Adrichom

nepenthe's picture

This is something I've only just started to work on and is based on the lettering of renaissance cartographer Christian Adrichom. The proportions are pretty extreme, so if it were to be used for setting text the leading has to be reduced as it has in the sample shown here. I wanted to post it before I did any major work on it so that I don't end up wasting a bunch of time. Although, I must say that this seems much easier the second time around.


application/pdfpreliminary spec sheet
adrichom.pdf (13.9 k)

grod's picture

I like it. I'm no expert, but I think the lc "z" would make a good alternate character but doesn't seem to fit with the standard characters. *shrugs*

nepenthe's picture

I hope you're joking, because that z is just a scribbled character! I wasn't sure how I wanted to make the z, so I just scribbled this out as a filler in the meantime. But I'm glad you like it anyway.

If there is not much interest in this design then I won't bother to post frequent updates on it. I will post something more final later on when it is better developed.

pablohoney77's picture

it's sad how little attention the type critiques get these days... that said i'll tell you what i see but first the disclaimer i am in no way an expert on lettering and any advice given is to be taken with a grain of salt

The B looks very top-heavy. you could almost flip it vertically and then have it right, but then your modulation would be all out of whack...
The head serifs on the C and G seem very severe, maybe make them not quite so sharp.
The top arm of the E seems a tad too short.
The bar of the H seems too light. Even the middle arms of the E and F seem darker. Try matching the bar to that weight.
The bowl of the P could be a bit bigger than that of the R.
The tail of that Q is going to poke my eye out! it could use to be a bit less sharp IMO.
The S seems pretty shaky, it's leaning forward too much, and again the thing about the sharp serifs.
The T seems too wide to me.
I'd say the lowercase is pretty solid. Just a couple things:
the eye of the e seems a tad too small, especially if this were set at text sizes.
the s is leaning forward just a bit.
the bar of the t is too long, especially in combos like "ty" and "tw".
the u needs a little more work before it stops looking like an upsidedown n. especially that odd back serif up top.
and the tail of the y bothers me, but that's just me.
now the good stuff:
I think the D is excellent and i absolutely love the interesting serif structure. the g is just adorable and the f and r are exceptional.
As it is, this face seems very "display" to me. If you want to make it more suitable for text, i would think that you would need to reduce the length of your ascenders and descenders.
I think you've got great potential with this one. keep up the good work! (and don't get discouraged by lack of response here)

nepenthe's picture

Thanks paul for the comprehensive analysis!

Most of the quirky features that you have pointed out are actually the reasons why I wanted to make this font! (as usual for me...) But you are correct that it should be in the Display section. I think that I will actually post future developments there. It was originally used for labelling maps, so non-text settings are really where it would work best. Also in non text-settings are where its unusual look would work best. If I decide to make a text version for this design I will probably take into account all of your suggestions, though.

For the intended context though, I will look at the P--R relationship. Definitely the bar on the H was out of whack! I fixed that immediately.

I'm not sure I want to straighten out the S or s too much, as Adrichom's writing are even more extreme that what I have! The t and T will need to be more closely considered, though. His t's and T's are even more wrong than I have them, so I will have to play a bit more to determine if fixing them will have a negative effect on the overall character.

Thanks again!

nepenthe's picture

Thanks paul for the comprehensive analysis!

Most of the quirky features that you have pointed out are actually the reasons why I wanted to make this font! (as usual for me...) But you are correct that it should be in the Display section. I think that I will actually post future developments there. It was originally used for labelling maps, so non-text settings are really where it would work best. Also in non text-settings are where its unusual look would work best. If I decide to make a text version for this design I will probably take into account all of your suggestions, though.

For the intended context though, I will look at the P--R relationship. Definitely the bar on the H was out of whack! I fixed that immediately.

I'm not sure I want to straighten out the S or s too much, as Adrichom's writing are even more extreme that what I have! The t and T will need to be more closely considered, though. His t's and T's are even more wrong than I have them, so I will have to play a bit more to determine if fixing them will have a negative effect on the overall character.

Thanks again!

speter's picture

Actually, I think you can make this a text face and still keep the quirky features, but as Paul said the descenders (and to some extent the ascenders, but not as much) need to be shortened, and for me as a book typographer, a more robust dot over the i and j would need to be added (perhaps keep the current treatment as alternate characters).

Overall, though, I quite like the face, and I do hope you'll keep us updated.

Thomas Phinney's picture

I used to always make letters like "S" really nicely balanced. I put a lot of effort into it. Then Robert Slimbach pointed out that the typeface I was working on was too static because the letters and numbers were too well balanced. So I went back and unbalanced a number of letters and numbers just slightly to make text set in the typeface just a little more dynamic. I let my S and 5 lean a little forwards, among other things.

Certainly it's important to understand balance and know when something is balanced, btw. The point is just that one doesn't necessarily want to keep things completely balanced.

T

pablohoney77's picture

I just read your reply to your comments, JP. I don't think I ever got them in my email. Anyhow, Thomas just made a very good point that I certainly learned from! Maybe you ironed out a bit too much of the character. Maybe instead of making the S, T and t straighter, you should make them a bit wilder. Try putting back in a little more of that character that you may have held back on. I'd love to see a slightly less restrained version of some of your characters to help me really get the "feel" for why you like this lettering so much.

nepenthe's picture

Here is a very minor update. I haven't had much time to do work on this because of school and finishing the Marquet Italic.

I have made some minor changes to existing glyphs as well as added some new ones, including the start of the italic which will be quite nice if I can pull it off.


application/pdf1st update
adrichom02.pdf (17.7 k)

nepenthe's picture

It's been awhile...

But I've been working a lot on the italic. I'm finding it quite difficult to make it look good. It is especially difficult because the samples I have of the original are quite poor, so I'm having to rely mostly on my experience with other types and my inexperienced eye. Here is an image "antiqued" to look more like the map on which I first saw it. I will put a PDF when I have more glyphs done.
Exciting Italic Update!

Also, I'm realizing that I will have to do a heavier weight for both of these with shorter asc/dec if it is to be used with text settings properly.

Forrest L Norvell's picture

The brackets on the p's descender are way too wide for my comfort. The contrast on the bowls of the a and the p seems a little wonky to me, too. The underlying character of the face is nice, though. It almost feels Dutch to me, only without the crazy variations in slant (which is my favorite thing about the Van Dijck italics, actually).

nepenthe's picture

That's interesting, because I'm pretty sure that Adrichom was Dutch! How did you know?

In terms of the design, the balance between a and p is definitely giving me troubles... I know that the p is more true to Adrichom than the a, but I find it hard to make the a look more like the {p} without making it look dumb. I think I will have to make top right part of the a more acute and pointy? What do you think?

nepenthe's picture

Here are a few changes made to the italic as well as the upright. Basically I just made the bowls on the upright letter rounder and made the "o" more calligraphic. All the italic letters are different in an attempt to make them more harmonius. Seeing them together I also realize also the upright is too light or the italic is too dark. Since I have more of the former done, I will probably just lighten the latter.

(BTW, my spelling really is not as bad as it looks; I just want to accomodate those few italic characters which I currently have made!)

Mix-o-cases

nepenthe's picture

Well, I will suspend updates on the italic until I learn a bit more about how to make them properly. I am having a very difficult time with it. I think I will just have to figure out a way to pay for those scans of Adrichom's work from the Hebrew University collection. The images I am referencing are too small for me to grasp the structure of the italics, which is compounded by my limited understanding of calligraphy. Anyway...

The upright is going very well, I think. I know I probably won't get responses until I put a PDF for people to examine up close, but I want to make a more complete character set until I do that. Until then, here is another gif. I completely reworked this from the old design after printing it on a laser printer and realizing that the serifs and whatnot were simply not robust enough, as Peter had pointed out. It should be more "printer-friendly" now! It might not be visible on the gif, but it is more robust technically.

Also note that I will make the hyphen single between words eventually, with the option for the double to come at line end with some OT trickery.

IERVSALEM

nepenthe's picture

Here is a PDF finally. I think maybe the "S" has too much space on either side, and I do not like the punctuation at all. Its not completely unusable at text sizes, but it is definitely better suited for display uses, I think. Even in this role, though, the more I look at it the more I think those ascenders, though true to Adrichom, are just way too tall. Also, I have spent very little time on the numerals, so expect them to change. Any and all advice is welcomed!


application/pdfA tossed together specimen
adrichom-specimen01.pdf (19.2 k)

Forrest L Norvell's picture

I think the tall ascenders work in text, although you might want to bump up the cap height a little bit, or maybe just make a 'Th' ligature, because that's where the contrast between the cap height and ascender height is most striking / jarring. The f is tall enough that you could compensate for adding the 'Th' ligature by removing the 'fi'.

If you were to make a display version of this face, you'd definitely want to increase the cap height. Anything set with an abundance of caps is going to have a strange rhythm, moving back and forth between the caps and the tall ascenders. It feels a little unpleasant to me right now, but maybe I'd get used to it.

If you want more feedback on the spacing, set some text with a left-justified rag. It's too hard to judge with the full justification you're using in your latest specimen.

The brackets on the y's tail feel over the top.

I like the text figures as they are. Will there be lining figures as well? The only one I have any quibbles with is the 1. I especially like the peaked top of the 5.

Overall, though, it's looking good! I'm interested to see where the italic ends up!

jordy's picture

First time on newly designed site so went to first critique font I saw in serif - I love this design, especially the f ligatures, ff etc. Is the AE ligature like that in the original, with the E sloping to the left instead of vertical? Looks a bit weird. The italic is looking really great, love the tall ascenders in the text. This is really a text face to me. Lots of interesting qualities, pen-drawn dots over i, things like that.

nepenthe's picture

Jordy: Yeah, the AE ligature is the way can Adrichem drew them. I think I will have to add a regular one as alternate, though, as it looks odd at the beginning of a word, but fine at the end.

Forrest: I think you're porbably right about the Th looking weird a bit, but I don't want to raise the caps in the text line. I am experimenting with T_h ligatures but so far I can't get them to look nicely. In other words, I'm not really sure how to solve this problem.

As for the Italic, I will have to do some serious research into Dutch calligraphy at the time. I picked up a book on Mercator from my library (I only found it by luck) and it should give me some better insight into the basic stucture of the letters.

nepenthe's picture

:: Another Adrichom Test Sheet ::

I have revised the entire uppercase to balance the proportions and dimensions and tweaked out many of the little detail-y parts. I decided to lower the ascenders rather than raise the caps, because I personally like the short caps. Forrest, do you think the Th is acceptable this way, or does the contrast still seem wonky?

I have redrawn the numerals to better represent the etchings of van Adrichem. Do you think that this is an improvement over the old ones? van Adrichem seems to make the 8 either as I have done it or centered vertically against the 0. I am not 100% sure about my choice here. Also, many of his numerals vary widely in their style. Forrest, what in particular do you think I should do with the 1?

I changed the punctuation completely and the ampersand and added a TT logotype. I think I might look for other combinations that are written differently on the maps, like AT which tends to have the right part stick out further over the A than on the other side.

Still no updates to the italic, though.

xensen's picture

I like it.

Forrest L Norvell's picture

I'd make the 1 have a flat serif or half-serif on the bottom, I think. I'm not opposed to that shape in general, but in a font, and with the other numerals, it's a little weird. I like the rest of the numerals, in particular the 5.

After reading some more, I guess it's common in old antiquas for the ascender height to go way up above the cap height like that. After looking at it for a while, I've decided I like it.

I'd try dropping the bottom of the bowls of the U, C, V, and O just a tiny bit more beneath the baseline. Right now they look like they're floating above the baseline.

nepenthe's picture

I think I see what you mean about those bottom bowls, I'll experiment with extending them more.

With the 1, the original varies a lot. Some have shorter bottom serifs, some don't have any ... I think the problem is that he made all of the numerals to blend with the italic. So that 45 degree serif makes more sense with the rest of the italic which shares this feature. Since his ones are so inconsistent, I actually looked more at the italic 1 from Centaur than I looked at Adrichom, which maybe is why it looks wunky.

Currently I am reading Mercator's instructions on how to write italics and comparing it with Adrichom to detect the basic pen movements and go from there. It is really difficult!

Thanks for the comments.

nepenthe's picture

Voici les nouveaux italiques

Here is a stronger attempt, I think, at interpreting the italics. I have been have much trouble dealing with the e, but I think it works faily well now. The caps and the small t I have spent very little thought on so far (as I'm sure you can tell). Also, I'm not really sure what to do with the o ...

I haven't made those recommended changes yet to the upright, but I will!

Forrest L Norvell's picture

Ooo... I like those. I can't really give you much in the way of concrete feedback right now, as I'm dead tired, but I love that style of cursive / corsivo / chancery italic. Keep working on them!

nepenthe's picture

I hope you didn't like those wacky old italics too much. I've completely redrawn them based on the roman rather than basing them on the traditional italics of the day. I think the new version looks better together on the same line.

My internet from home is not working presently, so I have to burn the specimen to disk and bring to school like in the old days. I'll post them probably later today. However, based on the amount of traffic in the critques recently, I will not hold my breath for a response once I do!

nepenthe's picture

http://eventide.ca/typography/adrichem-specimen.pdf

Here is a list of the changes I've made:

1. Added small caps. These SMcaps are a bit taller than usual, because the x-height is so low. I tried making them smaller but they looked busted that way. I think these are quite nice, but I'm open to suggestions.

2. Shortened the caps. I shortened them a little to blend better with the italics as well as the small caps. Some might not like this, but I think it works. Let me know what you think here.

3. Completely redrew the italics. I found a copy of Civitates Orbis Terrarum at school which features some of Adrichem's writing as well as that of other similar styles. I tried to use this to my advantage but got nowhere. Now they are based more on the roman than on the original cursive. I like the true Dutch style, but as a companion italic I cannot get it to work. These may be a bit more boring, but they are more practical. The weakest point here I think are the sloped caps, which are presently a bit ugly. I will try to make them nicer! Also, you'll notice that there are some wrong glyphs, viz. w, x and z. I'll get to them eventually ...

ebensorkin's picture

Despite the lack of attention here you have made a tasty face! I am not expert on text faces ( or any other kind for that matter) and I don't know your sources at all - but I think it reads pretty nicely. It is a little lighter that I generally like a text face to be. The italics seem to suit it because the separate without slowing reading. The 5 seems excentric to me. Is that from your source? Is it consistantly that way? It bugs me a little. looking closer I noticed that there is still some interspace adjustments to make. The 'a' seems a little too tight with other letters. I would open the sidebearings a little. The i too in places. The best & worst thing about this face is that it feel not so much authoritative as personal & idosyncratic. Like a specific person's writing. I like this.

This may also be the reason - or part of the reason why there has been less attention to the thread. Typopiles on the board seem to like more typographic rather than caligraphicly oriented projects.

That and the the fact that the critiques are positively buiried in the new structure of Typophile!

eomine's picture

This is a fine typeface.
Not much time to comment further, but I think the 'g' and the figures (especially 135) can still be improved. The lower bowl of the 'g' is too big (tall), making the white-space between it and the upper bowl look odd. The '1', I think it needs a foot serif; '3' and '5' look too simplistic, refine them.

okr's picture

I think it works, maybe it will need a little more leading...

Love that '&', and I agree about the '5', looks a little odd for me.
In general, it's beatifull. Congratulations.

nepenthe's picture

I seem to get strong reactions from everyone about that 5. The dutch style from the time is in fact more extreme than that. It leans farther forward and is more acute on top. I will have to post some images for you to look at so you can see how extreme it is. A friend of mine commented (about my 5) that you could poke an eye out with it and that it draws attention to the type and away from the content. I guess that makes for bad type, in a way. As for the rest of the letters, I have found them difficult to draw. I will rethink them all, especially those mentioned in light of your concerns, Eduardo.

I took a look at the lc a and opened the side bearings a bit to see how it looks. I don't mind either way, so I'll leave it opened as you recommended. I'll post the changes later.

I agree that it is far lighter than most text faces. However, because of the low x-height, I have found it very difficult to add weight without losing the open, crisp quality which makes this face what it is. I am presently working on a weight axis to see if I can use MM interpolation to gain more precise control over weight adjustments. It takes some time, but the direction I am going in is interesting to me. The x-height is too low to build and actual bold weight, so what I am ending up doing will more likely end up being useful as optical sizes. I will make probably three or four intensities for different sizes that each maintain the open and crisp quality as best as possible.

I am unsure, but perhaps one more experienced in the ways of letterpress (Gerald or Giampa, maybe?) could advise me if this is suitable for letterpress use. The light crisp stokes might serve well in this purpose, especially with the size-optimized designs. Comments in this area would be welcomed.

It is strange to me that when I look at the page printed in this from a bit of a distance, I think that it is bad type because it does not look at proper type. The overall page rythym normally present with a typeset page is pretty much absent. It does in fact look and feel like something written. However, when I hold tha page a bit closer, I cannot help but find myself drawn into the page, and I find it very comfortable and pleasant to read. I find I am able to read quite easily without having to rescan as much as I do with some other denser and softer fonts in a similar vein, like Adobe Jenson for example.

Also, I am curious whether anyone would be interested in buying this unusual face. If there is interest, I will start thinking about all the extra characters needed to complete the font. Otherwise I will not because I have no need for them.

BTW, I hope to release < href="http://typophile.com/node/7596">Marquet soon as well.

Thanks for the critiques and encouragement, everyone!

ebensorkin's picture

About the bold issue. It seems like you could make a bolder version despite the low x height by doing what a scribe would do ( appropriate here no?) - by keeping the counter the same size for the most part but letting the stroke be wider in ooutside the counter - like a thinker nib on a pen. See what I mean? Not that you should do this - but it seems like you could.

>It is strange to me that when I look at the page printed in this from a bit of a distance, I think that it is bad type because it does not look at proper type.

I think this has everything to do with interletter spacing and kerning... that is the aspect which would have to be worked on next in order to make the face viable. The face can look like a good type yet! It seems like sombody on typophile might be able to help with that.

Anybody?

nepenthe's picture

you could make a bolder version ... by ... letting the stroke be wider in ooutside the counter - like a thinker nib on a pen

This is how I first tried to boldify it, but I find that at this size the stronger contrast doesn't look very good. Maybe I am being too picky, since the bold doesn't really need to be as readable. Currently I am trying to make a bold which preserves the contrast (roughly) but is heavier overall. I'm not sure either looks very good either. Oh well. I'll post both methods and see what you guys think.

nepenthe's picture

Also, I think the 1 has a foot serif already. Do you mean that it should have a flat serif like the letters? That would not be in the Dutch style, but I will try it anyway.

eomine's picture

I think the problem with the '1' is that it is symmetric (rotate it 180° and the resulting shape is almost identical to the original one).

When I posted my previous comment, the only suggestion I could think of was to give the '1' a foot serif, like the letters. But the important thing is to make it more 'asymmetric'. You can, for example, make its beak (the top) a bit longer, or remove the calligraphic serif at the bottom.

nepenthe's picture

I don't see how the 1 was ever symmetric, actually. But I emphasized the difference as the way I understood you. I didn't change the other numerals yet, but I made a new spec sheet and did some further refinements that allow it to print more clearly at smaller sizes. I'm not really expecting any new comments, since I didn't change much, but you are free to offer any! (This link is the same, but the file size is larger at ~188k due to the inclusion of images).

nepenthe's picture

I'll write it again so people don't have to look for it earlier on the page:

http://eventide.ca/typography/adrichem-specimen.pdf

hrant's picture

Classy stuff.

Some observations:
1) The beard of the "G" is unconvincing.
2) The "S" could lean less.
3) I'd rein in the descender of the italic "f": this face seems too sober for such flair.
4) The spacing needs work. Also, considering your lightish color and generous extenders, I'd tighten it all up a bit*. Plus your blank space is slightly too wide (I mean even at this overall width).

* Look at "hunger", and shoot to match the "un" spacing overall.

Keep it up!

hhp

eomine's picture

Your link is working, but the PDF won't open here.
Acrobat Reader (v.5) says it can decode the document.

eomine's picture

I'm sorry:
Acrobat Reader (v.5) says it can't decode the document.

nepenthe's picture

Thanks for the tips on the spacing, Hrant. People kept saying to "fix the spacing" but I couln't see what was wrong with it. I didn't know to start with "nun" before, but it seems to be a good approach.

I have struggled with the big and small Gs. Currently I am working on redoing both of them. I think they are looking better so far. As for the S, I like the slant, but I think you are right that I should straighten it up ... but only very little!

Yes, the italic is a defintely less thought out than the roman and still very far from completion. Especially since I have begun to "sober-up" most of the letters, those that are still authentic, like v and f, look out of place. I will have to rethink these.

I find that, even with this calligraphic style, traditional cursives are just too distracting when paired with romans. (Not to mention the fact that they are difficult to read.) I will have to look more closely at other italics out there. I think the italic in Whitman is a good example of how to approach mating with the roman, but that it is almost too similar. Can anyone point me of examples of calligraphic fonts with italics that are not traditional (i.e. very distinct) from their roman counterparts? I also like Brioso, and think the pairing is excellent. However, I don't quite know how I would adapt that style of italic to mine.

Eduardo, sorry about the file. I think I saved it as a version 6 file with security, which I guess can't be decoded by version 5. I highly recommend getting version 6 as it is a better app, and also it will likely be some time before I can post a new update. Unfortunately, my internet connection at home does not work anymore, I think it is the modem that is broken. So I have to burn a CD everytime I bring files to school which is tedious. I can leave the CD open, but then it inevitably develops errors after one or two trips back and forth. Hopefully my connection will be fixed soon so I can post more frequent updates!

hrant's picture

Look at the italics of Octavian and Quadraat.

hhp

Forrest L Norvell's picture

I still like the 5, and I like the small caps. I'll keep speaking up in the 5's favor as long as other people say it's weird. Just because it's weird doesn't mean it's unreadable.

Aside from that, although the italics aren't there yet, I think they're headed in the right direction. I think your instincts about not making them too cursive are correct for working with the roman, but you might try upping the contrast a little and seeing if making it a tiny bit more like a chancery hand (in terms of stroke) loosens up the letters a little.

nepenthe's picture

The italics are currently undergoing a complete redraw for the third time. I will post some text strings when I can, or I may just wait until they're closer to being finished.

Forrest: thanks for the support for the five :) I think its neat and have no intention of making it look like traditional fives. Its pointy top is one of the most striking features that makes Adrichem Adrichem and not something else.

Hrant, I'm not familiar with either of these fonts, but I've been looking at them since you mentioned them. I happened to just pick up a book on bookbinding set in Octavian. Quadraat is particularly interesting. Can someone make me a PDF of this for me to look at? It's difficult to study it when I can't print it out.

I'm also looking at Fairfield and Electra, as they are quite interesting and their romans are proportionally similar. Anybody have any other recommendations?

hrant's picture

I myself don't have a PDF [handy]. But you can get the FF booklet about it (from FontShop). Or you can get a copy of R McLean's "Typographers on Type" (1995), one of the very first type books I bought; wonderful reading, set in Quadraat - but beware its stench!

hhp

nepenthe's picture

forrest: I'm experimenting with with giving the bodies of the italics more of a sloped roman proportions but with a chancery finish, if that makes any sense. I'll post it when I think it is getting somewhere, which should be soon.

hrant: I've ordered this book on ILL. Hopefully it will come soon! Also, I've been looking at some books set in Octavian. Although I can see some strong similarities in the overall structure of the letters to my own, the contrast of Octavian is way too much for my taste. I'm finding it pretty close to unreadable ... I hope that my font does not look so bad printed offset as this! I've tried to keep the contrast as low as possible while retaining some of the crispness of the etched lettering. It seems fine on laser, but that always seems heavier than offset. Any thoughts on this?

hrant's picture

You're finding Octavian unreadable, and because of its stroke contrast?! And it looks particularly bad in offset?! Are we talking about the same font? Because it has less contrast than Times, and in metal it was a rather dark face, which caused its translation to digital -done in the typical literal way of the 20th century- to result in something much nicer in color than the anemic digital Bembo for example...

Here's a scan from the original Monotype specimen book:
http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/Octavian.gif

hhp

nepenthe's picture

Hrant, that monotype specimen is quite dark! As far as offset goes, I presently have two books which are set in Octavian. The one on bookbinding actually looks quite good as far as color is concerned. The text has a good balance. The other is a textbook I borrowed from a friend printed on coated paper and for some reason the text is printed very lightly so that the thin parts are pretty much non-existent. So the contrast on that seems too high because the light parts are in fact almost white. This was the one that I had been reading when I said it was unreadable, which in fact it is. The other book is not bad, but I feel it is still a bit contrasty. This makes me think that I should soften up my font, if only just a bit.

hrant's picture

Note that Octavian was made into a phototype font,
and that might explain those vagaries you're seeing.

hhp

Syndicate content Syndicate content