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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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
riccard0's picture

I like them both!
(nice bold f, too :-)

daverowland's picture

I like the new ampersand but maybe as an alternate. It's a bit displayish. I think the crowding in the original ampersand could be solved by bringing the bottom right a bit further to the right.

LexLuengas's picture

I also really like both! The second form is perhaps a bit too dark overall, in both the light and the bold weight.

You changed your old-style /1/!

In the bold weight /M/'s middle rests at the bottom, whereas in the lightweight the diagonals meet on a higher point. On the other hand, that makes /M/ resemble /A/ much more.

eliason's picture

Ampersands with adjustments suggested (form 2 is lightened at middle of left in all weights, and form 1 in bold has bottom right further right). Maybe both do work in all weights and can just be included as alternates.

You changed your old-style /1/!

Someone on another forum talked me out of using the "I" form as default, but it (and the monoline zero) will still be available as stylistic alternates.

In the bold weight /M/'s middle rests at the bottom, whereas in the lightweight the diagonals meet on a higher point. On the other hand, that makes /M/ resemble /A/ much more.

You mean as opposed to something like this (3)?

LexLuengas's picture

You mean as opposed to something like this (3)?

Yes. I think (3) has a more even weight distribution, although (2) seems like a better match.

eliason's picture

I think (3) has a more even weight distribution, although (2) seems like a better match

I agree. Hmm. Maybe that suggests the #3 structure for text cuts and #2 for display, since even weight would be a higher priority for text.

eliason's picture


Which top of the /1/ works best?

hrant's picture

Top one.

BTW, try making the baseline bar more like really long serifs...

hhp

eliason's picture

I have serif-like forms for the lining one (and for the oldstyle alternate one too), but I was hoping to make the bar-form work with the standard oldstyle one.


I find ones really hard to draw well.

riccard0's picture

Maybe just a hint of curve at the bar’s junction, to mirror the one between stem and beak?

hrant's picture

Yes, I think even simply making the joins adnate helps. If you think about it, there's no other such junction anywhere.

hhp

eliason's picture



Second line shows adnate join.
It occurs to me now another option is to have a plain bottom (third line). The oldstyle four has such a bottom. That may not work for the tabular form (see below), but I like it for proportional oldstyle one.

jcrippen's picture

Adnate join is the way to go for the bottom, but I definitely like the bottomless one too. Maybe give it an angle like the end of the four? You could make the upper side of the stem even with the baseline, letting the lower point extend just a touch beyond the baseline. This might help fix the broken rhythm of the bottomless one a little bit.

eliason's picture

Yup, I was just thinking that. I'll give it a try.

eliason's picture

Almost a year since the last post in this thread, but still alive!

These are the regular, display, and bold masters of letters that have been most dramatically revised of late.
Most changes have been to simplify counters and make letters that curl and end in a teardrop less tightly wound.
Full updated specimen here:
http://f.cl.ly/items/2446330H1U351c013V1k/Millennial%20specimen%20103.pdf

eliason's picture

Reconsidering italic cap V and W.


Line 1 shows what I had before. I love that ending teardrop terminal in the lowercase versions (in part because it seems to imply a nice loop leading into transitive serifs of ensuing letters--see "vi") but in the caps I'm thinking its a bit old-fashioned.
Line 2a shows a flat-topped terminal. This is modeled on what I have for the K. Line 2b makes the middle of W less loopy.
Line 3 shows the alternates that I already planned to include, mostly for all-cap settings (CASE will trigger them), in which the rounder forms look terrible.
Thoughts?

hrant's picture

Anything but 3. My favorite is 2b.

hhp

LexLuengas's picture

I like 2a. 2b is also OK.

Bendy's picture

Have you tried variant 3 with the teardrop terminals?

LexLuengas's picture

Now that you say so, I would also try a variant 2 in which the right serif is less gradual and more abrupt like in 3.

eliason's picture

Lex, I think that would make that final thin stroke too weak.
Here are some more options, including along the lines Ben suggested:


I kinda like 4b.

hrant's picture

I like 4b, but try curling in the ball in 4a (maybe curling its whole stem).

hhp

LexLuengas's picture

I somehow like 5a.

BTW that /5 looks nice!

eliason's picture

Curled in (4c):


Also shows the K and Y which 4b matches.

Bendy's picture

I really like 4a and 4c, but all cap settings may make 4b a better choice. As I think I said before, I think quirkiness should fall under the radar in this sort of design to make it as reliable a workhorse as possible.

That last K looks a bit wide?

hrant's picture

I like 4c (just raise the ball up a hair).

I can dig the "falling under radar" thing, but:
- This design needs help standing out.
- Caps (especially low-frequency ones, in Italics too) are a good place to flirt.

hhp

Bendy's picture

> This design needs help standing out.

To me the italics are quite funky, and with the range of lovely weights, I think it's quite distinctive enough for a text font.

hrant's picture

I could be missing something, but: isn't it exactly the caps that are making the Italic funky?

hhp

eliason's picture

Ben, do you mean that flat-topped terminal reads to you as too quirky?


Here's the 4b V carried over to the W. I think even with this as the standard V/W I'd keep .case alternates (present versions shown third line: WVKRZY). Looking at them now I think I'll normalize still further those serifs of W.case/V.case/Y.case, and that Z.case seems very light. Obviously no kerning yet!

Does the regular K still look wide in this context, Ben?

Bendy's picture

Hrm, not too quirky, no. I was trying to mean 4b has a good level of interesting, which might be better for cap settings than 4a and 4c, which I do actually prefer shapewise, but might be too disruptive readingwise.

Hrant, yes and no. The cap shapes have a very nice flavour/quirkiness, distinctive (I meant that in a good way) without being showy. I guess I don't agree it needs 'help standing out'.

K, yes, I think I'd pull the top in; the top counter is rather large because of the curved construction.

LexLuengas's picture

I think the little ascender of italic /p is a tad too long/sharp. The lower swash of italic /Z doesn't work for me with that steep inclination (which is first evident in the bolder weights, so the light instance still looks OK). Lowercase italic /z looks much more balanced and confident. Black italic /k is definitely too dark at the top. It needs to open its eye. Maintain the flow you had in the bold weight.

I like that italic /s ;-) Your italic ampersand also looks great, but on the inner top you have a prominent straight-to-curved transition which I don't now if is necessary.

eliason's picture

Visual aid for the letters you were looking at:

I think the little ascender of italic /p is a tad too long/sharp.

I think you're right. I had made it to match the ascender of /t/, which, now that I look at it, could also be shortened.

The lower swash of italic /Z doesn't work for me with that steep inclination (which is first evident in the bolder weights, so the light instance still looks OK).

Yes, I think that needs some redrawing. That flip up at the end is intended to match the transitive serifs of /n/ etc., and also appears in /K/ and /R/.

Black italic /k is definitely too dark at the top.

You're right. This weight started as an extrapolation and that loop is an artifact of that.

Thanks for the helpful feedback Lex.

LexLuengas's picture

I'm glad I could help :-)

eliason's picture

updated /p/t/&/Z/k/


Another option for /Z/ is just using this simpler version which currently kicks in with .case:

It seems much fresher, but maybe goes too far in that direction?

LexLuengas's picture

/Z/: Looking at the bold weight of the first version, I think the bottom swash needs more weight to effectively mirror the weight of the top. It looks better than your prior approach. I'm convinced this version would work better in a mixed case setting than the second one.

The second option does indeed kick in with .case. It is firm and strong, but personally wouldn't choose it as a standard glyph. Regarding the glyph itself, I'd say that the top is a bit too wide. I also notice that the top left serif is less slanted than in the other weights, and would consider trying the same for the first (bold) version.

That /k/ now looks better. The same applies to the new /p/.

This will look very good after kerned, there's no doubt about it!

eliason's picture

Thanks, agreed.
I find it very tricky to get the weight right on those oddball horizontal thicks (on Z, 2, 4, 5, 7, etc.). The exact same stroke will sometimes look way too heavy and other times way too light.

- - -

Okay, Z/z's with lots of adjustments:

daverowland's picture

Hi Craig,
Good to see this back in critique. Seems nobody has commented on the roman weights since your latest update to them. I have a problem with the new /a/ and /c/. To my eyes they look awkwardly skewed now that the counters have been opened up. They look like they're diagonal rather than horizontal across the top. I'd held off on commenting on this in case that was a feature that helped in text sizes, but having seen the latest pdf, I still find these letters a little jarring. This is what I mean:


I love the italic ampersand. My only comment would be that maybe the transition out of the curve in the lower right could be less abrupt in the black weight, by pushing it in slightly. Not as much as here, but it shows where I mean:

Elsewhere, lining /3/ seems a little top heavy and slightly leaning to the left because of it.
Small caps thins look thicker than all the other thins?
Small cap /6/ and /9/ look too bold.
Italic /Z/ - I don't think there's enough weight in the bottom crossbar. In all weights but especially the darker weights. I think a less exaggerated wave would help.
I like the Cooper Black style /f/ in the black weight. Maybe there could be more of this in the lighter weights too.
Italic /y/ - the ball terminal feels lower than the left hand side (more pronounced in bolder weights). Also, it feels to me like the body of it dips too far under the baseline. Did you try any ways of cutting that thick stem rather than have it go all the way into the descender? Maybe using the /v/ shape would be good. Also has the added benefit of being easier to space well.
Black italic /k/ I think the eye could be more pleasingly round (at least for display cut):

Overall it's looking really good. Different enough to stand out but not too different that it's unusable.

eliason's picture

Thanks Dave for the input!

I have a problem with the new /a/ and /c/. To my eyes they look awkwardly skewed now that the counters have been opened up. They look like they're diagonal rather than horizontal across the top.

Yes, this is admittedly experimental, inspired by the fact that when I loosed the hooks of /f/ and /j/ they seemed a little more up-to-date, so I wondered what would happen with /c/ and /a/. Yet another Benton typeface, Clearface, was another inspiration (though one that takes the effect quite a bit further). I thought it might lend a little dynamism, but obviously if it's catching the reader's eye it should be done away with, or done more subtly. I'll keep experimenting.

I love the italic ampersand. My only comment would be that maybe the transition out of the curve in the lower right could be less abrupt in the black weight, by pushing it in slightly.

Agreed.

Elsewhere, lining /3/ seems a little top heavy and slightly leaning to the left because of it.

I've now made the top teardrop terminal a little smaller in the bold master and did some other tweaks; hopefully that fixes it.

Small caps thins look thicker than all the other thins?

Yes, that's actually because so far I've only drawn the regular small caps (not the display or bold masters) so among display letters the small caps will look clunky.

Italic /Z/ - I don't think there's enough weight in the bottom crossbar. In all weights but especially the darker weights.

What do you think of the revisions in the post above yours?

I like the Cooper Black style /f/ in the black weight. Maybe there could be more of this in the lighter weights too.

I very recently changed the bold /f/ that actually bends back, Cooper style, to one that pinches in from both sides (see below).

Italic /y/ - the ball terminal feels lower than the left hand side (more pronounced in bolder weights). Also, it feels to me like the body of it dips too far under the baseline. Did you try any ways of cutting that thick stem rather than have it go all the way into the descender? Maybe using the /v/ shape would be good. Also has the added benefit of being easier to space well.

Heh, if you go back a few hundred posts in this thread you'll see I tried all kinds of /y/s. I am very fond of the structure I wound up with (despite its admitted more difficult spacing). I have done a little tweaking now, including moving the top teardrop higher and the bottom one rightward as you suggest.

Black italic /k/ I think the eye could be more pleasingly round (at least for display cut)

I don't want to lose that bulge that sort of caps the leg inside that counter, but I have made it more subtle now.



Grateful for your time and eye!

daverowland's picture

Yeah! All much better in my opinion. Top left of black italic /y/ is looking ever so slightly lumpy (maybe the angle of the instroke is too steep). Ampersand could maybe use a touch more slant. I think the node at the dip of the tilde-like part of /Z/ could be brought up a little, more like it is in the lower case.

eliason's picture

Agreed on all points.
Here is a reworked black /y/. In addition to rounding the top of the stem (which I think helped lessen the persistent optical illusion that the teardrop on the other side is too low), I also let the top teardrop thicken more gradually to lend weight to that thin stroke.) Display ampersand given more slope, cap Z bottom thickened towards the right. Also, minor breakthrough with black italic /k/! Lowering the top of the leg considerably allows much more breathing room in the interior of the letter.

LexLuengas's picture

All improvements! The /k can still look better. The old /k had a leg which looked good. Its thick-thin transition started halfway down the length of the leg, whereas in the new one it starts from the very origin of the leg. (God is this hard to explain!) Let the strokes encompassing the leg dance parallelly a bit longer.

Dave's suggestion for the eye of /k, which he nicely illustrated in his comment, will IMO definitely make that /k go from looking good to looking great (once and for all!). I realize you want to keep the leg and the eye as two independent components (for the sake of consistency, because the regular shows this feature, as if the pen was "lifted" in between). I think you can keep this feature while also making Dave and me happy. The problem is that the straight edge of the leg seems to be pushing the loop of the eye to the right. Nevertheless, the loop does not necessarily have to join the leg at the very edge. Changing that would concede the loop a bit more concavity, which is what Dave wants.

Hopefully this all makes sense. Otherwise I should follow Dave's example and start drawing more and writing less...

eliason's picture

No, I think I understand you perfectly and thank you for pushing me to keep at it. Top is as before, bottom is revised with your input. I'm really liking it.

eliason's picture

And still better (revised mostly the counter to match other letters like /n/ better):

eliason's picture

Another big change on the italics: I have retracted the transitive serifs quite a bit, particularly on the display cuts (in the caption cuts they remain about the same).


This is before (left) and after (right) the change. Can be seen more clearly in this pdf:
http://f.cl.ly/items/432u452x2t2u0C002W2h/Millennial%20transitive%20seri...
I think this makes the italic look much cleaner and fresher.
I may try cutting back those serifs in the bolder weights even more.
I have yet to make the spacing adjustments (ie tightening the display master overall) that will have to follow this adjustment.

hrant's picture

I agree it's an improvement.
What made you do it?

hhp

eliason's picture

Nothing particular other than staring at a printed specimen, thinking the italic looked a little fussy and cluttered, putting my thumbs over the beginning and ending of an /n/ and concluding it was worth a try.

Bendy's picture

Cleaner, definitely. How unexpected! :-)

LexLuengas's picture

I like how symmetric letters (/n, /i, etc.) look like after the revision, but can't find the need to shorten the terminals of /e, /c, /k or /t. To me they look worse. Otherwise, I agree it's an improvement in terms of color. Now you have a wonderful /r.

BTW, the dots of the colon are too far appart in all but the darkest weight.

eliason's picture

Yeah, I figured I'd have to add back some length to /c/e/t/, but I thought I'd live with these for a bit before deciding how much.
Thanks for the colon tip, you're right.

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