molotov's picture

I have started creating this typeface because of a contract that ended up falling through. I still love the type though, but am unable to decide if I should go through with the process of designing the whole face. If this sneak preview convinces a few, I'll probably go ahead with it.

* * * * * *** * * * * *

"Lychee" was designed as a logotype for a restaurant and was intended to evoke the streamlined, clean aspect of asian fusion food. The design of the letters are grid based and modular, simple with just a tiny glitch here and there to emphasize understanding of a particular letter. I didn't want it to be "too cool" but rather inquiring and understated.



beejay's picture

Nice. I feel more 'rave' than 'asian' but it's nice nevertheless. The 'e' feels the most 'asian' of all the letters. I'd say do all the letters! Anytime you do a logo and come up with cool letters, by all means, make all 26. Then you have something you can use for other clients, other projects, etc. You already have the structure.

It might work better a little bit thicker.


hrant's picture

I think:
1. The "e" is too different. Maybe get rid of the top-right
crossover (and maybe the middle-right one too).
2. You should finish at least the lc, nums, and maybe some
basic puncts, so that you can use the thing one fine day.

BTW, cool name.

hrant "cocktail" papazian

hrant's picture

I actually like the "e" on its own.
But making all the other chars match
the "e" basically constitutes making a
totally new font (as opposed to improving
the font we were shown), so I think that
would be "out of bounds".


hrant's picture

What is "experimental" about it? This ain't the 80s no more.

> Generally type is about flow in a character, ie how you would complete it with a big thick marker
or brush (not detail, just basic form).

Type is about reading.


mart's picture

Sorry to chip in late in the day here, but this isn't a font - it's a piece of custom lettering. It would hardly ever be used by anyone else for anything. Sorry - but I think this was ok for its original purpose, but there is no point - in my opinion - in developing it further.

hrant's picture



hrant's picture

Just so Luce doesn't get too discouraged (at least not on my account):
my previous post was actually a reply to the guy with the superb drawing skills.


beejay's picture

Perhaps I can add some insight on this.

About 10 miles from me in Buena Park, CA is a well-known printer who prints 'rave fliers' for basically the entire country. A lot of these fliers are for So. Cal events. I peruse them just about every week. The designers always seem to be using crazy 3-D modeling software with innovative type treatments. Some really good stuff. Some really bad stuff.

As Martin said, Lychee is custom lettering that served its purpose but...don't throw it away. With some of the 'fixes' mentioned above, Lychee could certainly enjoy a second life as a typeface -- a specialized face for people who design rave fliers. (yes, a small small market.)

Rave fonts are not for everyone. They're not your father's Oldstyle. But to say that Luce's letterorms 'don't work' is to not be 'in' on this segment of counter culture -- rave letterforms are deliberately off kilter.

Also, note the work of Andreas Lindholm, one of the top 'rave font designers'. (I don't know if he makes a living selling type)


hrant's picture

> And no one can honestly argue that Helvetica, Franklin Gothic or Bureau Grotesque are letterforms forms with bases in penwriting

David, you'd be surprised at the tenacious pockets of idiocy in this field.

> if an element exists, there should be a reason for it to exist .... they should be defendable

Couldn't have said it better myself!


hrant's picture

Let handwriting die in peace.


molotov's picture

I have been working like a dog since I last posted this, and look what happens when I come back: a deliciously interesting typographical debate! Thank you everyone for the comments, they are what enables one to further one's thoughts and hone one's skills. I definitely appreciate the brief history of handwriting; it unscrewed a lost pod of knowledge from my distant design BA. ;-)
I am taking into consideration everything you guys have said. As for the face having a "rave" flavour, its probably because I've done a whole truck load of flyers in my time, and was immensely influenced by people like Büro Destrukt and Designers Republic (not that Lychee even approaches the techno whimsicality of faces like Kristallo and Cravt, which also originated as logos). Also, the letters were definitely designed to be alogo and not a face, so there are inconsistencies in the glyphs if it were to become a face. In any case, i think I will spark more discussion in another thread, presenting another display type essay.
Oh, and David: I am a she, not a he.

molotov's picture

Well, unless you think that being called a girl is an insult, I would gladly feminize you. But I'm sure you do not wear a D sized cup.
Sorry for teasing, couldn't help it!

And I wasn't insulted at all, kinda intrigued and pleased at being considered "one of the boys", sorta...

Here's some virtual ice to calm that red face of yours.

molotov's picture

Maybe you could have a "Miss Gay Mormon" avatar...and design the font to go with it! hmm..!! I wonder what it would look like....

anonymous's picture

The junction of the ascender/descenders into the character just doesn't work for me (ie the y, p, h and b). The curve in may work, but the little counter created just seems very weak.

The "e" forms are intreresting, and quite strong, but the others aren't up to the same standard.

I'd look again at the ascender/descender to character junctions, see if you can work in some of the crossing of the strokes happening with the "e", and perhaps work in some little cross elements, ie at the top terminal of the "c", as if they were serifs:


-- Clive

anonymous's picture

du trink?

The e is the best and most distinctive char, the rest need bringing up to it, not taking it down to them.

anonymous's picture

I'm with the anony mouse.

The "e" stands out because it has some flair, some character. Most of the rest of the characters are very weak and quite generic (sorry, it's true), but there is a basis for a good font there.

Hrant I think is wrong in trying to encourage continuing in a weak direction, further weakening the font by dropping the strong "e".

Type design is about developing ideas and turning them into good typefaces, along the way you have to discard some ideas for the sake of harmony (that's not to say that you can't bring them back later in another font), and you have to make tough, critical decisions.

I'll help Luce out now, go with the "e", it's got a good strong idea behind it, you're following that with the "p". Get rid of those nasty curves blending the ascenders and descenders into the rest of the character - they're weak and as I pointed out before tha counter they produce is week too.

I don't want to discourage you, there's the basis of a good idea there, now you have to work on it to get that spark out into a fire.

anonymous's picture

Hmmm... I have to say I'm with Hrant. It makes considerably more sense to suggest changing a few glyphs to bring them into unison with the rest of the face than to suggest changing the entire font to match one or two glyphs.

Of course, we needn't choose between "interesting/strong" and "uninteresting/weak". As an alternative, why not create a second alternates set? One font set with more "conservative" characters, and a companion set with the wilder, more daring (and perhaps more interesting) ones? It makes sense that this would increase the font's utility.

I further disagree with Clive's assertion that Hrant was encouraging Luce to go in a "weak direction," just as I disagree that the rest of the character set (apart from the "e") are "weak" and "generic". I suspect that Hrant feels (as I do) that the current "e" doesn't fit the same set of rules that were established by the other characters, e.g., establishing a crossing in the upper right part of the character, where a crossing wouldn't normally exist (the only other example we have of such a crossing is in the upper left part of the "p", where it seems natural for such a crossing or strokes to occur. This is not to say that it can't be done, but I think it would be wise to create an "e" that fits with the rest of the glyphs as designed, and then, if you wish, design another set of characters that fits more with the "e" as designed.

My 2 cents.


anonymous's picture

By the way, that's the most interesting "y" I've seen in a while. It's my favorite glyph of the set so far.


Joe Pemberton's picture


I agree with BJ. At small sizes--like "Supper
Club"--it gets awfully light. I can also see how
the additional counters that Clive points out could
become problematic--especially at that scale.

Regarding that e. I believe what's intriguing about
it is the open negative space. There's something
happening there that doesn't come through in the
other glyphs.

BTW, from what I've seen on this forum you're
definately on to something when you get a good
debate going... good luck.


anonymous's picture

Not surprisingly I agree with Joe and disagree with David, though I do kind of like the "y" I think the merging of the descender into the rest of the character at the baseline is problematic - as I've already stated.

From my perspective the "e" is strong because it has that SE Asian feel to it, whereas most of the rest say "euro techno" - and I really do think the latter has been done to death, this face at least doesn't seem to offer anything new in that direction.

I also think that trying to design "two" faces, splitting the characteristics we see, would be a mistake (ie making alternative forms - some of these forms don't go together as it is.

David's comment about cross-overs in the wrong places doesn't really make sense to me, this is an "experimental" face, right?

You know, at some point a cap A became lowercase!?

some sketchy ideas

Here's a quick sketch, got to go, things to do if i don't want to get slaughtered on New year's Day.

-- Clive

anonymous's picture

Ok, I just figured it out what I find disturbing about Luce's y, h, p and b.

Generally type is about flow in a character, ie how you would complete it with a big thick marker or brush (not detail, just basic form). SE Asian scripts particularly are about stoke patterns.

If you look at my sketch, I'm just completing single strokes, not going over the same lines more than once.

With Luce's chars that kind of simplicity is lost, because some forms require you to "back-up" on yourself.

make sense, maybe not?

anonymous's picture

Ah you see, now we understand the problem.

anonymous's picture

Amen, bj. I couldn't have put it better.

But I'll try anyway. ;)

> Generally type is about flow in a character, ie how you would complete it with a big thick marker
or brush (not detail, just basic form).

I can honestly say Garamond's and Bodoni's types had little if anything to do with how they would complete them with "a big fat marker or brush." Of course, as I have been taught to understand them, Garamond's types were based on (quill) pen forms, but Bodoni's were based more on rendering (drawing) and "perfecting" the basic outlines (as opposed to actually writing them with a pen). And no one can honestly argue that Helvetica, Franklin Gothic or Bureau Grotesque are letterforms forms with bases in penwriting (marker or other). They are based more on illustration of the letterform outlines than on handwritten penforms.

My point (and I do have one :) ) is that different fonts are based on different inspirations and different logical paradigms. To say that all font forms have to be based on the flow of marker or brush lettering is fallacious.

>David's comment about cross-overs in the wrong places doesn't really make sense to me, this is an "experimental" face, right?

Ironically, your argument about the brush answers what I meant by this. In the "p", the crossover occurs where two strokes naturally come together anyway, but in the "e", the crossover seems arbitrary and out of place, where a single stroke would normally exist. This isn't to say that the glyph can't (or even shouldn't) be rendered with the crossover exactly where it occurs, but I am a believer that a typeface should have at least a level of internal consistency and logic; if an element exists, there should be a reason for it to exist, and it should be echoed (if not exactly repeated) elsewhere in the face. Inconsistencies of course can occur, but they should be defendable where they do occur. If such a crossover occurs in the "e", where is that decision echoed in the rest of the face?

Of course this isn't a book face, by any stretch of the imagination. Nor would I really call it an "experimental" face, although some personal experimentation is obviously occuring from Luce's (and all of us critics') point of view. It is a display face (as correctly categorized by its placement here on the Display forum), and considering the application for which it was designed (taking the criticism about the weight/legibility issue into account), it seems to work well enough for its intended purpose.

And Luce: As Joe said, congratulations! You've got an interesting typeface going, and you've sparked a terrific discussion.

anonymous's picture

>I can honestly say Garamond's and Bodoni's types
>had little if anything to do with how they would
>complete them with "a big fat marker or brush."
>Of course, as I have been taught to understand
>them, Garamond's types were based on (quill)
>pen forms,

We're really not going to argue about the style of writing implement are we? All type is derived from handwriting (excption is probably the euro symbol), the lineage is clear.

>but Bodoni's were based more on rendering
>(drawing) and "perfecting" the basic
>outlines (as opposed to actually writing them
>with a pen).

Have you ever hand rendered Bodoni at small sizes? I can assure you that the thick/thin of a pen makes all the difference.

>And no one can honestly argue that
>Helvetica, Franklin Gothic or Bureau Grotesque
>are letterforms forms with bases in penwriting
>(marker or other). They are based more
>on illustration of the letterform outlines than
>on handwritten penforms.

I think you are misunderstanding my point, which is to be expected because to get it over properly would require a quick demonstration.

Essentially what I'm trying to point out is that *if* you draw the core structure of any of these fonts there is an innate "flow". This flow isn't in some of Luce's characters for the reasons I have stated.

If we reflect on the model for SE Asian scripts they are generally characterised by reasonably short, linear strokes, that cross but don't usually blend into each other.

>To say that all font forms have to be based on
>the flow of marker or brush lettering is

I think you're making a point based on your previous misunderstanding.

anonymous's picture


I think you're projecting your own expectations of how these letters should be designed onto Luce's design.

Luce never said he intended to to model this font after Asian scripts; indeed, in his own words from his first post, "The design of the letters are grid based and modular...." and his intention was, again in his own words, to "evoke the streamlined, clean aspect of asian fusion food". It seems obvious to me that it was never intended to be a script, but rather a modular letter.

As for Bodoni , it sounds like you have misconstrued my argument. Of course Bodoni was still based on the penforms that came before it; but, to quote Robert Bringhurst ("The Elements of Typographic Style", 2nd Ed., p. 130) "Romantic [i.e., "modern" or "didone"] letters can be extraordinarily beautiful, but they lack the flowing and steady rhythm of Renaissance forms." (Brackets added.)

It was this development (the Romantic form) in typography that began the move away from the lyrical flow of penwriting and began to move toward a more contructive approach, more concerned with the statuesque outlines of the glyphs than with emulative handwriting.

anonymous's picture


Agh! How embarassing.... I wholeheartedly apologize. I am usually much more careful to use gender-neutral pronouns when I am unsure of the case, but obviously I was not this time.

Again, please accept my apologies. I stand chastened. Feel free to call me a "she" on next instance. ;)

David, the red-faced

anonymous's picture

Heh heh.... Well, as an openly gay man in conservative Mormon Utah (God help me ;-) ), I should have known better than to have assumed.

So D-cup or not, feminizing would be no insult. Besides, in drag I look rather like Kathy Najimy in "Hocus Pocus".... It's not pretty... >:-]

anonymous's picture

Hah! But I'm not sure how that would go over with all the OTHER Utahns on the forum.... We could always invite them, and see what happens...? ;-]

(And, back to Lychee, I still think you should make an alternates font, in which you could experiment with all the suggestions for different letterforms that you've received here.... :-) )

Syndicate content Syndicate content