LexLuengas's picture

On August 2009 I decided to make this book typeface.

While reading a book on September, I was caught by an ff ligature (I know, cliché, but I can't change the facts), and for the first time I became interested in typography and design. I started to read a few of books about typography, including The Elements of Typographic Style (of course), taught myself calligraphy and began working on Rhetorica right away. The Regular and Bold style were constructed using exclusively FontLab. By contrast, the Italic style was based on my hand-script, and then fine-tuned in Fontlab.

After a pause of six months, now I had time to resume the design. The character set has grown, and with it my knowledge of the dynamic of shape has improved.

All kinds of comments are welcome. Main point it help's me build up Rhetorica. I'm sure I have something to learn from most people here; I just hope they share their knowledge to me c:


The most recent SPECIMEN can be found HERE. (Sorry, I've had problems uploading it directly to typophile).

Specimen (27.03)461.98 KB
Specimen (8.03)438.85 KB
Revision Sample (8.03)63.65 KB
Specimen (16.04)41.42 KB
dhannah1000's picture

Very good! It has the charateristics of of Adobe Minion!

LexLuengas's picture

Thanks! I think one of the most remarkable aspects of Minion is it's study on kerning and overall "color" of individual characters. I hope my experiments with Camille resulted as good as Slimbachs. Corrections are welcome!

LexLuengas's picture

Here are all variants of the ampersand:

riccard0's picture

Top of G seems a bit hoverhanging.

1996type's picture

That's great work for a starter! I'm no pro, so feel free to ignore my comments ;-)

Look at the width of your horizontals. For example the horizontals in E look thicker than O.

The tails in K R k need to be flatter at the bottom.

The tail in J is too short.

Riccardo is right about the G.

The serifs in s are too thin, look at Adobe Garamond's s.

For a textface, it would make more sense to give c and f ball terminals.

Historically, the bowl of the a usually has a more vertically slanted look and is slightly narrower (see Adobe Garamond). Yours is not really bad, but consider the options carefully.

b should be more flat at the bottom. Same thing for q. Most textfaces (again, see Garamond) have a small serif at the top of q. This is to prevent the u from looking too large next to the q.

arm of r is too long and has a weird terminal.

top of t is the wrong way around in the regular weight.

I'm sorry, but that tail in x is horrible! Make it a serif.

y terminal needs to be moved to the right. Try a Minion style terminal.

The positioning off accents need much more attention. Use Garamond or Minion as a Mask.

I don't like the first ampersand alternate (top right in the pict above), nor the y alternate.

An ll ligature? I fail to see the beauty of that.

f doesn't flow nicely in the tittle in fi and fj ligature.

v and k are too wide in the italic weight.

That's A LOT of stuff to consider. Don't let it demotivate you. From what I can tell by what you've made so far, you're a quick learner. Look often and closely at other text typefaces. Take your time. "A typeface is never finished, only abandoned" You should realise that there's a good chance that you'll be working on this for a year before you reach a decent quality. Once you've accepted that you'll find it much easier to strive for perfection. I hope you'll find this useful and I'll definitely return to this thread (in the critique section, where it should be).

I can't really help you on the copyright question. I suggest you make a new thread for that. This typeface is also called Camille: http://www.font-zone.com/download.php?fid=457
Naming typefaces is a pain in the ass, I know.

Cheers! Jasper

eliason's picture

Top of regular roman /t/ isn't working.

/7/ might lean a little too far right.

I don't like that tight hook at the end of the little stroke of /&/ on the right. The ampersand variants without that (all but first and last) are better.

This is really nice work!

LexLuengas's picture

Here are some considerations for the /a/ and the /e/. Tell me what you think:


@1995type, elliason
I know the form of the regular /t/ was too venturous. There has been always an collaterally, orthodox version; I was just provoking c:

litera's picture

The second ones seem best.
Especially the shape of second /a/ reminds me of Fred Flintstone.

1996type's picture

Yup, 2nd for both the a and the e.

LexLuengas's picture

Last two weeks I've had a lot of work revising the Regular alphabet of the typeface. Here are the results, hope you like it:

Here are some individual characters compared:

You can also find the entire revised glyph repertory (PDF) at the top of my post.

eliason's picture

Looking good! Those changes are almost all in the right direction for sure. That /f/ crossbar might now get a bit too delicate, though looking at it in running text would make it easier to decide. I think maybe the /Q/ tail is still not quite done...

LexLuengas's picture

Here are some practices I did with the ligatures and some alternates. I'd love to hear your comments. (Perhaps the ñ_i ligature isn't working, but who cares; I'm just doing all my mind comes up with).

georg's picture

I like your plays on ligatures. For the ñ_i ligature i’d propose rather not to let it end in a ball but in something similar either to the terminal of the r_i or of the f_i ligature.

Igor Freiberger's picture

It's going very well, congrats. I second Eliason opinion, your improvements are consistent and well done.

Your |fi| ligature may be less round to keep more resemblance with original f sharpness. Have you tried to do the |Re| ligature with a curve R leg? |ñi| is creative, but the tilde would be a bit bolder.

litera's picture

I especially like what you've done on the /x/ and /&/. But maybe the bottom right stroke of /x/ goes a bit too low. Maybe that's desired maybe not. It should definitely show up better in a line of text because it may break the reading line.

I'm not so sure about the /R/K/ alternates with angular tail. Because your type isn't really angular and seems odd. They should maybe be done more in a way that the /RU/ combination shows but maybe with a bit shorter stroke.

Have you considered your /ri/ ligature to maybe lower the /i/ and hence also lower the ear of /r/. It wouldn't seem so stretched and over-exaggerated. Although /i/ shouldn't be too low because it may get distracting. So just a nice little shortening would do better to this ligature.

LexLuengas's picture

I need some help about choosing the right shape for my fi ligature (which will serve as mold for the rest of the f-ligatures). Here are some thoughts:

By the way, I had some time to add small caps and redesign diacritics (lowercase, uppercase and sc), as well as retouching the whole character set some more. I've appended a concise Specimen.

riccard0's picture

Third one.

Trevor Baum's picture

Third one for sure.

I think this is a beautiful typeface - congrats and keep going! My only (small) criticisms are:

- The softness of the crossbar/aperture of the 'e.' It looks a little too friendly compared to the other letterforms.
- The ear on the 'g' could be a little more rectangular, and less triangular. I would also shorten the bowl by a few clicks.
- The aperture of the 'a' is a little too round and friendly for my taste, and it doesn't relate as well to the top stroke, which is lovely.

All in all, I'm really impressed - I would absolutely use this typeface myself. :)

Gary Lonergan's picture

The fi ligature: I like the smoothest one used in insignification. even smoother would be better. I just like quiet typefaces

LexLuengas's picture

Since the last four months, I finally set aside some time to expand my character set prolifically. The development of the typeface had frozen in summer. I must admit it has been a demanding and meticulous task, to the extent that I almost give up. Two years ago, as the idea of making my own typeface was born, I wasn’t even considering drawing an Italic companion. One year ago, I was decided that the character set of the family would stay in a modest minimum. But after I started drawing my Small Capitals, I wasn’t resisting to add the Bold Italic version to the family anymore. The latter has unquestionably become my favorite amongst the four different variants; perhaps this is explained by the fact that it is the less “silent” of his brothers, it is the clear evidence of my lately playful attitude towards contrast, but resisting not to isolate it apart from the clean, harmonious spirit of the typeface.

One of the most difficult and frustrating tasks I encountered was finding a name for the font. Nothing seemed suitable. Not until one month ago. Rhetorica is a name which I feel depicts the purpose of this typeface very precisely. I wonder what effect or impression this name has on different languages...

Rhetorica now covers the Adobe Latin 3 character set, so I am proud to take into account a much wider range of languages, covering the vast majority of the Latin-Based CE forms. Additionally, I included Small Capitals with corresponding punctuation, as well as titling and oldstyle figures (both with tabular and proportional instances), fractional figures (numerators and denominators) ligatures and stylistic alternates.

I'd appreciate all (or, should I say, ALL) kinds of comments: constructive, destructive, short, extensive, deep, superficial, &c. A specimen can be found at the top of the post.

flooce's picture

The name is interesting. Universally understood in many languages, it is related already to the subject of “communication”, maybe speech is a bit distant from type, but I hope it has the mentioned benefits. Memorable name I think.
However, I don’t see a new specimen.

LexLuengas's picture

Thanks for your comment :-) I've just uploaded a specimen. Typophile gave me an error when I tried to upload it, so I did it externally. Sorry for that. I will do it the right way as soon as find out what causes the error.

LexLuengas's picture

I chose the name mainly because of it's meaning in Spanish:

"f. Arte de bien decir, de dar al lenguaje escrito o hablado eficacia bastante para deleitar, persuadir o conmover." (Real Academia Española)

Nevertheless, as Florian pointed out, I can't forget it's etymology, which is the art of public speech. I like the way the term has been generalized to the written language in Spanish-speaking countries, but I don't know if this has happened elsewhere. I was aiming at rhetorical device rather than rhetoric per se. Do you think the majority of people will also tend to misinterpret "Rhetorica"?

eliason's picture

Looking quite good.
It would be helpful to see settings that combined regular, italic, bold, and bold italic on the same line. Each has a rather different flavor to me, so I'm curious to see how they work together.

Most or all of these are merely opinions to be taken or left as you wish:
The hook of roman /f/ hangs out pretty far (does that alternate rein it in a bit? what is your thinking on that?).
The tittles are both a bit too small and too low, at least in the regular roman.
The regular /x/ is fun but seems like it intersects too high. It looks to me like the / stroke could just use more slant.
The top of regular /t/ could be raised a touch, and/or the crossbar lowered a touch.
Is the regular comma/apostrophe shape a little too curly?
What a handsome pilcrow!
I don't think that fï ligature works. And to be honest, I'm not sold on any of the discretionary ligatures except maybe the more traditional /ct/sp/st/. Those longer tail alternates of /R/K/Q/ do work well, though.
Italic /y/ is fun, but maybe not quite there yet. Could it use a little more weight in the descender? The dagger-like italic /f/ is also cool.
This is really impressive stuff.

JamesT's picture

I really like this and am extremely jealous!

As far as a critique, I agree with eliason's above post and the alternate Q's tail seems off to me. It looks as though there is too much space between the /Q/ and the /u/. Maybe if you were to move where it stems off further right it might help—or maybe it's just me.

LexLuengas's picture

Thank you for your kind comments! I agree with almost all of your remarks. I'm already working on it :-)

Craig, yes, the /f/ alternate is contextual. I also see some imbalances in the regular /x/, but that is if it is seen alone. I designed it to collide its right neighbor, so you have to take into account that the imbalance disappears within running text... almost, because I agree with you after all that it can be polished.

I will make my best to make you change your mind about the discretionary ligatures. I admit they are "difficult".

James, you are totally right about the alternate Q. I did the correction to the Q some time ago, but forgot to think about the alternate. Thank you very much! I try not to miss things like this by working very systematically, but errors can always sleep through.

I will soon post an update of my corrections.

LexLuengas's picture

I think it is time to rethink the tail of the /Q/. Here's my proposition:

It's almost clear to me that it resembles better the style of the rest of the character set. What do you think? (btw. Quintessence was one of many names I was also considering for the typeface ;-) )

LexLuengas's picture

Here's some text in spanish combining all four different styles of Rhetorica, as requested by Craig. I'm looking forward to release the typeface in December c;

LexLuengas's picture

"What about some ornaments?" — I thought:

Tosche's picture

Hi Alexis,

I just found your font on MyFonts and I have some things to say about it. First of all, remove Rhetorica from MyFonts immediately. Right now. And I tell you why you should.

Your typeface is a ripoff of Adobe Minion. Any defensive action is futile as this is obvious to the eyes of the experienced. Here’s why I believe this is a ripoff.


  • This is simply too well done for a first typeface (especially for a seriffed one).
  • Most characters look way too similar to each other, especially the ones you didn’t care so much.
    (e.g. Ω π ¤ ∫ ∑ ∞ and shape and position of diacritic letters)
  • The ones that are different are poorly drawn.
    (i.e. the ones you reredrawn or added such as strange swashes, ligatures and ampersands)
  • The characters rather unique to adobe fonts are included and they look almost the same as Minion’s. Those things would never cross your mind if you are a beginner (but not a pirate) typeface designer.
    (e.g. ck ch smallcap fi fl ss and all the alternate numerals & punctuations)
  • Your Italic too is Minion mixed with Palatino.

There is nothing wrong about learning by referring, utilising, or even imitating the past work. It is surely an effective way to learn. However, it is unacceptable if you do not clarify your sources upon release. I personally recommend never to release such fonts because they are very likely to be similar to their references. This kind of work is a study material but not a creation.

I guess you learned a lot about typeface design through this work and that’s very good. But please don’t release this pretending that this is your own work because it’s not. It’s Slimbach’s. Make your own typeface next time. I welcome you to this field so much and honestly want to see your next work.

Lastly, it is sad that nobody on this thread has pointed it out before the release. No intention to blame anyone.

Bendy's picture

I'm afraid I have to agree with Toshi, it's clearly derived from Minion. There's simply no way an independent design could settle on the same x-height, caps height and extenders. The changes that have been made are whimsical small details applied without consistency. They also give the game away: they're handled badly and drawn much less confidently. The important design decisions made by Slimbach are evident: the way the strokes thin at junctions, the widths and proportions of most letters, style of serifs, spacing, errors with the ogonek connection, eszett with a spur etc etc.

Some unfortunate buyer licensed the typeface and then complained on the MyFonts Facebook page that the uprights and italics have different linespacing. Really they ought to be refunded for having bought something that's pretty un-useable.

eliason's picture

Wow, sorry to see this. As far as this thread goes, it should have been much clearer from the start where this was taken from.

LexLuengas's picture

I didn't mean to offend anyone. I'm really sorry if my study in Rhetorica resulted in an offensive pastiche: that was far from any of my intentions. I have just written to MyFonts to remove the typeface from the webpage. I also profoundly apologize with Slimbach, who I admire and respect most of all; I apologize with all typographers from all over the globe, because it's insulting: insulting to the endeavor of typographers which deserves fair remuneration for the work, and insulting to typographers as artists. I will refund to the people who bought Rhetorica. This should have remained as a study. I'm also sad that nobody ever pointed it out.

If typography gives a me another chance, I will produce something genuine and worthy of being called art. I still want to become a good typographer and I think that have learned immensely while drawing Rhetorica and participating in this forum. I'm happy that such a rich community of great typographers is willing to share their knowledge. I really admire you and hope to someday be able to make amends with all of you.


LexLuengas's picture

uprights and italics have different linespacing.
I corrected that, but MyFonts published the old font files.

hrant's picture

Alexis, I wish everybody in the position you
found yourself in were so gracious. Thank you.


eliason's picture

I'm glad and relieved to see apologies and amends rather than digging in and defensiveness.
If you're interested in improving in type design, I hope one of the takeaways for you from this situation is that the real substance of the endeavor resides not in the fiddly decisions on terminal shape or ligature invention, but rather in all the parts you bypassed by starting from Slimbach: proportions, vertical metrics, spacing, character of curves, etc.
Start your next project from a blank file, be up front about the influences you are consulting, and I imagine "typography will give you another chance."

Bendy's picture

Learning from mistakes is the best possible response; as Hrant said, your honesty is admirable, and I take my hat off to you.

The best of luck to you with your next design.

JamesT's picture

When this first came to light, I honestly didn't expect you to post again. In my opinion, your post really does show your character. We've all made mistakes, but how you have owned up to yours is admirable.

I'll be looking forward to seeing your original work.

butterick's picture

Oh come on. The FIRST response in this thread said “it has all the characteristics of Adobe Minion.”

It has been said elsewhere on Typophile that “if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all ... Silence is critique enough.” This is good advice in most cases.

But there are cases — usually on the Critique forum — where people are engaged in acts of atrociously bad ethics or just flagrant deceit. And if people who know better "don't say anything at all," then Typophile becomes a little more of a safe haven for that kind of bad behavior.

If minimum standards of civility are demanded of those who plan to critique the work of others, equivalent standards should be demanded of those who plan to post work. Right now there's an imbalance, leading to an implied policy of "post whatever you want and don't worry that you'll have to take any heat for it."

In this case, Typophile encouraged the creation and sale of a font that was plainly a knockoff all along. I hardly think that's a very "typophilic" role for this forum.

hrant's picture

> Silence is critique enough.” This is good advice in most cases.

No way dude.

The main reason I myself didn't say anything in this
thread (I had glanced at it when it started) is that
I didn't notice the strong similarity to Minion (one
guy writing one line means little to me), because I
don't spend time analyzing boring fonts. And that's
the one attenuating circumstance here: copying
something so mundane isn't nearly as bad as copying
a cultural cornerstone (like Legato for example).


JamesT's picture

I noticed the first post but I just assumed the designer wasn't just altering something that was already created; only that it had a similar influence or appearence.

Also, I hope a lack of feedback doesn't mean the design is bad or else I might be in trouble with my typeface.

Martin Silvertant's picture

Gorgeous new Q! The typeface is looking very solid and strong. It's not the most unique and different design but I don't think every typeface needs to be. It's strong and I particularly like the design of the italics.

> something so mundane isn't nearly as bad as copying
> a cultural cornerstone (like Legato for example).
How often does Legato need to be mentioned? Is it really a cultural cornerstone?

I think Minion is safe and dull. I haven't compared Rhetorica with Minion so I wouldn't know if they look anything alike, but I do think Rhetorica is playing it quite safe as well. Perhaps the moment for Rhetorica to shine is by use of its ligatures which are lovely. Rhetorica seems much more alive than Minion though.

hrant's picture

> Is [Legato] really a cultural cornerstone?

I don't like sensationalism and idolatry. I don't use
words like "genius" lightly; I think words lose power
when you misuse them.

But when something is this important, and people
have trouble grasping it, I feel like I have a duty
to keep it in the mix.

I've said this before, and I'm not kidding: to me
Legato is the most significant single typeface
since Gutenburg's work.


butterick's picture

And that's the one attenuating circumstance here: copying something so mundane isn't nearly as bad as copying a cultural cornerstone

To type designers of the future who might be reading this: copying glyphs out of someone else's proprietary font, making minor changes, and presenting them as your own work is never okay. There are no "attenuating circumstances." Copying from fonts you find "mundane" does not make it okay.

JamesT's picture

"There are no "attenuating circumstances." Copying from fonts you find "mundane" does not make it okay."

Agreed. Copying isn't really an area with a lot of different shades of grey.

hrant's picture

Everything in Life has shades of gray.
Everything in Life is [shades of] gray.

Killing somebody is Bad.
Genocide is Worse.

Live with it, don't theorize.


JamesT's picture

I didn't say it was completely black and white; only that there aren't many situations when it is acceptable.

Martin Silvertant's picture

> I've said this before, and I'm not kidding: to me
> Legato is the most significant single typeface
> since Gutenburg's work.
I haven't seen you say this before, but that's quite a statement — especially considering it seems to neglect a lot of significant single typefaces between Gutenberg's work and Legato. I must say I'm incredibly impressed by Legato, but I'm just not sure if it's A method for a legible typeface or THE method. Two things are clear to me though: it does read very well and the variety in strokes is very aesthetic and lively. Is legibility the only factor to regard Legato so highly though? I'm interested in why exactly you speak of Legato the way you do. I'm personally not convinced type needs to evolve like Legato. I see it more as something aesthetically pleasing than a method to make perfect type. It's not like other typefaces neglect the interaction of black and white space, after all. Ultimately I find myself being more impressed by a typeface like Ideal Sans than Legato.

I was just wondering where the talk about copying fonts came from though as Rhetorica seemed to have a genuine design process and similar to Hrant, I never cared to look at Minion long enough to see that Rhetorica is a modified Minion. I didn't read the middle part of this topic so I missed the climax. Quite a pity though, because as I said before Rhetorica seems more lively. Rather than abandon the project the letters could be redrawn with original dimensions (x-height, ascenders, descenders, cap height) — especially after Alexis' gracious apology.

hrant's picture

I think the most concise and precise I've managed to be
concerning Legato's seminal nature is my mini-review of
2004, quoted here: http://typophile.com/node/55783
(The non-italicized second paragraph
is actually part of the review.)

It's possible that focusing on single fonts is misleading.
Focusing on genres is better; so for example I would concede
that the genre of Sans is probably culturally more significant
than Legato. However: is there a single Sans font that can take
most of the credit? And consider how significant a Legato genre
would be...

So, if we do choose to focus on individual typefaces, exactly
what font is more significant, culturally? Ideal Sans? Charming.
A workhorse. But a mere blip on the cultural radar.

All that said, nobody should think in terms of THE or "perfect".


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