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Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm

I’d interested to hear your opinions on this. I’ve been sketching on an off for a while, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to finish it. There are plenty of geometric sans serifs out there, particulary the grotesque-ed geometrics.

(PS: You might notice the vertical proportions—enitrely nicked from Helvetica! I’m not posting this as something I intend to release in its present form anyway, so I figured it might make for an interesting conversation. Is it OK to reuse vertical metrics?)

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Craig Eliason's picture
Joined: 19 Mar 2004 - 1:44pm

Those circle-based caps /C/G/O/Q/ look very wide, especially /C/. I guess the commitment to geometry is a constraint there.
Speaking of which, does the hard geometry of a structure like /Q/ argue for a single-story, round /a/?
Stroke width seems uneven in spots (northeast to east of /D/, southwest of /C/c/, south of /U/, south to southeast of /g/...)
/s/ looks a bit wide.
I quite like the figures! That form of /6/9/, with its straight-to-curve transition, can be hard to draw well but you have here. Look to achieve that same success with caps like /J/.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

OK, I finally found the time to take a good look at this.

This puppy has identity issues! In fact it feels like some
sort of test font in a way - as if it has intentional mistakes.
Or maybe it's trying to push some boundaries? Peculiar...
Plus this genre is so crowded, the only I way it could make
any business sense is if it were released by a font house with
loyal customers who have been waiting for a geo-grot from
them. Otherwise you need some distinguishing feature(s),
without going into the realm of gimmickry however.

BTW, to me worrying about copying the vertical proportions
from an existing font is a bit too... Calvinistic. :-) You might
have noticed the recent thread* about copying a font's entire
spacing values - even there people don't seem too concerned.
Also, you might not be gaining what you think you are, since
that characteristic doesn't bestow practical usefulness; it might
seem to be inheriting the original's apparent size, but there's
more to that than vertical proportions. And really, a font that
has descenders longer than ascenders is bad news...

* http://typophile.com/node/90341

I like them big tittles!* But those belong in a text font; this thing
is way too large on the body and geometric to serve as a text font.
There are other strangenesses, but let me first see what you think
of the above... And oh, don't forget to take a close look at Unica,
which is the best design that sits between Univers and Helvetica.

* Sorry.


Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm

You are off course right. The main issue is reconciling geometry and grotesqueness. Graphik, Neuzeit etc sacrifices the former to make room for the two story a, but my vision was different. I guess I gotta make that work first of all. And dare to go all the way. A two headed frankenmonster, eh? I know this corner is crowded :)
I do think the roundness and the proportions, in both directions, has something interesting to it though.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

OK. We can do this. :-)

I think I had an epiphany, and it's that in the past a font
like this would aim to be highly versatile, but in this day and
age it can't survive and certainly not thrive using that ideal.
So it needs to have, not a gimmick, but a certain brashness.
Sort of like what Swagg does in its domain:

Looking at what you already have, one thing I agree with
you on is that the width divergence has some merit... but
only in the lc; in the UC it's just looking ugly - but getting
rid of it would make the UC deathly boring. So here's what
I think you should try: unusually short capitals, which is
a good avenue for making certain letters very wide. This
could be a main way to give this thing a raison d'être.

Another thing that struck me is how nice the "a" is. And I
think the hook must be playing a big role in that. So try to
make that hook a central theme: see how it looks on some
or all of: f, j, l, q, r, t and y. Concerning the "y", I would say
go out on a limb and try the Fleischmann form, with a full
curling hook, coming out of the lefthand diagonal! THAT
would get people talking...

- Definitely dump Helvetica's proportions. What do you get
out of that beyond dysfunction? Make the ascenders taller.
- Try making the tittles square.
- I can't see that "Q" working at all.
- Numerals: I agree with Craig - they have a lot going for
them. If you do end up making the caps short & wide you
will need another numeral set to match though.


Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

BTW, it looks like Neue Haas Grostesk* has proper
vertical proportions, with the ascenders longer than
the descenders, even in the display cut.

* http://typophile.com/node/91697


Frode Bo Helland's picture
Joined: 26 Feb 2007 - 1:03pm

Hrant, your ol’ post drowned in my misrery :)

I double posted this as an experiment, because I wanted to compare Typedrawers (neé Typeboard) to Typophile. Apparently the former is supposed to have a better noise-to-substance ratio (due to Hrantlessness or smthn like that …). In any case, my experiment failed miserably because the topic sucked.

Hrant H Papazian's picture
Joined: 3 May 2000 - 11:00am

Ah. Hence the "it feels like some sort of test font" in my first post. :-)

A paradox of life some people need to swallow: just because you don't like somebody's public participation doesn't mean you are cut out for it.

I still like the "a" though.