Working on a new typeface

JamesT's picture

I've been working on this typeface for quite a while now and would be curious to hear your feedback.

This post will serve to hold all my sample PDFs as they are created and uploaded.

8-11 Specimen Regular, Italic & Bold

8-13 Specimen Regular, Italic & Bold

8-16 Specimen Regular, Italic & Bold

8-22 Specimen

8-27 Specimen

Trevor Baum's picture

It's nice - reminds me a bit of ITC Chino and St Ryde.

JamesT's picture

Thanks, I was worried everyone would accuse me of ripping of Museo (which I wasn't even familiar with when I started).

riccard0's picture

I like it. It reminds me of Plume (http://www.daltonmaag.com/browse/fonts/dama/plume).
I think you could play a little more with contrast.

JamesT's picture

riccard0, I'm glad you like it. Regarding the contrast,are there any glyphs in particular that stand out as needing more work?

JamesT's picture

Alright, I've done a bit more work. Here's a quick shot of the regular weight upper and lower case. I'll, hopefully, have a pdf of everything up soon

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.00's picture

I don't normally comment on these threads, but I think you have some serious proportional issues that need working out. Your b,d,p,q don't relate well, your u looks like a y (it is a y) and they are both too narrow, and your caps are a mess. That M is going to kill you, and the J is going to catch itself on the ledge and break its neck. It would behoove you to show the caps and the lowercase at the same size. Sizing them to fit on one line does no one any good.

.00's picture

Oh, and the th ligature is terrible, in the fact that it does not read as a t.

Also your stroke terminal in the uppercase S is vertical, yet the C and G are cut on a diagonal. Ya gotta make up your mind.I see the same is true for the lowercase. Bad rhythm.

JamesT's picture

jmontalbano, that's exactly what I need to hear - thank you. The u is actually a y (a typo I didn't catch that when I typed these out).

The Capitals have been on the back burner for quite some time now (I was hesitant to post them) and I'm not very happy with most of them at the moment.

The attempt at the th was something I've just been playing around with and has seen very little revision.

hrant's picture

I have to agree with James - there are frankly a lot of fundamental problems here. :-(

Looking at your more attractive glyphs (like the "k" and "y") I'm getting the distinct feeling that -with work- this might click as a gently slanted face. I don't mean an Italic, I mean a Roman with a slant. And for one thing, that would make it stand out from the "me too" crowd.

hhp

Gary Lonergan's picture

Hrant's idea of gently slanting it is good. Off the top of my head i can think of Letraset's crillee which was only ever a slanted face.
I find the roundness of a and s out of synch with the rest. Have you tried an a whose top echoes the head serif of b etc something like this.

Gary Lonergan's picture

I didn't intend this image to be so big sorry

JamesT's picture

Gary, that's a good idea - thank you.

Actually, thank you to everyone who has commented. This is my first ever attempt at designing type (I'm sure you all could have guessed that) and as is my nature, I never concede to defeat and am willing, despite the time, to see this through. I'll post some updates in a bit.

JamesT's picture

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Would you say I'm moving in the right direction now? I played with the proportions and contrast and really focused on unity throughout all of the glyphs. I realize, of course, it's still far from anything resembling a finished font.

Also, I apologize for these terrible images (once I have something more refined, if I ever do, I will make sure to put everything in a pdf), and I really appreciate everyone's help.

.00's picture

I know this is going to sound harsh, given the amount of work you believe you have done, but the whole thing still looks sloppy.

From a proportional standpoint, look how much white space is present in the h, n, m, u, and then contrast that with the round forms (b,d,q,p,o,c,e). Either the round forms are too narrow or those others are too wide. The very vertical characterization of the p, b, d, q, seems at odds with the rounder o, e, c. The v and y look drunk in comparison those the other glyphs.The middle of the w is too wide compared to the right and left side. The f and t look to narrow, and the foot on the l does not need to be there. The bottom bowl on the g is too narrow and a bit square. the bottom diagonal of the k needs to move more to the left. The x is terrible, and overall the spacing is really, really bad.

I tell my students that a properly spaced and poorly drawn font is much more useful than a beautifully drawn poorly spaced one. If you concentrate on spacing this sucker, it will give you more insight into how to draw it.

Good luck.

JamesT's picture

It's not harsh at all, it's really what I'm looking for. The x,v and y have not been worked on as much as the h,n and m, which are starting to resemble my desired shapes.

I've yet to truly focus on the spacing (since the widths are constantly changing), but I will make sure to update it as I change things.

Despite having spent a lot of time on this, I know I still have far more ahead of me.

I really do appreciate your help.

JamesT's picture

I think, maybe, I'm moving in the right direction.

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The w/x/v need the most work and the g looks too narrow. My biggest struggle with the w/x and v is due to the direction of the terminals and their effect on the balance of the characters. Hopefully, I'll eventually be able to sort this out.

hrant's picture

I think it's slightly nicer overall, but my fav -"y"- is worse.
Besides that the "w" and "a" seem furthest from happy.

hhp

JamesT's picture

It's been a while and I've been hard at work on this. Curious to hear your thoughts.

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Trevor Baum's picture

Big improvement - looks even more like Museo/St Ryde/Plume DaMa/ITC Chino now actually. There are still some stroke thickness issues - the 'o' looks too dark, and too monoline. The baseline serif on the 'r' looks like it's going the wrong way.

JamesT's picture

Trevor,

Thank you - I see what you mean and I have decided to take this in a slightly different direction to separate it from Museo.

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The Uppercase F shows the new changes. I think if I carry this throughout (and keep some of the directional terminals), I'll be heading where I originally wanted (but couldn't adequately attempt).

riccard0's picture

Nice F, it reminds me of half a torii* :-)

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torii

JamesT's picture

Riccard0, I see what you mean... Maybe I'll pretend that was intentional ;)

After a few hours, I think I like this much more than the previous incarnation.

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hrant's picture

Big improvements! I especially like that you're now moving away from Museo.

hhp

JamesT's picture

Thanks!

I really liked the idea at first but, over time, it just seemed to be too similar to Museo and whenever I tried to establish its difference it became to quirky to be useful.

eliason's picture

I agree this is a good direction.
Are the tittles now a little too low?

cerulean's picture

Low and left.

eliason's picture

Yup.

JamesT's picture

Eliason,

They are pretty low and I wasn't too sure how to vertically balance them with the asymmetrical terminals. I think the j needs to be moved farther to the right due to the lack of the bottom right-ward terminal.

I'm really glad you like this direction. It took me a while to realize that I can't always force something to work (especially when the original concept is flawed).

JamesT's picture

After some time with the new concept, I think I've made the right choice.

The lower case is coming along but I'm struggling with getting the upper case to look less like a display face (I thinking its coming out too angular).

Anyway, here are some samples. All feedback is greatly appreciated!

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JamesT's picture

I've finally created a pdf (attached to the first post). Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

JamesT's picture

I went back and started adjusting the caps a lot. I spent a lot of time studying faces like Caslon and Garamond to try and find a nice balance between the sans serif and old style capitals.

A new PDF is attached to the first post. I also worked on some of the other glyphs and I really like the "pound" symbol.

As always, any and all feedback is appreciated.

JamesT's picture

It's been a while since that last update so I thought I would show a few quick snapshots of some of the progress
The Regular Weight

Regular Italic

Bold

JamesT's picture

I've added a new specimen sheet which includes all the characters and weights I have made thus far.

matt_yow's picture

just a topical comment: there is negative space on the overalp of your boldest weight of uppercase eth. Also the Æ & æ digraphs look really dark. I think some of those elements might need to be removed to create a lighter color.

JamesT's picture

Matt,
That's because I had yet to decompose and combine (and then edit), those glyphs. I have since made my /ae/.

JamesT's picture

I've been busy trying to work out the proportions on my caps so they don't look like a condensed mess. Ideally, I'd like to get the proportions similar to that of an Oldstyle typeface. Little by little, I'm working my way there.

MarkyCDavis's picture

The italic /k/ seems to stand out to me because the bowl becomes very narrow and tight..
Could you move the connection of the bowl up the ascender and move the right side of the bowl a little closer?
(or if this is this is too hardcore/professional level, I can back out)

JamesT's picture

The /k/ has been slightly annoying - you're right. My goal was to have it flow with the /hnm/ as far as the bowl's upper connection to the stem. I've been playing with it a little bit since the last update and have a quick screencap. I think I definitely need to smooth out the stem connection in all four glyphs.

I'm really grateful for any and all advice on this project. Like you, this is my first typeface and have learned quite a lot from everyone here.

MarkyCDavis's picture

just as a side note, I LOVE that you are making your letters oldstyle.. they help so much with blending in with all the rest of the text.
also, the character of those italics are great!

you might want to check ou this app, nocturne. It inverts the contrast of the entire screen (designed for nighttime computer use) and it really helps with looking at contrast and focusing on the negative space on letters

JamesT's picture

I'm glad you like it! The character in the italics has been something I really wanted to bring out since most similar faces only seem to use slanted romans.

That app looks interesting. I'll have to see if I can find a PC version (no mac here).

nina's picture

Cool design – you've been making some great progress, keep going!

Side comment: To simply invert the screen on a Mac, go to System Prefs > Universal Access, and toggle the «White on Black» thing. The shortcut should be Cmd + Alt + Shift + 8. According to Hrant, on Windows it's the left Alt key, the left Shift key, plus PrintScreen. (See this comment thread on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninastoessinger/5895054908/ )

nina's picture

Sorry, just realized on the Mac it's Ctrl instead of Shift, so Cmd+Alt+Ctrl+8.

JamesT's picture

Nina,

Thank you - that means a lot.

I tried your (or Hrant's) tip and it offered to put me in high contrast mode; it sounded strange so I declined. Maybe I'll look into this a little more.

JamesT's picture

Some new images showing the change in the capital proportions and the relation between the italics and the romans. I've decided the italics should be a bit narrower to keep in the theme of referencing oldstyle typefaces.


1996type's picture

The difference in weight between the lc and uc seems too large. It's hard to compare the colour of uc, if there's a lc between it every time.

Lovely Italic. The italic makes this a truly unique and original typeface. Great progress. Keep going!

JamesT's picture

1996type,
That's something I'm not too sure about yet (the lc/uc blackness). Most oldstyle faces I've looked at seem to exaggerate this difference (I presume to help differentiate letters at smaller sizes), so I've gone that route. In the little example posted below, I think it looks alright to my eyes bit then again, I'm no expert and I'm still adjusting everything.

I'm am very glad to hear that you like the italics, it seems they are really showing me the direction of this typeface.

nina's picture

The UC/lc darkness balance is a delicate thing that should/can best be judged in text I think – print a sample and observe closely how much the caps stand out. Of course depending on intended use you may want them to stand out a little bit (it makes it easier to quickly scan a text for proper names, like people may want to do in nonfiction), or blend in entirely (like for really long text read immersively – or for languages, like German, that use lots of caps).

JamesT's picture

Nina,
I've really been working with adjusting that lately. I'm thinking of having the caps blend in with a lower case in the regular weight and have them stand out a little more in the bold and semibold.

Also, while I was working on this, I had a crazy though: would the second /W/ here be worth considering (right now, it's just two /V/s)?

nina's picture

> I'm thinking of having the caps blend in with a lower case in the regular weight and have them stand out a little more in the bold and semibold.

Sounds like a plan that makes a lot of sense.

Hm, not sure about that new "W". It gets much more complex and dense than the other letters so it might just stick out too much (and clog – you'll probably hate making the Bold). Personally I'd probably stick with the one you had before but (1) make it a little narrower and (2) you might try lowering the apex – maybe it doesn't have to reach all the way up to the cap line. That way it can also get a little less wide.

JamesT's picture

Nina,

You're right and I did end up giving up on the alternate /W/. The apex is actually a bit lower but I suppose I should change it a bit more so it doesn't look like an upside-down /M/.

I'm glad you like the idea about the caps.

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