Eau de Garamond — a sans distilled from the essence of Garamond

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  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 207
    edited June 2016
    I've lost count of how many times I've had to redraw scaled/transformed glyphs or newly interpolated and adjusted instances, or masters, including delicate hairline styles.

    “Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.” ― Bob Dylan
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,052
    edited June 2016
    Honestly, all the typefaces mentioned so far have little relation to Garamond.

    It depends what one considers “essence”.

    “Eau” is focused on skeletal form, but stress, contrast and serif style are equally significant markers of “Garamond”. I designed the monoline Bodoni Egyptian as an alternative to the notion that fundamentally Bodoni = High Contrast, because I felt that Giambattista’s letter shapes were also quite distinctive in their own right, but I don’t see the traditional equation being replaced any time soon! Same for “Garamond”, which is similarly tied to a particular kind of pen nib that profoundly informs its character. This is apparent in the /a, which, as has been pointed out, clutters up in a monoline weight of any substantial heft—this letter shape, as originally conceived, is quite dependent on the thin aspect of the broad nib.

    At any rate, I think Legacy captures a lot of the essence of “Garamond”, in a way that a more reductive sans does not—even with angled terminals on the extenders. Which is not to say that a skeletally reductive version isn’t worthwhile, but it’s no Holy Grail.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited June 2016
    Which is not to say that a skeletally reductive version isn’t worthwhile, but it’s no Holy Grail.
    Sure, I'm not expecting to solve type design once and for all.  :wink:

    Pablo: I'm already using your test site for testing; in fact, many of the screenshots shared in this thread are taken from there. My main difficulty is not how to view my test fonts in text settings, but how to recognize and address the issues. For instance, while I do find the word shapes quite legible, I've gotten a certain «unruly» vibe from text set in Eau. I guess the serifs do matter! This vibe has resolved itself to some degree — but not completely — now that I've reduced ascenders, expanded the outlines better to fill the 1000 em, and moved to heavier weights for small sizes:



    If I compare this to other sans faces, my main impression is that Eau runs wider and has a lower x-height. However, Garamond gets away with these exact same features and remains supremely readable, so that in itself does not seem to be the problem.

    Perhaps this issue will naturally resolve itself once/if I add a contrast dimension to the family...?
  • I definitey think you should keep the small x-height. It's one of thse Garamond features that always get lost in sans-serif versions. Because it has a small x-height, you will need to set it slightly larger than comparable sans-serifs when you want to compare legibility. Also, this is not the kind of typeface that is going to work well on the web, I'm afraid, so you'd be better of testing legibility in printed specimens, instead of reading off a screen. Lastly, it's hard to judge on a screen, but I think you could get a more even color by making the middle part of 'a' and 'e' a little thinner. 
  • And I would straighten the hyphen, if I were you. Then again, I'm not you.
  • The /g could be lighter too I think. Particularly below but also a little bit above.
  • Will the TypeDrawers crowd participate in the Google Font earnings, i wonder?
    I’m totally flabbergasted by the arrogance and ignorance demonstrated here. Can’t stand this attitude at all.
  • Wei HuangWei Huang Posts: 68
    @PabloImpallari
    what's a "BBox optimization"?
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 485
    edited June 2016
    To optimize and maximize the use of the vertical space.
    A better term will be "vertical metrics optimization".



  • Perhaps this issue will naturally resolve itself once/if I add a contrast dimension to the family...?
    Maybe...and then with contrast you may find the stroke endings need a little added weight to work in text. Something like this:

    Then your Garamond Sans might really click! ;-)

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited June 2016
    Jasper, Ivan: Good points. I had already lightened /a and /e of the text cut a bit, but I went a bit further now. I also added an alternate /g to the text cut that runs wider in the Bold and loses some weight as well. It looks weird up close, but I'm trying to tell myself that it's supposed to be like that for a text font. :wink:

    Jasper, I'm a bit ambivalent about straightening the hyphen in the display cuts, since it's a typical Garamond thing (though admittedly a bit anachronistic). I've done so in the text cuts, though; good thinking.

    Yes, low x-height is a part of the Garamond æsthetic that I don't plan to surrender. I won't just give up on screen use, though; especially given today's welcome trend toward larger text sizes, I think it could work just fine. I would certainly not try to optimize it for screen use, though, or for small sizes.

    New Medium text cut:


  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited June 2016
    Will the TypeDrawers crowd participate in the Google Font earnings, i wonder?
    Several things:
    • This project is currently not funded by anyone. I'm hoping GF might adopt it next year, but that's highly speculative.
    • Even if it ends up being funded, it's no different from soliciting advice on a commercial project. Except, you know, everybody gets to use the fonts.
    • Free advice is free. I have, in fact, paid for consultation that went beyond what a person what willing to offer for free (ask Hrant).
    I’m totally flabbergasted by the arrogance and ignorance demonstrated here. Can’t stand this attitude at all.
    This is from the same person who just said «You should stop this project immediately even though many people enjoy it, because I don't like it», right?
  • Better /g ! I keep struggling with /a /e and /g too.
  • Consider carefully if you do want to have screen rendering as a priority—you're assuming that this isn't the same set of priorities that leads to some of versions of this idea you don't like. Screens are why everything is now wide-set with a tall x-height—that's what works in context.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,052
    Screens are why everything is now wide-set with a tall x-height—that's what works in context.

    That’s on the way out.
    Bigger screens, high res and more sophisticated web typographers are making screen typography more like print.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
    Consider carefully if you do want to have screen rendering as a priority—
    It's certainly not a priority. I'm happy if the text cut works on paper and in reasonably high-res screen applications (such as, say, a blog set at 16+ pt). I expect that should work out even if I don't design with screens in mind. I have text-specific alternates to address the most problematic characters now, and I figure the autohinting should work very well, since the inclined crossbars and stem cuts all flatten out in the Hairline (and Glyphs uses the lightest master for hinting).

    Nick: Yeah, as a happy user of retina screens, I'm already largely under that impression.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
    Well, that was painful. I'm actually looking forward to making the smallcaps now.

    BTW, the manicules are unchanged from Cormorant — think they could be simplified like the floral heart...?

    EDIT: Speaking of smallcaps, does this look like a good ansatz?

  • Looks good to me!
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
  • Mhmm... I feel like the small caps jump out of the line a bit too much. They shouldn't be as bold as... boldface, in my opinion, just a trifle bit more eye-catching than italics.
  • Is that /T/ crossbar intentionally thick? 
    Could the /R/ leg be reined in a little (to facilitate spacing) without losing its character?
    I agree that the small caps should be a bit smaller; they're a little "shouty."
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,052
    I would gauge the small caps against the (old style) figures, as well as U&lc.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
    Thanks for the feedback. I've also similar impressions from typografie.info. I guess I have to make them a bit smaller.  :/
    I would gauge the small caps against the (old style) figures, as well as U&lc.
    I was going to make SC figures, but all the better if it's not necessary.
  • Alright, I lowered the SC by 20 units. It does look a bit less shouty; I see what you mean.

  • They also look slightly bolder than the lc.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
    You're right. I had shrunk the letters without adjusting the stroke widths in most cases. Didn't think it would be noticeable, but it is.

    I slimmed the strokes by 2%, and I find it already makes a significant difference:

  • Also:
    - the eye of the g is very small for a sans-serif
    - the terminal in f looks too strong 
    - u looks too wide
    - the sharpness of z doesn't work for me
    - the top of t could go higher
    - I'd expect to see a noticeable difference between the left and the right diagonal in v, w, etc.
    - the smallcap looks too displayish for text
    - Others have commented on the s before, and I agree. It looks like it comes from a grotesque, not a humanist. Maybe try opening up the counters.
    - The diagonal bottom of p makes sense when you think of calligraphy, but not when you think of serifs (the p would have a ± flat serif)
    - the eye of e and 'a' still look really dark to me for text
    - I like the comma, but maybe the curve could be smoother


    basically what I'm saying is: don't rush it. This thing is worth perfecting.
  • I was going to make SC figures, but all the better if it's not necessary.
    No, make those too, for c2sc settings!
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 794
    edited July 2016
    Hi Jasper,

    thanks for the critique; lots of food for thought!

    Note, though, that that paragraph was in the default cut of the typeface, where the design of /a/e/g is bred for Garamondness primarily. The apertures open up in the text cut. I guess I should have showed that in the first place, since this is about texture:

    EDIT: Also, ligatures and contextual alts are off here.

    What do you mean about the smallcaps looking too displayish?

    I'm surprised at the consensus about /s; it feels pretty open to me. I'll try a more open approach, though.

    I'm also not happy with the comma and the quotes yet. In particular, they look ridiculous together with the smallcaps. I might try something that starts vertical and bends only slightly, although the Garamond commas and quotes are comically curly.
  • I meant to say smallcap R, sorry about that
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