Metal plate-esque type

smongey's picture

I’ve had this scan of a typeface from a Dover book (i think?) on my desktop for a while with the intention of learning Fontlab while digitizing it. From what I’ve read here this seems to be the best way to get “stuck in”.

Here’s the scan.

And here’s a pdf of my progress so far.

Also if anybody knows if this typeface happens to exist somewhere I’d appreciate it. Like I said this was for learning purposes so I guess that would help to see where I’m going wrong. I was considering making it a freebie after I’m done if it doesn’t currently exist.

I’ve been looking for a decent ‘how to’ guide for designing a typeface and Kris Sowersby’s article on I love typography is the best I could find. Any other suggestions are much appreciated.


smongey's picture



Michael Green's picture

looks good to me. Can I ask why you strayed from the original E?

smongey's picture

Sorry forgot about this thread :D

I gave my own interpretation of some of the characters. Do you mean the alternative E with the bevel edges or the fact that I made the three strokes less even?

Tristan Bowersox's picture

This sort of thing has been done a lot, so the thing that will sell it is what clever bits you put into it—the places you stray from the obvious solution.

With that in mind, your /S/s/$/ is I think the strongest (as it appears in the image above; the pdf seems to be different). /H/ is an interesting solution, I wonder how it would perform in context... /A/ also really appeals to me, though there's nothing particularly new about it.

The first thing I thought, though, was Yikes, that 7 is kooky. I see what you were going for, but it does not work. I think a sloped stem, somewhere in between that of the /Y/ and vertical, would be best.

The flipped /W/ doesn't look good as an /M/. Try making a square version. What would it look like to take that /N/ and repeat that second part of it?

The cuts making /b/d/g/h/m/n/p/q/ round-ish look kind of sloppy. For the /m/ and /n/, you can definitely take out the cuts sloping to the left and make those corners squared. That might not work as well on the others, but try it. It's just that that many small changes in direction 1)makes it look like just a rough curve from a distance and 2) kind of works against the whole idea of rigidity that the font is based on.

........I just re-read your original post. I've been critiquing an old scan of somebody else's font, haven't I?

smongey's picture

Hi, haha! Forgot about this thread again… You have indeed been grilling my source material. Some of the things you mentioned above I’ve actually done in the pdf and I’ve cleaned up a good bit of the lowercase as well as drawn a new M, 7, H, etc… Thanks for the feedback though, its helped clarify some of my decisions. Anything else, I’d really appreciate.

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