My new project, a compact, solidly constructed realist sans serif that draws its influences from Germany.

It's only got one weight right now (hopefully over time I'll make this a large font family with 6 or 7 weights). I'd love some help getting the rhythm and consistency just right. I can spend hours just focused on one glyph, so it's hard to remember sometimes how crucial rhythm, weight and color are as well.

I just built it from scratch in 48 hours, but any input would be much appreciated!


! UPDATE (2/21): New pdf here!

Edin Specimen.pdf83.69 KB
1996type's picture

That's quite a good start. I'll give some further crique soon. Keep going!

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks Jasper! Your input and encouragement means a lot. I look forward to reading your critique.

1996type's picture

First of all, let me start of by saying this: I said that it's a good start because I have seen your progress here on typophile. It still needs A LOT of changes and it'll probably look a whole lot different when you're done. You have to realise that there's a good chance that you'll be working on this for a year, or even longer, before you reach a decent quality. However, that's where we all start, so don't stop working on it! I'm no profesional myself, so take it with a grain of salt.

Instead of telling you what looks 'wrong' to me for each glyph, I will just give you some basic advise, as I think that's a much better way learn it. All advise is based on my personal experience. In a later stadium I might come back here and give you some more specific critique.

— Keep it simple. There are lots of unnecessary bends and twists in it.
— Trust your eye, not maths. It's the only way to get a better trained eye. This doesn't mean you should stop measuring. I see quite a lot of inconsistencies in stroke thickness. Once everything is mathematically correct (all horizontals same thickness/positioning + all verticals same thickness) you should use your eyes to make it visually correct.
— Focus on the lowercase for now. They're easier to work out because you use and see them more often around you.
— Try out every possible change that you see in comparable fonts or just comes into your mind, before dismissing it.
— Look at existing fonts with similar characteristics and don't be too afraid of getting a similar design. Officina, Din, Meta, etc.
— It's quite hard to focus on every aspect of the typeface at the same time, so I suggest this order. You might want to change it, but this is how I did it.

1. Basic shape of letters
2. Width of letters
3. Stroke thickness
4. specific letter combinations

Good luck!

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks so much for the advice, Jasper. I definitely see what you mean about the stroke thickness, and attempted to normalize it. What do you think of this improvement?

penn's picture

Your vertical strokes in general appear to be too thick (compared to horizontals and diagonals), and still somewhat inconsistent. Compare the stem of the capital 'I' to the lowercase 'i', compare the stem of the 'K' to its diagonals, compare the vertical strokes of the 'M' to its diagonals, etc.

Trevor Baum's picture

Ah, thanks penn. This is my first ever attempt at creating a typeface, so I'm still making all the rookie mistakes. Is there any easier way to regulate the stroke widths? Or do you just have to keep on manually adjusting it until it's correct?

Thanks for the input!

penn's picture

Generally speaking vertical strokes are going to look heavier than horizontals. Once you understand that principle, you can then anticipate you'll have to make diagonals and horizontals a smidge thicker to compensate for that optical illusion. There's no easier way than by doing and gaining the experience.

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks penn and Jasper for your helpful comments. I've tried evening out the horizontal and vertical strokes now, and it looks so much more even and balanced. What do you think?

Quincunx's picture

Perhaps you could post a PDF, so we can zoom in? I say this, because I think that the main 'problem' with your design at the moment is the somewhat wobbly and inconsistent vectors. :)

Trevor Baum's picture

Good call Quincunx, here you go:


I also added the attachment to the original post.

Trevor Baum's picture

Any new input after the improvements?


Birdseeding's picture

How do you feel about the /r/? With the strict vertical right side of the stem it seems to vary in weight more than other comparable letterforms.

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks for the input, Birdseeding, here's a brand new update after some tough criticism from Herr Spiekermann.

1996type's picture

How did you get critique from Spiekermann?

I think the outward going and thinning stems in b d g m n p q etc. miss their purpose and look 'wrong'. Look at what Spiekermann did with this and some of his typefaces.

Trevor Baum's picture

I asked him via Twitter. Will do, thanks. I'm afraid that by taking away more of the irregularities, it will strip away the 'human' or 'organic' qualities, and will just end up being a boringly constructed sans serif. But maybe it's better off that way, I'll definitely give it a try.

I've also tried creating a slab version of Edin, and it looks great! It has more square corners, like you suggested. I'll post an image/pdf of that soon.

Trevor Baum's picture

New update with many improvements! Please let me know what you think.

Here's the pdf.

penn's picture

Looking better and better.

Still some weight inconsistencies — most noticeably in the lowercase 'i'. It seems rather dark when you compare it to the stems of some of the other characters. This is most likely due to the way the bar joins the top of the stem as well as the bottom curve.

The cap 'J' looks heavy as well. I think it's mostly how far the top bar sticks out along with its bluntness (it's not tapered like the ones on lowercase 'i' and 'j').

Your cap 'T' also looks too high. It's clearly higher than the cap 'R' that it's next to in the PDF.

Oh and by the way, my earlier post stating: Generally speaking vertical strokes are going to look heavier than horizontals. — dead wrong. It's actually the opposite . . . brain was not functioning properly :)

1996type's picture

"Dead wrong"

Is my brain not functioning, or will verticals in fact LOOK heavier than horizontals, as you said before. To compensate horizontals should be thicker. I think the T looks too high because it's too narrow.

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks so much for your critique, penn and Jasper! Your help has been invaluable so far, and you can totally tell from the improvements.

I will try to fix the 'i', 'J', and 'T' and get a new specimen up tonight.

penn's picture

Well in this case, the horizontals needed thickening, but the general rule is horizontals should be made thinner to compensate for the illusion that when mathematically equal in thickness to a vertical stroke, they'll look thicker. See 'stroke widths' section here: http://typographica.org/2010/on-typography/making-geometric-type-work/

1996type's picture

Ahh yes. Guess my brain wasn't functioning. One more thing about the typeface. The top of t should be horizontally flipped and the overall typeface looks a little condensed.

Trevor Baum's picture

Jasper, do you think that's a result of the kerning, or just the tall x-height and ascenders? I wanted the typeface to be a bit compact, so that it could be usable on the web and could display a large amount of information in restrictive spaces, while still remaining legible. Do you think it's too condensed? Maybe this could be Edin Condensed, and I can make a regular version with more extended characters.

Trevor Baum's picture

I updated the pdf with some of the changes you suggested - please take a look.

Thanks very much!

alienbreed's picture

Looking good!

Few things I noticed is that the 'Xx' looks lighter compared to others. Right foot of lowercase 'n' needs fine tuning, the slight curve in it looks off, could you try matching it with the lowercase 'h' where everything is dead straight? Same case with the 'u' I suppose you mirrored it?

Running text appears a bit jumpy, it might be a rendering issue but I suggest you check your alignment zone and make sure everything is lined up properly.

Looking forward to it & keep it up!

1996type's picture

I'm not saying it's TOO condensed. It's just condensed. I think optimizing text for web use requires a lot experience and knowledge, so I think it would be best to focus on print use. The condensedness is simply the result of designing the glyphs quite narrow. The spacing is also a bit tight though. Compare uppercase and lowercase glyphs to each other and try to make all stroke endings look like they have the same thickness. The bottom ending of c and C looks too thick for example.

Trevor Baum's picture

Do you guys think the curves on the 'a' 'c' 'o' all work together? I'm having a bit of trouble with that.

Trevor Baum's picture

Giant update! :)

Trevor Baum's picture


putmeon's picture

i think that your horizontal stems need to be thinner then the vertical ones ...

maybe it is just me, but 'e' might be too wide.

the oblique-version isnt working for me – it is too narrow and it looks just disproportioned.
it needs more work then just defining the angle through actions menu in FL.

otherwise, it looks much better as the versions before.

Trevor Baum's picture

Thanks putmeon, you're completely right about the 'e.' I'll make it a touch narrower, and will definitely make the horizontal stems thinner by a few ems.

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