First typeface! Sonny Grotesk. (would love feedback)

wolfattack's picture

Hey Everyone.

Well, It is definitely not done yet, but I have been working some time on it in my Font Design class at Art Center College of Design (in Pasadena, CA).

I wasn't really referencing any specific grotesques when first designing it, but if I had to describe it in any way, i'd have to say it is a grotesque that takes some contemporary liberties, and has a little Franklin Gothic/ Monotype Grotesque/ Akzidenz Grotesk feel to it (not that any of those typefaces are that similar, but id say my typeface has some similar characteristics).

I'd love to hear what everyone has to think. Still much more to go, but i'm hoping that after this semester doing an independent study with a great teacher and type designer named Leah Hoffmitz I can have the full character set in 1 weight fleshed out. Any feedback is welcome!

character_set.jpg135.01 KB
sample.jpg170.92 KB
cerulean's picture

Looks pretty well polished from here. I feel that the stroke contrast in v, x, y is too pronounced. S, s are leaning to the right.

hrant's picture

Although it's not very novel, as Kevin says it's already in decent shape. I especially like the inclusion of a binocular "g", although it does seem a bit out of character - I'd try to make it lean more towards being constructed.

The vertical proportions are very good, the tittles are nicely prominent (no pun intended :-) but the caps are too tall and as a result too large.

BTW, who's teaching that course? I ask partly because I teach a -very sporadic, in this economy- typeface design class in the ArtCenter evening program.


wolfattack's picture

Awesome, thanks. I definitely see the S's leaning to the right now. You know, sometimes after looking at something for so long, it can be hard to see the things that stand out immediately to someone else! Anymore feedback from anyone else is welcome too.

hrant's picture

> sometimes after looking at something for so long, it can be hard
> to see the things that stand out immediately to someone else!

Indeed. Many people have reported the benefit of putting a typeface away and out of sight for extended periods - when you pick it back up you find so much to fix! Typophile has nicely made that less relevant though... :-)


Trevor Baum's picture

It's really nice, but it looks too much like National with a slightly different 'a' to me.

eliason's picture

/E/ and /F/ look too narrow to me.
/g/ looks too dark.
What cerulean said about /v/x/y/ is even more true about /k/ to my eye: its arm is too thin.

Synthview's picture

Nice work!
I like the /a/ and /g/ too; maybe the eye could be more rounded.
There are some weights to adjust:
• Dots on /i/ and /j/ aren't a bit too big?
• the /Q/ queue is too thin
• upper /G/ end leans to the right
• the /S/ and /s/ need to be reshaped (/S/ it a hard glyph!!)
• I feel /f/ widens at the end of upper curve (as other diagonal cuts)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I don't agree with Synthview on S/s. I think it's the one glyph that makes this typeface stand out. The g ear needs more work, IMO.

wolfattack's picture

wow, thanks so much everyone!

Very happy to hear tweaks and changes rather than it just being not worth the time because it isn't very good.

It seems like the general consensus about changes pretty much are in the last 2 posts, from Eliason and Synthview. I'll start messing with these suggestions, as well as get the /W/X/Y/Z/ in there.

I think some of the characters i've had the most trouble with are the /M/N/W/X/. I have just been having a super hard time getting the weight right on them, specifically the /W/ and /M/ because they seem to carry a lot of visual weight in those chunky parts, and every time i try to mess with 1 thing, it changes another a bunch! Oh well, i'll figure it out.

wolfattack's picture

>BTW, who's teaching that course? I ask partly because I teach a -very sporadic, in this economy- typeface design class in the ArtCenter evening program.

Leah Hoffmitz teaches the font design class.

hrant's picture

I met Leah once. And I've heard she's indeed very good!
Is there a site that shows her typeface design work?

BTW, if you could provide a PDF of a pangram that would be helpful.
Ideally an alphabetically-ordered one, like the one by yours truly. :-)
"Abacist defogs, hijacks luminous parquetry studio, views ex-yakuza."

Other good ones:


hummingbird693's picture

I feel that your lowercase letters are a little small in proportion to the caps, but overall I must say that I love your design concept very much! And don't be afraid to combine different design traits--you are absolutely right when you say it has the feel of both Akzidenz Grotesk and Franklin Gothic. :)


wolfattack's picture

Thanks again for the help everyone. I've made some changes and tweaks since last time, and just did the numerals in the last couple days so they have the least work done to them.

Here are the new images...

wolfattack's picture

opps, sorry they are so big. you might need to open them up in a new window.

1996type's picture

Not bad at all. My main concern with this typeface is that it's not very original. I think you should really try to add some more character to it or make some excentric italics. Just something to stand out of the croud. Keep going!

hrant's picture

I'm trying to think of the purpose of making this... If the purpose is to learn technical nuances, I think it's right on. If the purpose is for other people to actually use it, what Jasper said.

BTW, nice to see my pangram deployed! :-)


wolfattack's picture

understood. It may not be overly original, but at the same time my intentions weren't to make something overly expressive or "unique".

Its actually a bit from each point you made hhp. I wanted to make a contemporary grotesk that took a lot of the functional aspects of go-to grotesks like Akzidenz, but with an overall softer feel.

Here is example of my typeface on the left, Akzidenz on the right...

Who know, you guys are the pros, I'm still learning this stuff. I think overall my typeface just feels a little more friendly than most of the sterile grotesques.

wolfattack's picture

eh, maybe a screenshot was a bad idea, kinda breaks up in spots, but hopefully you get the idea.

1996type's picture

That g doesn't work in text setting.

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