P4 grotesque - first typeface

Hi everyone! First of all I want to thank you because this forum has been really helpful for me to find a method to the critique of a typeface, and gave me the motivation needed to start design this font.

I'm a graphic designer/illustrator from Italy with a strong passion for typedesign. I work in branding field as a freelance
since 2014 and this is my first type project. For now named: P4.

I started design P4 thinking about a versatile neo-grotesque with a humanist influence, with a lowercase height very tall. Taking for reference Univers, Akzidenz, FF Strada and the works of Neubau Berlin.
I'm currently working at spacing and I don't started kerning yet.
During the process (three months) glyphs changed a lot from the primary pencil sketch that i probably lost the point, maybe
this crossover between style it just don't works or maybe I just should change drastically some letters to find a way to a more consistency look.

Despite I see a lot of mistake in proportions, weight and style I personally would not trash it completely.

I have a LOT of questions about it, but I would like to get a professional critique from you, that i'm sure it will be more helpful as always.

What's your thoughts?

Thank You
p4.pdf 86.3K

Comments

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,470
    This is a typical beginners grotesque. It was a nice first project but now you should move on. Think of this like the designs you did in your first year of design classes. Yes you could have spent years hammering away to forge a thing of beauty. But you got a lot more out of just moving on to different projects. Make it something completely different, like a fat face italic.
  • Thank you James Puckett for your precious reflection and advice!


  • Chris DrabschChris Drabsch Posts: 73
    edited April 24
    I personally think it's not a bad start. But at the same time I think it probably needs a bit more of a personality to it, in order to make it something exceptional. At the moment it has too much of a generic DIN / Franklin Gothic vibe to it, and some of the letters could do with a bit more pizazz.

    The kink in the /y/ is catching my eye a bit, and the /Q/ obviously has shapes that need merging but otherwise it's an OK start.

    If you like what you've designed and believe in it, tinker with it more. It's a decent enough base that could go in a number of directions. But as James says don't keep flogging it if it's a dead horse. 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 632
    I think there are good lessons to learn yet from working on the curves of /b/d/p/q/. The relations of inner to outer contour and (thus) the stroke thickness and curve tensions need refinement. 
  • Hi Chris Drabsch ! 

    Thank you for the advices and critiques on single letters (I really need those!) I feel like this "style indecision" is one of the main problems in this project.

    I start thinking to design another project on totally different field like 
    James Puckett suggested, but if I would finish it, could you help me to locate a dominant style, a interpretation key, or a direction?

    What's more strong for you in this design? Din squarred close curves? German hot-type-era  grotesque style? Gothics style? Or humanist sans influences? 

    Should I try to enter in one of this specific type style? Or should I try to found solutions to "merge" this cross-over?

    What do you think about it?


  • Although there are issues here and there, generally the curve quality is much higher than I see in somebody’s first font. Nice work.
  • Thank you for feedback!Craig Eliason 
  • Thank you a lot!  Thomas Phinney  I really apprecieted.
  • Lorenzo, keep doing what you are doing, it's going in the right direction. However, if you have not started any kerning yet be sure to get the spacing absolutely nailed down at the start, otherwise you will be back and forth adjusting and readjusting each time you alter the spacing. I did notice that you appear to have spaced the figures proportionally, probably at a larger size, so when viewing text sizes figures look too tight, particularly figure "one". The difference between proportional and tabular is that proportional character widths are determined optically to suit the typeface but tabular glyphs are spaced to fit each glyph on a common width, so that in tabular setting all the figures line up vertically. Don't kern the tabular glyphs, they need to line up. I do think that the overall spacing is just a little tight for text sizes. The middle crossbar on the capital B looks very heavy but it may be that hinting has not been fine tuned yet.
    For a first project you have done well.
  • Lorenzo, keep doing what you are doing, it's going in the right direction. However, if you have not started any kerning yet be sure to get the spacing absolutely nailed down at the start, otherwise you will be back and forth adjusting and readjusting each time you alter the spacing. I did notice that you appear to have spaced the figures proportionally, probably at a larger size, so when viewing text sizes figures look too tight, particularly figure "one". The difference between proportional and tabular is that proportional character widths are determined optically to suit the typeface but tabular glyphs are spaced to fit each glyph on a common width, so that in tabular setting all the figures line up vertically. Don't kern the tabular glyphs, they need to line up. I do think that the overall spacing is just a little tight for text sizes. The middle crossbar on the capital B looks very heavy but it may be that hinting has not been fine tuned yet.
    For a first project you have done well.
    Hello Russel! Really thank for your encouraging words, that means a lot for me.

    I admit i had to do research before answer you, because how you've noticed I simply didn't know the difference between tabular and proportional spacing in figures before your feedback! 
    It seems to me you suggest to adopte a tabular figures spacing in this specific case or am I wrong?

    I know about don't start kerning before spacing work is satisfactory and I pefectly agree on text sizes looks a little tight. This probably fault of my indecision on define this font as a display or a text font, I really found this decision really hard to do.

    I clearly don't ever start thinking and I didn't even ever tried to hint this project, i will probably think about it once kerning it'll be finished, cause for the moment hint is an "unexplored land" to me.
     
    Thank you for you time!




  • If you were creating a commercial font for text usage you could include both proportional and tabular versions of your figures. The difference between them is usually just the way they are spaced. Proportional figures are visually spaced whereas tabular figures are centered on a common advance width, so that when the user typesets figures in a financial document, for example, the columns of figures will always align. Proportional figures on the other hand will not align because they are usually on differing widths, i.e similar side bearings for more even spacing. To complicate matters even more you could consider oldstyle figures too so you could end up with four different kinds of figures which are left to the user to select through the Opentype palette. If the font is to be used mainly for display sizes (18 point and above) stick to proportional spacing because tabular figures are not used at those sizes.
    Don't worry too much about hinting, if using FontLab Studio or Glyphs autohinting should be ok.
  • Hi! Russell Bean !

    Thank you for your super detailed explanation, now i feel like its necessary to insert both spacing options for figures, maybe not the old style cause i feel this project too immature yet to get a such elegant features.
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