General advice on 'condensing' a typeface?

cedilla's picture

I'm working on an identity that is already well balanced. It's a long collection of capital sans-serif letters that are already condensed (think of Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk Bold Condensed or Knockout 49). I just need to create a new version, a little more compressed.

(Unfortunately, I can't show anything since it's a commercial project that isn't announced yet).

Do you have any advice on how to condense a typeface ? It's pretty straightforward, but I'm sure there are little expert details that I can't think of right now. Optical adjustments, straight vs. curvy letters, negative space, etc.

Thanks in advance !

Nick Shinn's picture

Don’t be afraid to thin stems in letters such as N and W.
Consistency of glyph weight vis-a-vis one another is the goal, not consistency of stem width.
Look at Frutiger’s fonts to see how forthright he is in implementing this principle.

cedilla's picture

Great tip. Thanks Nick.

Chris Dean's picture

When I was in school, if we falsely squished a typeface, we’d have our fingers broken. I wouldn’t even consider it.

hrant's picture

Some/more vertical curves might need to become straights.


cedilla's picture

Christopher : Yes. This rule should be extended to any university program (and not just design school).

Hrant: thanks!

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