Eau de Garamond — a sans distilled from the essence of Garamond

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  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited January 11
    Hrrrm, I find myself stumbling over the sleek tension in that roof and the problematic weight distribution on the right side, which feel at odds with the typeface's humanist goals. I'm tempted to return to the rounder, more humanist design.

  • I would explore something like this:


  • Hi @Andreas Stötzner, thanks for your concrete suggestion, I implemented it more or less directly into Glyphs to see what it feels like:
    In my opinion, it's a step back from either of the two designs I was considering:
    • The counters are unbalanced, with the top significantly smaller than the bottom.
    • There is a strong right-leaning motion that creates undue agitation in the text, disturbing the «architectural soundness» of the capitals and making the letter stick out visually.
    • It's a bit too narrow. The lowercase eszett is amazingly hefty — no other lowercase letter dares throw that much weight around in ascender space! —, and the capital eszett must follow suit to a certain degree to match expectations.
    • The pinched upper counter reminds me of the «fingernail clipping» effect that I often see in Dresden designs, including many of yours (cf. Andron below). A quarter-arc closed off with a diagonal just creates an uncouth shape that breaks with the implicit design rules of roman capitals, with its acute angle wedged beween by two rather heavy strokes. This contributes to the capital eszett sticking out of the text as a foreign body (which the eszett in particular can't afford right now while fighting for acceptance). I expect the natural evolution of the capital eszett among the designer and user communities to relax this kind of high-tension feature into something more harmonious. I hope to contribute my part to that evolution with my promotion of the Zürich subform.  :grimace:
     

    For the record, here's what the sample looks like with my dome-roofed Zürich design: Balanced, upstanding, load-bearing, wide enough, and visually integrated. :grimace:




  • I would explore something like this:


    Maybe you could keep your form, which is pretty balanced now, and just follow Andreas suggestion as far as the inclination of the upper stem goes (i.e. leave less white space within the stems)?
  • Trying out this form for the other weights:


    This looks just fine to me, except for what Andreas observed about the inner space, maybe? Also, the lower, curved stroke is flared in the bold, but seems not only monotonal, but tapered in the extra bold?
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited January 12
    Claudio, I'd rather not file off the shoulder more than it is now, since that tends to evoke that right-leaning impression that many Dresdens have. I don't think the counter space is too big; I already made it as small as I could bear.
    Yes, Andreas also recommended taking weight off the foot in a previous post. I've made an alternate version where the bowl has a rather vertical stress axis, which leaves the foot thin. It's less humanist, but possibly still favorable. It certainly helps avoid that «dazzling» calligraphic impression that the angled-stress version sometimes exhibited at small sizes. And as you correctly note, it's hard to pull off the angled stress and heavy foot in the Black master, so going for a light foot makes the typeface more consistent through the weights.
    Is this better?


  • Claudio, I'd rather not file off the shoulder more than it is now, since that tends to evoke that right-leaning impression that many Dresdens have. I don't think the counter space is too big; I already made it as small as I could bear.
    Ah. OK. :)
    On the stroke ending: on the contrary, I’d have done the opposite, adjusting the extra bold and making it flared. You have this logic in all letters, including /S, it does not make sense to make it thinner instead of thicker.
    Beside this, to me it’s just OK, but do not thin the terminal!
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited January 12
    I think it makes sense to bend the stress rules every now and then if it serves the overall balance of a letter (as we do with Z, for example, or most binocular g's). Sure, it's cheating, but that's type design for you. :grimace:
    I did try making a heavy-footed Black, and it looks pretty cramped. I think the thin-footed version is superior in the Black.

    In the Bold, it's a bit of a toss-up... I find the calligraphic version cute up close, but in running text at small sizes, the thin top left and thin bottom right somehow conspire to make it look conspicuously calligraphic, almost as if it were made of two pieces only loosely put together. Since Ysabeau is meant as a text font (among other things), the behavior at small sizes is very important.
    I suppose I could offer the calligraphic variant as a stylistic set, but I'm already planning one for the Frankfurt design, so perhaps it would be a tad excessive...

  • I think it makes sense to bend the stress rules every now and then if it serves the overall balance of a letter (as we do with Z, for example, or most binocular g's). Sure, it's cheating, but that's type design for you. :grimace:
    I did try making a heavy-footed Black, and it looks pretty cramped. I think the thin-footed version is superior in the Black.


    Honestly, I find the consistent modulation a lot better. Here it seems the bottom version looks better because it’s also different in other aspects? At any rate, I’d keep the modulation consistent, if terminals of /S are flared, the german double S is an S and it looks from another typeface if you thin them. :-(
  • I suppose I could offer the calligraphic variant as a stylistic set, but I'm already planning one for the Frankfurt design, so perhaps it would be a tad excessive...

    No, it doesn’t make sense. Make a final choice and stick with it. :)
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 271
    If you include different variations as stylistic alternatives then 99.9% of users will not use these, most users aren't even aware that open type features actually exist.  :(
  • Paul: I do offer a few spin-off fonts for easy access to alternates. I suppose I could put a calligraphic version into the Infants. :grimace: I probably won't want the Frankfurt to be default in any of the spin-offs, though.
  • Hmm, the thin foot seems well-accepted on the German boards. Maybe I could add a slight flare to the end of the thin foot to imply the expected contrast? Andreas did that in his proposal. 
  • The rhythmic pattern strong-light-strong-light…  is essential for Latin capitals and should be maintained wherever possible (in those styles where this applies). This is what does not work yet here. See the analysis below, especially the instance where two parts of the same kind are neighbours, which is the ‘worst case’.



    I also notice that the M is wrong in that respect, as it stages strong-light-light-strong, but the typical, classical and garamondish M has it light-strong-light-strong.



  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited January 14
    Thanks for the graphic, Andreas, that's a great help! I agree that my previous flat-roofed design was problematic, and I've pretty much settled on the domed option.
    From your analysis, it seems the domed design isn't actually doing too badly, it's just that some of the heavy parts aren't heavy enough for your taste. I suppose I could try to make the roof heavier, but it's difficult to do so without thickening the top left as well and without turning the roof shape into some kind of blobby triangle. I'll give it another try.
    (Does a horizontal heavy stroke really have to be comparable to a vertical heavy stroke, though? I'm not implying a 45° pen angle in my stress pattern after all.)
    (Also, isn't it admissible or even commonplace, though, to make the heavy strokes of a complex glyph less heavy than those of simple glyphs, as part of optical adjustment, or to lessen the contrast in cases where the glyph would look too light or dark otherwise?)
    As for the interior foot, I seem to remember that you found it too heavy in my first design, so it's probably counterproductive to thicken it enough to count as a «heavy part». I'll use the thin foot as the basis for my next attempt and just give it a touch of flaring as in your suggestion.

    I also notice that the M is wrong in that respect, as it stages strong-light-light-strong, but the typical, classical and garamondish M has it light-strong-light-strong.
    I assume you mean the Black M? I do have the expected modulation in the Bold. In the Black, the left diagonal is still heavier than the right, but overall I had to do an extreme amount of optical compensation to prevent it from clumping up into a black nugget. I'll see if I can reintroduce a little more modulation.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited January 14
    How's this?

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,160
    edited January 15
    I'd say the bottom of the bottom bowl gets a bit too thin, with the double consequence of that whole bottom part feeling too slight (a 6' tall guy with a size 6 shoe) and the flaring terminal (which I like in theory) becoming too unsubtle. Up close, there also seems to be something a tiny bit disharmonious between inner and outer contour at the top thinnest part at 11 o'clock. But the proportions, width, etc. are looking good to me. 
  • I can’t say I see either of your issues. I find this the best solution so far (and so does the German forum, so far). 
  • Hi @Andreas Stötzner, does this fix the /M/?
  • certainly better than before! However, the central bottom part still seems too dark, and the thickness difference of strokes 1 and 3 is too much. M is terrible, I know.
    The centre beam of N needs more weight, and the outer ones (perhaps) less.
  • Good points. This, then? I made N a bit narrower, too. I can't bring myself to make the diagonal as heavy as an /H/ stem, it looks weird when I try.




  • This is an improvement. It does not necessarily need to measure as heavy as the H vertical—just needs to look right. Although I might still go 1/3 or 1/2 the remaining weight difference, myself.

    As a general note, there are kind of two directions N can go in heavier weights. Either the N diagonal starts to thin relative to the verticals, or it becomes dominant (a more modern approach, I think). Either way can be OK, but trying to keep all three the same is usually problematic when things get too bold.
  • Now the third stroke of the M looks as if it narrows considerably—too much, in my opinion—as it goes up.
    I also get the feeling that the left inner white space is a bit larger than the right one. Is that so mathematically?
    I'd try moving the red point a tiny bit to the left and the green point a tiny bit down and to the right, or moving the yellow part a tiny bit to the left (or, better yet, both).


  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited February 14
    Like this? I also tilted the outer stems inwards a bit more to reduce the top gap.

  • Now the the third stroke looks thicker than the left leg, doesn't it? More generally, I think there's too much mass in the middle; the second stroke could probably be a little thinner too. Andreas was right, but maybe you've taken it too far :)


  • – ?
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited February 17
    Thanks for your proposal, @Andreas Stötzner! I gave it a try (middle M):

    (EDIT: I hadn't adjusted the spacing; fixed now.)
    I like how it relaxes the crampedness of my version (left) and lightens the top. However, I also found it leans a bit too much to the right, and its left leg looks eye-catchingly thin. I made a third version (right) to address these issues. Does that make sense?
    Family likeness works fine:

  • It's a nice M, but compared to the H, it looks much more contrasted, and the thin strokes of the M look thinner than H crossbar. Doesn't that bother you?
  • It doesn't bother me. As I see it, it's not so much a departure from contrast convention per se as it is optical compensation applied along the lines of contrast.

  • Now that I see H next to other letters (esp. E), I'm starting to think that the problem is more that H is too little contrasted than it's M is too much. Would you try a thinner crossbar? And then try thinner horizontals in L & T as well? (I'd also check Z.) On the same note, I think S & O might also benefit from thinner thins; currently they look less contrasted than G, M, N, U, etc. (S also looks possibly too dark; I'd check how it looks with deeper whites). Back to M, can you show something like MMMWMWMWWW? I suspect it would reveal that M looks excessively more contrasted than W.
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