Geometric display typeface for a magazine

Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
edited May 18 in Type Design Critiques
Hi! This is a geometric display typeface I'm currently working on. It's intended for bold headlines and is meant to give a "techy" feel, while trying to remain suited for editorial use. Before I go any further with the design, I'd be very happy to get feedback on the typeface this far.

The typeface is inspired by the logo for Techna, which is a student magazine for science and technology students. I initially started with the uppercase letters, but later added a lowercase, intending to make it more usable.



Here's a picture with some sample text. I've also attached a proof as a PDF. There is currently no kerning. I've also noticed that the caps are a bit too light compared to the lowercase, so that needs to be fixed (perhaps by changing the spacing).


Comments

  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 40
    At present your PDF does not appear to have the font embedded.
    From what I see in the image, it is well-made and distinctive. But for greater utility you should offer the option of /A and /H without the crossbar end sticking out, because it does seem interruptive in some contexts, particularly the normally flush-fitting pairs such as in "THREE" and "LEAVE".
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,589
    Generally, this is a ton better than most people’s first font.

    The H seems narrower than the A, which is very odd proportions.

    The left side of the C and G seem a bit thin compared to top and bottom; usually to appear monoline they would need to be heavier.

    I am guessing that the baseline stroke of L and E might be the same weight as the vertical, which makes them look lighter. Again, slight optical correction might be needed on the horizontals.
  • Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
    Thanks for the feedback!

    I agree that a couple of alt glyphs would help, so I'll plan on adding those.

    The text could indeed benefit from tweaking the proportions a bit more. I'll look into making optical corrections on the horizontals.

    At present your PDF does not appear to have the font embedded.

    Attached a new PDF with text outlines.

  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 158
    edited May 19
    Great job. I love the lowercase.

    You've greatly improved on the logo that inspired your typeface. For that matter, you've greatly surpassed it, but...

    Your A is a bit unusual, you have a wide-open C, the bottom bar of the E is a bit long, and the crossbars on your H and A draw attention to themselves. You've done a good job integrating these design features into your font, but these particular glyphs, to one degree or another, are just a bit different from the rest. Not so coincidentally, of course, is that these are the very letters from the logo that inspired you. It's as though, you started out with an idea — which you greatly improved upon — but you feel obliged to remain true to that original idea.

    I'm not saying you should omit these quirks. I'm just saying they seem to have gotten a little bit left behind as you moved past them. I do think it would help, however, if you took K Pease's advice and created alternate positions for the glyphs with the extended crossbars. Personally, I'd be inclined to make the extended crossbar glyphs the alternates because, if you don't, these quirks will end up disproportionately defining your entire typeface.

    Finally, I don't mean to come across as too critical — you've designed a very nice typeface.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 904
    I am guessing that the baseline stroke of L and E might be the same weight as the vertical, which makes them look lighter. Again, slight optical correction might be needed on the horizontals.
    When horizontals are the same mathematical thickness as verticals they tend to look heavier, no?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,589
    Yes, exactly. That is what I was trying to say, probably not very clearly!
  • Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
    @Cory Maylett great advice, thanks!

    I'm not saying you should omit these quirks. I'm just saying they seem to have gotten a little bit left behind as you moved past them.

    I agree. Revising the A/H/E would probably be a step in the right direction.
  • Generally, this is a ton better than most people’s first font.
    Agreed. @Carl Enlund it seems you should familiarize yourself more with spacing: it can prove elusive to some, but one of the most essential, design elements in a typeface.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,589
    Yes, the spacing seems VERY tight. What is the design size?

    (“Design size” refers to the idea that given a perfectly spaced typeface, it has a specific size that its spacing is ideal for, and needs tracking when used at a significantly larger or smaller size.)
  • Yes, it may also be a bit tight (depending on the intended size usage: to me it looks like a "small titles/subtitling" typeface, so about 18-24 point size or so), but with my comment I meant that Carl's spacing to some extent looks a bit erratic/inconsistent as well. Hence, my suggestion to make some practice with it (also by testing it in actual context) :)
  • Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
    Hey! Just want to let you know that Techna Sans (new name) is now open source https://github.com/carlenlund/techna-sans. Feedback is still very much appreciated. I think I've fixed most of the issues regarding proportions and spacing.

    I've decided to go with fairly tight spacing by default, intending to "market" it as a display typeface. You can of course increase the spacing, and then it should work pretty well even in smaller sizes.





    Images taken from the GitHub repo.
  • Not that it takes away from the quality of your design, but isn’t it more of a humanist sans serif, than a geometric one?
  • Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
    That's a good point. I think it might be somewhere in the middle, since there are both geometric and humanist aspects, kind of like Gotham or Gill Sans.
  • One could see subtle Art Deco in it, like in Kabel, but it’s too balanced and harmonic for a direct comparison. I think it’s closer to Brother1816. Maybe because you use a blue background, I was also reminded of London Gatwick Airport’s wayfinding font.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,589
    Seems like maybe the cap rounds could use more overshoot (CGJOQ).
  • Overall I think this is a great typeface with a lot of potential. I hope you (or contributors to your project) will find the time to build a whole family out of it, alongside with italics.
  • Carl EnlundCarl Enlund Posts: 7
    Seems like maybe the cap rounds could use more overshoot (CGJOQ).
    I'll look into this, thanks!
    Overall I think this is a great typeface with a lot of potential. I hope you (or contributors to your project) will find the time to build a whole family out of it, alongside with italics.
    Thanks for the feedback!
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 904
    Cap /O/ and /Q/ seem too wide to me. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,589
    I think one reason that this does not immediately “seem” like a geometric sans is that the cap proportions are modern, rather than oldstyle.

    I think one aspect of this that is actually important is that the triangular letters (AV) be ~ like equilateral triangles, so there is a geometric aspect missed, there. Both the cut off point and the overall proportion are part of this.

    Most geometric sans use oldstyle proportions. This goes all the way back to Futura. Not required, but certainly helps ring that bell for the user. But the triangular letters part might be important.

  • Cap /O/ and /Q/ seem too wide to me. 
    The /C/ as well.
  • Cap /O/ and /Q/ seem too wide to me. 
    The /C/ as well.
    "Too wide" compared to what? I think it’s a choice. You can go with more internal tension and rythm, as in the ancient roman inscriptions, or achieve "harmonization through homogeneization", like in Frutiger and more recent "humanistic" sans serifs.

    What I like about Carl‘s design is precisely that, while keeping the proportions of the uppercase "modern", as Thomas insightfully noticed, it mantains some of this beautiful tension by keeping the horizontal proportions of the capitals varied.
    By using a more triangular form for /A and /V it would end up being similar to other attempts in successfully merging the "modern" and classic rythm. I believe as it is it quite successfully achieves a balance between the two, and the result is remarkably original. Square dots and punctuation also make it more "industrial" than a neoclassic take on geometric/humanistic sans with classic proportions.
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