Carnet, a British Humanist Sans

Bendy's picture

Carnet is a new take on the classic British humanist sans, drawing inspiration from public signage faces as Gill Sans and the UK's ubiquitous Transport medium.

With rather wide proportions and pragmatic architecture, Carnet expresses a feeling of openness and approachability. At the same time, it sparkles with sophistication.

Its clarity of form makes it perfect for public signage and transportation uses. It performs well at text sizes (especially suitable for brochures, instructions and presenting information) and is also appropriate for corporate identity projects.

All comments and crit very welcome.

AttachmentSize
Carnet Sampler.pdf511.56 KB
Carnet Sampler 2.pdf548.22 KB
eliason's picture

Nina pointed out the wideness of /y/ on Flickr... I think the widths of all the lowercase should be reviewed, paying attention to counter area. The ball-and-stick letters, for example, are quite wide: look at /p/ next to /rag/ in "pragmatic."
That inconsistently appearing wideness is brought out by your (in my opinion) too tight letterspacing.

Horizontal proportions of the caps are good, though perhaps /A/ could be narrowed a bit.

The techno-ish squareness of /g.alt/'s tail seems out of place to me.

What's the thinking behind the short extenders?

Bendy's picture

Hm, you could be right, but I'm rather attached to the large round eyes on the bowl-and-stick letters. I already took quite a lot off the y! Anyway, I'll have a look at the relative widths.

g.alt — you mean the single storey one?

Short extenders, er, I hadn't really noticed! Do you think they might reduce the usefulness?

Here's a sketch of the bold, I'll try and draw both simultaneously.

eliason's picture

Hm, you could be right, but I'm rather attached to the large round eyes on the bowl-and-stick letters.

Maybe then it's a matter of widening the other glyphs (e.g. /a/r/t/), if that's possible. And as I suggested, some breathing room between letters might also even things out.

g.alt — you mean the single storey one?

Yes.

Short extenders, er, I hadn't really noticed! Do you think they might reduce the usefulness?

Depends on the use you're talking about, I suppose. For "public signage and transportation," I might think lengthening the extenders would make clearer word-shapes and facilitate faster recognition. But other sizes and contexts would have different requirements.

I think you need more weight adjustment when bolding those letters with tight spots in their structure. /g/ of course, is the biggest challenge, and it does look too dark here. Top of /f/ too. Actually I can see it working well to introduce a lot more contrast in the bold than you have here, particularly if "sophistication" is one of your aims stylistically.

Did you consider other tittle shapes? The square looks a little rigid, like someone snuck some gothic into your humanist sans.

Bendy's picture

Here we go, I've drawn the bold...sorry no time to make a new pdf today, will do soon.

I made a lot of changes to the regular proportions as you suggested, Craig. Bolw-and-stick letters have been narrowed a bit, along with c, e, k, s, v, x and y, and widened f, n, r and t. Thanks for that advice, I think it's really gelling much better now.

The bold got quite a lot wider, and I think perhaps it needs even more overshoot still. It's got quite a different tone, more like Parisine, Bliss or Milo Sans. I added a bit more contrast, do you think it could take even more?

Tittles: I think this started with round tittles when I first adapted it from Mint last year. I quite like that gothic/grotesque touch in there. I think it must be my fear of softness again!

Bendy's picture

Attached a second pdf up top. Increased x-height of the bold another notch to be visually consistent with regular, and widened some letters.

eliason's picture

This is looking good!

The width changes you made are really good; the rhythm is more consistent now.

Love the comma.

Regular /M/: I think the upper vertices could be spread out (lengthen those horizontal bits at the tops) and let the angled counter underneath ride up a touch. (In other words keep the side strokes where they are but narrow the "V" in the middle - does that make sense?)

Bold /C/ looks light. Bold /L/'s horizontal stroke could be heavier, I think.

That chevron form of /K/ and /k/ seems out of character to me.

Love the /P/ and /G/ - really a lot of letters to love.

/A/ still looks a touch too wide to my eye.

I don't quite get the arbitrary oblique terminals on letters like E, F, L, T. The asymmetry of T's terminals looks particularly odd to me. What really doesn't work to me are the terminals on /X/x/ - the slanted terminals on one stroke and horizontal on the other look really unresolved. There's promise in those ideas (it may be close to working in the legs of /R/K/k/) but it doesn't seem fully worked out yet.

That bold /f/ looks much much better.

I think retaining an alternate one-story /g/ would be useful. It would lend itself more to the "delicious roundness"!

Hopefully others will pipe in here too!

Bendy's picture

Thanks Craig, I'm pleased you approve of the changes. You were definitely right about the widths.

Comma, yes, somehow I'm quite demanding with my commas. It's so easy to overlook but really needs to fit in properly.

I'll take a look at that M, now you mention it, I think that one has stayed a bit too close to Mint rather than finding its own voice. Do you see a problem with the tiny slope to its downstrokes?

Kk, would you try a horizontal bar or have the upper arm joining the stem? Maybe I'll just try both.

I was thinking the A might still be a bit wide, but I like the gradient of its strokes. I wonder if I can find a way to keep that gradient while making the overall shape narrower.

EFLT, well, I suppose I was trying to add a more humanist tone, similar to Tankard's Bliss (which I'm seeing everywhere these days) or Nick Shinn's recent Sensibility. I'll see about reversing the angles or something. Thanks for the observation on the Xx, I'll see what can be done there.

Yeah, forgot to tweak the alternate g, that's why it wasn't included in this specimen!

Bold /S/ was causing some problems. Did it seem happy to you?

Did you think the bold /a/ should be wider? It suddenly popped out at me...

And I wonder if the numerals should be a bit wider (first pdf)?

Many thanks indeed :)

1996type's picture

This looks like it's going to be a great succes when it's released. Versatile, yet plenty of character. You're probably a better designer than I am, so don't take my comments to serious. I agree with eliason that the Xx needs some refinement. The bold S looks fine to me. I think the bold a should be just a little bit wider. All the underneath is for regualr and bold:
Zz looks a bit top heavy to me. I'd just make the bottom horizontal stroke a bit longer. The point where the two diagonals in the k meet ( < ), looks a little bit to low to me.
The L seems a bit to wide.
The curve in the J seems a bit forced, not flowing nicely.
Mainly in the bold, the two story g looks to dark to me.

I'm probably one of the few designers, if not the only, who thinks this, but I thought to let you know anyway:
The horizontal part of the g optically looks as if it goes up towards the right, making it look quirky. IMO it should go down slightly towards the right.

Hope this helps.

eliason's picture

I'll take a look at that M, now you mention it, I think that one has stayed a bit too close to Mint rather than finding its own voice. Do you see a problem with the tiny slope to its downstrokes?

No, that works quite well I think.

Kk, would you try a horizontal bar or have the upper arm joining the stem? Maybe I'll just try both.

Try both. The humanist style may ask for the latter, but the wideness of the font may suggest the former.

Bold /S/ was causing some problems. Did it seem happy to you?

I dunno, maybe it leans right--maybe you could try retracting the top end just a touch. But I didn't notice it as problematic.

Did you think the bold /a/ should be wider? It suddenly popped out at me...

It looks fine to me. (There's not a lot of bold lowercase running text in your specimen to judge.)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I’m really looking forward to seeing this finished, Ben!

Martijn van Berkel's picture

There's me showing up again.
I really like it. :D
Maybe the bold "a" could be a little wider.

Keep up the good work!

Bendy's picture

Thanks everyone for all the comments (and to Nick Job via e-mail) — this is getting much better (I hope you agree).

The widths are getting much more coherent. I've redrawn some glyphs slightly, including the numerals (which hint at grotesque forms), the hood of the lowercase |a|, eye of |e| and spine of |s|. In the spirit of British wayfinding typefaces there's now an alternate |i| and |l|.

I'll keep tweaking and post a pdf in a day or two.

1996type's picture

Whoha! I'm lovin'those numerals. 2 might be a bit too wide.

eliason's picture

The joins of /6/ and /9/ get thick. Seems like that vertex at the crotch could be moved (leftward in the 6, rightward in the 9) a bit.

mgking's picture

Very nice. As a big fan of the Gill faces and the "neo-Gills" I am looking forward to the release. A question: which is the standard dot over the lc i or j? I find the Kabel-like diamond rather out of place. Best wishes.

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