Sigil Serif - My first attempt at a font..

Kayley HillKayley Hill Posts: 27
edited October 2016 in Type Design Critiques

Well after asking a few people, I decided to actually try and design a font (which I have attempted to do in Illustrator for the moment). The idea was originally based on sigils though this has now evolved into also being inspired by Art Nouveau. I know there are alot of issues with it (especially the K), I also have only done a few of the characters atm. Any advice would be appreciated.


  • That's a lovely start!

    Regarding that k, the leg of the k feels a bit weak, needs a bit more weight, particularly at the beginning. Good job having it come off the arm instead of from the vertical stem, keep that join the same and thicken it to the right.
  • Many designers seem to agree that is very fruitful to design not letters, but words. This will help you work out your typeface's tone and make you more appreciative of how the different shapes of the glyphs work together. Equally, keeping in mind a setting or use case to which this type would be applied to can guide you with design decisions and inspiration. Will this be a poster headline for an Art Nouveau exhibition, or the text on a commemorative stamp, or cast in iron as a fence gate? Each in turn informs your design by giving you some limitations within which to flesh out your idea, and a frame of reference from which to draw inspiration and insights.

    In terms of the actual shapes, I think you need more coherence in the reasoning behind the different modular elements. You have very playful, sharp and bendy arcs and the bowls, but the roofs and bottom of the serifs are blunt straight lines. A similar contrast of shape vibrance happens between the mathematically straight stems and round shapes in general. And by this I am not siding with either, nor am I saying the contrast is bad per se, only that it appears undecided. It is good to start with common shapes and "generate" new characters from those blueprints just like you did. However, especially with mirroring elements you need to be careful, as it can have a very unnatural feel (for example the j tail and mirrored p bowl on the q) - unless that is part of a victorian machine-made cast iron charm? 

    Keep drawing, keep posting, it is an interesting start!
  • Yes, mirroring won't work with the diagonal contrast established by the other characters. You might want to try a rotated rather than mirrored approach to preserve the stress logic. I did that for Octant:

    Also pay attention to color — your /o is much lighter than your /p, for example.

    The /r strikes me as wide, and the vertical stump cut on the left top side of /t feels a bit out of character.
  • Start using any, literally any type design software instead of Illustrator. You’ll thank yourself after about half a day of work in the new app—it doesn’t take long to understand that you’re way more productive in an environment that is made for type design.

    Glyphs Mini might be a good choice for you, or Glyphs, or Robofonts, or the (free!) beta of FontLab VI.
  • I would not recommend FontLab VI just now; it's still in beta preview, not beta. There are still some areas that need work. I would recommend one of the Glyphs versions.
  • Hi all, thank you for all your advice and feedback. In regards to using Illustrator, this is just a temp solution as my macbook is dying and need to wait till the new pro releases before I get Glyphs (so far I am using Illustrator at work). As for what I am designing this for, I am intending it primarily to be used as a display font (though I am toying with the idea of a less ornamental version for text). As for the mirroring, I will try out your suggestion Christian, and Johannes I will try redesigning the serifs to be more in line with the rest of the font. Thank you again, and any more feedback will be greatly appreciated.

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