Another first: Yet-to-name geometric sans-serif project.

lepascal's picture

Dear typophiles,

Half a year ago I wanted to make a logo for myself. After drawing the required letters, I thought: "Maybe I should complete the alphabet." It evolved into quite an obsession from there on. I am now at a point where I'd appreciate some honest feedback on where this got me and push me in the right direction concerning neccessary refinements.

I would be very thankful if you could take a look at it and tell me what you think. I myself am quite happy with the Thin to Regular weights and not too shure about the Heavy one (the bold interpolates between Regular and Heavy). I plan to add matched Italics once I have finished (if possible) the upright versions. A (friend of mine told me that the contrast in character width from Thin to Heavy might be too big. I find it acceptable, because I wanted to preserve the form of the counters and I think it looks like a condensed if I reduce the characters' widths.

Also, only aside: Is the naming acceptable? I like to set body text in lighter weights myself so I called the lighter-than-regular weight "Book". Is this confusing? Also: Is the Heavy really Heavy or rather Black?

I have attached a specimen which is far from finalized (the typeface is NOT going to be called Handgloves, i have not found a proper name yet). The texts in it are not to be taken too seriously, I just filled the empty space with what came to my head. If you need additional samples I'd be happy to provide them.

I think my girlfriend thinks I am gone mad by now. She gives me a quite pitiful look when she sees me sunken in "my world of letters".

I also want to thank you guys on Typophile for the input you gave me without knowing. I have been reading here now for weeks and it is very rare to find a place where such intelligent folks talk about this kind of nerdy (in a good way!) matter in such a professional yet civilized and friendly tone. Always honest, never snobby. Keep up this spirit!

AttachmentSize
Specimen.pdf568.78 KB
altsan's picture

That's nice! At first glance, my only reservation is the default /g, which doesn't quite convince me. I think the join with the upper circle could be a bit farther to the left... that area looks a bit crowded as it is. OTOH, I do like the alternate /g, which I think works better.

In the Heavy weight, you might investigate more use of ink traps and/or subtle tapering of strokes leading in to the acute intersections. Otherwise it looks fine to me.

I'm not a professional (yet, anyway), so take that with a grain of salt...

eliason's picture

You need more overshoot on curves and sharp angles.
Is the bold intended to serve when emboldening regular text? It might be too close. In other words, consider pairings of weights when sorting out weights.

lepascal's picture

Thanks for your first comments.

That's nice! At first glance, my only reservation is the default /g, which doesn't quite convince me. I think the join with the upper circle could be a bit farther to the left... that area looks a bit crowded as it is. OTOH, I do like the alternate /g, which I think works better.

Yes, you are certainly right. I prefer a two-storey g to the single-storey one, so I will see into this and try to make it a bit lighter in the middle part.

In the Heavy weight, you might investigate more use of ink traps and/or subtle tapering of strokes leading in to the acute intersections. Otherwise it looks fine to me.

I have thought about ink traps. Tapering may help, but I didn't want to move away too far from the more uniform look of the lighter weights' lines. But then the Heavy one would probably only be used in display applications like headlines. I personally don't like the whole "ink traps as design features in display sizes"-craze. Maybe I am going to add ink traps to the Regular version and call it "Text" for print applications.

You need more overshoot on curves and sharp angles.

This was something I really wasn't sure about. The type was a bit "squarisher" some time ago and I did never change the overshoot. I had 5 units of overshoot on round characters (the x-height is 500, so it's 1%). Is there any rule of thumb in which region overshoot would be unit-wise?

Is the bold intended to serve when emboldening regular text? It might be too close. In other words, consider pairings of weights when sorting out weights.

It was indeed thought to serve as a weight for highlighting body text. I'll see how to proceed with that. Maybe I'll just add a bit of weight to the bold. Or throwing out the regular alltogether and bolden the Book version a bit. But then the regular is one of the three the interpolation is based upon, so it would be a bit of a waste...

eliason's picture

Is there any rule of thumb in which region overshoot would be unit-wise?

No, I think you just have to use your eyes.

Sindre's picture

Is there any rule of thumb in which region overshoot would be unit-wise?

For what it's worth, my personal rule of thumb is 10 units for display lower case, 12–15 units for text lower case. Upper case may need some more, and of course, different glyphs need different amounts of overshoot.

Sindre's picture

And I'll second that the weights are a bit too close. I would have used maximum four weights for this range, and maybe just three.

I think a three-storey 'g' is necessary for this typeface. but the one you have may need some work. I'd lose some weight on the upper part, and make the join less angular and narrower.

aluminum's picture

I love the small-caps-ish proportions. Nice face!

As an aside, HAS there been a typeface named handgloves yet? Maybe that is the perfect name. ;)

lepascal's picture

I tried 10 units for overshoot but it seemed a bit much. On screen the bottoms seemed to jump on the baseline instead of being balanced. I'll have to test it when I have access to my laser printer again.

And I'll second that the weights are a bit too close. I would have used maximum four weights for this range, and maybe just three.

Well, I'd see the lighter four weights as useable for body text and the fifth one as an addition for headlines. I think about darkening the Book weight a tiny bit and call the Regular a Semibold.

As an aside, HAS there been a typeface named handgloves yet? Maybe that is the perfect name. ;)

There is one on Fontstruct. Does that count? ;)

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I'll have an open ear for any further comments on the typeface.

hrant's picture

She gives me a quite pitiful look

Welcome to the club! Just one thing: you can't leave.

It's actually quite nice I think, especially considering you've only been doing type design for half a year! However it will be hard making it stand out in this crowded genre...

I agree with Alex about the "g" - it's the only big sore spot. It's trying too hard. Simplify it, especially the bottom-left terminal. You might even try a Danish "g" or a Koch "g". Also, the "x" is too geometric - try staggering at least one pair of opposing arms. Capitals: The "C" seems too wide; the "K" is too bland. BTW, that's one of the nicest "5"s I've seen.

The term "Book": People use it to mean both lighter than Regular, and heavier! So label the weight you think is best for text Regular, and the other one Book.

Overshoots: You do indeed need more (and don't judge it by the screen... unless it's a screen font, in which case however there's a whole different mindframe to factor in). There's no formula for ideal overshoot, since it depends on a number of things; I use 10-16 for text. BTW darker weights need more overshoot (otherwise they look short); try a difference of 4 between each weight.

Weight separations: As Craig said, think in pairings. Looking casually I would say that the darkest two (especially the Bold) need to be darker.

Trapping: Do do it, but not for any display-centric styles. BTW:
http://www.themicrofoundry.com/ss_trapping1.html

Italics: Please don't make a boring traditional one; in fact that could be where this stands out from the crowd.

Lastly, the name... Something nicely cold. What about Alpina?

Oh, and whatever you do, keep it up! One day your girl will be proud.

hhp

lepascal's picture

Welcome to the club! Just one thing: you can't leave.

I don't indent to leave. Yet.

However it will be hard making it stand out in this crowded genre...

I know. It was more excentric when I started. With a kind of broken-script look. But then I wanted to really learn something doing my first typeface. I thought I should learn from what to abstract before doing anything too fancy. Then I find that there aren't that many geometric sans text faces with decent language support and matching italics apart from the classics. When I began I never thought about selling this. After studying the Myfonts New Fonts lists for some time I think I'll try to offer it there at a reasonable price and see how it works out.

I agree with Alex about the "g" - it's the only big sore spot. It's trying too hard. Simplify it, especially the bottom-left terminal. You might even try a Danish "g" or a Koch "g".

It's a pity, I quite liked it. But then, if two persons tell me on first sight that something's not right about it, you are propably right. I changed it to a more classic type (Click here for a new specimen). Maybe I'll include a revised version of the old one as a variant, along with a more "contemporary" symmetric "K", because I like the current "K" in it's blandness. As for Koch and Danish "g"s: I had to look them up first. I consider the Danish one, but personally don't like the Koch one too much. In my own design work, I have more than once encountered great fonts in which single characters were deal breakers for deviating too much from "standard" letterforms. Therefore I rather go on the side of boredom in the default stylistic sets and include everything else as alternates.

BTW, that's one of the nicest "5"s I've seen.

Thank you!

Overshoots: You do indeed need more (and don't judge it by the screen... unless it's a screen font, in which case however there's a whole different mindframe to factor in). There's no formula for ideal overshoot, since it depends on a number of things; I use 10-16 for text. BTW darker weights need more overshoot (otherwise they look short); try a difference of 4 between each weight.

I played around with it and think that 10-12 would be right. Otherwise at large sizes the "o" will be to tall and the "b" and "p" will look like they have hanging bellies. It would certainly help if it worked reasonably good in a browser, but I'll see if I want to take the extra steps to make this work.

Could anyone tell me if this behavior is "normal" or how to correct it? All overshoots are in alignment zones yet the type is distorted at 100% zoom in InDesign and in an exported PDF.


Italics: Please don't make a boring traditional one; in fact that could be where this stands out from the crowd.

Could you specify what you mean if you say "traditional"? I thought along the lines of a dynamic oblique one which really pushes forward. This picture shows the direction I'm leaning to. It's not refined by any means, only automatically skewed and played with a bit.

Lastly, the name... Something nicely cold. What about Alpina?

As a German, Alpina reminds me too much of swiss chocolate (there's a brand called Alpia here) and bavarian folklore. But mabye this is different for the rest of the world. I thought about something feminine yet rational. Task: A typographically good-looking word that evokes the picture of a beautfiul and loving woman in a lab coat. As this is almost impossible, I'll have to settle for something else, but this is not my top priotrity yet. ;)

Oh, and whatever you do, keep it up! One day your girl will be proud.

Either that or she will send me to a psychiatrist. But I'll take your advice and the chance anyway. ;)

Sorry for writing too much, folks!
One question left: Is there any way to attach files to followup posts?

hrant's picture

It was more excentric when I started. With a kind of broken-script look.

That sounds tantalizing actually.

personally don't like the Koch one too much.

This is a typical reaction. It was actually my own reaction many years ago - but slowly I realized it has an important role to play under certain circumstances. And when Nina Stössinger started developing Ernestine* she balked at the idea** when I suggested it. But guess what Ernestine's "g" ended up looking like... :-)

* http://ernestinefont.com/

** http://typophile.com/node/50670#comment-307172

Could anyone tell me if this behavior is "normal" or how to correct it?

There's something called "hinting", which is a pain but is required for good onscreen rendering.

A typographically good-looking word that evokes the picture of a beautfiul and loving woman in a lab coat.

Nice. Reminds me of a very cool song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7aDstrDMf0
OK, what about "Audit me baby"? :->
Or maybe "Georgina".

Lastly, concerning "non-traditional" Italics:
I guess my stance is more relevant to serif fonts, where I value the slanted-Roman concept (albeit with more sensitivity than is typical) much more than most; in sans designs it's harder to stand apart without being too unorthodox. So I'm not sure specifically what to recommend... Just follow your own original logic instead of repeating bad precedents.

hhp

altsan's picture

BTW your italic /g looks much better than the regular one. I think it's because the sharp angle of the original has been replaced by a curve, which reduces the crowding effect.

The suggested replacement /g you linked to is OK, but looks a bit top-heavy. I don't think you need to shift it quite that far back in the direction of orthodoxy. Might I suggest taking your first /g and replacing that sharp angle with a more gentle curve that joins the top a bit further to the left?

lepascal's picture

Hi folks and thank for your critique. I let the font design rest some days and now went back fixing some things before starting the italics. I think of a slanted/oblique one with only slight reminiscence to "real" italics.

Concerning hinting, I already looked into it and will decide later if manual hinting really is neccessary and worth the time it costs.

I put together a new Specimen (nothing final yet) and changed the working title from Handgloves to Spacechild, because it sounds cooler. ;)

I'd like to ask you alle what do you think of the spacing, in general? I know it's far from perfect, but I'm not too shure if it's too loose over all. If I space the type optically in InDesign, letters are much closer, but it looks a bit unbalanced, especially in the thinner weights. I roughly followed the spacing advice in Karen Cheng's Designing Type.

Also, what is the best practice spacing the lowercase |i| with diacritics? Are there any languages where a combination like |ïî| occurs and do they have to be kerned to avoid collision?

The new Specimen is here. I added a page with words to test spacing in all the weights.

I think I am going to start on the oblique version once I am sure about the spacing and if nobody has any major objections about the design.

Catharsis's picture

Pretty! And Spacechild is a great name.

I prefer Set 2 over the base forms.

hrant's picture

It is a great name! I guess Starchild is trademarked? :-)

The spacing of the darker weights is indeed to loose overall.

hhp

lepascal's picture

Starchild is the name of several smaller companies. But I prefer Spacechild anyway. A Starchild could also be Brangelina's latest adoption. Coincidentally, I'm seeing a screening of Kubrick's Space Odyssey tonight, I'll think about it there. ;) Thanks for your comment about Set2, Catharsis. I wasn't too sure but am considering making it the base set. It's more conservative in it's |Q| and |J| forms but the |g| is a bit more excentric. I'm not sure if this is too inconsistent.

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