Advice for designing bolder weights?

Nathaniel Hebert's picture

Hello all!

I'm a graphic designer, and have decided after reading so much on the subject to finally roll up my sleeves and start dabbling with type design myself. I've chosen a simple, upper-case, sans serif display face meant for poster work to start with in order to get myself acclimatized with the process. The results so far have been plenty satisfactory, and I've had a blast fleshing out my type with punctuation, numerals, and accents.

I'm wondering at this stage if you guys might have any advice on how to approach designing bolder weights. I recall coming across a handy article or two that gave some practical pointers, though those links elude me. I've got a general idea on how to proceed, filling in counters and such, but in practise, some letters like the S are a bit of a pickle to boldify.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Nathaniel

Nick Shinn's picture

HEMINGWAY IS A SHITTY LAWYER

Try with:

  • no kerning
  • your kerning
  • automated kerning
Typogruffer's picture

The following threads might get you started:

http://typophile.com/node/86444
http://typophile.com/node/67354
http://typophile.com/node/2811

Thanks to the gentleman who introduced me to site:typophile.com search_term

Nathaniel Hebert's picture

Brilliant, thanks for the links. This is a good start; I've already jumped in and started tweaking everything manually, but any help, even to roughly flesh out a family is much appreciated.

Shinn, I've yet to even open up the hood and fix my spacing and sidebearing issues, though that's next on my list. Kudos.

Typogruffer's picture

@Nathaniel: Try superpolator if you are on mac. They say it is brilliant
Is there any recent talk of getting superpolator or something like that for windows? I am actually planning to buy a mac for that software( and a couple of others) and I am not a big fan of macintoshs.

Nick Shinn's picture

I've yet to even open up the hood and fix my spacing and sidebearing issues.

It’s not about spacing per se, more about counter space, spacing, and the relative weight of letters.
The point I was trying to make, although perhaps not very well, is that the relationship between these and the way it informs letter shape decisions can be analyzed with the help of awkward (e.g. shitty) words, and different spacing strategies—most obviously “manual” and automated kerning. Here are three typefaces with /S unfolded to varying degrees, compared in this manner:


(Please pardon the rude word, but I couldn’t think of anything more useful :-)

hrant's picture

You really think InDesign is making things worse there?

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

I hadn’t really considered that.
I’m suggesting a design methodology.
A type’s spacing system and glyphs inform one another; trying different options of each should illuminate that relationship.

Karl Stange's picture

I am actually planning to buy a mac for that software( and a couple of others) and I am not a big fan of macintoshs.

You could dual boot Windows or use Parallels or one of the other Mac tools that allows you to run Windows, if you want to cut down on switching between computers. John Hudson has discussed this approach, based on a different workflow, elsewhere on the site (I will try and find the relevant post).

Typogruffer's picture

Hey Karl,
Thanks a lot for the suggestion. But Macs are expensive. I don't intend to start a war here but for the specs they are offering, I feel people are getting ripped off. And on top of it, I don't live in US. So extra customs duty. And honestly, "crashing windows" and "blue screen of death" are old terms. My PC crashed just 2 times in 4 years. But that is not gonna stop from buying a mac. The only option is mac mini which is around $730( this is the cheapest mac available). I have to save as I want to attend a type design school in some 3-4 years and every penny counts.
Lucky for me, font design software aren't RAM guzzlers, so I think i can get away with the under-performing mac mini.
Cheers
Typogruffer

Karl Stange's picture

I have nothing against Windows at all, I was just thinking of the possible convenience for you of having both operating systems in one box.

Karl Stange's picture

Lucky for me, font design software aren't RAM guzzlers, so I think i can get away with the under-performing mac mini.

Indeed, maybe even something second hand?

Nathaniel Hebert's picture

Ah, Shinn thank you. Indeed I'm learning that letters in isolation can look pristine and beautiful, but don't function quite as expected when lumped together within the context of actual words!

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

Nick Shinn doesn't design letters or words, he designs paragraphs.

etahchen's picture

@Nathaniel, can you post some images of what you've done so far?

Nathaniel Hebert's picture



Here's some snapshots of the work in progress. Just as a caveat, I'm mainly creating this for personal use, as some of the glyphs have been frankenstein-ed together and modified from early sans serifs.

Cheers!

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