Millennial Oldstyle: crit welcome

eliason's picture

Going to try my hand at a typeface suitable for extended text. Morris Fuller Benton is my mentor.


I'm looking to Century Oldstyle for general guidance on structure and proportion--it's a great model, in my opinion--but I'm drawing this from scratch and departing from the prototype freely in parts.
I envision eventually creating a broad palette of size-specific cuts and weights.

AttachmentSize
MillenialOldstyle01.pdf73.47 KB
MillenialOldstyle03.pdf87.64 KB
MillennialOldstyle04.pdf95.52 KB
MillennialOldstyle06.pdf112.12 KB
MillennialOldstyle12.pdf115.77 KB
leadingtest.pdf44.36 KB
MillennialOldstyle18.pdf122.18 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-1.pdf115.74 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-2.pdf120.47 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-3.pdf104.3 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-4.pdf106.31 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-5.pdf101.75 KB
MillennialOldstyle20-6.pdf118.41 KB
MillennialOldstyle29.pdf225.07 KB
eliason's picture

Tabular lining and oldstyle figures. Some slight adjustments since the pdf.

daverowland's picture

Hi Craig

To me |C| and to a lesser extent |c| and |e| jar a little. Elsewhere the stress is pretty much vertical so these characters seem to bulge at bottom left. Also, top right curve in |a| seems a little abrupt.

Cheers
Dave

eliason's picture

Thanks Dave. This is better, no? (revised is on the bottom)

hrant's picture

You know what I think, but this is the best place to say it: this is very polished and seems extremely readable, but it's also difficult to see people noticing it, and if they do, difficult to imagine them thinking it's anything but yet-another-Century. This will sound strange coming from me, but: put more of your personality in it!

BTW, what's with the foot serifs: adnate on the left, and on the right what I call Doric (like in my Maral)? Isn't that too Po-Mo for this context? But hey, it might actually address what I wrote above... If so, why not apply that weirdness to the entire font?

hhp

riccard0's picture

I’m with Hrant on this one: you could find one peculiar feature wich informs the design (one could be hunting down all the possible quirkiness of MFB’s designs which where “normalised” by subsequent interpretations. A sort of Didot Elder for Centurys).

Or just call it Century Supreme and find the right lobbyist at Washington ;-)
http://typophile.com/node/80989#comment-459396

Bendy's picture

Lovely work, Craig. I'm enjoying this.

Some observations (remember the salt!)

• I don't understand the serifs! Will their shape be visible at target size?
• Favourite glyphs /b/, /g/, /s/ and /y/.
• R looks a bit top heavy, maybe that's intentional? If so, make it more top heavy?
• Is the lining zero a bit pointy?
• There's something cuspy going on in the top of the counters of B, E, F, P, R and S (but not D). It's not pronounced enough to be a feature, but is poking my eye just enough to be something. Also check your lovely ampersand, there's a glitch on the arm.
• G may need a pointier spur to harmonise with b, q and @. Is @ a bit too pointy?
• Foot spurs on /d/ and /u/ may be a bit clotty? Perhaps trim the inside of the spur and/or make the notch taller?
• Descender of /j/ may be a bit of a loose curve? Similar story with /f/. Maybe that's just my preference though.
• Foot of /f/ in /fl/ has got mangled.
• Arm of /k/ looks to start a bit high up the stem.
• Comma/quotes I'd make the tail much longer...as you know I obsess about commas!
• Bold looks newsy, regular looks booky, somehow, is that because of the higher contrast in the bold?
• Check bold /u/'s width. Actually the regular /u/ may also work slightly narrower.
• Bold /g/'s ear may need to move upwards to prevent crashing/splotching.
• Lining numerals are splendid. 6 may need a bigger bowl.
• + is a little meek. Love the %.

eliason's picture

This is what the serifs look like up close: an asymmetrical quirkiness of my own that was one of the ways I thought I was inserting a little personality (but the question of whether they register at size is a good one...) The idea is that the asymmetry could provide a little "warmth."


I am struggling with what form larger-scale personality/originality could take in this typeface. I see the visual logic in the design, so quirks for the sake of quirkiness seem hard to justify. Maybe some value could be added in additional weights, e.g. taking this structure in a much fatter direction...

Ben, thanks for the suggestions!

hrant's picture

I like the right side a lot!

hhp

eliason's picture


Ironed out top counters of BEFPR.
Fixed ampersand arm.
Sharpened "spur" of G
Softened spur of a in at-sign, and also made the entire glyph smaller. I realized that the "a" inside could relate to the lowercase proportions without having to literally take up the x-height.
Gave more breathing room in notch of d and u (also narrowed u slightly).
Added some length to tails of commas, quotations marks.
Tightened radii of j and f hooks.
Lowered k arm on stem very slightly.
Softened pointiness of zero, and enlarged bowl of six.
Not shown: lengthened strokes of plus, minus, equals.

Ben, by R looking topheavy do you mean the bowl's size large relative to the leg?

Bendy's picture

R: it's more about the 'black balance' — you could narrow the bowl or add a bit more weight to the right foot by splaying the serif a bit higher. Either way the black would be weighted slightly toward the base of the glyph.

u: to me it still looks a bit counter-centric, I'd bring in the stems a little more, or add more black to the curve.

I've just surprised myself by seeming to be now talking in terms of notan. Someone will be happy.

hrant's picture

Ha.

hhp

eliason's picture

Here's what it looks like if I exaggerate the serif funkiness and propagate it to the rest of the letter.


Starts to look like hand-drawn type.
Of course, at text size this still won't show, so I'm not sure what the point would be. Hmm...

riccard0's picture

Starts to look like hand-drawn type.
Of course, at text size this still won't show

And in this tension lies the beauty of text faces! :-)

1996type's picture

The second 'Renoir' looks a bit too quirky to me. Off coarse it should be more of YOUR personality, but I think a serif like this (underneath) will be visible at your target size. As Ben Mitchell said, "Don't forget the salt". It's just a quick suggestion :-)

eliason's picture

It's really remarkable how you can push things around in the glyph window and yet small (and even medium) sized renderings show little or none of it.

snow is nigh's picture

A text font from the modern era, in several optical sizes? Your competition will be Consul I assume.

Good luck, looks great.

eliason's picture

First go at italics.


hrant's picture

The Italic caps are certainly one great place to improve on tradition here.

hhp

eliason's picture

Affirmative.

Aaron Thesing's picture

I like this! As a type user and not a type maker, these were my observations:

The second 'Hn' you showed on July 1 reminded me of Calluna, with that 'flow' or 'twisting' at the serifs. The whole Museo-to-Calluna thing seen here.

The ampersand has a lean/tilt to it. I've seen that in other Century faces, and it struck me as odd. Is there a particular reason it came to be part of the style of Century?

eliason's picture

First go at some possibilities for italic caps that go beyond mere slanting. I'm pleased with B and R, and maybe V; the others still need some polish.

@Aaron: Yes, the tilt of the ampersand is something I only noticed in Century when I started this project. Though it looks tilted compared to most "figure-8" ampersands, on second look its basic silhouette is pretty symmetrical, a kind of head and shoulders structure.

hrant's picture

Now we're talking! :-)
In fact I think the Roman could stay highly imitative as long as it has an innovative Italic - that would be just the right kind of motivation for a designer to choose the type for a certain type of job.

hhp

metalfoot's picture

Oh wow... I really like what you have going with the Italic... I think I'm on the same page as Hrant on this one... I like the 'teardroppy' terminals on the A, K, V, W, etc...

eliason's picture

Thanks for the encouragement, guys. Pressing ahead...

eliason's picture


Somehow I both love and hate drawing italics.

Bendy's picture

Ha, I was hoping for an ascending /p/... :)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

The italic caps are interesting, but have you tried the other way around: italic structure and roman decoration?

eliason's picture

What types would you point me towards to understand what you have in mind with italic cap structure?

eliason's picture


Opened up the letterspacing; made counters in b d p q g a o smaller; made u n m w W wider; added loop to top right of u and top middle of w; some other minor tweaks.

I hate capital U, and I don't think capital G is working.
Still have to go through all and check stroke weights.

Questions that arise with these narrow lowercase forms:
1. Is it okay to keep the caps uncondensed, or will they jump out?
2. The narrow letters make the extenders look shorter. Is this a problem? What relationship should extenders in the accompanying italic have to those of its roman?

Bendy's picture

>Is it okay to keep the caps uncondensed, or will they jump out?

I'd want it to be deliberate either way; make them obviously uncondensed (U, V, W and Y look rather narrow) and have a reason behind it, or draw them all in to match the lc.

Cap G draws attention, looks a bit Ambicase!

>What relationship should extenders in the accompanying italic have to those of its roman?

I read somewhere that the extenders should be visually the same length, which means shortening them slightly to compensate for the slant. See here

Are the stems of U slightly nonparallel?

nina's picture

Wow, interesting caps. (Love the "S" and "X"!)
I'm wondering about those «inside serif» things you're doing on the "K", "M", "N", "A" etc. now; personally I thought the balls were more interesting and stronger (but you know me, I like ball terminals ;). In the first version posted July 2 the balls look a bit like a reference to those very typographic contrasted scripts like Kursivschrift etc. – which seems like a yummy & interesting connection to make. It feels a bit like you're taming that again now, though?

hrant's picture

Sometimes it's good to shorten an Italic's x-height too, although
more for reasons of differentiation than apparent length of stems.

hhp

eliason's picture

@Frode Thanks for the link, looks great! My B and R already have that loop. I'll do some thinking about how maybe my L could benefit.

I'll have to take a look at how the vertical metrics mesh optically with the roman. Thanks for the link, Ben.

Any of these G descenders an improvement?


@Nina I'm amused that you love the S -- I think it's the most Ernestine-ish glyph!

The teardrops -- particularly at the baseline -- just seemed too soft to me, too Art Nouveau-ish. I suppose I could try my "inside serifs" at the baseline and keep the teardrops above. But another vote against them even above is that they make the K potentially misread as an R. Anybody else have opinions about those terminals?

eliason's picture

A different /U/ that abandons the returning construction.
Widened those inner serifs on /AKMN/ (and now /U/ too). Making them less timid, without resorting to Nouveau lachrymals?
Looping /L/ structure inspired by Frode. And then... The same on the /T/, which means dropping the upper right serif. I'm excited about this idea: I like the structure, and I suppose it could make some spacing with lowercase easier. But have I gone too far? :-)

hrant's picture

Dude, release this quickly before somebody swipes all the ideas here.

hhp

riccard0's picture

I love that T! :-) (maybe it’s a little bit short on the right?)

Bendy's picture

I'm liking the latest L and T. L and K may be too wide tho'?
EDIT: You know, I want the T now to become uncial, with a curved stem rather than straight. Could well be too much!

G: how about following the stress pattern of the /y/ with the tail...make it taper to a thin stroke (just in the desceding part)?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You know, you need only a slight whiff of this in the regular to bind the two together. I’m very much looking forward to the further developement of this.

nina's picture

I’m very much looking forward to the further developement of this.

Me too. It's really getting exciting.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the encouragement guys!


Above shows some italic improvements. I've extended the /T/ loop rightward. Also thought I'd try the loop at the bottom of /E/ as well (like /L/). Did some much-needed curve improvement on /m/ and /n/, and /u/. Trying out a simpler structure for /Y/ and /G/ than before.

This shows the roman and italic together. What do you think--do I need to lower the midline of the italic a smidge to make its x-height optically even? Will that screw up hinting if the alignment zones aren't, um, aligned?
I'm attaching an updated pdf to the top post.

eliason's picture

Oh yeah, also made some contextual alternates for descender crashes:



I also did a little work on some of the regular serifs to tie them to italic as Frode suggested.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I think some of those near-collisions are just as uncomfortable: mainly g ear vs. y top left serif. You could also give that pair some extra space between the descenders: loosen up the y? How about a ligature for gj in the cursive, or maybe just overlapping letters?

Man, I've been pushing this concept with the cursive capitals for so long :) Great to see you have a whack at it, Craig!

eliason's picture

Yes, I would likely kern /gy/ further apart (haven't started kerning at all), but boy is that /gy/ (and /gj/) structure unhappy together! Maybe I can lift the ear of /g.calt/ a touch too.

hrant's picture

Maybe pull a Mrs Eaves.

hhp

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I was thinking more in terms of a looser curve in the thin part of y, moving the whole descending area east.

eliason's picture

Yes, that worked.

eliason's picture

Figures. Redrew roman oldstyle 2/3/5, and created oldstyle and lining figs for italics.

hrant's picture

My standard suggestion: give the French-style OS nums a try.
Ascending 3 and 5. It really makes more sense, and would be another
way for this font to stand out. I would even try ascending the 2.

hhp

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