angular slabby font

daverowland's picture

Please critique my latest font in the works. As yet unnamed, I started working on it in December 2010 and it's been left to fester for quite some time. Just started on it again recently. So far it's a very basic character set, light and bold (other weights will be interpolated). I'm not too happy with the spacing yet and there's no kerning.
Anyway, what do you think so far?

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Angular.pdf272.21 KB
Sample2.pdf320.33 KB
riccard0's picture

I like it overall.
However, especially in the light weight, it seems that the angularity makes the design unbalanced and it doesn't harmonize well with the non angular glyphs.

hrant's picture

I like the way you think. Imbalance can indeed be risky, but somebody's gotta rock this boat.

The glyphs that stand out to me as needing the most work are the Bold* "g" and the Regular "a". And don't be so shy with the ears of the "g"s.

* Which is more of a Black.

hhp

daverowland's picture

While I think that it does harmonise, I do want to put more of an obvious corner in the counter of o in the light (more like it is in the b now). I think I was trying too hard to get it almost monoline in that weight, and keeping that interpolatable with the *black* weight has made for some lumpy looking strokes in certain glyphs. Hrant, g and a were my main concerns before. I'll have a play around with them and post results soon. You're right, of course, I've definitely chickened out on the g ear.
PS. just noticed, looking at the image now, that the blend fonts function in Fontlab seems to have smoothed some nodes that are meant to be corners. The s for example should be much more angular than it looks there.

daverowland's picture

update

cerulean's picture

I feel like the arm that works for k might not be so appropriate for K and x.

I especially love the numerals, and I doubt I can even articulate what makes them so great.
But the black zero seems a little bit too narrow.

daverowland's picture

I was kind of thinking that about the K, but I quite like the x. Thanks for your praise of the numerals; I always find them some of the hardest glyphs to draw - especially 6 and 9. These are tabular figures so the zero can't go much wider without increasing the advance width of all numerals, including the light, which makes the spacing a bit too loose IMO. I'll likely have proportional figures too so that zero might be a touch wider.

litera's picture

I feel like the heavy weight one looks a bit more condensed than the light weight.

daverowland's picture

Coming back to this after being on holiday... do you mean the number one or the whole black weight looks more condensed?

daverowland's picture

Been struggling to get enough weight into the g and s. When I thought they looked fine in light and black, the interpolated weights came out too light. I think I'm just about there now.


In the black, the top counter of g is noticeably smaller than the bottom, but in the light they are more even. Do they work with each other? Also tamed the top right serif on k and x and removed over shoot on K. I think these are looking better now.

cerulean's picture

They are. Now that you mention it, black /g/ could stand to have its top counter widened slightly on the left side. In-between /g/ looks fine. At first I thought I could see what you were talking about with /s/, but I think what's missing might not be not weight but size. /s/ may need a touch more overshoot, top and bottom, in the whole weight range.

daverowland's picture

I tried extra overshoot on the s, but it just made it look way too big compared to say, z, so I put it back to where it was. Then I thought maybe there's too much overshoot overall, so tried reducing it. Even slightly reduced overshoot looks like not enough overshoot. One moment I look at it and think the overshoot is too much, the next moment, too little. So I'm hoping that means it's juuuuuuuuust right. Anything next to a z looks big though. I need to find some way of putting overshoot on the z!

daverowland's picture

I'm thinking h n u and m could all do with having their legs pulled apart a touch.

eliason's picture

Yes, h is definitely too narrow in the bolder weight.

Maybe for the s you could think about adjusting not height but aperture.

daverowland's picture


After messing about trying to get the z to look ok, I decided it wasn't working and went ahead and reduced the overshoots all over. Also opened up m n u and h in black weight. I think it's looking a lot better now.

eliason's picture

I think your /g/ has a split personality: top bowl is smooth and elliptical, while the rest is more bumpy. Perhaps a similar dissonance in inside vs. outside contours of /s/.

daverowland's picture


I'm not sure. I think I prefer the original slightly dissonant version. It might not fit as well with itself, but I think it fits better with the rest.

daverowland's picture


started work on the black italic. Rudimentary spacing and no kerning as yet. Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

daverowland's picture

Thanks. That thread is what made me remember I'd started this font in the first place. I have a lot of started fonts. Not so many finished ones...

eliason's picture

Looking good, Dave.
/v/ looks like it is riding high on the baseline.
/w/ looks taller than its neighbors.
Perhaps the humps of /m/n/h/ could be a touch taller. Loop of /k/ too.
That inside contour of /n/ (etc.) on the right side seems like the most tentative drawing.
Maybe the counter of /o/ could be tilted toward the italic angle more.
That form of /g/ works very well here. /z/ and /y/ are awfully nice too.

daverowland's picture

A few small changes, mainly as per your suggestions Craig. Glad you like z and y, they were my favourites too.

eliason's picture

Can you get more white into that counter within the loop of /k/? That bit still looks cramped to me.
I would lower the bottom right of /m/n/h/. Optically that stroke is not sitting on the baseline like the flat-bottomed stems before it.

daverowland's picture

I think the problem is the left bottom. It's not horizontal - the leftmost point descents below the baseline by the (general) overshoot amount. I'll try both making it flat on the baseline, and lifting the right hand side of that stem up a bit to make it a more angled terminal.

eliason's picture

Looking at /h/ now next to the /T/, I imagine you'll need to both raise the one /h/ stem and lower the other a smidge.
The fun challenge of a design where almost no letters set the baseline & meanline!

daverowland's picture


These are the two options. While I like the diagonal cuts (2) more, they don't work well at all with uppercase letters which are flat on the baseline, so I'm going to stick with the flat terminals (1)
Also shown in this image - k with more open loop. New italic Q borrowing bottom from the z

hrant's picture

I think there's a better reason than formal UC harmony* to make the feet flat: especially looking at the Roman** this is not a "normal" font (to me a good thing); your second sample looks like yet another polished contemporary Italic (even with those sharp arches). You don't want that, at least not here.

* Which can only be taken so far anyway - the two cases really are different animals.

** And things like the "2".

hhp

daverowland's picture

There does seem to be a slight optical illusion happening in 1 which makes the right hand side of the flat-to-baseline stem look like it's dipping. Think I'll try a very subtle angle somewhere between 1 and 2 (but closer to 1)

daverowland's picture

New optically corrected version

daverowland's picture

Wondering whether pursuing this more italic form of the uppercase K and R is worthwhile...
Original


More like lowercase

riccard0's picture

I like it! Especially |K|. I find |R| has still some trouble in the centre.

daverowland's picture

Thanks. What kind of trouble?

riccard0's picture

Not sure about the downward slope and/or the bar-like look (I’m sorry to not being able to better articulate it).
But please ignore it. It was just a superficial first impression.

daverowland's picture

Should X do the same? And if X, why not A? Where to draw the line?

LexLuengas's picture

Italics: I like the /R/, it has an original, distinctive shape, there's no need to tweak it in my opinion. It's lowercase counterpart /r/, however, is clearly too wide. It gives the impression of falling forward. /Q/ is wonderful! I'm not sure about the top right of /x/. The top right serif of /K/ could grow more to the right.

Roman: The last sentence also goes to /k/. /k/ is also too wide. The serifs of /u/ in the light weight are too short. In the bold and regular weight /e/ has a "big nose". To fix this bring the terminal nearer to the eye's right end (horizontally, of course). You may compare with the italics, where this problem is unexistant. The weight of the different serifs in /t/ and /x/ is unbalanced. I would definitely keep working on /g/. It reminds me of an intestine :-) which doesn't mean it's badly drawn, just that it's not what you're looking for.

In my opinion, you could improve it by taking into account the following:
- In practically all text fonts the blue area has an even thickness.
- The blue area normally slopes downwards or stays horizontal, and doesn't necessarily has to sit on the baseline.
- The thin-thick transition in the red area is "uncertain".

Personally, I would dispose of one of the two right crooks. /g/ has a very complex structure in comparison with the rest of your alphabet, not counting that it itself is the most complex constructed letter.

Hope it helps ;-)

daverowland's picture

Thanks
I agree with most of your points on the italic. I don't mind the |x| though; the serifs relate to the |s| and (to a lesser extent) |r| and |c|.

Roman
k - yes I suppose it was slightly wide, but it's a toss up between width and counter size and I erred towards getting the counters more in keeping with the rest than the width. I've trimmed it slightly since then and it's now the same width as the h.
e - you're right, I'd already changed this but have yet to post updates as concentrating more on italic.
u light - It's not just the |u|. I'm going to extend the serifs throughout the light weight, and perhaps loosen the spacing slightly as I do it.
t and x - I agree some problems with light |x| but others I think are ok. I've thickened bottom right of |e|, |c| and |t| since last images posted, so difference between crossbar and bottom is not as big. I like the left of the crossbar looking thicker than the right. I don't know why, just feels better to me that way.

g - in most recent iteration, the 'blue area' is closer to horizontal, and the red area is more clearly thin, and joins the blue area with a corner instead of a curve. It probably still looks like an intestine to you, but I like it...


This is Roman as it stands now. I've yet to extend serifs on light.

daverowland's picture

Not wanting to just disregard objection to the |x|, I've tried a top right serif more closely linked to the |r|.
Thoughts?

eliason's picture

I like the idea but it makes it a little too heavy as drawn IMO.

LexLuengas's picture

#1. looks better.

I'm going to extend the serifs throughout the light weight

Thumbs up for that!

/R/,/K/,/X/ and /A/ are more interesting with a curved diagonal. As Riccardo said, especially /K/ profits from it.

Where to draw the line?

Which line? You mean it figuratively?

An idea/temptation: If you slanted the crossbar of the italic /t/ (which looks good to my eyes), why not also the descender-serifs of /p/?

daverowland's picture

Which line? You mean it figuratively?

Yeah, figuratively. Need to be more careful with my turn of phrase!

If you slanted the crossbar of the italic /t/ (which looks good to my eyes), why not also the descender-serifs of /p/?

Honestly, I didn't try this because I looked at similar fonts which also didn't do this. Here's what they'd look like (on |q| too).


I'm not sure if I prefer one version over the other.
Is the ampersand too weird?

daverowland's picture

Here's what uppercase diagonals look like with very slight curvature. Any more than this starts looking really forced.

LexLuengas's picture

Here's what they'd look like

I can't see the difference besides perfectly vertical serif borders :-|
I meant something more like this:

Is the ampersand too weird?

That's kind of an oxymoron.

daverowland's picture

Thought that's what you meant. I did try the bottom of the q the same as the bottom of the l but I didn't like it. I think there need to be some horizontals peppered throughout the lowercase or it starts to get a bit too blackletter (for my taste). Whether to have the serif edges on p and q slanted or upright, I have no preference, so if anyone can offer a decent argument for one over the other, I'll go with that.

daverowland's picture

x like the r but not as black as before

daverowland's picture

Some letters in the Roman have ink traps, but in the italic I haven't added any yet. I'm indecisive about whether they are worth putting in or not. Here's the Black Roman with and without traps. Do they add anything that seems missing from the italic, or would I be better just getting rid of them from the Roman?

hrant's picture

I would trap (and the "v" needs more). I recommend you use the Trapping Flower (which is what Nina and I did for FF Ernestine).

* http://themicrofoundry.com/ss_trapping1.html

hhp

daverowland's picture

Tried with and without trapping. Used a variation on your trapping flower, Hrant, but I think it looks better without ink traps. Anyway, nothing's set in stone yet and I might change my mind on that, but for now, here's how the four styles are looking so far:

eliason's picture

I like the italic much better than the roman (and the bold better than the monoline) so far. My sense is that the roman hasn't entirely figured out what it is like the italic has. Could the italic success guide the roman more (could the roman be almost a restraightened italic?)? If a broader overhaul isn't in the plans, certainly the roman bold /k/ arm and /x/ have problems.

I kinda liked the trapping but you should be adding that at the end if at all to save yourself headaches.

Italic /m/s are too wide, and probably /w/s too.

Tittles on the lighter cuts look low to me.

daverowland's picture

I agree, and maybe an upright italic is something to think about, but as well as the roman, not instead of. Definitely right about the tittles, I always seem to make them too low and never notice!

hrant's picture

Before you make a so-called upright Italic, make a slanted-Roman.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Ok, working on getting the roman and italic right before doing any other styles. I've changed |k| and |x| in the roman - you're right, Craig, that arm wasn't working. Raised tittles in light weight, and narrowed the |m| and (to a lesser extant) |w| in the light italic (I thought the black italic was ok as it was).
In the light roman, I've brought down the junction with the stem in letters like h, n, and b, and brought it up in letters like d, q, and u. I think this makes a big difference - getting closer to the look of the italic. Don't think it's needed so much in the black italic, so I left them alone.


Getting a little tired of quick brown foxes so used one of Craig's pangrams.

That light roman ampersand is looking down a bit. gotta change that.

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