Jean Paul Beumer's picture

I'm looking for people who'd like to comment on this new design called Aubaine, in particular on the character width and inner space. I've been working on it for so long, I don't see it anymore.
Up to now it's only ultra light.

Letterproef.pdf229.22 KB
Letterproef 310810.pdf222.54 KB
Letterproef 020910.pdf223.05 KB
Letterproef 030910.pdf235.84 KB
proof040910.pdf204.17 KB
aubaineblacklc060910.pdf219.55 KB
aubaineproof080910.pdf231.37 KB
aubaineitalicproof080910.pdf204.54 KB
AubaineProof200910.pdf18.77 KB
Aubaine tekstproef.pdf100.67 KB
Aubaine tekstproef CAPS.pdf393.65 KB
Aubainetekstproef26sep10.pdf727.37 KB
eliason's picture

Looks very good to me. /J/ could be a touch wider, and the structure of /M/ makes it appear narrow at the top.

1996type's picture

"I've been working on it for so long, I don't see it anymore." Your the designer. If you can't see it anymore, take a break from it. To me it looks OK but not perfect.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

@Craig: thanks, I've widened /J/ and altered /M/.

@Philips: exactly, I am taking a break and let YOU be the criticaster ;-) So, what is in your opinion "not perfect", please tell me so I can enhance the font.

New PDF to be posted soon.

rolandstieger's picture

It looks really great! What was the inspirations for your font? Somehow it reminds me to art nouveau but transformed in a contemporary way. In my eyes the letters fit really well together - compared with all other letters the capital M looks a bit narrow.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thanks Roland, you've made my evening!
I've already prepared a small article about this design:

Aubaine - pure wellness for stressed-out typographers­­­

Lots of magazines and companies in the self-proclaimed field of mental and fysical wellness adore Helvetica, especially in light weights. Somehow it seems to be the one and only typeface with the right look and feel, possibly to do with width and roundness, but it lacks openness­­­­. The over-use of Helvetica in wellness magazines and packaging has a great disadvantage - they all look alike. It made me decide it was time for an alternative, a counter-movement if you will.

I'll post another PDF with the altered /M/ soon.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Please check out the 2nd PDF above.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Congrats, Jean Paul. This is an outstanding design. Really beautiful. I cannot wait to see it in bolder weights. Do you plan to build an italic style?

I just think the K may use just one curve leg. Although these curves are the main characteristic of Aubaine, the K seems a bit unstable. I think it would be interesting to see a test with one leg curve and other straight. Or to make straight just the part where upper leg connects with the stem.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Hi Igor!
Thanks for the compliment and yes, I am planning a complete family ranging from ultralight to ultrabold, italics, small caps et cetera. But first I need to get these basics right.
I'll try the alterations on /K/ which you suggest.

eliason's picture

I think Igor's right about the /K/ leg. I would also suggest trying a non-descending form of /J/ that is wide like the /U/ (perhaps as an alternate). I think that more expansive form might fit nicely with this design.

On your /G/, the beard/crossbar treatment doesn't seem quite right to me - it gets a little fiddly, loses the open simplicity of the font a bit.

I also wonder if it would be good to lower the middle vertex of /W/ and /w/ just a tiny bit.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Good comments so far. I'm not sure I agree with Craig about the /w/ and /W/. But to see it would be best. And the legs of the /K/ and /k/ are too wavy. Why not just make it similar to the /R/? I like the descending /J/, but wonder how you'd solve a non-descending. And the crossbar on the /G/ doesn't appear wide enough. I also like the previous /M/, but the new /M/ does work.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thank y'all! I hope to be working on it this coming weekend. I'll soon repost.

As a matter of fact I am going to have some exposure in a Dutch branche magazine by the end of October, in particular about this type design, which I hope will boost sales. I have 54 days left to complete it and put it on MyFonts. Any pointers?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Lowercase p and q - descenders too short (equate optically with g, I would say).

Very nice design, but incorporating alternatives to make it more geometric (I mean glyphs like a single bowl a, single story g, crossbar t, etc.) may make this far more commercial. I find that there are hardly any good geo-sanses apart from the usual suspects.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture


I've tried /k/ and /K/ with one straight leg, but it looked awful. It wouldn't fit in the overall design. What I did do, is use the same leg of /R/ on both /k/ and /K/, this does indeed look much better, less unstable.

I've widened both /j/ and /J/, this too is much better and fits better in the design.

I've removed the crossbar on /G/ as I originally designed. It opened up the character.

On /w/ and /W/ I've lowered the middle part just an itsy bitsy bit.

Your final verdicts please!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Ah, thanks Bert, our posts just crossed.

I was in doubt about the descenders, but no-one commented. I'll take another look at them.

Good idea about the alternate glyphs, but I'm not sure I've got enough time :-| Guess I'll put some work into the numerals and ultrablack first and then interpolate the two.

Angus R Shamal's picture

It's interesting how many people here start designing typefaces with an hairline (essentially the outline of a font).
Maybe that's why so many designs end up looking similar?

Have you tried starting for example from a Regular weight or even a Bold weight where the real character and balance of a typeface evolve and where"inner space" becomes more of an issue? As I look at it now, although pleasant, it looks very similar to several typefaces out there and potentially *more* than similar. Again, it might be because it's only an hairline now. You sure you did enough research?

If it's for practice, it's another story, but if commercial... I'm just pointing out the possibility.

Good luck,


Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Hi Angus,
I see your point. This is not the first typeface I've designed (though none released). I *always* start out with the regular weight, except for Aubaine. In an other thread I was advised by Nick Shinn to design both extreme weights first, and interpolate from there. Quite a good tip I think: you'll have to make some design decisions you wouldn't have thought of normally. Interpolation won't just do the trick of course, quite some tweaking will need to be done.
However, I do think this design is dissimilar enough to others, in altralight and will be even more so in heavier weights.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Angus: I disagree from you. Surely, there is such an amount of sans these days that you can hardly achieve a high degree of originality in any new design. But even in this scenario, Aubaine has a distinct skeleton and tends to develop beautifully. I guess it will deserve a future commercial release. Of course, you must know some fonts I'm not aware about. Maybe you can refer to them so it's possible to evaluate how similar the designs are.

Angus R Shamal's picture

Jean Paul
That interpolation from two extreme masters "tip" is well known and been well used since MultipleMasters and since FontLab/Fontographer existed. But I think that's an excellent way of generating all the extra weights out of your design. I'm not sure it's the best way to start *Designing* your typeface though (there might be some exceptions). For example, it could be a good idea to put this outline aside for awhile and start with an heavier weight, or even the other heavy extreme if you wish, and see the possibilities and how it can mature and develop. Maybe a middle weight to bring you further. That way it will be easier for you to later see where the faults are and to tweak accordingly. It shouldn't be the interpolation that leads the design, you know what I mean? In the "old days", the outline/hairline/whatever weights were created much later after it was clear what the design or typeface was, and if it *could* use an hairline anyway. An hairline has become very popular nowadays for headlines, but in most cases it reflects the bare minimum of a typeface (really the skeleton), rather than defining it.

I wasn't trying to criticize the design here. It's much to early to tell where it's going to, since all I see is (as you call it, and it's a good word-choice) a "skeleton". It really can go many ways and yes be quite pretty, but as I see it now, it looks like I've seen it before and recently in similar ways. Of course I think Jean paul should do his own research, but to me it's somewhere between the old Goudy Sans drawings, to Underware's Sauna, To the new Typejockeys' Aniuk, to Porchez's Parisine Plus, to Jeremy Tankard's drawings.. to...
there's nothing wrong in being inspired by other work, but it's usually in the details and problem-solving where people tend to copy the most.

But again, "originality" isn't the point I'm trying to make here. It's the process of the design and thought of a typeface and it's nature and character, rather than the technic to generate a whole family. It seems many designers rely too much on the software shortcuts and adapting their design process to make the software generation workflow easier, while I would almost say it should be the other way around.

I hope I make sense.

eliason's picture

I'd try the lowered W/w vertex lowered less than that - what I was proposing was really just an adjustment to avoid what I saw as an optical illusion of the vertex riding high. In other words, I think it might be best to make it optically even at the midline, which may require it being mathematically just a touch lower than the midline. But maybe I'm off here...

I think that new style of /J/ shows promise, though right now it looks like it's falling rightward.

I'm not sure you're done with the /G/ but I think it's changing in a positive and interesting direction for this font.

That reversal of the /K/k/ leg is better, but I'd argue that those letters still come across too wavy.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

I can elaborate, but I won't. I'd like to keep this post *about* the design, not *how* to design. If you'd like to discuss type design theory, please start a new thread!

I see what you mean about /W/w/. But I must say I kinda like it this way!
I'll take another look at /J/ and /K/k/; perhaps un-wave the diagonals (but not straighten them) will do the trick. I've removed the crossbar on /G/ to open it up.

Igor Freiberger's picture

Angus: I understand your point. Anyway, I still don't think features like interpolation and MM produces very relevant effect on conteporary trends of type design. But I'll avoid further comments because this would become off-topic.

Jean Paul: I'm minory here because I prefer the first J style. I agree with Eliason about W and K. Remaining glyphs are very good.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

For the moment I've left/K/k/J/W/w/ as they are.

Please check out the 4th PDF above. It shows a few characters in all weights.
I'm not sure about the thick-thin connections in the ultrablack; I feel they're very pronounced but for smaal prints it's very clear.

Your thougts about the design again please!

eliason's picture

I'm not sure about the thick-thin connections in the ultrablack; I feel they're very pronounced but for smaal prints it's very clear.

I think the next decision to make is what is the target size for this font. (That will also help decide the best length for the descenders.)

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Some new characters in ultralight, medium and black (see 5th PDF above). Not there yet. Love the /b/...

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Please check out the 1st lower case black draft in the 6th PDF above.

I see now that the 'tail' of /a/ needs to be shorter and the bowl needs to be higher.
Perhaps /g/ is not black enough? Is /t/ too wide?

All comments appreciated!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Some more adjusting the ultra black weight was certainly neccesary! I find that interpolating is a great help determining the right shapes and stroke weight.
Please see the 7th PDF above.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

...and the first rough draft of ultra light italic (8th PDF).

hrant's picture

This one is a winner.
I'll try to make time for a full crit.
But what I can say now is that the "g" needs help.


Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Gee, thanks Hrant!

Please hold your crit for a day or two if you will, I've been working on it but haven't posted a new PDF yet.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Please check out the 9th PDF above for a closer view.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

A slightly more extensive PDF above added.

All comments still highly appreciated!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Another PDF added, all caps.

dezcom's picture

Jean Paul,
Your Aubaine typeface reminds me of the struggles I went through a few years ago with my own "Now Sans" which is yet to be released. I thought you might benefit from critiques I received here on Typophile 5 years ago:

Yours is looking well on its way, keep up the good work!


Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thanks Chris. You're right, I am struggling. I'll make sure to check out those posts. And thanks for the positive payoff!

Any idea when Now Sans is going to be released? It looks great!

dezcom's picture

I have several typefaces in the works and don't know which will win the race first. it is my cross to bear :-)

William Berkson's picture

Chris, remember how Matthew Carter at your type critique a few years ago said of your Now Sans, "finish this one first"? Not that he knows anything about type :) I agree with him and Jean Paul. It's awesome.

cerulean's picture

This is great, but I hope I can persuade you to change the amputated Q. In ultralight it is acceptable, in medium it is somewhat awkward, in black it looks ridiculous and makes unreasonable demands of line spacing.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thanks Kevin! Q is problematic at the moment, you're right, you're not the first to notice. It'll be addressed.

sal_randazzo's picture

Hi Jean Paul,

Great start to Aubaine.

I agree with Hrant that the g needs help... possibly making the bowl stroke closer to closed. The ear of the lowercase g looks out of place with the slight wavy curve you are designing with many of the other letter strokes... you might want to try a slight wave to the ear stroke of the lower case g. The lower case g looks slightly narrow comparing it with the relative overall widths of the other lower case letters.

I also feel that the black lower case weight is a little too dense with some small closed counter forms like the lower case e. I also feel that there is to much contrast between the thick to thin strokes.

Regards, Sal

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Before I begin spacing, I noticed two comments that were about character shapes, or rather, the obvious differences between the ultralight and black. I thought I'd better handle that first... So, after a day of redrawing most of the glyphs, I think I've achieved a more consistent feel - the ultralight and black fit better together. Please check out the PDF.

eliason's picture

The R looks high-waisted in the black weight.

Miss Tiffany's picture

***Promoted to the front page!***

Robert Trogman's picture

I guess I'll still use ITC Goudy Sans

cdavidson's picture

Wowzers. I'd love to add something constructive to this thread, but I don't think I could. This is fantastic work, very well done!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

@Robert: Although Goudy Sans is in my eyes completely different, everybody's free to use whatever font they like :-)

@CaleD: Thanks mate! Please revisit this thread in a couple of days for some more updates. Perhaps you'll see something then!

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Taking a little break from Aubaine here...

Clair Dunn's picture

Jean Paul --
An elegant face in the lighter weights -- but two things hit me right off:

One - the /G/ seems to list to the left (Aubaine Extra Light). I think the shape of the bottom curve as it relates to the baseline may be responsible for this.

Two - the bowl of the /P/ may be too large (or the stem too short! :)

I saw these two "issues" immediately in your first showing at the top of the thread, and both are still there now in the light version. The problem with the /G/ disappears in the heavier versions, but the /P/ issue remains. In your regular weight posted on the 20th, the /P/ almost seems to be riding above the baseline.

These are *minor* points of note in this very clean and relaxed face.

It's still fascinating to me to sense the change of feel in a typeface as it goes from light to extra bold. Really different animals at the extremes.

Thanks for this.

Jean Paul Beumer's picture

Thanks Clair! "Relaxed" is just what I'm going for (not just in design ;-))!
You're absolutely right about the "different animals". I addressed this some time ago by redrawing the black weight with more consideration for the inner white shapes so it's much more similar and in balance with the ultralight. I still haven't posted a new PDF though, it's coming soon!
Good point about P and G, which was bugging me from the very beginning.

Bendy's picture

Lovely. Really beautiful stuff. Proportions and shapes are really polished.

Black g needs more help. To me it looks quite bottom-heavy. I've found that open-tailed design almost impossible in black weights before. I think taking weight of the top of the tail will allow more space under the bowl, and possibly also allow the bowl to be taller, but you'll need to try every imaginable way of distributing the weight until it clicks.

x may be a bit wide across the weights. k also perhaps in the light and medium. And it looks slightly too curvy to my eye. Black k looks a bit high-waisted and possibly too narrow.

Angled foot of K and R doesn't seem to match other perpendicular-cut terminals, would you reconsider that?

Black U looks a tiny bit light. Making it wider may allow more weight on the stems without disrupting the balance.

There's lots of good stuff going on here. I'm enjoying this one.

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