Geranium : inspired from Venetians



  • Hi Ivan,
    I'm not a big of this particular style, but I quite like what you have done.

    Overall it seems fairly well spaced, although it is difficult to evaluate since you have justified the text. I will like to see left-aligned text to better evaluate the spacing.

    The overall color and texture is also very nice. I like the darkness of the roman style.
    The Italics seems a bit too light. I will recommend you to test a darker italic.

    The long /Q and /R tails feels a bit excessive...
    I will keep them as alternates, and put something more restrained as defaults.

    You need to keep working on the /S. Their thin parts should be a little thinner.
    Compare /S to /U /V /X /Y /M /N and you will see what I mean.

    /B /C /E /F /L seems a bit wide, test narrow versions.
    /T seems narrow for this style, test a wider version.

    The numbers also looks a little bit to narrow to me.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Hi pablo ! Thanks for your appreciation and remarks ! Here is a two pages left aligned proof with the last evolution at two different word spacings. The first page has the default spacing and it's probably too narrow. The second one is closer to the justified page. I didn't change letters spacing.

    About Capitals I feel they deserve much more attention and your comments will be very useful.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Hi again pablo, here is another proof document where the text isn't melted with too different kind of characters. Here the default word spacing seems to work better.
  • About the /space glyph in "geranium-proof-left": Page 1 (narrower) looks better than page 2.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited July 2016
    Ok,thanks a lot ! That's the default. However I wasn't sure about it. While working at drawing and testing I rarely justify. I justify only afterwards. Justification is the work of the book designer. I only must do that my characters drawing make it easy and cool to do and that the text flows nicely and is readable.
  • Love the inky feel, although I have reservations about reading longer text set in this type.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    Thanks Johannes. I don't contest it. It doesn't flow like a Garamond at the moment. But this is a step in my learning. And if you have any idea on how I could improve it, don't hesitate.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited July 2016
    Here is an attempt to improve readability on long texts. /n, /m, /u narrower, work on letters spacing. And a lot of changes in drawing inspired by the comments here (/g ear, /a, /d and /u tails… No changes at the moment in Capitals (that will follow).

  • I was working again on Geranium these days. I did a lot of changes particularly to the drop ends and the above serifs of ascenders. Many small details were also improved the last two years to make it better adapted to text.

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,160
    Descender of /g/ and ascender of /f/ feel light. The raised vertex of /M/ seems out of character to me. I don’t get why /y/ doesn’t come up to the midline like /v/ (but I like her sassy tail!) Period looks italicized. 
    Of course it depends on contingencies of printing or display, but if you’re working towards this as a text font, I wonder if it’s too light overall.
  • @Craig Eliason Thanks for your comments. About /g and /f their descender and ascender are drawn thinner to preserve the color of the page and not draw too much attention ; notice that I recently did the same with the above ascender serifs and the below descender serifs which are thinner than the base line and x height serifs. I did that after some print proofing.
    About the font weight it's close to Schneidler Medium. Schneidler was one of my favorites inspirations amongst Venetians. A few time ago I saw french Fantasy novels printed in Schneidler Regular, which is even thinner and they were very cool to read indeed.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,160
    In retrospect I think it's the surrounding top serifs of /x/ and /z/ that made your /y/ look lower. 
    I do like the lightening of extender serifs, but I'd argue that the hook of /f/ and loop of /g/ are more integral letter parts that have the right to demand more attention. 
    For the weight, is this the Schneidler Medium you're talking about? It's definitely darker. 
  • Yes this is this Schneidler. And you are right it's somewhat darker. However there is a big gap between Schneidler Normal and Medium, and Geranium is perhaps slightly closer to the Medium one.

  • This is turning out really nice! g is maybe a little too light. Any plans for an italic or bold?
  • @Jasper de Waard Thanks for your appreciation. There was already an italic. Somewhat fancy but it works fairly well in association with the roman (which is fancy himself and express my joy to draw ;-) Not so clean than the roman at the moment but it will be the basis.

  • Wow, that is one funky italic. :grimace:  The crossbars on /f/t/ are a bit extreme for my taste, and I find the little hook on top of /a/ irritating, but otherwise it seems to work well.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited March 2019
    @Christian Thalmann Thanks for your comment. Yes the /a hook seems to call contrasted comments : some people hate it while some others love it :-) That's the mystery of funky things.

  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,086
    You could make the drooping crossbar on the f and t much more subtle and do something perhaps interesting: perhaps if it ascended, went horizontal or nearly so, and rose again at the other end it would look more calligraphic and less melted.

    The top of a and q just look bad, to me. Partly it is the thinning to nearly nothing, partly it is bending the wrong way.

    The ascender serifs feel like added flags rather than calligraphic.
  • I agree with Thomas on all accounts. In general I think it's cool that the italic is a bit quirky, but too much of the quirkiness just looks flimsy now. It's too feeble to match the roman. 
  • The melting is a real thing. I see drooped cheese :D
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 840
    On the one hand, your italic is beautiful, so you should not change it to make it more conventional.

    On the other hand, the Roman has now moved somewhat from its original form to be a very nice Jenson - of the standard type. Hence, the italic is now not a reasonable match for it.

    So I would not recommend changing the italic you have - but perhaps you should start work on another italic that would be more acceptable with the Roman you have! And a Roman to suit the italic might be a future project...
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited March 2019
    @Thomas Phinney Thanks for your advice. About the top of /a and /q I will take a look at what I can do. Not changing the idea of this hook which contributes to the rotating movement of the font (which, in my sense, isn't a true calligraphic one), but more probably slightly changing the proportions between the different parts of the glyph.

    @Jasper de Waard Yes I can see the dropped cheese effect  ;) And feel free to use it into your "fondue". But I am also able to not seeing it.

    @John Savard Thanks for your appreciation.
    About the Roman it was inspired at first time from Centaur / Cœlacanth and some low definition pictures of Nicolas Jenson "Eusebius" pages volontarily influenced by the smooth look of High Tower Text. After that I took a look at many Jensonian fonts and, for example, Schneidler was very inspiring at that time for the overall effect of the page. Thus this is a good news to knowing it's not so bad as a "Jenson" as you say :)
    I also did a second Italic for Uccello because the first one inspired from Granjon "Ascendonica" wasn't well adapted. But I will probably go further with Ascendonica which is so inspiring. Thus your idea is excellent :)
  • New design for the Roman /f (a better upper part) and /g (more weight everywhere).

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 663
    edited March 2019
    The way I see it, the hook at the top of the /a could be understood as a hint of a two-story a. As a bonus, it saves the /ae. And it is nicely consistent with /q. So I definitely second John, keep her (the italic) for another ro-man.
    I don't think the hooks bend in the wrong direction, as Thomas suggests. My first thought is that they bend counterclockwise like everything in the font (and now I see you said something about a rotating movement, so I take it as a yes). And they are a nice complement to the letterforms otherwise not too abundant in serifs/instrokes/outstrokes, ie. they make them match the rest of the alphabet better.
    But yeah, not for this Roman.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,160
    In that running text the loop of /g/ feels too angular to me—the other bowls and shoulders are much rounder. 
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,653
    edited March 2019
    I really like the /a/ and the new /f/ of the Roman. I also find the /g/ a bit out of character — not sure if I'd call it too angular, but perhaps too informal/scribbly?
    It makes sense to keep the tops of /f/ separate in those /f_f_*/ ligatures, but I'd retract them a bit to allow more air into those gaps.
    The tittles of /i/j/ are still unusable for reading in my opinion. Please switch off the wind machine and allow them to come to rest on their stems. :grimace: At small sizes, I parse a combination like «ie» as «ı’e» instead. (<— there's supposed to be a dotless /i/ in there; not sure why it doesn't display).
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited March 2019
    @Christian Thalmann Thanks for your appreciation of my /a and new /f
    About /g I will try again other solutions.
    And about /i and /j tittles I remain always surprized about your perception or point of view. I tested them very carefully and for a long time and I consider their shape and positioning as an interesting complement to the upper right stress of the font. An I was not the first to try something in that direction. One of the most distinctive trial was done by Goudy for the first version of his "Village" in 1903 (see below) which remains, for my taste and opinion, one of the most beautiful and effective typeface of the XXth Century. Detractors will say that Goudy changed to a more rounded shape some years later, but even that new shape wasn't circular.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 840
    While in Printing from Arts and Crafts Essays, William Morris and Emery Walker were willing to say

    "though the famous family of Aldus restored its technical excellence... yet their type is artistically on a much lower level than Jenson's, and in fact they must be considered to have ended the age of fine printing in Italy."

    most people today are much more inclined to concur with Stanley Morison's high opinion of the type used by Aldus in his edition of De Aetna in particular.

    Of course, since that type is a beautiful oldstyle Roman of the type we use today, it may tend to be taken for granted, while something along the lines of Jenson's work, being visibly archaic, commends itself to the design of books that are more artistic than practical.

    While Bembo, Garamond, Caslon, and even Palatino are beautiful typefaces that can be used for books that are works of art in their own right, possibly there is an artistic virtue in the good Venetians that makes them so attractive for artistic printing, and it is more than just their different style being more noticeable. But while I am willing to admit that, I find myself unable to name or point at what it might be.
  • ivan louetteivan louette Posts: 327
    edited March 2019
    @John Savard Thanks for the comments. William Morris words and point of view are what they are and Stanley Morrison's too. They must be placed in their historical context.
    If I prefer Jenson's typeface I understand why Griffo's is considered more perfect or stronger : some Aldus carefully composed pages have an impressive and metronomic almost inequalable regularity. But this regularity essentially based on verticals is precisely what I dyslike (that's my personal taste) in these best Aldus pages (but don't forget that some Aldus books are also very badly composed and this regularity broken ; that's perhaps the problem of his too fastly growing enterprises). I feel like a prisonner inside the page and on every line of De Aetna. They have a too strong hypnotic power for me.
    At the opposit I feel on a wave and very free on Jenson's best pages.
    On the other hand the beginnings of art of printing were very inventive and cannot be reduced to this opposition. John Boardley shows very interesting things about it on Hoefler's pages here. I take for example Bartolomeo De Libri's designs which are perhaps the most interesting attempts and which had seemingly some influence later on swiss printers later : see Vesalius book on human anatomy which inspired the nice Mengelt's Basel Antiqua typeface. However if Basel printers have kept De Libri's design details they didn't follow De Libri rhytmics which has something interesting in common with… Times… ;) (despite it's wider, and very interesting too /e and /o ) Some time ago I began to recreate De Libri's typeface but I lack of time at the moment. But what I saw on De Libri's books is that this font is better adapted to not justified text (it's superb on poetry for example).
  • The tittles in «Village» are very asymmetric but placed almost exactly above the stem. As such, they don't bother me when reading. I find that sample uncomfortable to read for other reasons, though (dark, very tight spacing and leading, interference from the backside of the paper). It's certainly cute up close.
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