Catharsis Glamour & Glory

Catharsis's picture

Having become somewhat disillusioned with my book font project, I dug up an old attempt at fontmaking, "Catharsis Requiem", and started remaking it with the new knowledge on typography I had gathered in the meantime. While the original was supposed to look serious and ceremonial, I moved from a humanist to a modern stroke to make a flashier and more glamourous font... Catharsis Glamour.

I intend to make a companion font, Catharsis Glory, with less contrast and possibly adnate serifs, for smaller text sizes and "tougher" environment. Also, it should be fairly easy to make different weights for these fonts, given their modular nature. I will probably skip on the italic because the machine-created slanted version looks already quite usable to me.

Of course, I won't start with any of that until I've polished the base font a bit more. What are your opinions and suggestions?

And in case you were wondering, this is the old precursor font, Catharsis Requiem:

Oof! My eyes! It hurts! ;o)

Catharsis's picture

One thing that might still be a problem is that I use two different strengths for the thin parts of the font. Serifs and the thin halves of arcs usually are 10 units (blue) while crossbars are 15 units (red). The ansae of |o|-like letters (red) also end up rather heavy-looking, although the thickness there was supposed to be 10 by design... hm.

The main reason I did this was that the crossbars felt too flimsy to me. Should I just man up and make them thin and uniform, or is it viable to keep it like this?

hrant's picture

Call it "Glamour".

hhp

Catharsis's picture

Thanks, I've changed it in the thread title and in the working copy of the font. I thought glamour was only the British version, but apparently not. Huh.

Any opinions on the font proper?

I've meanwhile changed the diamond tittles to circles, and like them much better now.

riccard0's picture

I like the relationship between Glamour and Requiem.

Catharsis's picture

Any comments about the font itself? Things that need work? Missing features?

In the meantime, I added numbers, symbols, some accents, and a bit of kerning where it was most needed (mostly just high quotation marks, and periods and commas below the |T| and |r|).

Here's another demo picture:

Catharsis's picture

Yay! Language support is fun! :D

I especially enjoyed coming up with this unscrupulous way of fitting those commas underneath letters... just have them lift a leg.

Oh, and figures are now the size of capital letters. I like them better like this.

Now for those small caps and lining figures...

Catharsis's picture

Done.

I'd like to start experimenting with modifying the weight now. Obviously, I'd like to finalize the glyph shapes of the Regular before I do that work. If you have suggestions for corrections or improvement, please say so...

I've been wondering what the scarcity of feedback means — not much to criticise, or too much to even begin...?

Catharsis's picture

And here's the thin weight. I love that "Change Glyph" function in FontForge. It did require manual work, but not nearly as much as it would otherwise have.

And now to figure out interpolation...

Catharsis's picture

Wow, extrapolation is even easier than I thought. Here is Catharsis Glamour Black!

timotheus's picture

I really like this. The only glyph I'd suggest having another look at would be the 'T'. Looks just a little bit out of place to me, but I'm not sure it would look better with the heavier serifs as on the 'Z' or 'F'. Might be worth considering if you haven't already, but it's really very minor and might even be nothing more than a result of my eyesight this morning!

Tim

Catharsis's picture

Thanks for the kind words, Timotheus! :)

You're right, the |T| was too light, and as you predicted the heavy serifs from |Z, F| looked out of place as well. Instead, I now made the serifs on |T| as long as the ones on |Z, F|, but kept them tapered as before. Much better!

I also cleaned up the |w| of the thin weight, and the |ß| in all weights.

Finally, I noticed the black weight hat some ungainly curves here and there, and proscribed some Pilates. It worked:

I do think I'm converging on a final form now. I feel tempted to add some ligatures (|Th| maybe? Or |T|+vowels and |r|?). Or even a set of interlocking ligatures for the fun of it...?

hrant's picture

I'm starting to like the texture of this en masse.

But close up, your curves need much more conditioning!

hhp

Catharsis's picture

@ Hrant: Good to know. Where in particular?

For the record, that two-pane image above was a before–after shot. The left pane is before the manual correction, the other one after. What would you change? Slightly extend the anchors of the inner and outer apex points to the right?

hrant's picture

I would say that a close look at some of the more extreme Didone (Didot and Bodoni) fonts to see how they handle their curves.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

First thing I notice about the |n|s of Didot and Bodoni is the diagonal-ness of the shoulder. The right stem extends vertically up to almost the x-height, and the arch then drops down rather far on its way to the left stem.

For Glamour, I would prefer to keep more even-sided arches; domes rather than slanted roofs. I realize this might make it harder to read, since it makes the tops of |n| and |o| look more similar than they need to be. On the other hand, that same similarity could also be seen as a consistent style. Is that a viable course of action?

I took some other pointers from Didone, though: keeping the outer edge of the right stem vertical to a greater height than the inner edge, "cheating" by shaving a bit off the serifed stem, and just generally tweaking the curves until they seemed to flow into each other better.

What do you think? I do like it better now, but obviously I'd like to finalize this particular curve design before I propagate it through the whole font by hand.

hrant's picture

Much better. Still needs work though. Try moving the inside apex to the right, and the top of rightmost line higher.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

Thanks! I'll try that.

Meanwhile, some progress on the symmetrical arch design:

Catharsis's picture

Like this?

I like it, but I'm wondering whether I shouldn't keep the more centered arch design for letters like |b d p q|, and reserve these more diagonal arches for |n m r|.

Catharsis's picture

Green light on the above curves?

Meanwhile, here are my proposed changes on asymmetric and symmetric arches in the Regular weight.

Catharsis's picture

Alright, I finally finished giving the regular weight a once-over to fix all the ugly curves. Does this look better? I probably shouldn't start working on the other weights before this one is approved.

hrant's picture

The bottom of the /g is out of character (and its ear is too weak).

The /t is too timid.

I like the /7.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

Hey, thanks for the comment and sorry for the late reply; I've been rather busy with Real Life.

You're right about the |t|, I'm thinking of extending the curved foot into a bit of a serif to the right, and raising the stem higher above the x-height.

Pity about the |g|, it's one of my favorite characters of the font. I agree about the ear, but what would you suggest for the bottom loop? I'd certainly prefer to keep it two-storey.

EDIT: How about this? I shortened the connecting stem in the |g|, increased the ear a bit, and brought the lower bowl closer to a complete |o|-shape. (I tried the latter; didn't work well.) Also made the aforementioned changes to the |t|.

Cheers

hrant's picture

I would make the head just a bit smaller to make the join longer.
The ear is nice.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

OK, getting there. I also prettied up the apostrophe and comma, while I was at it.

hrant's picture

The apostrophe/comma is prettier now, but it's not in character. More geometry please! :-)

BTW, consider punctuation that's elongated, like a period that looks like a cartouche (pill) instead of a disk.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

More geometry...? I just checked Bodoni and Didot, and they both have this style of commas... seems to be pretty commonplace among Moderns. Do you think they don't fit the vertical orientation of the script?

I'll give the cartouches a try...

hrant's picture

This is much more "constructed" than pretty much any Didone. Also, it's easier to sell something new than yet-another-Didone.

BTW, you should consider "mirrored" quotes instead of "6/9" quotes.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

Hmmm, I like it less than before. The comma is also rather dissonant with the tittles and with the period (which I tried making into a cartouche too, but it looked goofy). It's going to look particularly bad in combinations like "Smartipantz et al., 2010".

Maybe if I went back to circles, made them larger, and added longer tails...?

EDIT: Good point about mirrored quotes, I'll try that.

hrant's picture

If you don't like the cartouche look, do use a circle for the comma/apostrophe, but I was actually talking about the tail: instead of a gentle curl I thought you should try something more geometric (although I actually do like what you have there).

hhp

Catharsis's picture

After some experimentation, I've returned to the relatively conservative circle-and-tail construction, as well as inverted rather than mirrored quotes. Just looks the least weird to me.

I've also had some fun with ligatures. Currently, only the f— ones are in LIGA, with all the others in DLIG. I'm not quite happy with that arrangement, though, since most casual users of the font might never actually get to see them. Therefore, I'm tempted to move most ligatures into LIGA. I'd keep just a few of the most unusual-looking ones in DLIG (such as the old-fashioned tz) so as not to alienate “regular” users.

Does that make sense?






hrant's picture

Just looks the least weird to me.

And is that the least weird "e" you can make? :-)

hhp

Catharsis's picture

I take it you don't like the “hiking boot” on its foot? ;o) I suspect it would look too light without it, but I can give it some experimentation. I suppose the c would have to follow suit.

What do you think about the ligatures? Is it OK to put them all into LIGA so they're “always on”?

EDIT: Alright, here's an attempt at a more traditional e, but it looks way too light to fit with the rest of the font IMHO.

hrant's picture

It's not that I don't like the "e".

When I critique somebody else's work it's important for me to try to not impose my own stylistic preferences; I can be most helpful when I help others better express their own style; and really, if I cause others to express my style I reduce the value of my own work! I have to be able to put myself in their shoes, which requires a certain "design empathy". With the right mindset I can help somebody improve a font that I personally can't stand! This "psychological leap" is a failing typical of most people who provide critiques, and probably the reason some people just don't like doing critiques (although sometimes it's because they're too vain to entertain the notion that others can actually help improve their work).

However one way a third-party can clearly help is to see imbalances, inconsistencies that the original designer is unable to see for various reasons (often due to being too close to the work).

So: If you like a peculiar "e" (the most common letter no less) you can't really mind a quote/apostrophe simply because it's peculiar.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

So the quote is really that peculiar...? Huh. I wouldn't have guessed.

Incidentally, I'm rather liking that new e. I checked with Didot and found I get the same lack of weight balance between feeler and foolor as I do with my new e, so it can't be that bad a flaw.

Then again, if I were to go through the font and de-peculiarize all the peculiar letters, I'd get a rather different font. Maybe that's how I could use my original idea of building a matched pair of “Glamor” and “Glory” fonts: The current version, with its dense vertical pillar structure, could be “Glory”, and I could make “Glamor” a more traditionally-shaped font with diagonals in k v w x y to go with it.

Food for thought...

hrant's picture

I meant the quotes you rejected as being too weird cannot be so in the context of a weird "e". If you make the "e" mainstream then you're essentially making a different font (where for example the "a" shouldn't have that top terminal).

Making two cuts where one is mainstream and the other iconoclastic is indeed a good idea.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

So, does this look familiar to anyone...?

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/urbanpixel/manygo-serif/

Granted, that guy's rendition of the concept looks more polished than mine. I suppose the fonts are still different enough for me to publish Catharsis Glamour & Glory; I have a higher x-height, for instance. Some characters are just uncannily similar, though — the |E|, for instance.

Luma Vine's picture

I'm not seeing the /E/ similarity. I think in some ways yours is more considered and pushing the boundaries more, which is a big plus. Your family is worth doing IMHO.

Catharsis's picture

Hi Luma, you're right, the |E| I was thinking of is actually from the second, more conservative cut of my font. It's built analogous to the |F| in the first cut.

Thanks for the encouragement! I'm aiming to finish the character set, do some iKerning, and put up for sale soon after Octant gets its debut.

Here's a comparison of Glory (top) and Glamour (bottom):


Catharsis's picture

The |S| was too wide and light. Fixed.

So here is an overview of the character inventories of Glamour & Glory. I'd be grateful if someone could have a quick look and point out any glaring flaws.

ftp://ftp.mpia.de/pub/thalmann/eau/glamour_glory_inventory.pdf

(Oh, weird. Typing |ft| apparently produces the |gh| ligature. I'll fix that.)

Catharsis's picture

Alright, made some more tweaks and corrections. The main change is that Glory now has rectangular tittles and periods. The new PDF file is at the URL in the post above.

I could really use a quality check by a pro, so let's up the ante a bit. I'm offering a free licence for these two fonts as recompense for whoever gives the PDF above a careful inspection and reports the major flaws. (EDIT: That offer only stands until the first 1–2 reviews...)

I'm also interested in contracting out the kerning. I'll use iKern if it comes down to it, but I suspect these fonts need rather little kerning due to their vertical nature (especially Glory, which eschews diagonals), so it might be a quick-and-easy (-and-affordable) manual job for a skilled typophile.

hrant's picture

I just finished a full spacing & kerning job (including comprehensive documentation) for four fonts for a medium-sized foundry of high repute. There's no way iKern could match the results. If you want to talk numbers: hpapazian at gmail dot com

BTW fonts like this might not need a lot of kerning, but the tight and high-contrast nature is actually rather demanding in terms of "base spacing". Look for example at the "ump" in your most-recent image. You can't just use a [simple] formula for the sidebearings.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

And another similar font just appeared on MyFonts...

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/stereotypes/flenja/

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