Kinks, bumps and bad drawings

I'm trying to design my first typeface and I have found some mistakes and tried to correct them. But what about the mistakes I can't spot easily? How do I know if my characters were badly drawn?


  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,792
    How do I know if my characters were badly drawn?

    If it’s a first typeface then they’re badly drawn. That’s just how design works, and it’s ok. Unless you have a compelling reason to release your typeface just stop working on it and design more typefaces. When you finish those go back to where you started and revise everything based on what you’ve learned.

  • Max PhillipsMax Phillips Posts: 474
    And after you've drawn a lot of typefaces?  You may still find that your first-draft letters are badly drawn.  As James says, you need to put this away for a while a come back with fresh eyes.

    Also: get some other eyes on it.  Whose judgement do you trust?  You can try showing it round here on Typedrawers, too.
  • attarattar Posts: 209
    TBH, I don’t think I’ll ever release my first typefaces!
  • An alternative approach could be open sourcing it. It's what I did with my first font.

  • Did anyone contribute to improving your open sourced font, Andreas?
  • Not directly but people have been extremely kind and generous to offer feedback, suggestions etc.

    I'm not sure I would have gotten the same amount of feedback had the font not been open sourced.
  • I am still plucking up courage to show my first font

  • kupferskupfers Posts: 257
    You may find this tool by Yanone helpful, visualizes the progression and “speed” of a curve:
  • You can also look at other typefaces you own, when in doubt!
  • A good thing to look at specifically with new typefaces is checking the consistency of your strokes. Do your thicks match each other, do your thins? Are your curves optically complementary? And then, spacing--Matthew Carter once rightly said that a well-spaced typeface with not a lot of 'personality' is preferable to something that tries to pack a lot of expression and is spaced poorly. Good designers don't want to use the latter.
  • You cannot get overnight results. The best would be to start another typeface (e.g. gain more experience) and then come back to this. When I draw the regular, for example, and I can't see the mistakes, I just start drawing drawing the bold or the italic. After a few days, come back to the regular weight and you will see it with different eyes.

    It's all about training your eyes. Join a workshop, like the very well priced one I will be teaching this month TipoBrda (there is one more called Type Clinic. Both in Slovenia, lovely people, twice a year, everybody is welcome) and having one-on-one help, lectures, and the influence of others in one intensive week will teach you how to look better.
  • kupferskupfers Posts: 257
    Speaking of clinic – there is also Tal Lemming’s Glyph Nanny, a plug-in that gives live feedback and pointing out drawing mistakes:
  • If you are in Brasil, the will be in Sao Paulo and has a type crit sesssion :)
  • A good tip for beginning designers, is to try to draw curves with as few on-curve points as possible. Eliminates kinks and bumps. 
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,118
    Put a copy on the mask layer and then you can make improvements without worrying about spoiling the essence of it. 
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