Sporty all-caps display face

Jim StaffordJim Stafford Posts: 6
edited June 2017 in Type Design Critiques
I'm attempting to design a full face, extrapolating from a logo design (of mine). Very early stages and I'd love (and appreciate) any feedback or direction that anyone cared to levy. First draft of A-Z, plus a couple of numerals.

Original logo was for a cycling brand (can't post yet as we're yet to launch), but the vibe is sporty/tech.

I'm a graphic designer of 15+ years, but this is my first attempt at a full face.


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    Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 725
    edited June 2017
    Explain the system to me. Why does A-R, T & Z have an on-stroke but not S & U-Y? If B does, why doesn't 5? If L does, why doesn't U?
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    Jim StaffordJim Stafford Posts: 6
    edited June 2017
    A good question, and not one I have an answer to.

    All the characters in the original logotype had them; it added some interest, played into the sport/speed thing, and is worked well (enough) with those six characters.

    Then, to outline my train of thought, as I sketched out the other characters, I guess I, A ) Wanted some variation, B ) Have a personal aversion to faces that rely too heavily on a quirk, especially when it's forced into characters 'against their will' (The 'S' would be a definite case in my eyes). Which led to this point.

    I've tried alts for each of the characters where I've missed it off – I definitely feel it has more coherence (though it throws up a few different problems).

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    Chris DChris D Posts: 76
    edited June 2017
    I really like the consistency overall, it's hard to pull off sometimes with these speciality designs. Well done! And the /S is much nicer in a square shape to me.

    I can see this being used for titling in an action or comic book movie. Do you have a specific goal / use case in mind for it? Eg. Releasing to the public or just using it in house for your cycling client?

    Just make sure that if you're doing a derivative work from a seperate client job, that they are cool with you extending it into a font. I assume you've already worked that bit out though!
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    The Z in the example on the last page is better than the one on the first page. The G is the weak link. I don't know exactly what to do with it. I feel like the letters are speeding and G is braking.
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    Funny, I think the "G" is one of the most promising glyphs here.
    (More soon, hopefully.)
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    Cool stuff! The angle of the leg of K and R should maybe resemble the G, and the part where the leg joins the rest can be much further to the left. I liked the old V, W, 5, 8, and zero better. The thin stroke on the X should probably be a bit thicker, and the thin part of the Y thinner.

    Keep going!
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    I think this font has more going for it than most such efforts; one nice thing is how it has three different (main) line thicknesses instead of just two. Even so, it still needs help to stand out both in character and quality from the mass of forgettable renderings of this genre. That's why I was advocating for that "G": it has an unorthodox feel, that's still appealing, and still legible. The "K" is also right on. In the "B" I would try making the top bowl much narrower. And could the top-right of the "A" be like the top-right of the "D"?

    The weakest glyphs seem to be "V", "X" and "Y". The "Z" just needs some playing around with the shear angles I think. Also the "M" feels like it has some unrealized potential, somehow.

    A lot of little things to tweak too, but later...
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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    @Hrant H. Papazian
    I see what you mean about the G. The Q has that thick slug that looks appealing and speedy...maybe something there?
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    @Ray Larabie
    Yes, the "Q" also has that certain something (even though at first blush I thought I hated it).
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    Jim StaffordJim Stafford Posts: 6
    edited June 2017

    Thanks all, some great notes there, and I will take it all on board and post the next round asap. Will just address some specific points here (just for background).

    Ray LarabieHrant H. PapazianJasper de Waard The 'G' is a weird one. I thought I hated it, but then flip-flopped and decided I loved it. The other guy in the studio working with me on this hates it still. The angle on the G does currently match the K, which is also the angle of the on-strokes. The 'R' started off matching, but has gone its own way – I'll try and pull it back around.

    Chris Drabsch The legal issues of the face aren't something I've thought about – while the client hasn't asked for it, I started fiddling with extended characters and numerals when they asked for some additional product coding (CX, 25.5, things like that), and just got carried away. If it's completed in enough time, I'd like to use it on their website, but it's largely just practice/portfolio work.

    Ray LarabieHrant H. Papazian The Q is the character that's gone through the most iterations to date (bar the 'S') – I'll post its development (below). Totally agree that there's something problematic there (too much darkness down the bottom right), but that it has potential to be really fun too.

    I think this font has more going for it than most such efforts; one nice thing is how it has three different (main) line thicknesses instead of just two. Even so, it still needs help to stand out both in character and quality from the mass of forgettable renderings of this genre.

    4. Couldn't agree more – I was wary of approaching this at all as I find most examples of the style to be overly simplistic, unfinished, or just ugly, and just because the six characters worked together in a logotype, there was no guarantee they'd survive in a breathing typeface. But whilst I'd love for this to 'stand out from the crowd', I'll take 'usable/legible' as a result for a first effort!

    Hrant H. Papazian said:
    The "K" is also right on. 

    5. Thanks! I'm pleased with the 'K', probably my favourite character. (Also, relieved, as that's the first letter of the logotype, and probably the most recognised/important character to the brand).

    Jasper de Waard said:
    I liked the old V, W, 5, 8, and zero better. 

    6. Me too – what are your thoughts on inconsistency in the on-strokes? Worth doing for keeping the strength in the individual characters, or should I sacrifice that for a stronger theme across the whole face?).

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    I still like the middle one.
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    I've had a go at implementing some of the suggestions raised so far – results are here, along with a full set of numerals, and some alternate ideas for some of the characters (some ideas that I didn't want to get rid of in the sketching process, some new thoughts that have come out of the additional work). Any further insights greatly appreciated.

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    Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,385
    S2 but balance the thickness of the verticals a bit more with the rest of the typeface. The top right seems too thick.
    Q2...try using the same thick slug for G.
    S5 as 5

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    Thanks! I'll go back in the tank and firm some things up in my own head. Thanks everyone for the advice and crits.
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    For me:

    A: First.
    B: Have you tried a narrower top bowl?
    J: First one, with a smaller diagonal.
    M: Second.
    O: First.
    Q: Second.
    S: Second one, maybe with a shorter top.
    U: Third one, but maybe with a serif*, and a bigger diagonal (like in the first "A").
    W: First or second, depending*.
    X: No good...
    Y: None of them...
    Z: Second.

    * If the serifs will be distributed without formal consistency then deciding where to put them becomes a tricky task; you'd need to do a lot of testing with words and letter adjacencies.
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