Herbert Bayer typeface ultra-accurate revival

pg's picture

Hey people, this is "my" (well not really mine, it's just a vectorization) first font!

I decided to revive this after I saw some sketches of the 'universal alphabet' and discovered the digital versions were just cleaned versions of his wood-type printings... but as they were tests they had small imperfections (like bad curves etc) that when vectorized and look worse when we use them on bigger sizes.

Here's the three wheights I made based on his prints (only the A, full character set on PDF):

Ah! I'm making this inspired by the old Multiple Masters technology so I used the same number of nodes in all characters so they are blendable to make an infinite number of wheights! No numbers yet.

I don't really know if this is releasable/sellable but the most important thing is the knowledge I've acquired during the process and the perfect preservation of the letterforms digitally!

Also, on the grid studies I used auto-trace on very high-res pictures I scanned and compared to my version!

Please, guys, criticize specially the lighter wheights on the PDF attachment (I forgot the W but it's just an upside-down M in this haha)

AttachmentSize
GRID STUDIES.pdf724.36 KB
wheight comparison.pdf397.16 KB
hrant's picture

When I hear "ultra-accurate revival", I have to worry... :-) So many things have changed since then (like paper quality) that to me at least it's impossible to have enough faith in such a process.

A more practical problem though is that you're trying to revive something that was constructed geometrically, with no apparent regard for some necessary subtleties. Quick examples: vertical elements should be thicker than horizontal ones (to appear the same), curves need to be thicker than straights (to appear the same), curves need to overshoot the guidelines (otherwise they look shorter)... All kinds of stuff like that, which makes or breaks a font in terms of usability.

Now, if the whole point is to play séance :-) with Bayer I guess you're doing fine. Although then I would have to ask: what's with these multiple weights?

As for distributing such fonts: I'm pretty sure you're OK. Unless maybe Bayer's estate made an exclusivity deal with The Foundry*. But I doubt it.

* See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architype_Bayer

hhp

pg's picture

When I hear "ultra-accurate revival", I have to worry... :-)

I know what you mean and agree completely. I just decided to post this here because of what I can't see as a begginner! I don't have an 'ultra accurate revival'... yet :) so I wanted to know what do typographers think about it, because knowing different points of view is always better than working alone... In GRID STUDIES file I tried to 'retrace' the original grid from sketches of a pre-universal font featured on Ellen Lupton's 'ABCs of Bauhaus'. They fitted well (please, open the PDF with adobe reader so you can see the guidelines and the grid), his prints are on the right.

A more practical problem though is that you're trying to revive something that was constructed geometrically, with no apparent regard for some necessary subtleties.

Yes, that's a problem I've encountered already: commas and most of accents looking too heavy, dots too small, all curves appear to float a bit on the baseline on smaller sizes, 'e' and 's' too dark... Although those problems get very minimal on large display sizes >48pt.

Although then I would have to ask: what's with these multiple weights?

Well I had that idea because it was easier to create the 'middle' wheight (I had drawn just the Bold and Light ones) but it appears to be useful as 'adding' things would make this more useful too and wouldn't 'change' the faithfullness! Like the italics of garamond we have today, they were added but the original romans are there more or less intact! For reference the 'Blippo Black-style S' was added by me because it produces a more even color when printing, though, it's only an alternate, the original parts won't have any alteration! (I've made another e that is better on text too but forgot to include it here).

As for distributing such fonts: I'm pretty sure you're OK. Unless maybe Bayer's estate made an exclusivity deal with The Foundry*.

I'm going to contact them after I finish this, as they've authorized this set in 1997:
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/p22/bayer-universal/

Though it falls into what I mentioned previously: wonky outlines because it's a vectorization of the wood type prints...

* See for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architype_Bayer

I know that! Where did you think I've got inspiration for that & from? ...shssh!

Thanks for your comments, Hrant :D

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