First Typeface - Phylum

dalelacy's picture

Hi everyone, apologise for yet another first post/first typeface thread.

I've been a long time lurker, and have enjoyed reading through the forums. I've been working on a couple of typefaces recently - drawing the characters in illustrator - and thought it was probably time to get some more experiences people to have a look, and hopefully get some honest feedback.

Phylum is a mono-line geometric sans serif, and I'm trying to create something simple & no-fuss that still has a bit of character.

Anyway, any feedback that anyone can give would be great!

riccard0's picture

I like the feel of it! :-)

I would contain the slash of slashed zero inside the shape and/or invert its direction. All this in order to differentiate slashed zero from O-slash.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

You certainly have to raise the tittles.

We’ll need to see things closer to give meaningful critique, but a few things off the shelf are the width of n vs. h and both vs. u. The x-height of k. The cumbersome y. The W with too much air inside it. The unbalanced S. Too wide J(?). Too tight @. And that e needs some optical compensation. It’s so busy, I’d take some weight off the bar at least.

dalelacy's picture

Thanks for the feedback guys!

frode frank, excuse my ignorance but can you please explain what you mean by raise the tittles? Do you mean the x-height of the lowercase?

Good pick up on the /k/ & the inconsistent /h/, /n/ & /u/ will definately fix these up in round 2.

riccard0 thanks for the feedback, I like the slash going slightly out of the shape - i'll invert it as you've mentioned.

Here's a bigger image.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Tittles: dots over i and j.

sim's picture

Here are some suggestions: the top of the B bowl should be a bit larger, not at the same of the bottom one. The bottom tail of the S should be longer, for now that s seems upside down. Th 3 seems too narrow compare to other number. The weight of some lower case letters are too heavy compare of the entire weight, (e,r,s,k,v,x) or the problem come from the image. The serif of the J seems longer I would try the same length of the I or in between. The v seems a bit off compare to the u,w and y. Try to insert a PDF file with text, this will be easier to analyse. Keep going.

dalelacy's picture

Cheers frank i'll add it to the list.

Sim, at the moment i've just used illustrator to draw the characters - I wanted to see how I went with that before buying some font software, and teaching myself that is going to be the next step. So a text sample will need to be handset.

I have done a little bit of this here: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Phylum/2260592 just wasn't sure of typophiles rules around external links so I didn't include it in my original post. Apologies if this is a no-no.

Thanks for your feedback, I can see what you mean about the weight of the lowercase letters especially the r,s,t,u,v line above, i'll add it to the list of things to look at in round 2.

Cheers for all the help everyone! Its really appreciated!

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Isn’t Behance a portfolio site? Why post something like this there?

Here’s a good read that highlights some basic issues. Here’s another. And buy some books on type design! And make sure you understand from day one that type is not only about shape, but also about the void between shapes. These are interlocked, so treating letters as separate items is a gross misunderstanding.

dalelacy's picture

yep, Behance is a portfolio site. I'm a graphic designer by trade, and this typeface started as a personal project as a way of working on something i'd never worked on before. I never really had the intention of creating a full working typeface, it was more of a way for me to experiment with drawing characters + letterspacing & kerning.

Hence why i've put it up on behance/my website as a personal graphic design project.

I really enjoyed the process of creating the characters; I then started to entertain the idea of turning phylum into something which could possibly become a commercial font, which is why i've come to typophile to get some feedback on taking it to the next step.

Thanks for the links frank, that first link looks exactly like the kind of thing that will help me out a heap.

Cheers.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

But why showcase something that isn’t finished? (My portfolio is a load of shite anyway, so don’t consider me a good judge, but hey?)

The second one is where the gold is: Notes on type design. The first is just a very shallow dive into the realms of lead.

dalelacy's picture

I've just gone through a round of job application/job hunting and needed a few personal projects to lighten up my folio - I do a lot of corporate work, and wanted to show my interest in design & typography. So I guess I considered it finished 'enough' as a personal project to put it up.

I didn't think it would go any further then this initial exercise, but I really got into drawing the characters, and as I said I started to entertain the idea of actually releasing my first typeface.

I obviously realise as a typeface, phylum is a fair way off being finished, and thats why it's great to get the feedback/help that i'm getting on here.

I really like your comment about the space between shapes being interlocked with the shapes themselves - definitely something to think about in that for me.

p.s. I really like your typeface 'Aften', it has a really nice feel to it.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Haha! There you go! Aften isn’t really finished — I’m in the middle of some major revisions right now actually.

If you want to stick out during job hunting, I’d skip the type stuff. Everybody’s doing that nowadays.

Good luck drawing! Btw: TypeTool has a less steep entry fee and you can upgrade to Fontlab later and deduct the fee.

dalelacy's picture

Cheers for all your help frank. I look forward to seeing Aften in its finished form!

I'll post up some more images once I've developed it a bit further, taking into account all the suggestions given here.

dalelacy's picture

Round 2. I've fixed up everything you guys have suggested, and have tried to get the weight of the characters - in particular the lowercase to be more consistent.

Cheers for all the feedback so far.

Martin Silvertant's picture

It's starting to look pretty good! I like the curved spurs; you certainly don\t see that often in geometric typefaces like these.

k - I would make the arm a bit longer. You can do this by either bringing the arm and leg down a bit or make the arm slightly more horizontal.
s - Quite small. I would make it a bit more wider.
i/l/t - I would bring the curve down a bit to the baseline. Right now these letters seem to be floating a bit.
h/n - These characters are a bit too condensed. I would make them a bit wider and leave /m/ the same width.
w - Should be more condensed
W - I quite like the design but I think it looks rather old-fashioned for a geometric typeface like this. Why don't you try a design more like the lowercase /w/?
M - Too wide
P - You could make the bowl a little higher to use more of the white space underneath.
g - The slight curve isn't working for me. It looks too much like a /q/ to me with that curve. I would give the /g/ a proper tail.

I'm also not a fan of the long descenders. I would shorten them a little. The descender of /f/ actually seems to be at the right depth.

Also, for a typeface like this it's common and in a sense certainly logical to design a one-story /a/ and /g/, but perhaps it's a nice idea to add the two-story /a/ and /g/ as alternates.

dalelacy's picture

Cheers for the feedback Martin - all good points. Will see how I go with the alternative /a/ & /g/

dalelacy's picture

I've had a crack at the /W/ and don't think i'm going to be able to make it work with the rounded base. Here are a couple of options. I've also though the lowercase /w/ could follow the straight edge version, as I think it looks quite nice.

Round 3 up soon.

dalelacy's picture

Options for the tail of the lowercase /g/. I'm thinking the second, possibly the third.

dalelacy's picture

Round 3. Fixed up all of Martin's points - added a two-story /g/ (at the bottom), couldn't get the two-story /a/ too work though. I also have a whole heap of accents/diacritics ready to go once I have the basic characters down.

Hopefully the next step - and i'm assuming longest/most difficult - will be to get this into typetool and start working on spacing.

Cheers for everyones help so far, its really great feedback and I really appreciate everyone taking their time to help out a newbie.

riccard0's picture

Third W, second w, second g (edit: but the binocular one is nice too, if a bit dark).

Martin Silvertant's picture

> Third W, second w, second g (edit: but the binocular one is nice too, if a bit dark).
I agree on all points.

I still think there's too much texture in the /0/ though because of that diagonal stroke sticking out. It looks nice at display size, but at body text size it's too dark. /4/ could also be a little lighter.

dalelacy's picture

Hi everyone,

I've been doing a fair bit on work on Phylum recently, and have converted my illustrator drawings into a working font via typetool! I've been concentrating on the 'light' variation to begin with, and would love to get some input into how i'm going.

I also have a pdf of sample text, but can't work out how to upload pdf's..

Edit: Gave up trying to upload pdf's, here is the text samples as gif's.

hrant's picture

Looking cool.
The curl in the "el" is strong enough that it's
creating too strong of a pattern when it's doubled.

hhp

dalelacy's picture

Hi guys, I've tidied up the light weight of Phylum, and have created a regular weight. Would love to hear what you guys think.

Cheers,

Dale.

dalelacy's picture

hrant, I've had another look at the lowercase l (i think this is what you're referring to), and have reduced the curve which helps when its doubled. I think the second version looks cleaner. Let me know what you think.

Cheers,

Dale.

hrant's picture

I think that does help, although you might
not have to have to pull it back that much.

hhp

dalelacy's picture

Hey hrant, I've created a version in the middle of the 2 previous. I think this is about as far as I can take the curve before it starts to look too awkward when its doubled.

What do you think? The new version is the middle one.

Cheers,

Dale.

hrant's picture

To me it looks good.

hhp

Martin Silvertant's picture

Yeah I would go for 2.

sim's picture

Its hard to see which one is better than the other with that low res image. To my point of view I would say the /i has a better bottom than the /l in the second row. Is the /i use the same angle than the /l, personally I'd use the /i one. Keep going.

dalelacy's picture

Hey Sim, the /i/ & the /l/ use the same curve. I've put the second option into a bigger sample of text and it flows a lot nicer then the original version.

Slightly off topic:

I've created some additional ligatures in typetool: f_i / f_f_i / f_l / f_f_l / f_j / f_f_j / f_b / f_h / f_k / s_t / c_t / t_t

I've named them as above in the glyph properties, and left the unicode blank. When I set some sample text in illustrator in one weight, these glyphs are fine, but then if I change the weight of the same text some of these don't render. If the glyphs are named the same, and neither have an assigned unicode, is there any reason why they would be assigned differently?

Also, if I open the glyph window in illustrator, I can manually put these glyphs in - so they're there, just not properly assigned.

Cheers,

brianskywalker's picture

This is excellent, especially for a first typeface! I don't reallt have any critiques. (maybe try making a binocular 'g') Just want to say, keep up the good work! :)

dalelacy's picture

Hey brianskywalker, thanks for the feedback! I've created a double storey /g/, its the last character in the samples above.

Cheers,

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I look forward to seeing Aften in its finished form!
Look no further.

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