Roter – A Monospaced Grotesque

Hello all,

I've been working on this monospaced project on and off for a few months now, and have reached a stage where I'd really appreciate some feedback.

I'm new on here, so a little about my type background. I have no formal type education, but have been enjoying trying to figure some stuff out for myself over the past 4 or 5 years – this year I self-released a couple of typefaces.

This is my first attempt at a monospaced typeface, and my intention was to produce an amiable grotesque without worrying too much about it being exquisitely legible or functional at tiny sizes. I'm mostly happy now with the majority of the forms, but I know there's still plenty of work to do to get the text colour looking good – I've just been looking at it way too long now to see it properly. I've designed light and bold weights, with the image below showing an interpolated regular weight. I'm looking for any feedback or advice on offer, especially regarding text colour problems. I've attached a pdf proof with some text setting.

Thanks in advance!


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Comments

  • I like it.

    Some small things:
    The ligatures with connecting horizontal strokes (t_i, f_f) stick out quite a bit. I would disable them for text.

    The horizontal bar of the t is quite long. The cute loop fills up the space already so you don't need it.

    The two 4s are quite different in style and angle. Pick one shape for both?
  • Really loving your ampersand!
  • I like it.

    Some small things:
    The ligatures with connecting horizontal strokes (t_i, f_f) stick out quite a bit. I would disable them for text.

    The horizontal bar of the t is quite long. The cute loop fills up the space already so you don't need it.

    The two 4s are quite different in style and angle. Pick one shape for both?
    Thanks Georg.

    Yeah, those t_i & f_f ligatures are pretty silly – amusing for me but definitely not great for text.

    I made the decision to have different styles for the 4s ages ago, and I can't quite remember the reason. I've definitely seen other typefaces using those two different forms at once for lining and old stye figures so I guessed it was a typographically legitimate move. I'll have another look at using the same style for both.

  • Really loving your ampersand!
    Thank you! I like it too but I'm a little worried that it's too squiggly for the typeface.
  • The join treatment in the humped letters (e.g. /n/m/h/) seems too dissimilar from the bowled letters (e.g. /b/d/p/q/). Top serifs of /j/J/ are longer than they need to be. /g/ seems heavy. Should /l/ (el) stem be more centered in the advance width?
  • Also, /R/ and especially /P/ seem high-waisted.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 718
    edited November 2016
    I'm not a fan of monospaced typefaces, but this is really charming. Love the /g! The /t_t ligature might be eye-catching, but I see that as an advantage.

    The only thing that bothers me at first sight is the very tight aperture of the /a and the out-of-character construction in /G. I agree with Craig that /R and /P would profit from larger counters.
  • Looks nice, but I am afraid the double bend in the curly braces will become annoying when there are dozens of them on the screen. Could you set some source code in it? Perhaps this snippet:
    fs.readdir(source, function (err, files) {
      if (err) {
        console.log('Error finding files: ' + err)
      } else {
        files.forEach(function (filename, fileIndex) {
          console.log(filename)
          gm(source + filename).size(function (err, values) {
            if (err) {
              console.log('Error identifying file size: ' + err)
            } else {
              console.log(filename + ' : ' + values)
              aspect = (values.width / values.height)
              widths.forEach(function (width, widthIndex) {
                height = Math.round(width / aspect)
                console.log('resizing ' + filename + 'to ' + height + 'x' + height)
                this.resize(width, height).write(dest + 'w' + width + '_' + filename, function(err) {
                  if (err) console.log('Error writing file: ' + err)
                })
              }.bind(this))
            }
          })
        })
      }
    })

    The /W and /w might look too dark at smaller sizes. Perhaps with a half-height middle element (like /M) they would look lighter.
  • Addendum: Although I like the /t_t ligature, I find the /t_i one extremely distracting in running text.
  • @Samuil Simonov
    You should use “co”.
  • Hi Lewis, good to see you here!

    I just want to say, while receiving (and using!) feedback is great, don’t forget to use your own sense of the typeface’s concept and what you want to do with it — not every monospaced has to work great for code, for example. There’s enough boring typefaces out there already :) Good luck with your continued work on the typeface!
  • Lewis MacDonaldLewis MacDonald Posts: 6
    edited November 2016
    Thanks guys – really good to get some feedback on this. I tried out some changes today in line with your suggestions to see how they looked.


    The horizontal bar of the t is quite long. The cute loop fills up the space already so you don't need it.

    The two 4s are quite different in style and angle. Pick one shape for both?
    @Georg Seifert: I shortened the bar of /t a little bit, any more and it was looking to me like it was falling over backwards – but maybe I'm just too used to seeing it with a long bar. I've tried matching the old style 4 to the lining 4, and I think it's an improvement.


    The join treatment in the humped letters (e.g. /n/m/h/) seems too dissimilar from the bowled letters (e.g. /b/d/p/q/). Top serifs of /j/J/ are longer than they need to be. /g/ seems heavy. Should /l/ (el) stem be more centered in the advance width?

    Also, /R/ and especially /P/ seem high-waisted.

    @Craig Eliason: I've ditched the notched joins on the humped letters to match the bowl joins and I think it looks better now – I'm just worried about /m and /n losing definition at smaller sizes.

    The serifs on /J and /j I've cropped slightly, but I quite like them being oversized here, and I'm not sure it hinders function. /g is a little lighter now and looks better I think. I agree about the /l (lower 'el'); I've tried to push the stem towards the center a bit more. The /P and /R I wanted to draw rather high-waisted, but yeah I think it was a little too exaggerated.



    The only thing that bothers me at first sight is the very tight aperture of the /a and the out-of-character construction in /G.
    @Christian Thalmann: I'm glad you like it! I've tinkered a little with the /a to try and open that aperture out a bit, but I'm finding it difficult to do without changing the letter's character too much. The construction of the /G I just can't decide on; this one isn't ideal but I definitely prefer it in this case to more natural options – do you really think it doesn't fit the rest of the typeface?


    Looks nice, but I am afraid the double bend in the curly braces will become annoying when there are dozens of them on the screen. Could you set some source code in it?
    @Samuil Simonov: To be honest, I probably wouldn't want to alter the design too much for the sake of legible coding, although of course it would be great if it could be useful for that too. I set that snippet, though – let me know what you think. Also, I took your advice on lowering the /W and /w central elements, which I think is an improvement.


  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 683
    edited November 2016
    The curve/stem joins on 'u' and 'y' could use some help. They may follow the pattern of 'h' and 'r', but they feel too heavy on these letters. Perhaps it's because they connect too high on the stem.

  • @Stephen Coles —  I realised I'd forgotten to adapt the /u and /y in-line with the changes I've been making to the joins on /h, /n, /m and /r. The connection is not so high now, but still a little heavy maybe.

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 718
    edited November 2016
    Lewis: Yes, the teeny-tiny serif to the right on the /G strikes me as out of character; I don't see anything compatible in the rest of the face. I would recommend one or two more attempts with a simple corner there to see if you could make it work.

    The top /a still feels a bit cramped to me. I think it's less the aperture itself (the /e has a tight aperture as well, and it looks great to me) and more the disbalance between the upper and lower enclosed area. Perhaps try lowering the middle a bit to approach a 1:1 distribution of the area in the two counters? It might also help the /a harmonize with the /e better.
  • About the 4s. You could have a closed and a open 4, if they have more similar angles. Now the oldstyle 4 looks a bit short. Did you try to move the horizontal bar down a bit? And give it a nice descender. 
  • The bar in G looks a bit doubtful to me. I think it should either stick out more clearly to the right, or not at all. The middle part of M looks very short compared to the middle part of W. The pointiness in Z and the likes look a little out of place to me. The middle part of S looks a bit squarish. The joint of the Y in the Yen sign could go up. The bold doesn't look bold enough to me. Lovely g f and t, though the bottom-right of t looks a little too thick to me. Overall, I really like the feel of what you've got!
  • Thanks @Jasper de Waard, lots of good suggestions for me to think about there! I agree about the bold being a little light – I've been putting off dealing with it for a while but eventually I will beef it up a bit.
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 156
    edited November 2016
    Can you somehow get a bit more air into the /m? It looks really squeezed at the moment, especially compared to, say, the /l which seems quite roomy. The /w doesn't suffer from this in the same way.
  • Samuil SimonovSamuil Simonov Posts: 37
    edited November 2016
    @Simon Cozens That's practically inevitable in a monospaced font. Either your /m's are cramped or your /l's and /j's are rattling. However, it looks like /m is a tiny bit narrower than /o, so there's some room for growth.
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