DTF Oldstyle

Attached is a PDF proof of an old style typeface I’m working on. This is the light text weight. It’s based on sixteenth century French designs. I’ve given it a large x-height to make it friendly for screens and contemporary editorial design.

Comments

  • The caps are awesome. The lowercase angular letters v and w seem light. The i and j are more stout looking than much of the lowercase. The z maybe a tad wide. Some of this maybe just the hinting that shows in the PDF and since I am not an expert at text faces my critique is not likely as valuable as what others can give here.
  • I agree that the caps are a strength.
    Top serif of /Z/ seems a bit too small to me.
    To my eye there's something inelegant about the lachrymal terminals in /a/c/r/3/?/
    /i/ definitely looks fat. It feels like the humps of /m/ don't match each other (left one gets thicker faster). /s/ is very nice!
    The proportions of /5/ are too exaggeratedly oldstyle. Lengthen the vertical a bit to keep it from verging on Art Deco. The gaps in /6/ and /9/: I'd either widen them or remove them.
    I recognize some of those pangrams!
  • On a quick look . . .

    a - feels too light

    f - top is anemic

    r - too narrow
  • The only other observation I'll comment on is that the l'case "k" could use a slight adjustment on the right side—bring in the top a little and kick out the bottom stroke. Make more visually proportional and pleasing to the eye.

    The bottom ball on the l'case "y" appears a bit stiff with the overall design of he font. Kick it out a bit, so that it doesn't look so pinched.

    I would remove the sharp angular taper in the top of figure "4". Doesn't compliment the overall design. A horizontal terminal would look better (in my opinion). And finally, the figure "8" appears a little too top heavy and wide. Reduce the width on top and increase the width on the bottom a bit.

    Unit values, fits and spacing look uniform throughout. Great job.
  • What is it for? The voice of the project suggest to me maybe a conservative look for a magazine. But it isn't so clear that I can help asking.
  • James, the caps look quite nice, but the lowercase x-height line is unstable: look, for example, at u next to m and n. Going through the lc, it's as if you have three heights, so instead of your eye moving forward, it jumps up and down. The descenders feel short for such an open design. It appears that you're trying to achieve Jensonian openness with a French old style design--that's hard to do because the widths of those styles are sometimes at odds with one another (see Stempel Garamond). You might be able to work out some of this with carefully set side bearings, but still I think some letters will need to be modified.

    The design is quite light and the serifs are finely detailed, so I assume you're intending this for display. For text you'll need to chunk it up a bit.

    I hope this helps!
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,640
    edited December 2013
    The caps are awesome.
    Thanks!
    To my eye there's something inelegant about the lachrymal terminals in /a/c/r/3/?/
    I’ve been struggling with these. These used to have smooth connections, but I thought that made things a little monotonous. I’m trying to do something similar to the smooth/corner juxtaposition that occurs in letters like E and D. But I’m not sure I can resolve these in a way that works with the lowercase serifs.

    What is it for? The voice of the project suggest to me maybe a conservative look for a magazine.

    Conservative, literary, and editorial. A little dry; you wouldn’t use it to set Sarah Silverman’s next book.
    Going through the lc, it's as if you have three heights
    This started out a few years ago as a Jannon revival, and there’s still some of that wacky character in here that I need to smooth out.
    It appears that you're trying to achieve Jensonian openness with a French old style design…
    Not so much Jenson as trying to bring in a little Dutch condensed bigness. But without looking a new as contemporary designs or a sharp as a Kis or Fleischmann.
    The design is quite light and the serifs are finely detailed, so I assume you're intending this for display.
    I’m looking at this light font as a 12-point poetry weight that forms the skeleton for the rest of the roman weights.

    Thanks for all the input. I’ll revise this and post again.
  • An updated proof is attached to this post. Most of the changes people suggested have been made. I left the weight of i and j the same because it seems fine on paper. The height of the figures has been reduced.
  • Looking better, James! The counters of the "h" and "n" look just a little bit too wide to me, whereas the "m" looks just right. One big thing: I think your word space is too wide--a very common problem. If you make it narrower, the lines will all look better, especially in narrow columns. I would do that before you engage in other spacing issues.

    I look forward to seeing the next version.
  • I disagree with ScottMartin. The "h", "n" & "word spacing” look just fine.

    Nice job James.
  • I love the lowercase. The r could be a little tighter, ‘cerveza’ looks like ‘cer veza’ to me. Personally, I would also make the drop a little larger (same at the bottom of the y), and nudge down the spot where the arm hits the stem. The g needs more RSB. The n looks a little bit on the tight side on the screen, but on a laser print, it really is just fine.

    Looking at the uppercase, I had some problems with the K at first, but it is slowly growing on me. I cannot get used to the Q tail though, too thin at its origin, and poking too much into the following u. The U seemed a little too light to me.

    Enough nitpicking. This is great, James, go ahead!
  • I’ve run through a few drafts of the bold weight. A PDF is attached. FYI, the tail of y and the question mark have been redesigned.
  • 8 looks dark, E and F look too narrow. I'd try lowering the waist of Y.
    And to my eyes the cupping could be more subtle.
  • This looks nice James!

    I'm still no expert but here are some things I noticed:
    - the E, F and B could possibly be a bit wider - in which case you might have to widen the S as well
    - I agree that the 8 looks a bit dark, the difference in size between the top circle and bottom circle could be bigger
    - the ball terminals of a is inconsistent with those of c, f & 3 - and also y and r differ from those again. not sure if it is really a problem, but even if it is a design choice I'd still try to make them feel like the same system of forms (right now c, f and 3 are very similar and I think that at least a and y could be derived from the same ball terminal form)
    - while I like the openings in P, 6 and 9, I'm not seeing them elsewhere in the typeface. If P is open, why not also b, d, p and q? And how about 8? Or even h, g, etc? Maybe close them up and offer those opened up forms as stylistic alternatives? It's not bad or anything, I'm just not seeing the rationale behind your decision of only opening up those glyphs - there might be historical reasons of which I'm totally unaware (and which I'd love to hear)
    - as they are now I'm not too fond of the comma's and quotation marks. Somehow their tails feel too long and their terminals too hard.
    - while I love the exclamation and question mark I wonder if they actually fit the style of your typeface. they feel a bit too 'comic' to me
    - really love the ornament you did!

    this all said, when I look at the text set in this type it looks great! So all of the above might be too nitpicky :) Good luck with this!
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