Sensato Black

1996type's picture

Hello everybody,

Here's the black version of Sensato, which I posted earlier in the critique section. Just lowercase for now. Caps are in the making. ALL feedback is much appreciated. Enjoy!

Jasper de Waard

Té Rowan's picture

I felt it wiser to look in a mirror to make sure it hadn't reached out and given me a black eye. It looks that strong (to me).

1996type's picture

You mean it's too dark? If you have a look at Nick Shinn's Sensibillity, Karmina Sans, and many more, you'll see that Black can be much blacker than Sensato Black.

Micha Mirck's picture

hi Jasper,
the O seems to be to small at the bottom. And I feel the k is out of balance with the rest of the design. Shouldn't the tops of the i and j also have a small angle?

Nick Job's picture

Been looking forward to this. Seen it and will feedback again but not just yet. It's an excellent starting place though, great to see some caps too.

nalle's picture


Adding to M Mirck's comment/question: …and shouldn't u, v, w, x and y also have a slight angle? Otherwise a very good start. Looking forward to see more of it.

Té Rowan's picture

I've seen blacker type that was weaker than this. Nope, this one's likely to cosh one over the head with the message.

cdavidson's picture

I've been looking for something like this for some time! The 'y' looks somewhat out of balance, I think... and maybe the top of the 'r' needs to be just a tiny bit longer?

1996type's picture

@Nick: Looking forward to your feedback!
@Micha Mirk: The k looks fine to me. Your right about the o, though it's a really small difference. The i and j look better to me the way they are now. Perhaps I'm just being stubborn, but I've tried it and I prefer it he way it is. It's also distracting when reading and some strokes are cut off at a different angle. The ascenders and descenders are not really 'seen' when reading, so I decided to cut those off at an angle. Somehow it doesn't feel distracting to me what I did in the n, m, d, etc.
@Nalie: IMO no. In most similar typefaces they are, but I simply think this looks better.
@ Té Rowan: I take that as a compliment =D
@ Caled: Making the top of r wider will create a huge gap in words like 'sports', so I'll probably keep it this way. I don't see what's wrong with the y. I quite like it actually.

I'm sorry if I come across stubborn, but I won't change things that look perfectly fine to me unless you can convince me otherwise. I have considered and tried out all of your suggestions carefully and changed very little. Anyhow, still many thanks for your feedback. Gives me something to think about for the comming few days.

Jasper de Waard

Micha Mirck's picture

Hi Japser,
if you have experimented with the i and j and prefer it like this, than leave it. It was just a thought. I'm not sure how to describe my problem with the k, but to me it differs to much from the other glyphs. All glyphs, except the k remind me of serif typefaces without the serifs. Have you tried a k where the diagonals meet in a T form like in most (old) serif fonts? If you have also tried that, I rest my k-ase
B.t.w. very nice design!

eliason's picture

I think the /y/ does need some work. If you made the longer / stroke taper less (by letting it swing out rightward more at the baseline), you would fix what I see as weakness at the beginning of the tail. As a happy byproduct, the right contour of the letter would then be at a less steep angle, which should make spacing a bit easier.

I wonder if the outer contour of /o/ is bit too "dynamic" for the rest of the face.

/d/'s upper juncture seems a touch inorganic to my eye.

Some nice drawing here, like /f/g/t/. The angle of the ascender terminals works well.

1996type's picture

Thanks Craig! I'll try you're suggestion on the y, though it seems logical to me that the y should have the diagonals at the same angle as v, but I might be wrong. I noticed that the spacing for v, w, x (and probably some more) will have to be negative to get an even colour. Is negative spacing OK?

You're also right about the o. it used to be even more 'dynamic', but I guess I didn't make it 'plain' enough.

I don't see what you say about the d. To me, the whole typeface feels quite organic due to the diagonal stress. Again, I might be wrong.

To be honest, I didn't draw enything when I started on this typeface, but thanks for the compliment.

Looking forward to an Ambicase Fatface update!

Cheers, Jasper

1996type's picture

Edit: I read inorganic as organic. In that case, you could well be right about the d. I'll try make it slightly more organic.

PJay's picture

Just a broad impression: I like the feel of your font. The curviness of the letters is nicely judged - regular and not so pronounced as to be eccentric. I think the font as a whole has a pleasing sensual effect.

I think you're on the right track with the root of the name you've chosen, that is the meaning is appropriate. However, the sound isn't. The 'ato' ending is rough or staccato rather than smooth and sensual. You need a word that conveys the right impression with sound and sense both. You could even use something like 'Satin'.

1996type's picture

Thanks for the compliments. The curviness ( I guess you mean the diagonal stress) is actually more obvious than in comparable sans-serif typefaces, but doesn't look eccentric because many serif typefaces have a strong diagonal stress.
Enough about the name. It sounds good to me and in the end it's about the typeface, not the name. If you have a suggestion for a different name, you're very welcome to send it to me via the contact button on my typophile profile, but as far as I'm concerned Sensato will do.

Nick Job's picture

Hi Jasper

More time on my hands so I'll give feedback a shot today! It's long again - sorry about that.

One of the things I was told to do when designing bold weights was to put the same glyphs from both regular and bold (in your case black) next to each other when you are designing them. They will both inform each other about the way each should look (I'm guessing because the regular is roughly where you want it so it's the black that will have to yield to the width principles already established on the regular). You may even find that the regular needs tweaking.

Are you making the widths consistent across weights? If you do, then the black will inevitably look narrower than the regular. The light/thin end may even begin to look a little extended! It's a nice thought to have a uniform width across weights but in practice (particularly in the extreme weights) they will look like they are different widths. It's amazing how much wider you'll need to go with the black to make it look the same width optically.

If you put both Regular and Black /o/s next to each other, I'm sure you'll see that the dynamism that Craig has already referred to is rather too much in the black weight (not just the /o/, although that's where it's perhaps most obvious). For me, it isn't more 'plain' that you want, it's more consistent across weights. Plain is fine. Workhorse typefaces can't afford to be too flamboyant.

So generally, to me at least, most characters look narrow in the black. However the /a/ and /e/ look about right to me, maybe even a touch wide, but they make particularly the /b/ (and similar glyphs) and the /n/ (and similar glyphs) look very narrow indeed.

The black looks much more tightly spaced than the regular (which I meant to say looks a touch loose, although it reads very well being that loose).

The /i/ and /j/ dots/tittles could afford to be more circular and therefore come closer to the tops of the stems (which I'm fine with being flat BTW). The dots look a little like they are floating away in the black. Also, the dots on the /i/ and /j/ need to influence the period much more (or vice versa).

As far as the tops of the /b/, /d/, /h/ etc being slanted is concerned, if they are flat tops in the regular, they should be flat in the black in the name of consistency. Slanted is fine (I prefer flat but it's your baby) but do make them slant in all or none of the weights.

If the black /k/ looks right (to me it's not bad), then the regular /k/ needs to be narrower. I sound like a broken record with that regular /k/!

You're right, if you make the top of the /r/ longer (CaleD), you'll get big white areas in black text (especially if this particular weight continues to be this tightly spaced). A lot of designers make their /r/ deliberately narrow to avoid this, you're in good company.

>>>I don't see what's wrong with the y. I quite like it actually.
Me too, but maybe try a bit of optical adjustment (see Craig's comment). May get even better!

When you've done the caps I would make a multiple master (assuming that's the route you're going down to make your range of weights). This might help with the whole width thing.

>>>Enough about the name.
You're not kidding. I've been trying to think of a name for my latest effort and it's been impossible! If you've found one you like, happy days! At this stage, the name is relatively unimportant and may change again. The only thing I would add is that, in an ideal world, you do want your name to begin to show off the best characters (or maybe that's not as important as I think it is?)

Beautifully done, hats off once again. Please take my comments with a big pinch of salt. I'm no expert, esp. in the company of some of the guys who post here.

Lasko Dzurovski's picture

Nice Work!!

1996type's picture

Thanks Lasko

@Nick: Don't apologize for long feedback. The more the better, I'd say! I am trying, as you already guessed, to keep the widths consistent across weigths. To me, it doesn't look wrong, and it might be a good selling point.

You're right about the o. I already changed it and I'll include it in the next update. (Caps too, hopefully.) I have also changed the a and e already, which will also be included in next update.

At a second glance it's probably the regular that needs tighter spacing.

I'll have another look at the tittles. I haven't changed the period yet, so it's too small indeed.

The tops of ascenders in the regular are already slanted, but not updated yet.

The regular k is also changed, but not updated yet.

I have changed the y (looks better to me now) but not in the way craig suggested. Does the right diagonal of the y look more horizomtal (less steep) to you?

I have already tried what the bold will look like and it didn't look too narrow to me. Perhaps some text tests for bold and regular will prove me wrong, but I'm confident it will work out fine. There are more good typefaces out there with consistent width across weights and some of them have been quite succesful.

"The only thing I would add is that, in an ideal world, you do want your name to begin to show off the best characters (or maybe that's not as important as I think it is?)" I did pay attention to that, decided not to force it too much, as in a good typeface any combination should look good. IMO the s, a and t show off Sensato's style quite well, so also regarding the way it looks I'm pretty pleased.

As you might have read, there are quite a lot of things yet to be updated. This is mainly because I want to run some good text proofs and finsih the caps before the next update. I have found a good Xante aw1200 for just €25 in the city I live in, so I'll probably be able to make some test prints soon.

Cheers, Jasper

Nick Job's picture

>>>I am trying, as you already guessed, to keep the widths consistent across weigths. To me, it doesn't look wrong, and it might be a good selling point.

Don't do it! The fact that I noticed same widths means that it was an obvious issue for me. I'd also get a lot of other opinions on this spacing matter. Honestly, I think less people will buy it because the bold/black looks too narrow. Consider all the fonts in the world by all your favourite designers... how many are same width throughout? It may be an noble and admirable aim but it'll almost certainly spoil what has the potential to be a very beautiful face. Why would you try the impossible on your second font? Same widths may not be noticeable in some glyphs but in some like /i/k/l/v/y/ it'll give you massive headaches.

Of course, if you tighten the spacing on the regular, that will give the black even more of a spacing crunch, assuming you keep the spacing uniform! Believe me, you're already squashed in this black weight. It's getting on towards a narrow cut.

>>>Does the right diagonal of the y look more horizomtal (less steep) to you?
Yes the junction and tail have to move to the right otherwise it looks like its leaning to the right (very mildly italic). It's only optical, so what I guess Craig was saying was thicken the tail at the junction by moving the outermost smooth point at the base of the right diagonal further right. I guess he'll have to confirm that.

Keep going!

1996type's picture

OK ok. You're probably right. again. Seems like I got a lot of work to do! I also decided to make the Caps smaller, so I gotta give them back there original thickness back after scaling them down and do the same in the Caps I already made for the Black. The next update will probably be on the regular in a few days (with some luck) with consitent stem thickness and smaller caps. The Black update is probably gonna take me more than a week.

Jasper de Waard

Nick Job's picture

Nothing wrong with a bit of hard work. It'll be worth it and you've got time on your side unlike some of us! Plus you'll be quicker than you think on the black, some letters aren't far off already. Looking forward to next regular too...

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