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



  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    I spent about two minutes trying to figure out what you meant by the Verdana ell-treatment. :wink: I don't think it would fit into my approach, though, which seems to be reductionist when in doubt. For instance, I dropped the spur on /b because I figured it would look serify.

    On the other hand, that angled top seems out of place among those other numerals. I guess a flat top would also be more in line with the Garamond /1:

  • The descender space is –severely– under-rated (in Latin). But the place to act on that is the lowercase. For the numerals in a typeface that plays by the rules, making sinkholes is bad.
  • I like the 2 and 3 lean.
  • Wes AdamsWes Adams Posts: 59
    Not sure what this is about ascending Garamond figures. Attaching Pica Garamond 1552, from the Vervliet.

  • Just that he was French... (Really, any excuse to promote readability.)
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    That's pretty good! The spurs on /b/q feel out of place to me, and /g feels too fussy compared to the other letters. Anyone who gimps their /f for the sake of avoiding collisions is forsaking the Garamond spirit, though. :tongue: And /a is just stolen from Meta.  :grimace:
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,467
    I think you could stand to make the x-height slightly greater in the bold. It would look closer to the same, right now visually it looks smaller at the same size (compared to the light).
  • The x-height already is larger in the Bold:

    I've started to worry about whether the ascender height was too large, though. I noticed the difference is much smaller in Garamond. Perhaps that's why Eau has a bit of an unruly feel to it in text settings?

  • I lowered the ascenders by 50 units, and I think that improves the readability. Now my (ascender – descender) totals to 950, and I think I'm going to risk leaving it there...  If I use the «Scale to UPM 1000» command, I'm afraid the fragile 10-unit monolinear master is going to get messed up.

    I also added an intermediate weight between my previous Regular and Medium. I called the new one Regular (since I think it makes the best text weight, see below) and the previous Regular Semilight (for lack of a better term).

  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 681
    edited June 2016
    For display it's Ok. For body text, it needs ample spacing (and bigger /a /e counters)
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    The main problem with bolder Garamonds (and not only in your version) is that often the /a does small blots on the page. Thats mainly visible at small sizes of course but this is not only a question of hinting i think. Perhaps is that because in all Garamonds it's eye is inclinated and slightly smaller than /e eye.

    Otherwise very nice and interesting !

    I have the idea to draw a sans for my Geranium, but my eyes are turned on Palatino sans for that kind of details (not for the general drawing of course).
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    For display it's Ok. For body text, it needs ample spacing (and bigger /a /e counters)
    I thought the spacing was pretty generous already; it strikes me as a tad ampler than Garamond itself.

    I did notice that /e tends to fill up rather quickly even at moderate sizes, though. I guess I will make a Text cut of the typeface with larger counters in /a/e, as I did with the «Garamond» series of Cormorant.

    EDIT: Alright, I made some alternates for /a/e (bottom is new), although it pains me to look at that Baskervillesque /a up close.  :s . I'll take them for a ride on the test site as soon as I've written some instances that implement these by default.

  • Unruliness is the catalyst of readability.

    For a design with such a small x-height a talus of 50 is too much.
  • I wouldn't add the 50 as a talus, I'd just leave it at 950 units/em. 
  • Deviating from 1000 is –still– problematic; if you're that close to it, make the effort to snap to it (probably by increasing the x-height instead of decreasing ascenders).

    A small talus above is useful, to accommodate some of the cap accent extension.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 681
    edited June 2016
    If you are going to create size-specific versions, maybe you may want to have a look at Libre Caslon Display and Text . This are both highly optimized for each role. Not only wideness, contrast, spacing, weight, etc... but also a full BBox optimization.

    (A deck version is planned, in the middle of both, at some point in the future).

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    Deviating from 1000 is –still– problematic; if you're that close to it, make the effort to snap to it (probably by increasing the x-height instead of decreasing ascenders).

    A small talus above is useful, to accommodate some of the cap accent extension.
    I can't really raise the x-height much without also raising the cap height to preserve proportions. At that point, the whole thing is equivalent to rescaling my current 950-unit design. Problem is, my delicate 10-unit monoline degrades under rescaling. The /a takes it relatively bravely, but the /Q's tail is an example where it looks bad (the right /a and left tail are new):

    So I guess it would mean going through my rescaled monoline with a fine-toothed comb. This had better be worth it.  :unamused:

    Is it possible to apply scaling from the baseline to a batch of glyphs with RMX Tools? I know they're good at things like «make the glyph wider by +20 units», but this is a different job...
  • Measure twice, cut once. 
  • Comparison of the 950 unit text font with 50 units of talus and the scaled-up 1000 unit text font. The talus looks irrelevant inside of Glyphs, but it makes a noticeable difference in a text block:

  • Stop it here! Actually Foundry Sans is a good take (don’t know why you hate Syntax). Also Legacy Sans, as James Montalbano mentioned, maybe even Charlotte Sans.
    Your take is lacking someting substantial. It is too constructed. Looking at the row of your alphabet, it is falling apart at least from the letter ›s‹ on. Especially this one is like  from a geometric typeface (reminds me very much of Futura). The bow of ›t‹ is too round. I like your take on the ›a‹, but even ›b, d, p and q‹ are way too constructed.
    I advise to have a look at the above mentioned typefaces, and especially at the work of Chris Brand, whose Sans never was executed as a working font, unfortunately.

    My two cents,

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    Jack: You're right, of course...  except that for a typeface, one needs to «cut» a number of letters before one can «measure» whether they look right. Admittedly, I should have done that after hamburgefonstiv rather than after making all letters and ligatures, though. :wink:  Anyway, I've already cleaned the scaled-up capitals and am now moving on to the lowercase. The work is not as difficult as I feared, it's mostly a matter of identifying the strokes in which the effective weight was rounded up by one unit.

    Jürgen: We'll have to disagree on that. I like where Eau is going, and it does not feel geometric or constructed to me. This verdict seems all the stranger to me given the fact that you like Syntax, The Typeface Made From Elbows.

    The /bdpq in Syntax are essentially a clone army, the /bdqpmn would feel right at home in a grotesque, and the /eag are just really ungainly. The Eau letters, on the other hand, I find more humanist, more harmonious, and more beautiful.

    Yes, my /kvwxyz are very geometric and constructed, but that's the very nature of those letters (they are pretty unimaginative in Garamond as well). At least mine have the decency of lining up with the baseline and x-height rather than elbowing this way and that like Syntax.

    The round foot of /t is, admittedly, a bit of indulgence on my side. I'm in love with the brazenly low and wide /t of the Carolingian minuscule, and I strive after that idea with all of my typefaces. The Garamond /t is beautifully low, but a bit too timid for my taste, so I made it wider and gave it a proper foot. :grimace:

    And what's supposed to be particularly geometric about this /s?

  • Syntax, Legacy Sans, and Today Sans were pioneers, but they aren’t the dead end of this idea. They approach the concept in very different ways, and I think Christian’s take has merit in its own right.

    BTW, he may be a little harsh in his criticisms, but Syntax is by no means perfect. Sometimes pioneers or classics are thought of as religious icons. They hold an important place in history and some deserve a certain respect, but people are too often afraid to call out their faults.
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 969
    edited June 2016
    I do worry, Christian, that you're focusing a bit too much on the individual glyphs and not enough on the performance as a whole, particularly in text. That ‘Q’, for instance, just won’t work as a default.
  • BTW, I think DTL Haarlemmer Sans and DTL Documenta Sans are underappreciated examples of low contrast sans serifs based on traditional serif models.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,836
    edited June 2016
    Stephen: That's an omission I am likely quite vulnerable to, having only made fonts primarily (or exclusively) meant for display rather than for text so far. I also trusted the Garamond heritage to retain its supreme readability in the translation. Perhaps this is also one of the area where my lack of classical training in type design is most noticeable.

    What aspects of global «performance» would you recommend me to test and improve?

    EDIT: I see you added /Q as an example. It's a guilty pleasure, I admit, but one that EB Garamond also indulges in, so I figured I'd be in good company. Should I deactivate the contextual alternates in the text cut?
  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 969
    edited June 2016
    I'll leave it to the real type designers to suggest how you can improve the text, but it may require more advice than anyone is willing to give for free.

    Jürgen’s objection to your ‘s’ may have something to do with your decision to close the apertures. You could treat your ‘s’ like Blokland did in his two faces above: by interpreting the Garamond endings as serifs, not part of the main stroke. Consider outward facing terminals, rather than curved terminals. Maybe that will stray too far from Garamond, I dunno.
  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 265
    edited June 2016
    I've lost count of how many times I've had to redraw scaled/transformed glyphs or newly interpolated and adjusted instances, or masters, including delicate hairline styles.

    “Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.” ― Bob Dylan
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,980
    edited June 2016
    Honestly, all the typefaces mentioned so far have little relation to Garamond.

    It depends what one considers “essence”.

    “Eau” is focused on skeletal form, but stress, contrast and serif style are equally significant markers of “Garamond”. I designed the monoline Bodoni Egyptian as an alternative to the notion that fundamentally Bodoni = High Contrast, because I felt that Giambattista’s letter shapes were also quite distinctive in their own right, but I don’t see the traditional equation being replaced any time soon! Same for “Garamond”, which is similarly tied to a particular kind of pen nib that profoundly informs its character. This is apparent in the /a, which, as has been pointed out, clutters up in a monoline weight of any substantial heft—this letter shape, as originally conceived, is quite dependent on the thin aspect of the broad nib.

    At any rate, I think Legacy captures a lot of the essence of “Garamond”, in a way that a more reductive sans does not—even with angled terminals on the extenders. Which is not to say that a skeletally reductive version isn’t worthwhile, but it’s no Holy Grail.
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