Satyr: No straight lines

Sindre's picture

This started as an attempt to draw type with curves only, and soon became an exercise in tension. I drew this several months ago, and had almost forgotten about it, until this post brought it back to mind. I don't really know if this experiment has identity enough to be considered a typeface in its own right. There's a companion italic in the works too, but I want to wait with that.

AttachmentSize
First specimen41.24 KB
Text setting31.99 KB
Revision A–Z, a–z41.14 KB
Pangrams (thanks, Craig!)39.04 KB
Testing25.33 KB
Italics32.87 KB
hrant's picture

Ah, the new ampersand rules!

The question mark is a bit too smooth - it needs some of that funky modulation.

You may be right about the old "j". What about a Centaur-style one?

hhp

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Today, learn about the Armenian Genocide.

Quincunx's picture

That new ampersand works beautifully.

Gary Lonergan's picture

It has shades of Golden type I'd say it;s a venetian

Sindre's picture

Thank you very much! That ampersand was a nightmare, but one I learnt a lot from. One structural problem with the ampersand is that it has to balance between upper and lower case, as it belongs to neither (or both). I tried to do that by combining the upper case cusp and diagonal with the lower case flag serif and v/k/x-arm.

I'm quite satisfied with that my new ampersand has a rather conventional outline, yet still is structurally not so orthodox. One can clearly see a rather undistorted 'et', without the glyph being too cursive nor too "literal".

Your honest and very qualified critique is invaluable! I cannot imagine how I can ever draw type this good without Typophile.

I think Centaur's j terminal looks like melting, brittle metal. That's cool, but not for my typeface. But I'll try to come up with a more distinct shape (though I quite like it as it is, I realise it might be a bit passive.)

I think I need to do something else than drawing tomorrow. Stay tuned for updates in a couple of days.

That is one insane g, Sevag! Thank you.

I've thought about making such an upwards-pointing spur on mine, by the way, but just can't get it right. Should I keep trying? By the way, what are good examples of typefaces with an open 'g'? I'm not counting Baskerville, it's aperture is purely ornamental.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Serifs:

• Gerrit Noordzij’s Ruse
• Jeremy Tankard’s Enigma.
• Robert Slimbach’s Kepler
• Colin Brignall’s ITC Italia
• Eric Spiekerman’s Meta Serif
• Typejockeys’ Ingeborg
Cheltenham
• Zuzana Licko’s Mrs Eaves
• Steve Jackaman’s Schiller Antiqua
Some Cochin stuff
• Dino dos Santos’ Andrade and also his Cultura
• Yuri Gordon’s AntiQuasi
• Paratype’s Bodoni by Alexander Tarbeev
• Jean François Porchez’ Ambroise
• François Rappo’s Didot Elder
• Michael Mischler and Nik Thoenen’s Catalog
• Miles Newlyn’s Democratica
• Kontrapunkt’s own Kontrapunkt

hrant's picture

Sindre, I fully agree with you on Baskerville's "g". I have previously called its opening "apologetic", but ornamental (or cosmetic) might be even better. There is however one Baskerville revival that does it right: Fountain's "1757".

Frode, nice of you to compile such a list! Personally I only find Ingeborg's to be good enough (although the one in Tarbeev's Bodoni is OK). Sindre's is better than any of those... although maybe I feel that way because it's structurally similar to the one in my own Patria:

And Sindre, in fact the only thing I'd change in yours (which I mentioned before) would be to give it a rising ear.

hhp

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Today, learn about the Armenian Genocide.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I don't think Enigma's g is half bad, mainly because the aperture is so high and the link frees up space. It doesn't look like a mistake, like most other open binocular g's.

Sindre's picture

Thank you, Frode! I've been browsing your typeface list, and I have to agree with Hrant. Those g's aren't really similar to ours, they are all (even Ingeborg's) embellishments on the same old structure. Most of them treat the opening like the gap in a renaissance 'P', the stroke is continued, althoug there's no ink there. Our 'g' descenders are much more independent, and they have a terminus.

Ingeborg (that I haven't at all heard about) is irritatingly similar to my unfinished Mondegreen, by the way). While it's a good typeface, I think it suffers from slighly sloppy curves and lack of attention to micro-detail. Enigma is good, too.

It looks like the typeface from your list that has the most comparable g's to ours is ITC Italia. But the rest of it looks like a parody of William Morris' parody of Nicolaus Jenson.

Hrant, your right (again), I've now come to think that an upwards-pointing ear is inevitable.

Sindre's picture

Er ... I must have been extremely tired when I wrote that last post. Otherwise I wouldn't have made one of the most embarassing orthographical errors one can possibly make in English.

Bendy's picture

Another one for that list: Jos Buivenga's Fertigo.

Sindre's picture

Couldn't help myself. Here's a first draft of a new 'g'. I'm unsure about this.

eliason's picture

That ear followed by a midline serif (as in /n/) strikes a sour note, I'm afraid.

hrant's picture

Keep it simple (that's what I had to do
after trying too hard with the ear in Patria).

BTW, one inspiration for my "g" was the one
in the Italic of Zapf-International (and I have
Roy Preston to thank for pointing it out to me).

hhp

Sindre's picture

This simple? (Very quickly thrown together, but I think the structure just might work.)

hrant's picture

Maybe a little too chipper. Try curling it the other way.

hhp

eliason's picture

That's looking promising. Would you consider softening the underside join, kind of like you had with the "signal range" version?

Sindre's picture

Oh yes. The version I showed just wasn't fused into one outline yet. In fact, softening of corners has become quite a compulsion for me, fonts with sharp corners and straight lines now look unfinished and crude to me (though I know that isn't the case. I also know that most of my time-consuming filing and filling won't be visible at print sizes anyway.

(By the way, for a soft-cornered typeface, I must say this is starting to look pretty violent. Must be Hrant's influence. That 'j' (slightly modified now) is a scythe, the question mark a sickle, and 'e' reminds me of some kind of blade my father, the luthier, uses for scraping the inside of a carved-top string instrument.)

Another thing I'd like to ask you: What adjective(s) would you use to decribe this typeface? I really should be thinking of a name soon ...

eliason's picture

alive, assured, assuring, authentic, comfortable, generous, literary, old-school, philosophical, respectful, tenor-voiced, warm, well-read...

(Violence certainly isn't dominant in the adjectives that occur to me!)

Bendy's picture

I don't know if it's because of the tools you mentioned above, Sindre, or whether I would have thought this anyway, but this definitely looks crafted by tools, sort of carved from wood, with the notches and organic swellings. I personally find the image of traditional Norwegian boats very evocative...perhaps there's a name somewhere in that tradition?

Trevor Baum's picture

Maybe Nordland or Ballast for a name?

Love both of those words, and are both nautical terms.

Sindre's picture

Ah! But of course! Why didn't I think of that! That tradition (being older than recorded history) has a load of arcane terminology, with countless dialect variations. There's bound to be a name there. I'll pull out my books tonight.

I'm almost humbled by the adjectives you chose to describe my typeface, Craig. I can only say thank you. Those words certainly renew my inspiration.

Trevor, Nordland is a bit too generic, I'm afraid. It's the name of the second largest county, and in Norwegian the name doesn't imply anything marine without -båt attached to it. Besides, my ancestral farm Bremnes is in Troms, which is the neighbouring county. My ancestors would rotate in their graves. "Ballast" would possibly be more suitable for a heavy sans serif, but still of utmost importance in those boats we're talking about. The large ones have up to two tons of round stones in them. It would be a nice double entendre, though. I'll consider it, really.

hrant's picture

> I must say this is starting to look pretty violent. Must be Hrant's influence.

Awwwww. ;-)

Name: something ancient but puerile. "Satyr". As an antidote to Centaur. :-)

hhp

Sindre's picture

Dear friends, meet Satyr. Thank you, Hrant, that name is perfect. The sound of it and the look of it. (Though perhaps not to the same extent some of its connotations, at least not to the early Greek satyrs, as they were ugly, old, sex-crazed men with horse tails. In late Antiquity, they became much nicer and better looking, though.) Actually, I wanted to give an earlier old style attempt the similar sounding (but unrelated) name Saturn, but found out that was taken by some Eurostile copy. Also, my old nom de plume as a causerie writer (and my earlier user name here on Typophile) was Satyagraha. Though yet again unrelated, I chose it for its sound and my associations to it (and literal meaning) rather than its political meaning. (Though I am indeed a fan of Gandhi's methods (and of Sanskrit, possibly the most beautiful of all the recorded Indo-European languages, especially in its earliest stage)).

I still think your idea was brilliant, Ben, and will definitely use it for future projects.

eliason's picture

As an antidote to Centaur

I like that!

If you went with the French, Satyre, you could get that cool /e/ in there...

hrant's picture

Glad you liked it! Just so you know though, at least in the
US most people will be thinking of the hairy, h0rny guys...
But they did play an instrument! Or two... :-)

To me it works because it's a dark, old, unpredictable thing.
But adding the "e" might be a good idea (unless you mind the
probable "satire" pronunciation).

hhp

Bendy's picture

Wonderful. I'm now visualising mischievous flute-playing forest spirits, and I'm happy with that :)

BrettR's picture

Now that is a good looking typeface!

Sindre's picture

Thank you, Brett.

Redrawn numerals. I've tried to continue the turning contrast in as many of them as possible.

hrant's picture

I like most of them. The "3" is fine - maybe slightly plain. The "4" rules. The "6" and "9" are definitely a bit plain, and the "8" is way too regular and clean.

The zero: although I'm aware of the need to pull it away from the lc "oh", I've never grasped the benefit of the extreme monoline form. Flipping the contrast is one of the two tricks I'd recommend (especially when you consider that many numerals have flipped contrast anyway). The other is making only the left or right curve thick.

BTW, it looks like the "1" is heavy and the "5" is light.

hhp

eliason's picture

That zero does have a bit of flipped contrast. I think maybe that along with the widening of it may be too much -- looks like a conventional zero that has fallen over -- but a more circular form I think could work.

Did you consider making the intersection of /6/ and /9/ rhyme with that crazy stuff in your /a/ and /e/ joins? It seems like a somewhat analogous structure.

Trevor Baum's picture

The zero looks far too geometric, and the 8 should look more like the 3. Nice start, though!

Sindre's picture

Thank you.

That last update was a little uninspired and lazy. This is much better, though perhaps a little ovedone? Unsure about 69.

About the zero: I really like the one thick side-zero (and have used it before), but I don't think it suits this typeface, it looks just too 1800. So here's a reversed and slightly rotated-zero.

riccard0's picture

I'm afraid the zero now looks even more "fallen over"...

Bendy's picture

I'm afraid I agree. But the others are pretty nice.

Trevor Baum's picture

The 6, 9 (too boxy), and 0 (looks glaringly sideways) still need work. Everything else looks good though!

hrant's picture

I like all of them. But maybe people are right about the zero.

BTW, consider making the "2" ascend (especially with the current millennium and all).

hhp

nina's picture

Oh. Man. I only just spotted this. Just wanted to say it's love at first sight, and my hat's firmly off to you Sindre. Going to go study the details…

Sindre's picture

Thank you very much, Nina. Good to see you.

Been working on the italic lately, but now it's back to the roman. Here are some revised figures, lining and old style. Any thoughts highly appreciated.

hrant's picture

The lining zero, thanks to its narrowness, doesn't usually need a funky weight distribution to work. Especially if you go for "3/4" lining numerals (something I personally like).

hhp

eliason's picture

Looking good. I like the "slightly kinky" eight!

Gary Lonergan's picture

This is a very nice face and I can see it used in magazines. The only character I don't like is lowercase g I prefer a closed bowl but its just my personal opinion and being a tad conservative I prefer the last closed question mark

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Have a look at the height of the lining seven!

poms's picture

I think your "4" is extreme. Eventually you could minimize your curve ratio a bit.
For comparision the "4" of Relato with a more subtle curve ratio:
http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/emtype/relato/

Bendy's picture

>I think your "4" is extreme.

That's kind of the point, no? For me this is a book face, where due to their scarcity, numerals can afford to have a lot of character. I would, however, suggest something with the lining 4 to make it more «capsy». (A foot serif for example.)

I'd say the lining 1 needs bigger feet, and the lining 2 to make the left side of the baseline join lower. I also think the lining figs need a bit of height normalisation. To me the 8 appears small.

Beautiful work, Sindre. I'm very much taking my hats off too, all of them.

mikeklaas's picture

Looking absolutely delicious. The 4 and old-style 2 are marvels.

Do you happen to be looking for beta-testers? I'd love to see how it renders in text sizes on an iPad.

poms's picture

@Bendy
>For me this is a book face, where due to their scarcity, numerals can afford to have a lot of character.

Check "… 1944 …" for example. Isn't it too overwhelming? Okay, Sindre knows what to do, or not.

.

ill sans's picture

I think you might've just made the typeface I was looking for!
Beautiful work!

Sindre's picture

Wow, I'm overwhelmed by the number of comments after my last update. Thank you very much, everyone.

About the '4': Yes, it is extreme. But keep in mind that this font is intended for 10 points. This typeface will have true optical sizes (not just text and display, but korpus (10 pt), cicero (12), mittel (14), tekst (20), kanon (36). I'd really like to use those traditional names, by the way, but that's something to decide much later), and the larger the size, the more refined and less boxy everything will be (and the curves shallower). I doubt the curve of '4' will scream excess! at 10 points. But yes, I know what to do, and that is thorough testing. For practical reasons, I must do all testing on paper later in the process.

It seems my '4' (and to some extent the 'g') is a love it or loathe it-glyph. That tells me I'm doing things right.

Another thing: I begun drawing this typeface as a self-educational, strictly non-commercial one (I'm just a hobbyist), and won't think much about saleability during the drawing process. That may change, though.

No time for updates today, but stay tuned.

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