neo-grotesque - love some feedback and criticism

it's far from finished:

the weight between characters is still a little uneven, and some letters i'm not sure about. i was thinking of scrapping the g and starting on a two-story g (along the lines of johnston, akkurat etc.)

i started by wanting to create a grotesque striped down to its simplest form by removing unnecessary terminals.

i kind of gave up on that concept, as the results were not as legible and appeared unbalanced. but i'm not sure whether i should abandon the idea completely? maybe have two versions of the face - limbs and amputee grotesque? :)

i would love some feedback or thoughts on the typeface!

thanks,

hank

Trevor Baum's picture

It's nice, but the first one isn't terrible original - it looks a bit too much like ARS Maquette.

You're right about the second - it's a neat concept, but it would make for a pretty unbalanced typeface.

JamesT's picture

Except for the lowercase a, I really like the direction behind the second one.

Gary Lonergan's picture

I like the a (shades of folio and mercator) I think somemore thinning down of the junctions where the curves enter the stems is needed at least at the bottom of b d and u and top of p and q. At the moment they look very congested. If you look at Johnston's underground face the curves are very monoline and quite thick but there is some thinning. Also some years back a version of Gill sans was used in Vogue which featured no thinning at these junctions and the face didn't look very good and has since thankfully disappeared. The f is curving the second it goes above the x-height, have you thought about a smaller x-height. Try some caps and numbers and keep going

henry tremain's picture

hey guys, thanks so much for your feedback!

-trevor

originality is something i find many people get hung up on. i personally do not see it as necessary as most. i feel - if something can be improved upon by doing it differently it should be done, but doing something differently for the sake of it being different is of no worth. experimentation however is a very valid means of looking for improvement through the act of trial and error. and this is my interest in type; i wish to experiment with type in the hope that i can contribute something valid.

"Don’t try to be original, just try to be good."

—Paul Rand paraphrasing Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s quote:

“I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.”

thanks for introducing me to marquette, i was unaware of it previously.

-james

i'm planing on continuing both variants of the typeface, you're right about the 'a' it just doesn't balance.

-garry

wow, mercator! what a nice face. i really like the top and tail of the lowercase 'a' and i love the number '2' http://typophile.com/files/Mercator_Tetterode_specimen_p77_6390.jpg

you're right about thinning the junctions. i wanted to have a reasonably consistent thickness of line throughout. johnston sans seems to get away with by connecting junctions against the angle of the stem - where as grotesques tend to join the stem in sympathy to it's angle (as though the pen continues to draw the stem in one fluid line).
this is seen clearly in the lowercase 'n' - http://www.ltmcollection.org/images/webmax/r1/i00006r1.jpg

i shall bring the junctions in and look into the x-height.

i'll post my amendments when i have made some progress.

thanks again!

hank

henry tremain's picture

ok, after hours of work i feel i am coming closer to a final lowercase 'a' and 's'.

- http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3168/5695170934_12619a2936_o.png

please let me know your thoughts!?

h

henry tremain's picture

so after posting that, i realised that the difference between the old and new was actually kind or more attractive. so i've made a new new 'a' based on the two.

- http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5695378158_88cc7dacb2_o.png

i think i'm making progress - i just don't know anymore :(

henry tremain's picture

another update -

- http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5105/5696162632_cba590319b_o.png

i feel like i'm getting somewhere. these characters are still not finished but i feel there is more continuity and improved legibility. i have reduced the x-height a little and evened out the characters widths and there weight.

any feedback would be great!

henry tremain's picture

double-story 'g'

- http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2450/5705341479_a406b15b13_o.png

i wanted to have a johnston-eque bottom (as in the top of the image), but the angle of the coat hanger style lower circle look goofy and out of place next to the rest of the typeface.

so i've developed a squarer 'g' which sits better - but i'm still not sure?

Gary Lonergan's picture

third one looks best to me. It also the quietest

JamesT's picture

I really like the first g but I agree that it doesn't seem to fit as well. Also, is it me or does the lower circle look out of proportion (too wide) compared to the upper circle?

henry tremain's picture

i agree,
it still sticks out though.

this is where i currently am with the lowercase alphabet -

(click to enlarge)

that g really draws your attention and doesn't really sit well with the rigidness of the rest of the face - but i do love it.

trying to integrate an essence of johnston to the curved ends of the 't' 'j' 'f' and 'y'.

think i'm going to drop it into font lab and test it out. if anyone has any suggestions or thoughts, i would love to here them.

henry tremain's picture

hi james -

when up-righting the bottom of the 'g', i didn't want to loose the balance of negative space (inside the circles) between upper and lower circles. so the bottom circle maintained dominance (this is a feature about the johnston double-story g that i find very pleasing). i feel most double-story 'g's sans-serif faces to be miss balanced (gills sans etc.). akkurat would probably be the closest comparison i can think of to what i'm attempting, but i find the 'g' just a little too small. by increasing the size of the 'g' and the negative space within the circles (with a dominance to the lower.) - i hope to make it fit in better with the grotesk face and make it more readable.

so yeah, the bottom of the g is out of proportion from most other sans double-storys, but i'm quite sold on it (and to my eye i find it quite comfortable).

thank you for questioning it!
i might consider revising it if it doesn't trial well.

h

1996type's picture

The original structure of the k is more original, and works just as well.

x looks wider on top. You need some optical balancing there.

the upward (right) diagonal looks thicker than the downward (left) in, well all letters with diagonals.

the bowl of d (and p) seems to be upside-down. Try flipping it.

t too wide at the bottom.

z top heavy (top horizontal needs thinning) and it looks wider on top.

move the top bowl of g to the right, so that it's almost centered above the bottom bowl (the tail, in fact)

I'd like to see round tittles!

overshoot in n and the alikes is too much.

s curves not flowing nicely. Try to open pre-installed fonts in Fontlab Studio (Typetool?) and look at the structure.

u needs to be narrower than n in order for them to look like they have the same width.

KEEP GOING

Trevor Baum's picture

I'd love to see round tittles too! But that might make this a bit too National-esque.

henry tremain's picture

personally i'm into women with the one saggy boob - Uo

national's a bit nice.
and there was i thinking of adding a johnston-esque tail to the 'l'.

thanks for the suggestions 1996type - i will take them on board once i've had a chance to trial it as it is.

hrant's picture

Frankly, I would take that awesome "g" and make a new font.

hhp

henry tremain's picture

hey hrant - thanks for the advice. it had crossed my mind.

instead, i have changed most of the alphabet to better match it

(click to enlarge)

it's all going quite well, and is picking up a stronger johnston influence. and the 'g' is looking quite comfortable.

and then this happened -

(click to enlarge)

- just great!

so i feel i'm being forced to compromise. it seems i must even the sizes of the top and bottom of the 'g' and better centre them, or create a double 'g' glyph which will make the font a sod to use.

any suggestions?

hrant's picture

I think you can make the "g" a little more tame, but go too far and the font will become a me-too lost in the shuffle... Mostly I think this is a spacing issue. So, I would try:
- Making the ear stronger and/or more horizontal/low.
- Having an alternate form to avoid collisions, like with the "j".

Get "gy" to sit well, and you're halfway there.

hhp

henry tremain's picture

so i've bitten the bullet and started working on a compromise.

here is one idea -

(click to enlarge)

hrant's picture

I think the new "g" still has enough character,
but what's up with the varying descender lengths?

hhp

henry tremain's picture

yeah, it's all experimentation at this stage, but i've allowed the g to break the boundary of the descender line it order for it to maintain balance.

really not happy with it though.

think i'm going to work on an uppercase and leave this for now.

Trevor Baum's picture

Why don't you simply drop the descender on the 'y' to swing as low as that of the 'g'? This is looking good! A bit too much like FF Bau though at the moment.

hrant's picture

You might actually make such a variance part of the character of the font! Although that would admittedly be very idiosyncratic in anything but a highly expressive script face... If you go that route you should do the same in the ascenders - probably make the "f" rise higher than the rest.

BTW, if you do decide the make the "y" go lower and it has trouble avoiding the "g" you might try the Fleischmann form (where the descender comes out of the left arm and curls clockwise).

hhp

riccard0's picture

There also the cut-off bowl option… But, then, it would be a different g…

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