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.

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eliason's picture

Yes, I've mostly or maybe only seen them used in old, or deliberately archaizing, examples in American English. (That "Amœbæ" article I linked is from 1913.)

nina's picture

Yes, something like that. It might have to become a bit tighter / more rigid to match the overall curvature of the typeface, right now it seems to feel more Plantin or something than Century; and you may well be right that eliminating the most «shared» element of the ampersand makes it harder in a way to make it belong in a typeface (it also makes it less «letterlike» however, which may be a good thing?).
It sure is unusual but sometimes it can work very nicely. (Disclosure: Ernestine's ampersand is like that too. And for due credit: this structure was originally proposed by Hrant (and I resisted rather fiercely at first ... but then it worked so nicely :-)

Bendy's picture

It needs rebalancing to compensate for the amputation ;)

hrant's picture

Nina, do you think it works here? I wish it did, but I'm not so sure...

hhp

nina's picture

Hrant, I don't think the one Craig made works as such yet / not in this typeface. But looking at the three ampersands with arms that he posted before, don't they look promising, as in likely to be able to work without arms? Maybe it's wishful thinking, it just sprung to this mind...

hrant's picture

I think his second one was dandy as-is.
Although I'm still "processing" those chopped serifs...

hhp

eliason's picture

Reworked curves of the lachrymal version:

daverowland's picture

Hi. I don't really like the single story æ. Admittedly I'm not Scandinavian, but in running text I don't think it reads as æ well enough. I get to it and stumble for a second. This could be just that I don't encounter it on a day to day basis, but I prefer the double storey version. To make it more cursive though, have you considered using the bottom of the a bowl to meet the e crossbar (is that even what that part of the e is called?)? Something along these lines:


But with much better curves, obviously...

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Crazy, but I think I dig it. The one story style is how it looks in handwriting anyway, so I wouldn’t worry about recognition.

eliason's picture

Very interesting idea, Dave!

Bendy's picture

Great idea for the æ, I think it could really work, especially at smaller sizes it'll be almost invisible to most people that it's a weird shape.

eliason's picture

The previous /ae/ and the Rowland /ae/:

hrant's picture

The Rowland æsc is officially loved!

hhp

JamesT's picture

Looks good, I think it will work well at smaller sizes. Are you planning on including both styles?

eliason's picture

No, the roman's horizontal e crossbar doesn't need or want this treatment.

It looks too upright; I'll fiddle with it some more.

Bendy's picture

You need a little offset with the thin stroke, and yes too upright, also curves of e bowl are not quite there I think.

eliason's picture

Here I've got it fitting with the other letters better, I think:

Sindre's picture

I'm sorry for being a party pooper, but as a reader of several languages where 'æ' is part of the alphabet, I don't find this suitable for text setting. I also think using a two-storey shape where all other glyphs derived from 'a' are one-storey is ... er ... wrong. There is something distinctly uncursive about its shape too (though it is much better in that respect than the 'æ' it replaced), the way those two thick stems meeting from opposite directions is not graceful to these eyes, and that left-turned tear terminal has no precedence in your italics. Lastly, this glyph is somehow two-storey in the back and one-storey in the front. That will not look harmonious in settings with a lot of 'æ's. Try these sentences: "Lærerens nærvær i ernærinslæretimen" (standard Bokmål) or even "Væræ me kællæne på Tælæk" (older Tønsberg-dialect). These examples are extreme, but both makes perfect semantic sense.

Sindre's picture

I loudly applaud your curved-leg 'R', though, and that last ampersand is brilliant.

eliason's picture

More text settings of /ae/ variants. Thanks Sindre for the opinion and the sample texts. First two versions are as before; third removes the teardrop from the Rowland shape; fourth is the traditional shape with some curve adjustments to the "a"


Glad you like the /R/; I was a little unsure about it.

daverowland's picture

I like 1 best, but then I was bound to say that and I only read English so I can't really speak with any confidence on their legibility to Scandinavians etc. I don't think you need to lose the ball terminal - it's still there in the r and a little in v and w, so that ae isn't completely without company. If it's offputting, you can always just leave it in as a stylistic set.
PS. I quite like having a letter named after me, so thanks for that!

hrant's picture

Sindre, the monocular æsc is simply illegible, sorry.
Except in languages that don't also use an œthel.

BTW, I like the sans-teardrop version, because
it makes more of an æsc and less of the "a"+"e".

hhp

daverowland's picture

Is the R just slightly too narrow? maybe kick out the leg a bit.

Bendy's picture

Would number 4 look less like an œ if you brought the top right of the a-part down the back of the e a bit lower? Otherwise I like 3, but perhaps the bowl of the a is wide?

eliason's picture

Would number 4 look less like an œ if you brought the top right of the a-part down the back of the e a bit lower?

Actually I think making the top of the a-part rounder makes it look more like an o. :-/

Otherwise I like 3, but perhaps the bowl of the a is wide?

I'll do some more tinkering, but that width is serving to (a) preserve some of the italic slant of the overal silhouette of the letter, and (b) giving room for the bottom to come up enough so that the connecting thin isn't too low on the e-side.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I’m thinking maybe it’d be wise to go all the way back to your first binocular version, just without a straight stem. For what it’s worth, of these here nr 2 and 4 definitely reads better. I do think it’s become somewhat too disconnected from the a's shape though.

eliason's picture

Okay, 5 is the first style, but with the straight stem and the teardrop removed.

hrant's picture

Personally I never had a problem with the original, although I do
like it more now without the teardrop. As for the Rowland* form,
although it seems too mannered (perhaps clashing with the sober
mood of this design) it might be a nice statement to make about
the æsc needing to be its own thing (assuming you believe that).

* Dave, consider it part of the Typophile lexicon. :-)

hhp

eliason's picture

Yes, I think for this design this form is probably best. Here with some minute adjustments. (I've also softened the /x/.)


I'll keep the Rowland form in my back pocket for a future, more fitting typeface.

hrant's picture

As will I!

hhp

daverowland's picture

You're all too kind. New version does look better in this font though.

hrant's picture

BTW, not for this design, but now I'm wondering
about a variant on the Rowland form, where the top
of the bowl of the "a" does not connect to the stem...

hhp

daverowland's picture

I think that would look very much like a cursive x

Sindre's picture

I too applaud this shape and your execution of it. It was good losing that tear, and the joining of the components is harmonious. The blackness is reduced just the right amount too, I think. Have a look at the perceived slant, though. Is it slightly too upright? (Perhaps it must be.)

JamesT's picture

Sindre, I think if the slant were adjusted to be more like the other letters, it would start to look too much like an /e/ with parts from an /a/ growing out of it.

Overall, I think this new /æ/ looks very good.

eliason's picture

Slanting the whole runs into trouble with fitting with letters to the left, but slanting only the "spine" a few degrees improves the glyph.

eliason's picture

Does this contrast look about right for a bold?


(I see top of /t/ is too light, and /O/ too narrow.)

JamesT's picture

the top of the /t/ doesn't seem too light to me, it seems that the right side isn't wide enough. Other than that (and the /O/), it seems good to me.

eliason's picture

The bold alphabetics.

eliason's picture

Taking a look at replacing the teardrops in the roman with sliced-off terminals inspired by some of the italic terminals. Looks a bit more up-to-date (though it's giving me an Optima vibe).

Bendy's picture

The cutoffs remind me of Calluna, but for this face I'm a big fan of the ball terminals. I think there's enough charm in this face without having too much going on, if you can really polish it to perfection.

Bold looks very nicely executed. The Vv look unbalanced because of the serif treatment, perhaps bring the vertex slightly over to compensate?

I'd bring the leg of R out more. C might need a heavier terminal.

Arms of Xx look a bit skewed, the thin and thick seem at very different angles.

daverowland's picture

Yeah, ball terminals are better. y in bold looks slightly backslanted to my eyes. z is cool. The g in both regular and bold looks almost like it's reverse stressed in the top bowl. I guess this is because the right hand side's been dropped to make room for the ear, but I'd maybe try making the counter more of a regular ellipse.

daverowland's picture

or lift the ear up... would probably help solve some spacing problems (gu in bold example for instance)

eliason's picture

Thanks for the ideas. Incorporated them here, and also am steering the asymmetrical serifs on the roman diagonals towards something less weird.


In addition to the adjusted diagonal serifs in /A/K/V/X/Y/W/k/v/w/x/y/), this shows...
/R/ leg adjusted in regular and bold
/K/ narrowed in regular
/f/ hood adjusted in regular
/y/ lean corrected in bold
/g/ vertical proportions readjusted and ear raised in regular and bold
/Y/ widened and join lowered in regular and bold
diagonal thicks narrowed on many regular letters

Looking at it now bold /W/ looks heavy, and the balance of the bold /X/x/ is still not there yet.

I think there's enough charm in this face without having too much going on, if you can really polish it to perfection.

Thanks for both the compliment and the advice. Gimmickiness keeps sneaking back in when my faith in the value of a sober text font falters!

eliason's picture

Latest version of the italic T

Bendy's picture

>I think there's enough charm in this face without having too much going on, if you can really polish it to perfection.

Heh, well that's advice that I've recently given myself too :) I think the beauty of this face will be its overall appearance and functionality in paragraph settings, so I'd focus on attaining even colour, rigorous spacing and harmonising letters' widths and heights.

eliason's picture

Eszett.


2 removes one side of the serif to accomodate narrowing, which I think it for the better. But does it get too noodly?

I find this letter so hard to judge.

eliason's picture


Some subtle changes: gave a little bend to the second thin of italic /M/; lightened italic /W/.
Adjusted top right curve of /ß/; fixed lean of /y/; opened up counter of alternate oldstyle zero.

eliason's picture

Whoops, that was my wide eszett that I had rejected. Here's the latest try.

daverowland's picture

That bold is very bold. Are you making it as a MM font? If so I'd have that as a black and one more weight in between for the bold. Then you get three weights for the price of two! That italic W is sexy.

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