Gaffel, a sculpted font

Pascaline's picture

Hello everyone, this is the very first font I post on the forum.

I created Gaffel after an intership I did in Oslo. It was inspired by the many sculptures you can find in the town, especially those that were put in almost wild places, and the handmade posters in shops and small restaurants. I liked the idea of creating a font directly from the paper you use to write, reflecting how you make scupltures out of huge blocs of granite. So I used a cutter to draw the letters on paper and their shapes depend entirely on the movements of my hand. I'm left-handed, that is why most curves are on the left side of the glyphs.
I first made a simple version to be used like stamps in clay, then I played with ligatures and open-type on Fontlab. Some shapes were difficult to get right because of hte restraint of the technique (I can't have negative spaces).

Tell me what you think of it! It's complete but I'm sure there are things to improve.

Update 14th April: There is now a pdf version showing the font. It should be better.

Gaffel_glyphs_and_text.pdf38.39 KB
Sindre's picture

Welcome to Typophile, Pascaline. I suggest you post a pdf of your typeface in lieu of jpgs. Most people here, myself included, prefer to see type in as much detail as possible.

Being an Osloite, I'm curious of which statues you're referring to. Also, bonus points to you for taking an interest in Ynglinga saga and Old Norse.

Pascaline's picture

Hi Sindre!
Thank you so much for posting. You're right, I will add a pdf version instead, jpg is wrong with curves. When I lived there for three months, I spent a lot of time in the Vigeland park. I must have taken hundreds of pictures of the statues. I find his work so sensitive and it's almost impossible considering the size and the massive proportions of the artist's "models". Yet there is so much emotion going on, something really woke up inside me. Maybe because their attitudes are so human.

I also liked Bygdoy (sorry for lack of o slash) because it's so easy to feel apart from the world there. There is a great abstract structure there that looks like a table with waves or a whirlpool. That is where I had the idea to carve my type in the material, to make it where it was supposed to stand.
I lived in Kampen and was surrouded by small shops and vintage stuff where the information was painted or made of fabrics. So it surely had some effect.

flooce's picture

Reminds of the typographic approach of magazines like Dazed&Confused, so there would be a market for it maybe.

Sindre's picture

Hello again, Pascaline.

I'm afraid I can't give much detailed advice on your typeface, I'm only into non-display faces myself, and have never made anything more daring than this.

I think you have succeeded in capturing something vaguely Norwegian, though I can't quite point my finger to it. What I would like to challenge you on, is to make this a whole lot more irregular. Draw it again without a single straight line. Make the stems uneven. Challenge the baseline, the x-height and the cap height. Make corners soft and uneven. Make the glyphs look more like twigs. Have another look at the Mediæval runes.

Use the restrictions of your concept more to your advantage. Make the difference between the black counterspaces and the apertures less obvious. Or more obvious. Be bolder and more timid.

I hope you don't feel I'm tearing your typeface completely apart. I'm not, I'm just being (too) honest because I see some potential in here that I think is not quite fulfilled.

Bygdøy's indeed a treat. I hang out a lot there in summer. Did you see the work of Gustav Vigeland's younger brother Emanuel, by the way? If not, next time you're in Oslo, that's compulsory.

Pascaline's picture

No Sindre, I haven't seen Emanuel's work. I have seen many things but don't remember hearing about this museum. Yes, I definitely need to come again and visit what I missed!

Thanks for your feedback. I understand what you mean and it could actually be a way to propose variations of the typeface, considering I won't have italics. I could play with width and black letters. When I did my first version, I saw something aproaching Mediæval runes and it worked because all letters had the same x-height. I also used it on clay after I made sculpted letters and keeping the x-height helped to maintain a staight line in the text. You can see an exemple below.

Hei Frode Frank, does that mean that you like it?

Gary Lonergan's picture

I like it – it would make for great logos and shop signs. It has a very strong flavour though so use it sparingly

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