Font critique please

dmolanphy's picture

Hoping for some constructive and honest feedback and critique.

MD_Orangeseed.png48.1 KB
1996type's picture

Even though it's quite well executed, you need something to make it stand it out more. As it is, it's just one of the many.

cerulean's picture

I assume the unbalanced 3 is an accident of inattention.

The top bowl of B may need to be pulled in just a little.

The $ seems heavy to me. For any further scrutiny of stroke weight, we'll need a closer look, such as in a pdf, preferably with some text set.

hrant's picture

I agree with Jasper. The good news is I think you're already leaning towards the necessary individuality: massive x-height. So I would try pushing that a little further, probably by shortening the descenders.

Your caps are nicely proportioned; with a large x-height you can (and probably should) make them as high as the ascenders (where usually they should be shorter).

There are many tweaks I would make, but the one that stands out the most is the "g": make the descender curve flatter, to match the overall style


dmolanphy's picture

Thank you for your replies.

I agree that it may need a little more personality – was afraid to go too far with it, but I will try pushing it further. The B has been giving me trouble all along. I'll try to pull in the top bowl and see if that helps any. The 3 looks terrible – will work on it.

Thank you much for your thoughts. Will post my tweaks this evening.

jafo's picture

I love how you've used superellipses -- you've done a fine job with one of my favorite shapes. Your optical corrections are also great. The basic character is good; please push it further! Still, legibility is the most important thing, and you've got that.

The B is an issue; I think both bowls are out a bit too far, but especially the top. As for the 3, it just doesn't fit. Maybe you could try a flat top, less of a complete curve, and/or a shorter midbar? Or maybe used a superellipsis with the 3 -- it really does look out of place with the letters -- but then you'd have to apply that to the other numerals (which might not be such a bad idea, since it'd make your face more distinctive).

dmolanphy's picture

Hello all,

I have been hard at work tweaking and fixing shapes and spacing. Would love to get any input y'all might have on how I can improve this font.

Thank you, dm

hrant's picture

So you've decided to make it more conventional? If this is intended as a learning experience, that makes sense; but it will be even harder to sell.

In any case the PDF is revealing two important technical issues:
- It seems you've made the horizontals and verticals mathematically equal... which makes the former appear thicker!* This is a cornerstone "optical illusion" in type design. Look how out-of-whack the "L" and the "O" look.
- Your vertical proportions, your color and your spacing are each pointing at different point sizes. Do you know what kind of applications you'd like to address with this design? Your original chunky x-height made a direction easier to find - now it's less clear to me.

* A cool quote from Fiona Ross's presentation in Yerevan in June: "If you want things to look the same you have to make them different."


cerulean's picture

Do you have old versions saved? Because it looks like you've tweaked almost all of the life out of it. Not only are the rounder curves boring, but they are lumpy all over the place (inside not matching outside) because you tried to make them by editing something completely unlike them.

dmolanphy's picture

hmm, thanks for the input y'all. I'm hoping you can help shed some light on some of your comments as I'm still trying to wrap my head around some things.

- You both mentioned the lack of 'character' on the design. I'm assuming you're both reacting to the same thing? (Rounder corners on the O's vs. the more squared corners of previous rounds?) My reasoning was that I was afraid it would start looking too much like Eurostile – but it seems I took it way too far. What are your thoughts?

- hrant: you mentioned the vertical and horizontal stems being mathematically equal. They're actually different, but not by much. I will correct - thanks for pointing that out.

- As far as what the application of this face will be, I'd like for it to be a text face – something that sets well between 9 — 14pts (which is why I went with the taller x-height and open counters). Could use any pointers on how to correct it to match that usage better.

- cerulean: you mentioned the rounder curves not matching inside/outside. Could you be more specific? I'm not sure I understand the comment.

Thanks y'all.


hrant's picture

Line & circle fonts are a dime a dozen, and are very 20th century. Squarish circle fonts (like your original was) aren't exactly rare these days, but at least they have a contemporary feel. Your initial design also enjoyed a bit of distinctiveness in its very large x-height. Even with those good attributes (which the new version has lost) such a design will need help getting noticed, possibly via a large number of weights, interesting OpenType features or tantalizing pricing.

Your target range of 9 to 14 is too broad - and my view is that fonts that can work for text above 12 point need to have an unusually small x-height (which could actually be a distinctive feature). If you want to shoot for the bottom of that range the proportions are fine, but the color needs to be a bit darker and the spacing significantly looser. If you want to shoot for around 12 point I think your color is light but OK, but the spacing needs to be looser.


cerulean's picture

In a lot of places, particularly C/G/O/Q, you're getting heavy corners because you rounded the inside more than the outside. And, in general, from glyph to glyph it looks like you can't decide just how square or round the strokes are to be, and the differences do not look deliberate in the fullest sense of having a reason. I was reluctant to point out specific things, because that would be prompting tweaks on top of tweaks, which would only have you drifting further away from consistency and the big picture. The first design was drawn much better, presumably because you wanted it to look like that. If you want to make a basic Swiss grotesk (and if that's what you want to do, I won't discourage you from it quite as much as Hrant would, though it is self-evidently true that the world will not beat a path to your door for it), you need to start by drawing the strokes you want to see, not hammering them out of a different design, leaving artifacts of it here and there.

dmolanphy's picture

thanks y'all. Truly appreciated.

You are both 100% correct that I have had trouble deciding just how square/round those corners should be, and until you pointed that out, I was having trouble understanding why the font wasn't feeling quite right.

As far as the overall design, I am attempting a very subtle balance between round/square which I'm obviously failing at – but no, I'm not going for a lot of personality.

I will make some changes and post progress, but if you have any additional thoughts, please send them my way. I am learning tons from your feedback.

Thank you,


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