkward haha. Take a look at italic /w/'s like in Jenson.

I attempted to describe how to fix the /z/ but it just wasn't working with words, so here's a super quick visual. Basically your points at the joints of the stem didn't line up right so the strokes looked disconnected:

It's obviously not perfect as the stem needs to be thickened up a bit to match your /y/, but I think it illustrates what I was trying to explain.

mattmc's picture

working on the z

mattmc's picture

more numeral work
designed old style numerals

omatveeva's picture

Just noticed this, but the top of the 3 seems to me to come too far forward. You're lining that stroke up to the bottom one, but it makes the shape of the top a bit awkward. I think it'd be better if the top was slightly smaller and more circular.

andrevv's picture

with the italic z I'd try making it match the diagonal of y. I think the curve of the diagonal on the z throws it off a bit from the rest of the characters.

and I agree with omatveeva about the x. putting the little flick on all the ends makes it look like four separate strokes. I'd keep the make the terminals of the bottom left - top right stroke straight like the u.

the italic k is very well done. it's graceful. also, the italic a,d,b,p,q are all very charming.

brianskywalker's picture

Hey, your font is looking pretty good. I have a few critiques, but I'm also a beginner so take them with a grain of salt. I'll start with the roman:

Lowercase:
- All of your upper serifs in the lowercase, with the exception of diagonal letters, are contradictory to the lower serifs, and all serifs in the uppercase. These serifs are thin, curved, and bracketed, whereas the others are dark and abrupt.
- The diagonal letters - /z/x/v/w/z/ - all extend too high. The reach where round letters should overlap, and not at the optical x-height.
- You may want to make the transition on letters like /n/ slightly darker. (The top right where the curve transitions into the right stem.)
- Terminals on /a/, /r/, and /s/ should be darker as they are on /c/

Uppercase:
- The O and Q are much darker than other letters.

Overall, your font is quite good, although probably needs some refinement. Most of the curves seem to be a bit wobbly, this is because of the construction used when making them. The extrema should be at the most logical point in a curve. I like to think of it as making curves appear natural, but it's hard to explain. I may be able to post an image describing this later. Also, I would recommend looking carefully at the weight of each letter and trying to balance the color of all letters.

Your font reminds me a bit of Newton, a font I am making, but only certain parts.

Good luck with your font!

brianskywalker's picture

Also, I quite like your quote marks.

Your italic is better formed than your roman. The main problem with /x/ is that the strokes are the same width. The stroke starting at the top left should be thin.

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