Munson, a Victorian style slab serif

I have just finished a slab serif for a graphic design project.

I wanted a free Clarendon style font but all the good ones are paid for and it seems like all the free ones were not so good.

So I set out to produce a free Clarendon style font.  I called it Munson.  It was inspired by a font by Stephenson Blake & Co in the early 1800's called Consort but with some of the ideas from the Clarendon font from the Fann Street foundry in London.

The italics are meant to have the look of the italics used for algebra in old mathematics text books.This is a free font


This is a free font under the SIL Open Font License, free for both commercial and non commercial use.

The original has been posted on Deviant Art.

Any constructive criticism will be appreciated.
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Comments

  • Classy! Would this only be for period stuff, or would it work in a modern setting as well?
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    It is made to resemble a Victorian font but Clarendon is still quite popular for a lot of signage and advertising, even in a modern setting.

    It's free so you have nothing to loose by trying it and seeing if it creates the effect you're after.

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 633
    Just from the image above, the italic cuts seem too loosely spaced. 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 633
    Middle arm of F is higher than E's, where if anything I would think you'd want it lower. 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 633
    Curved thicks in caps feel lighter than straight stems. 
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 633
    edited July 20
    Thick of 8 is too thick. 4 looks dark and 2 leans right. 
  • This reminds me of Soviet university textbooks, set in the Standard typeface (https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Old+Standard+TT, https://www.paratype.ru/pstore/fonts/New-Standard.htm), but less contrasty. Do you have any plans to add Cyrillics?
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    Thank you Craig Eliason I will look at these issues.

    The italic spacing is correct in my opinion.  The bearings for a long piece of text at a smaller point size tend to need a looser spacing and it is a common mistake to set things too tight because one has looked at the characters very large on a monitor.  I will have another look at it though.

    The other issues, I see your point and I will probably make some alterations to the font.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    This reminds me of Soviet university textbooks, set in the Standard typeface (https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Old+Standard+TT, https://www.paratype.ru/pstore/fonts/New-Standard.htm), but less contrasty. Do you have any plans to add Cyrillics?
    I have no current plans to add Cyrillic.  This started out as a quick solution to a specific problem but it has grown.

    One must be cautious of mission creep, this happened with my first font Kelvinch , I was unsure which characters to include and didn't want to miss anything vital so it ended up as an unwieldy monster with everything in there, Cyrillic, Georgian, Armenian and almost all the latin blocks fully populated.

    This was the wrong way to develop a font.

    Maybe I might add Cyrillic to Munson if it proves to be popular.

  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 26
    Looks very similar to Century Schoolbook to me. 
  • Paul van der LaanPaul van der Laan Posts: 203
    edited July 21
    Terminology-wise I would not call this design a “slab serif”, nor a “Clarendon”.

    The serifs are clearly bracketed here, and Clarendons are characterised by a much lower thick/thin contrast. This design looks more like a Scotch to me.
  • Paul: OT for this thread, but on your Kelvinch:

    A quick first glance tells me you implemented the OpenType language feature wrong. The only additional language table is for Dutch, and when applying that, all of the other features get disabled (because it only contains a ligature substitution for your /IJ). I realize you state a couple of times "Hopefully THIS will be the final version" and so I won't pressure you into fixing it, but you may want to be aware of this if you use the same approach in your newer fonts.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    Paul: OT for this thread, but on your Kelvinch:

    A quick first glance tells me you implemented the OpenType language feature wrong. The only additional language table is for Dutch, and when applying that, all of the other features get disabled (because it only contains a ligature substitution for your /IJ). I realize you state a couple of times "Hopefully THIS will be the final version" and so I won't pressure you into fixing it, but you may want to be aware of this if you use the same approach in your newer fonts.
    No, that is too big a fault to ignore.  I will put it right and post a new version soon.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    Looks very similar to Century Schoolbook to me. 
    I made it similar to 'Consort' from Stephenson Blake Co. of Sheffield (except the italics are different) and I did change a few other characters.


  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,192
    edited July 21
     
    Munson, a Cowboy style baseball player.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    edited July 21


    Audrey Munson, the model for some of the most famous statues in New York. :)

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    Paul: OT for this thread, but on your Kelvinch:

    A quick first glance tells me you implemented the OpenType language feature wrong. The only additional language table is for Dutch, and when applying that, all of the other features get disabled (because it only contains a ligature substitution for your /IJ). I realize you state a couple of times "Hopefully THIS will be the final version" and so I won't pressure you into fixing it, but you may want to be aware of this if you use the same approach in your newer fonts.
    I have now fixed 'Kelvinch' and put the new version on Deviant Art, I have also put the project files in a folder called 'Source Code' within the .ZIP file.

    To make use of the project files you will need to have 'Font Creator' installed on your system.

    This problem was caused by my poor understanding of the open type system at the time I made Kelvinch, I have learned a lot since then.

    I have resisted the temptation to make any more modifications to Kelvinch in order to get the fix out quickly.

    Hope this helps.

  • To me this looks far more like Consort + Century rather than Consort + Clarendon.

    Not a criticism, just an observation.

    André
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    To me this looks far more like Consort + Century rather than Consort + Clarendon.

    Not a criticism, just an observation.

    André
    Well I didn't make it to slavishly copy any font, it just started out as Consort with a good helping of artistic license thrown in with a few ideas from Clarendon, basically whatever appealed to me at the time.

    I just wanted something which would evoke the spirit of Victorian printing and this is what I came up with. Of course it looks like some of the Victorian typefaces, that was the intention.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    edited July 22
    I have just updated the font on Deviant Art because there were some problems with the Open Type features.  The same problems pointed out by Theuins de Jong about 'Kelvinch', this has now been fixed so everyone (all eight of you) who downloaded the original version is encouraged to download the fixed version.

    Also I adjusted the widths of the curved bowls and adjusted some of the numbers which was suggested by Craig Eliason in his earier posts.

    I have now included the source files for both 'Kelvinch' and 'Munson' in their respective downloads.  You are welcome to download them.  But to use the files you will need to have 'Font Creator' installed.

    Please respect the OFL license, any derivative works must have a different name, any derivative works must also be under an open license and you cannot sell these fonts.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    I have made some of the adjustments suggested by Craig Eliason, but only the ones I agreed with.

    I have included a PDF sample of the new version.

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 633
    The pothook serifs of the italic look limp -- maybe a tighter-radius turn would firm them up. 
    Consider removing the foot serif from the old-style four. 
    I still think there are problems in balancing the optical weight of curved vs straight thicks. In the regular roman caps, curves seem thicker (e.g. squint at /R, the right side reads heavier than the left). All of the ball-and-stick letters /b/d/p/q/ are worth reviewing for this too. 
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 89
    The pothook serifs of the italic look limp -- maybe a tighter-radius turn would firm them up. 
    Consider removing the foot serif from the old-style four. 
    I still think there are problems in balancing the optical weight of curved vs straight thicks. In the regular roman caps, curves seem thicker (e.g. squint at /R, the right side reads heavier than the left). All of the ball-and-stick letters /b/d/p/q/ are worth reviewing for this too. 
    The tails on the italics look exactly the way I wanted them to look, I wanted them to look like the italics from 19th century algebra textbooks.  The sort of italics you get in the equations and I think I have achieved that.

    The balance of the curved stems against the straight stems now looks correct to me except for the R which maybe I adjusted too much, this will be fixed in the next iteration.

    The foot of the 4 will remain.  This is the way it is in the original 'Consort' font and although this font is not a slavish reproduction of that font I think the 4 looks OK as it is.

    Thanks for your advice.

  • This reminds me of Soviet university textbooks, set in the Standard typeface (https://fonts.google.com/specimen/Old+Standard+TT, https://www.paratype.ru/pstore/fonts/New-Standard.htm), but less contrasty. Do you have any plans to add Cyrillics?
    I thought it was finished but a user found an error in the small caps feature and e-mailed me about it.

    Whilst I was working on it I decided to add Erwin Dennison's brilliant Open Type Fractions code, thanks Erwin. :)

    Then I thought about whatSamuil had said and had to agree it did look like the standard soviet block serif font so I have added some Cyrillic characters.



    So far I have not added any of the historic or archaic characters or any ethnic group with less than ten thousand readers.  But I am unsure just how much I need to add (I will probably end up adding too many as usual).

    Can anyone see any mistakes or things which would look odd to a native cyrillic user ?

    This is not live on the website yet, that is still the old version for the time being, there is still a lot of work to do before I release the update.

  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 100
    edited October 18
    I'm definitely *not* a native cyrillic user, but to me the lowercase italic ж looks odd -- both too wide and structurally odd. I'm also not sure about the ball terminals on the lowercase italic г.
  • Hmm ... do you mean r or lower case ya (я) ?

  • That's Cyrillic ghe (U+0433) (which looks more s-like in the cursive).
  • Ahh ... italic г, sorry, looking at your post again I can see it now.  For some reason my brain registered it as an r.

    Yes this is my variation on the 'ghe', I don't know if this is appropriate or not.  Certainly it's something I haven't seen in other fonts but is there any reason why this character should not have ball terminals ?

    If it is inappropriate then I will remove them and terminate the strokes with flat ends. It's a pity, it took me a long time to get this character 'right'.

    What do other people think ?

    I would rather iron out the bugs now than release something wrong.

  • As I said, I'm not a native cyrillic user, so I will certainly defer to those who are, but to me it looks peculiar with those terminals.
  • OK I have narrowed the italic lower case ж but I think you will find that the version which uses lower case c on each side is correct for the italic version.


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