My first typeface

Valentino CoppiValentino Coppi Posts: 5
edited July 2016 in Type Design Critiques
Hello everyone
I am Valentino from Florence and I starded studying Type design in late 2015 (november - december).
I am now working on my first typeface (wich does not have a name yet), I tried to create a humanist sans serif following the rules described by Cheng in "Designing type".
I started from capitals (following roman rules) then scaled the "O" to create the first letter of lower case, I designed a big lowercase because i would like to make a webfont.
Now, before start to spacing, kerning and create more weights, I would like to submit the regular design to your attention and asking for advices of any kind.
Please feel free to say anything you think I should do or know about this typeface and in typedesign.
Thank you for your attention


  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 697
    edited July 2016
    Hi Valentino, and welcome! We need to see sets of words and/or paragraphs to judge this face and give much useful feedback. 

    One of the criticisms of Cheng's book is that it focuses only on letter shapes and neglects spacing. The fact that you have yet to consider spacing tells me that you're also neglecting a part of the process that should happen as you draw. Most type designers will tell you that drawing and spacing are intertwined. 
  • Valentino CoppiValentino Coppi Posts: 5
    edited July 2016
    Actually I've spaced during the design, I've follow the general rules but it need more work :)
    I'll post some text as soon as possible 
  • Hi Valentino. To expand on what Stephen said, it would be helpful to see your typeface at the size, or range of sizes, you intend it to be used. 
  • (... and set in words)
  • It will also help you balance the characters with each other. Right now, some feel much wider or narrower than the rest.

    Did you use perfect circles for the rounds? They look a bit diamond-shaped to me, and that would explain it.

    The Ø, ø, and ogoneks do not work in their current form. The f-ligatures look very inconsistent; you might want to pick a design strategy and use it for all of them.

    I would also recommend looking into curve quality; there are tools that can help you with that (SpeedPunk or RMX Harmonizer).
  • Yes, without seeing words it is hard to say a lot. Right now it is displayed as a collection of separate glyphs, we can’t really tell the spacing either.
  • Ok, here i used the font on some "lorem ipsum" paragraphs at different size, like i said before, the spacing is just the starting point, i used only the basic rules for main letters and punctuaction sidebars are set at 50 pts, there aren't kernings yet.

    Thanks Christian, now that you point it out i see that Ø ø doesn't works, I shoul deeply study the design of f ligatures, and the whole construction of ogonek.
    I am going to check if there are perfect circles, maybe i used it for the inside form of C D O G; I think the numbers are also "weird looking", and maybe the "o" should be more narrow.

    I don't have any knowledge on how i should prepare the font for optical size (any advice on book or other sources of informations is welcome), but I would like to create different sizes for different uses ex: small (14-16 pt) medium (18 - 20 pt) big (24 - 30pt)  display (50 - 60pt), I am doing an intership in a graphic studio and we would like to use this font for websites and advs.
  • Hey Valentino, great effort so far. I'm very much a learner still myself, so take my comments with a critical view.

    What strikes me the most in the lowercase is undecidedness between how geometric of an alphabet you want to design. Some glyphs are very round (o c dbqp g) while others seem more modulated and humanist (like a e s). For instance have a look at combinations like oe eo or "pad", "magna". Those latter letters also are not as refined looking yet, so have a look at the curves. Decide how even stroke width your characters should have and how this affects curved parts as well as entirely round parts.

    The shoulders of n m h also feel like they don't fit well with the round characters. If you compare how the round part of p looks compared to the shoulder of n you'll notice they are very different in nature. Have a look at a word like "non" for example and see what you make of the widths and roundness of n in relation to o. If you look at the word "lorem" and have a look at the r you'll see it stands out as different looking as well.

    The l and d ascender caps seem undecided, because they aren't same nor do all ascenders have a similar treatment - if you put l d h b t next to each other, do they feel like they are the same font? Also, the i dot sits very close to the x-height and seems a bit light. The same note about slightly uneven stem caps also holds true for the uppercase.
    In flowing text the , and . could use more weight in my view, so that they really mark the sentence while you read it.

    One thing you could also look into is the different endings of round strokes, like c s r f t l g e a and how they relate to each other in terms of angle of cut-off, width and tension of the curve at that spot and how they form words with characters coming before and after.

    The caps seem a lot more consistent already, but I feel tuning needs to happen here, too. For instance check the widths of letters in a word like "VOLUPTAT". The characters with round bowls like R B P need a bit attention - when you compare them with the diagonal ones like M and V they look too constructed and geometric. Also, take a look at a few Q's from other fonts and compare. The angled endings of vertical stems combined with the very prominent diagonal stance of V A M N give a very rustic feel - check if that's what you want to go for, or how strongly you want this present.

    As a note for future posts, try to use actual text, or the sample file posted here in the form sticky thread. "Lorem ipsum" text emulates latin, so we haven't seen any of your k w y or z glyphs, nor any of the diacritic characters you designed. You can also go to wikipedia and just grab small sentences from articles in different languages to test your font with.

    A humble advise from one learner to another: Try to focus designing lowercase, uppercase and numbers for a looong time before doing anything else with your type design.

    And: Keep up the good work :)
  • Unevenness of widths seems mostly to be coming from the very circular bowls of o/b/d/p/q/g, which seem wide relative to many other lowercase letters.

    I would make the exterior strokes of /M/ more vertical. They can still splay some, but they don't need to be parallel to the interior strokes. (In other words, move the top vertices farther apart.)
  • Thanks everyone :) 
    Those advices are pure gold to me, any suggestions on different optical size? Books or net sources where i can find tips and/or rules.
    How i should design a typeface to be used at small or big size?
    In your opinion at what size i should use this font? 
    Thank you again for your time, it means a lot :)
  • One of the best resources on optical sizes I have personally encountered is this book from Tim Ahrens and Shoko Mugikura. From my point of view optical sizes are an issue that might be too elusive to successfully tackle in your first project. However, knowing about the issues involved also helps you understand more generally what defines the "target" size of your design, and what features this might affect.

    If you try to work out your typeface's use case (or designed for size), it might be helpful to think less in general terms, but instead come up with something super specific, as it will more clearly guide your design in the early stages. For example: "A typeface for the poster of an exhibition on 30's modern interior design" or "A typeface used in the LP jacket of band ... released as a deluxe collectors edition" or "A typeface for the website of news outlet ..." - it doesn't mean that later in the process you have to slavishly obey your very specific target, but instead you at least can argue why or why not a design feature makes sense (over another option).
  • Thank you so much :)
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