Geranium : inspired from Venetians


This is my first post here. I am not  professional typedrawer nor I have the ambition to become that. I did my career in horticulture and botany, with the rose and its history and botany as a speciality. Now I spend my time at writing fictions and… trying to draw some typefaces who matches the spirit of my writings. And as this spirit has something in common with the humor and burlesque of novels from the humanist area (I think at Rabelais, Cervantès…) or somewhat later (Cyrano, Jonathan Swift…) I would like to try some Humane or Venetian type drawing. For Geranium my inspiration came from several modern interpretations of the Venetians (Hadriano, Centaur, High Tower…) but also from the observation of Janson characters. And my challenge was to work without any angle and with few straight lines. I decided this organic look for several reasons : last years I worked a lot at reproducing different optical sizes of George Auriol typefaces (I will perhaps submit them as another post later) and on November 2015 I was disturbed by political violence which came around and as that was the moment where I decided to begin the drawing of my first personal text font I decided that it should be sweetly organic. Of course I will do something different later but this one will keep this character.

ivan louette, louvain-la-neuve, Belgium


  • That's refreshingly charming!  :smile:

    The extremely small detailing in the italics could cause problems. I'm also not sure the italic /t works... and is the Roman /M perhaps a bit too wide?

    Otherwise, very solid start!
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Thanks a lot !

    You are right about the italics. It's a very different beast and I am not very sure in this area at the moment. I am not a good calligrapher (I am left hand and have some special remembrance from my early school times because of that ;-) Perhaps they are too narrow too.

    About roman capitals I think also they are a little bit too slender at the moment.
  • Georg SeifertGeorg Seifert Posts: 666
    edited June 2016
    The height of the numbers is a bit unusual. Most are above the x-height but the nine is below it.

    The R might be a bit to much. You can get away with the long tail at the Q but the R appears more often. 

    But as Christian said, page looks quite nice already. 
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Thanks for your advice. The R could be placed as an alternate. And you are absolutely right about the 9 : its eye could be placed higher and perhaps it could be slightly bigger too.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Italics inside the roman text were not the right ones. Here I attach just a proposal amongst several attempts. it's a little bit fancy… and perhaps too fancy compared to the roman but I have some tenderness for its "patte de mouche" style. Of course Christian's remark about too small detailing remains valid.

    In fact I dislike cancellaresca italics because I find it too systematic, and on the other hand I find Garamond italics a little bit disturbing for my eye because of its variations in inclination. Thus I must navigate between these two extremes… and perhaps I should find another way. However for example I like a lot the few I have seen of the "Guillaume" italics : it seems there is some logic in it which is absent in other Garamond style italics I know.
  • The numerals are delightful!
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Thanks ! :) Of course they are perfectible like the rest. I like elzevirian numerals.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Here are the numerals with some changes in the positioning of 9 and drawing of 6 and 9

  • Shouldn't 9 and 0 be as tall as 1?
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Here is a test with dotless i instead of 1. Perhaps the 1 could be intermediate in heigh ?

  • That looks strange to me, but I bet Hrant will love it. :grimace:

    Are your /9 and /0 even shorter than the x-height? That's very unusual indeed.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    ;)  No they aren't shorter. However /1 is higher and /i is slightly higher. I think I will change /1 first and see if that causes some noise with higher ones.

    On the other hand, except for the small detailing you quoted and I understand well, do you have some advice about my italics proof ? (They are wider than the few you have seen in my first post.)
  • It's difficult to imagine what the italics would look like without the finicky detailing; it's quite dominant. The rhythm looks solid, though, and it's certainly legible, original, and fitting with your Roman. /V and /T need kerning.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited June 2016
    Thanks very much ! Perhaps these details are less problematic because it's wider.

    My process was slanting the roman at first, then changing all ends of characters by something which agree my eye and which breaks efficiently the slanting visual effect, and then slightly (or more drastically for example for /m, /n and /h) redraw the verticals to make smoother transitions. Perhaps very strange as a process…

    I tried some different ends, but the more classic ones for italics didn't satisfy me because what ever I could try elsewhere the too rigid "slant" effect came back.

    You are right about kerning. It's more advanced in roman ; italics capitals aren't kerned at the moment.
  • joeclarkjoeclark Posts: 122
    A+ neologism: typedrawer
  • A rising numeral one actually makes sense. I would only worry about it when in the presence of smallcaps.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    You are probably right about small caps. They will come later and I will advise at that time.
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 236
    @ivan louette hey, just curious, is there a reason why the stem on the lowercase j is sort of wonky? Is that to compensate for smaller sizes or something?
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Hi AbiRasheed, if you take a look at any of the characters each of them has something wonky. It's a little more visible in /j but it's also present in /J. Perhaps it could be more subtle on /j. Thanks to have seen it. I could draw it a little bit slender and moderate this effect ; I will try it.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Needs more work again. It was also a little bit too long (longer than /y)

    jay.png 15.8K
  • This indeed has a lovely feeling to it. Please take feedback with a grain of salt.

    - I think the middle bar in e could be slightly less tilted, mirroring the angle of the midle bar in 'a'
    - Top-right of s could be moved t the right a little
    - The top-right serif on u could be wider
    - Top of t looks a bit weak.
    - Funky accent is a little too much for my taste.
    - Ear of g looks a little timid. The pointy part in the middle could go a little further to the left I think.
    - Serifs on the top-left of caps could be larger
    - the funky tail on u a d etc. could be larger
    - Your ( and ) look a bit pointy in the middle. Maybe that's on purpose?
    - I think the R needs to be normalized, and Q could beneift fro that as well.
    - Lovely Z!
    - c seems to be falling to left a little

    - I agree with the others that the italic needs redrawing. The roman is a text beast, the italic seems more suitable for display purposes.

    Keep going!

  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 236
    @ivan louette oh okay, just for the record I wasn't critiquing, just wanted to know the reasoning behind it. Cheers. 
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    @Jasper de WaardI always take feedback with a touch of salt, pepper and hop :-) thank you very much for all that !

    @AbiRasheed , you are welcome ! I didn't take it as a critic ;-)
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited June 2016
    @AbiRasheed Rational things doesn't come first when I draw characters (however they remain important when I try to make them work better togheter). I am a little bit like a child looking at the clouds and who see animals or human faces amongst them. Perhaps my /j is inspired by the body of a horse fish.
  • I'm curious about what you're looking at in regards to the tails on /a /d /u. That feels somewhat unresolved, but I'd want to know what your references look like before making any comment.
  • Looks very nice indeed! I think that e is a bit too snub-nosed and u's serifs are too different, but I really like how evenly-coloured the page of Geranium is. Do you plan to extend it with Greek and/or Cyrillic glyphs?
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited July 2016
    @Jack Jennings Thanks. While I have several references (Centaur, Hadriano, Schneidler…) I tried something which fit differently the roundish appearance of Geranium. At the moment I am testing the interesting idea to do these serifs a little bigger and perhaps slightly less inclinated.
    @Samuil Simonov Thanks for your appreciation. Unfortunately I lack of time to extend this font which I would use essentially for my writings. However I will share it free and open source. And thus if someone would be interested to extend it when it will be diffused that could be a good thing !
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    @Jasper de Waard I tried some changes here (below) to what you pointed about lower case characters. That make the text a little bit more colored and needs more experiments however. The accent isn't modified and perhaps they will not be.

  • For what it's worth, I'm also stumbling over the accents.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    I have the same impression with most of existing fonts accents. I am pityless about them ;-) I must reckognize that integrating accents inside the design isn't easy. And I consider that as very important because I speak french and I read (a lot) in french. In many cases they are too big or they doesn't respect the spirit of the design. I tested a lot of variations before this one. It can change again, slowly and slightly, or perhaps more drastically if I find really interesting references. If anybody here knows interesting typefaces references for  accents that could convince me to change something.
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