Ghostlight

Hi!
I'm a young designer from Montreal and I'm currently in the process of applying as a foundry to MyFonts and I'd like to hear the opinion of more experienced type designers on at least one of the fonts I'm sending.

For a little more background, I began type design just for fun and because I was curious almost 3 years ago. I know I've come a very, very long way since then. I started with FontForge and more recently bought a Mac as well as Glyphs, which obviously makes a huge difference. I've been selling my fonts on Dafont (don't look me up my fonts on there are very very bad) for sometime now and I believe I'm ready for something more professional. I guess this is a way to be sure of that. I want to know what's missing for this font to be good enough for a more professional use.

So here is Ghostlight, a serif designed with important inspiration from Clarendon and Egizio. It has a pretty extended support of Latin, including Vietnamese, and a basic set of Cyrillic and Greek characters. It also has many discretionary ligatures and stylistic alternates. The family is composed of 5 weights from Light to Bold, all declined in italic.
Here's the basic alphabet.

Attached is a PDF showing various usage examples, as well as the Cyrillic and Greek alphabet. By the way it would help me a lot if a a native Cyrillic reader and Greek reader could tell me what they think of these alphabets. I didn't quite show everything in the PDF. If you're interested in more extensive samples of the OpenType features, extended languages or the italic for instance, just tell me and I'll add other PDFs showcasing these features.

Comments

  • welcome to hell, Jérémie.
    Sorry, but I have to strongly discourage you from heading for Myfonts or any other font sale attempts at this stage. The very first view at your worthwhile design draft  endeavours reveals dozens of yet-to-be-mastered bloody font design basics.
    My advice to you (and others at this stage):
    1. Learn type properly (with a real tutor),
    2. Learn to produce fonts,
    3. Head for type business.
    – In that order.

    And please, ask yourself rigidly: why am I thinking I ought to do that kind of stuff which obviously Hundreds of designers have done far better before me. What for?!

  • Most bothersome thing to me are those relatively thin serifs on /E/F/L/T/5/ in an otherwise very blocky design. I also think the length of some serifs esp. in lowercase is going to cause spacing problems. 
  • If you have the time, the best education in type design remains the classical one: self-taught.  :->

    And I think Ghostlight is starting off ahead of the game, compared to most early efforts... BUT, I do strongly agree with Andreas that this is not something worth trying to sell. It can be a superb means of learning (especially by asking for, and learning to properly filter, public critiques) but that's about it.
  • Thank you for your helpful comments Craig and Hrant.
    Maybe I should also mention that I'm in high school and that I do this on the side, for fun. I would, of course, like to go further, but if it's not now then I will continue to learn.

    I will continue to work on this.
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 923
    edited June 2016
    High-school? Not bad! And I guess it can't hurt to try to sell it, just don't let the experience burst your bubble.

    Looking at it again, there's something that stands out: the lc "m", which is somewhat novel, if naïve. My hunch is you sort of stumbled onto it, but I would take its peculiar bottom-heavy hybridity and run with it for the whole typeface.
  • Thanks Hrant, that is actually helpful! <3
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 264
    What's your design brief? What do you expect this to be used for? It feels a bit too exuberant in places for body text, and maybe too restrained in others for a display. You need to either dial the quirkiness way up or way down.
  • Hey Jérémie, I personally think it's not a bad start and I can see you've come a long way since your earlier designs - that's what counts! I would personally tone down the mixing of serif styles - or maybe finding a mixture of the two that can be standardised across the design. It currently feels like two competing voices in the design and I found it a bit of a distraction while reading. 

    On the other hand, going with a straight slab serif design might make it look too much like Clarendon. So it still needs a point of difference somehow, just not so much that it harms the general coherence / rhythm.

    I agree with Simon in that I think this is suited for a display use (not body text) so I would optimize it for that. Think about where & how headings are used online, in the physical world, etc. to get some inspiration. But I wouldn't bother about setting paragraphs of text with it.

    Keep chipping away at it - as long as you're doing something you love, it can't possibly hurt doing it :)


  • edited July 2016
    One of the most frustrating things in type design is that every time you learned something, you feel pretty good about it, and then you learn a little more and suddenly you realise you were not even scratching at the surface and there is so much more to learn. Years of practice have passed for me and I am still learning—and likely always will be, despite being in my forties, although my designs have improved a lot in the last few years.

    Like with learning to write well, where it is a good idea to read a lot and study great authors and good journalism, one of the best methods is to look at the work of other type designers. Start with the classic solutions at first and then look at modern or contemporary takes on the same theme. Look at genres, such as a Clarendon (the category, in French known as Egyptienne), and compare your own work directly, side by side, with some of the best. Set your font next to Hoefler & Co’s Sentinel, for an example. You can set a few words in the type tester to compare them. 

    Look at the details of some letter shapes. Then look at the space around the letter shapes. What makes a great glyph is not only the shape itself, but the space surrounding it. It needs breathing space, especially on a row, next to other letters.

    The stroke width don’t need to be 100% equal with every letter. Moreso they need to look optically right, so you need to adjust them along with said breathing space. Lastly, also the serifs need consistency, but you can combine ball endings with block serifs, if appropriate. This is something you’ll easily adopt by looking at other Clarendons.

    Above everything, if you want to pursue this design to learn, it’s a great exercise and a good starting point. It will likely take several months for you to feel more confident about it. The completeness of character sets is not as important as getting the flow of text right, the glyph shapes in conjunction next to each other. There needs to be a spirit emerging, and that’s the hardest thing of it all, because spirit brings originality. You usually get it out of little mistakes, or unusual character shapes, or a couple of characters that make the font stand out. You can also get that spirit through a certain angle you use for the strokes. Look at the brush angle of fonts like Caslon and Garamond. They have nothing to do with your current particular design; I am talking about how spirit and character of a type design emerges.

    Type is an artisan kind of mixture between art, psychology and science. Type design combines skills with a feeling for harmonious shapes, which can be honed over the years. 

    Lastly, it is always a good idea to ask yourself, critically: what does this font introduce others haven’t introduced before? What does it add to the landscape? Does it feel differently next to similar typefaces? Does it work well for a certain type of application, such as book printing, magazine covers or screen reading? These questions will help you to make decisions, not only about the general direction, but also about details of the glyphs, their spacing, sometimes decisions that direct the spirit and direction of the design.

    Good luck with your further work and learnings!
  • I also wanted to add to my earlier comment - I really liked the Greek glyphs you've designed Jérémie. I didn't spot them in the PDF until I took a second look :) 




  • As a longtime graphic designer who dabbles in type design (as opposed to specializing in it), I'll offer a somewhat contrary opinion on the merits of Jérémie's typeface.

    Yes, it defies a few conventions in a naive and quirky sort of way, but honestly, that's part of its character. Yes, I'd change a few things, but there's something about it that I actually like. And if a well-seasoned designer like me would actually consider choosing this typeface for a project (at least for display purposes), I see no reason to not try selling it.

    Of course there's much more to a good font, than just the design of the glyphs, but if, from a technical standpoint, the font is well-built, I'd be inclined to say that it's not a bad effort. And for a high school kid, I think it's pretty good.
Sign In or Register to comment.