keith_miller's picture

Hi folks, I think I finally figured out how to make a GIF file of my font. Hope you can see it. I'd appreciate comments. Keith

Silverfish font

pablohoney77's picture

very nice
can we get a pdf as well?
can you tell us more what your purpose for this font is?

keith_miller's picture

Oooh great, a comment! Thanks, Paul. It took me days to figure out how to make the GIF, but I'll try this PDF thing as well. Why? Will it be clearer? My purpose: I'm a novelist (The Book of Flying), and concocted this kooky idea that my books should be in my own private font. This was three years ago. Since then I've learned lots about fonts, and about how bad I am at making them, and about how addictive it is. This is about my fortieth attempt; I learn a bit with each design. I want a clean, pretty, readable font. I've looked hard at Palatino, Bembo, Baskerville, Galliard among others. Keith

raph's picture

Yes, a PDF will be quite a bit clearer: you can magnify it without blurring.

I think having your own private font for your books is a great reason to make new fonts, and this one looks like a nice start at a clear, readable, but distinctive font.

I don't have much to say about the shapes (maybe the lower serif of lc and cap S is a bit light), but the spacing definitely needs work. I recommend this tutorial as a start.

The serifs look like Novarese (or maybe Fenice, another of his). I can see the Galliard influence strongly in the in the caps. Go for it!

aaron_carambula's picture

I agree, this is a great idea. It's a great way to influence the total work.

In addition to a PDF, maybe we can see a sample text, so as to address the relationships between letters? Thanks, and congratulations, it sounds like a long time coming.


keith_miller's picture

Here, I believe, is a PDF file of my font. The text is a translation of Rimbaud's Illuminations I'm working on. Comment on that as well, if you wish. Keith

application/pdfSilverfish PDF
UNTITLED-1.pdf (5.3 k)

raph's picture

No, the glyphs have been substituted with Times. I'm really looking forward to seeing the font for real!

keith_miller's picture

Huh? It works when I click it. I'll try doing another one. Keith

grod's picture

Yeah, it substitutes to adobe Serif... what program are you using to generate the PDF? Also, is embedding allowed in your font? Make certain that it is, then configure your virtual printer (Distiller or, if on linux probably GS) to embed non-system fonts. It works on your machine because the font is installed on your system

keith_miller's picture

Sorry guys, my fuddled brain can't figure this thing out. I searched 'embedding' on Fontographer and came up blank. Likewise 'Distiller' and 'virtual printer' on my computer. I used Freehand to make the PDF (first time I've used that program). Any other suggestions? Keith

speter's picture

Keith, what operating system do you use, and what programs do you use to lay out your pages?

keith_miller's picture

I have a new Dell computer which has the latest Windows on it. I use WordPerfect for word processing. I can also use Word. Is that helpful?

Isaac's picture

Are you planning on using this for extended reading? From the gif above it looks high contrast for a text face. The thin and thick strokes of the lowercase especially. Maybe it will look different at smaller sizes. Definitely in print, but that's asking a little much, I suppose ;)

keith_miller's picture

The thick/thin contrast is commensurate with other reading typefaces such as Bembo and Palatino, so I think it should be all right. Thanks for the comment, though. Wish I could make a PDF so you could see it more clearly. Keith

speter's picture

Do you have Acrobat or any of the other Adobe products that can output PDF (InDesign, Photoshop)? How about some other PDF creation program (CutePDF, etc.)? If the answer is no to all of those, try to create a PDF online at the Adobe website. I believe Word is one of the supported file types.

pablohoney77's picture

Maybe I'm just all Trajaned out.

I nominate that blurb for one of the quotes of the year.

Gustavo Ferreira's picture

(sorry for the off-topic post)

from the stone type foundry's site:

"announcing itc stone humanist sans - a new addition to the itc stone family"

how fresh is this? has it already been discussed somewhere?

- g.

keith_miller's picture

Thanks very much for the comments. The terminals of the a and f are indeed worrying, particularly the f for some reason. I find Zapf's solution for Palatino too cramped, though it works visually, but the swoop of the renaissance humanist fs are unsettling. I'm trying for something in between, with a broken counter space that echoes the lower loop of the g, but it still lacks grace. Too stiff and upright. I'll keep working on it. The reason for the triangular terminals: I'm trying to create a sort of tinkly harmony among all the serifs - this may be more clear in a PDF. It may also be unsuccessful. The font was indeed created using 12 point as a basis. Hadn't thought that smaller sizes would need a different contrast. Thanks for that comment, Christian; I'll read up on it. I think the spacing does need work - should be slightly broader. Now, can one be Trajaned out? I find that typeface spectacular, can't look enough at it. I'm stealing some of its lettershapes because they fit the clean vibe I'm going for. Keith

keith_miller's picture

Noah kindly offered to make a PDF of my font, so here it is, if I've managed to upload it correctly. Thanks so much, Noah.

application/pdfSilverfish PDF
silverfishpdf[1].pdf (45.6 k)

Christian Robertson's picture

It's a very renaissance author that does his own fonts. What a cool idea. I'd be interested to read some of your work, and compare your literary voice to the voice of the type.

As you get further along in your project I would recommend you print out some samples, head down to the book store and compare it to some books that you admire.

It's hard to give specific feedback from the GIF, but a few things that jump out:

The terminals on a,f need some thought. They feel light, and maybe too sharp. I'm not convinced that the monumental M and N are appropriate for book type. Maybe on a marble pillar, but not in body copy. Maybe I'm just all Trajaned out. The terminal on your y could use a good scrubbing too.

Isaac is right about the stroke contrast. Most of the computer types out there are optically tuned for about 12 point, which is huge in book text land. This puts their optical size right between display and text. Here [] is a good piece on optical sizes. As you get smaller, the dimensions and weight of your characters should change. Your characters look like they are tuned for display sizes.

As for spacing, you will find that it will do as much to influence the look of your types on the page as the details of the characters. Just like you've referenced different types determine the character shapes, the easiest way to learn spacing is to look at existing faces.

Stephen Coles's picture

This reminds me of SFPL.

Stephen Coles's picture

Very new. Announced last week.

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