Swash Capital Feedback/Guidance

Scott BiersackScott Biersack Posts: 76
edited June 2017 in Type Design Critiques
Hello everyone!

I'm in the process of developing some swash alternates for my italic typeface currently in the works. I (somewhat) recently finished up the Extended Type @ Cooper program and have been continuing this typeface ever since it began in 2015-2016.

Since I'm still somewhat new to this, I'm hoping to get some guidance / thoughts on the current state of things. I drew numerous variations of these letterforms (especially the _T_) and this is currently where it stands. The PDF attached has some spacing proofs as well as the original italic forms for reference.

I will say that the _O_ has not been touched as you can see...Still unsure how to tackle that. Also, I know that _Q_ needs a lot of work...trying to solve that as well.

Any and all thoughts are welcome! Would love to learn from everyone here!

Thanks so much


  • I like the "G".
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,367
    Good stuff!
    Consider thickening the thick part of the loop of the swash on /C/ and /G/ (where the top serif would go in an unswashed letter). That will help the eye distinguish where the swash ends and the letter begins. 
    /I/ looks like a pilcrow, but maybe in context it'd be fine. 
    Bottom arms of /E/ and /L/ might be opportunities for more swashiness. /H/ also looks a bit mechanical though it's less clear to me what could fix that.
  • @Hrant H. Papazian
    Thanks so much Hrant! Means a lot.
  • @Craig Eliason

    Thank you for the quick feedback, Craig! So helpful! I was definitely struggling with that weight issue on those loops like you mentioned. Definitely agree to beef it up a bit there.

    I also agree about your other comments regarding the _E_ and _L_ ...I was considering drawing completely unique forms but wasn't sure if it would be too "different" from everything else.

    I drew this _L_ originally which utilizes the similar swash from my default _Q_...but, again, wasn't sure if it was too crazy?

    I guess it's about trying to find the balance between the original shapes and not pushing it too far

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,956
    This has a strong Donald Young vibe that could work well if 1980s corporate design comes back along with the new wave revival. Try designing a bug specimen of different settings (similar to the ITC Stone book) and look for things that could be touched up. And consideration adding a set of tall caps with huge Lubalin & Carnase style swashes.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641
    Much about these swashes feel very tentative and restrained. It's like you are worrying about how they will fit in the middle of a line of text. Which may be a legitimate concern, but I will note that most of the expert type designers whose swashes I have studied go at least a bit farther, often a LOT farther.

    The bottom stroke of the swash L could be at least twice as long, and a bit heavier at its thickest. Ditto Q and Z.

    Lowercase g could do something when swashes are on. It already felt restrained.

    The bottom left swash of AMN could descend more and be more prominent. Descending bits of R and especially S could do more and go further.

    I'll be the first to admit that my own swash caps to date have been less than thrilling. But they were in a pretty weird typeface that had weird swashes already, and I was just adding on.

  • @James Puckett thanks for the suggestions James! Curious what a "bug" specimen is? Just a small number of glyphs to test instead of the entire uppercase? Sounds like the goal is to go big or go home!
  • @Thomas Phinney thanks for taking the time to provide some feedback, Thomas! Like I mentioned to James, seems like I need to go wild with these swashes. 

    What are your thoughts on having a set of "restrained" swashes and a set of crazy ornate swashes? Seems like I should find a middle ground of sorts.

  • My first impression of that sample was «high quality». Nice crisp curves overall!

    The second impression was noticing the /T, though. Its top swash feels unnatural. I would suggest exploring other strokes with more weight in the horizontal.

    I agree that the /L could have a longer tail. You can always make a stylistic alternate that stops on the baseline for use before descenders like /y. You could make the stem loop over to the right in that version to avoid too much empty space.
  • @Christian Thalmann thanks for the kind words!

    I do agree about that _T_ ...It's certainly been giving me trouble. I also explored this sort of weight distribution but wasn't too sure about it.

    Thanks for the suggestions on the _L_ too! I'll explore that a bit more. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,641

    What are your thoughts on having a set of "restrained" swashes and a set of crazy ornate swashes? Seems like I should find a middle ground of sorts.

    So far I am not seeing any need for a middle ground, but hey, that's just my take.

    You could use a stylistic set to provide more restrained (or more wild) swashes. Or make some thing contextual to reduce the likelihood they occur in inappropriate contexts.

  • Wes AdamsWes Adams Posts: 59
    edited June 2017
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