No Name Serif (first typeface)

Hello,

This is my first attempt at designing a typeface. I'm a recent graphic design graduate and was looking for ways to hone my skills as a typographer and develop further understanding on how type is constructed( in other words, looking for ways to not waste my time before finding stable employment). Apart from bits and pieces from typography class in school, I have no training in type design.

The idea is to make a less contrasting baskerville font for text setting ideally between 9-12pts for both low res screen(what I'm working from) and print. This is what I have so far. Critique is really appreciated before I go on doing further damage to the typeface, thanks!

*I am aware that I need to be more generous with the sidebearings and the word space is way to big.

Comments

  • This looks great! Keep it up  :D 
  • Yan LinYan Lin Posts: 6
    Thanks! I'll keep plowing through and post again with updates
  • /o/ looks light. Since a curve is only at its thickest for a moment (vs. a straight stem which stays thick), its width needs to be boosted to optically match.
    The /o/ (particularly the outer contour) seems a little lumpy to my eye. /n/ shoulder too--curves are hard! Do you have more nodes than necessary along those contours?
    I think if the head serifs are all sharp corners, the baseline serifs shouldn't have those rounded tops. 
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 239
    /n shoulder is really bumpy, and the curves on the serif look a bit funny too. As well as reducing the number of nodes to a minimum, you need to match the curvatures on both sides of the node - see this. Tools can help while you're learning to see the bumps. If you have Glyphs, use SpeedPunk or my own Supertool, if you have Fontlab VI curve visualisation is built in.
  • Yan LinYan Lin Posts: 6
    Thank you all for your insightful advice! Yes, upon more careful inspection the /n/'s shoulder is really bumpy looking. I've also widened the /o/ and created /H/ and fixed the curves of the serifs. I think I want to continue experimenting with the different sharp corner top serifs with bottom rounded serifs. Dunno how to incorporate the top angular serifs with the rounded bottom ones in the /H/ though.

    The /o/ only has 8 points... any suggestions on making it less lumpy?
  • There's no reason the serifs at the top of the /H shouldn't be the same as the ones at the bottom of it. Also the bar of the /H is a higher contrast than the stem of the /n. The upper corners of the foot serifs seem to be rounded, but no other corner in the font is. Based on how wide the lowercase is, the capital /H could be a little wider.

    It looks like most of your serifs are completely symmetrical, but if you open a font like Century, Galliard, or Plantin and measure the widths of each side of the serifs, you will see that they aren't always the same. And generally, the serifs on a capital letter should be wider than the ones in the lowercase.
  • Yan LinYan Lin Posts: 6
    @Nathan Zimet  Is there a reason why top serifs should be the same as bottom ones? I agree that the /H needs to be wider and the crossbar thicker. I thought I would make the serifs symmetrical to make it easier for me, but yes, serifs can be asymmetrical. I will try adjusting the size of serifs on /H to see if it helps with widening it.

    Thanks so much for your feedback!

  • I actually can appreciate the asymmetry between top and bottom serifs in your H. See also Bely, for a similar kind of thing. Before you get into all the details of things, why don't you expand the lowercase character set a bit? Try to give it some character.
  • I'm wondering if the lowercase o could use a tad more overshoot. Can't really tell with the top, but the bottom definitely seems a bit weak on the baseline.

    While making the top serifs on the H different from the bottom is not inconceivable, it is certainly very unconventional. If you are OK with making a relatively strange/odd typeface, that is up to you. But I suspect it will make it “not a normal text typeface.” I'd have to see it in use in body text to be sure, though. Sometimes details like this fade away, and sometimes they are surprisingly jarring.
  • Yan Lin said:
    The /o/ only has 8 points... any suggestions on making it less lumpy?
    First thing I would try is longer handles on the outer contour (esp. side nodes?), so it doesn't flatten out quite so much on the diagonals. Since everything's relative, you then may have to adjust the inner contour to get the swelling you want, and perhaps narrow the whole as well. 
  • Yan LinYan Lin Posts: 6

    While making the top serifs on the H different from the bottom is not inconceivable, it is certainly very unconventional. If you are OK with making a relatively strange/odd typeface, that is up to you. But I suspect it will make it “not a normal text typeface.” I'd have to see it in use in body text to be sure, though. Sometimes details like this fade away, and sometimes they are surprisingly jarring.
    Attached pdf of /H in context.

    First thing I would try is longer handles on the outer contour (esp. side nodes?), so it doesn't flatten out quite so much on the diagonals. Since everything's relative, you then may have to adjust the inner contour to get the swelling you want, and perhaps narrow the whole as well. 
    Tried fixing the /o. Honestly my screen resolution is so bad that I can't tell whether it's better or not.

    Also added /v. Feel that /H can still be a tiny bit wider.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 650
    edited October 6
    I can't see a reason why top serifs need to be mirror images of bottom serifs. This feels steady like a table. The only thing I don't like about this is that I didn't think of it first.
  • That /o/ looks happier. The /v/ really brings out what Tom said--your overshoots are insufficient. It looks like it goes up further than /n/ and /i/.
    Should /v/'s serifs be unbracketed like /H/'s?
    I do think, as Nathan said, the cap serifs should be more substantial than the lowercase.
  • Having seen the PDF and text in context, and being able to zoom in and out, I can say that, at text sizes on screen, the H serifs are unobtrusive for me. At display sizes they look pretty weird, however.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 803
    edited October 6
    Also: top of the v is too high compared to top of n, i. Either the n/i/etcetera need to come up, or the top of the v needs to come down.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 26
    edited October 7
    It's super; what I do not get is why make it so similar to Times New? Let it speak out in it's own voice.

    I always run a mental test: set side by side my font and some established one. If a non-typographer thinks they are indistinguishable, then I re-work it.
  • To be honest, i don't see the similarity to Times New. I don't know where you're getting that from.
    You could move the bottom apex of the /v a little to the left.
    The serifs on the /v are smaller than those on the feet of the /n, this is just an observation i don't know if you should change anything for it.
  • I'm getting a Mrs Eaves vibe from it, at least from the proportions.

    I don't see the point of those jarringly incompatible serifs on the /H, though, especially since the top serifs of /v and /l do not second the idea.
  • Yan LinYan Lin Posts: 6
    Thanks for the feedback everyone!

    So I fixed the /v and made an alternate /H. I think I'll put that problem aside for now and develop the lowercase letters more before settling down on what I'm going to do for the /H.

    I always run a mental test: set side by side my font and some established one. If a non-typographer thinks they are indistinguishable, then I re-work it.
    Are fonts created for the users(graphic designers, typographers, and the like) or for the target audience? I personally think there are more factors to consider when designing fonts aside from originality, like functionality etc.
    I'm getting a Mrs Eaves vibe from it, at least from the proportions.
    Yeah, I got that vibe too when drawing. I did set Mrs Eaves beside it to compare and I think there's enough of a difference to distinguish between the two.


  • I think your alternate H is just as weird as the original.
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