I’m quite experienced graphic designer, but relatively new to type design.
I've been working on my font lately, because:
1. I felt lack of good fonts with Cyrillic support
2. Lack of nice and free semi condensed fonts
3. And for a long time just wanted to make a font how I like
1. 2 major weights
2. Ligatures and icon ligatures
3. Supports most of Latin and Cyrillic languages
4. Designed within a pixel-grid in mind
The fonts I was inspired by: Eina, Maison Neue, San Francisco, Circular
Hope to submit the next update to Google fonts.
I plan to use interpolations in the future, to provide more weight and italics, but not any time soon.
Your feedback is highly appreciated.
There are many choppy curves, especially inside the counters of /g etc and and in /a. Get SpeedPunk or RMX Harmonizer to help.
The /a/s/S are strangely gooey designs amidst the otherwise rational typeface. They could use some sobering up.
There are some inconsistencies in weight (/C looks lighter than /W, /6 looks lighter than /8, blobby weight distribution in /C/c). [This is for the Bold]
The /Q's tail is a bit timid. The top of /f is very compressed; maybe lower the crossbar a bit below the x-height (and for /t as well).
Another pet topic of mine, but much more contentious: I urge you to make the top-left of the Ruble sign a curve, not a corner. I feel this makes it more Russian, less Western. You can find a full discussion here: https://typography.guru/forums/topic/480-designing-the-cyrillic-er/
This is the case, and is why ascenders are often taller than descenders are deep, and taller than caps, which also helps distinguish l from I in sans serif types. But it is also the case that the descender length has a fixed minimum that is determined by the g, which must not appear too cramped. Meanwhile, among the ascenders, only the f presents a similar but less acute issue, so the ascenders have more freedom than the descenders. This means that if one's goal is to create a type with restricted extenders, e.g. to enable tighter linespacing, one way to do that is to make the ascenders shorter relative to the descenders than traditional Latin proportions.
Various things combine to make this misleading in my mind:
— Linespace economy is integral to any text face; it's not only about avoiding collisions across lines in extreme cases. Any space squandered on descenders takes away from apparent linespacing (a parameter as overlooked as it is important) harming line returns during reading.
— A cramped "g" is far less problematic to a reader –not least due to relative rarity– than to a type designer who might be too focused on formalism.
— Boumas are real* and this means ascenders –especially thanks to their much greater frequency, even if they're mostly just sticks, unfortunately– play a very important role in distinguishing from x-height–only characters.
To be fair, I could imagine rare cases where the descenders should be longer. But making them exactly equal is a sure sign of "defaulting" instead of analyzing the problem. As an aside, it's one of the flaws in Gerrit Noordzij's œuvre (and sadly is often passed down to his grandstudents).
I will carefully go through every comment of yours once again as soon as I have some free hours.
Given these differences, ‘relative rarity’ seems painted with a too-broad brush. It’s an important and potentially frequent letter, and I think that decisions regarding its design should not be based on its (presumed) frequency (excluding cases in which custom typefaces are specifically designed for texts in a certain language).
But a more qualified, native designer should give a proper critique.
Since you don't know what languages your typeface will be used for, you have to account for typical/average use, and naturally that means classing English above Tagalog for example; anything else is a disservice to users, hence anti-design. Now, does that open the door to typefaces specifically designed for (or at least skewed towards) particular languages? Very much so, and I've long been a big fan of that. But lacking for example a brief that specifies heavy usage of Tagalog, it's not wise to simply let the "g" have run of the house.
I consider frequency less as a consideration for choosing ender lengths and more of a rationalization. If you test with a bunch of words that have more descenders, does that make the descenders look different? There's a certain length that feels like the right balance with other vertical aspects.
@Hrant H. Papazian
You often use the term anti-design. From context it doesn't seem like you're talking about the anti-modernist movement. I don't want to pick a fight, I just honestly don't know what you mean when you use that term.
* Pardon the previous lack of capitalization.
1. Wide /e/a/s and narrow /m. I also feel there's still a bit on inconsistency. But I've checked with the other fonts I took for the reference, I guess it's a kind of a style I wanted for this font... But, I'll think about it...
2. Thanks! I'll get SpeedPunk installed
3. Sobering-up: you are right. Actually I wanted it to be a bit cool, a bit quirky. Keep it rational, but have some little cool details that make all the difference... Do you feel it's too much ...?
4. Weight distribution. Thanks for pointing out, I'll fix it.
5. Lower bar in t & f. Good idea, I will give it a try!
Vertical space: I see your point. Yeah, I see that /g/p descender lengths are inconsistent in my font. I'll give it a try.
Ruble: interesting detail. I believe it comes from Early Cyrillic Alphabet. Where it's indeed rounded. But from another hand, modern er writes with sharp left corner. My native language is Russian and I've studied calligraphy back in the school. The way stroke goes usually leaves the left top corner sharp, thus rounded one feels a bit unnatural to me. How do you think?
Sadly, I'm agree with you.
I'm a native Russian speaker myself, but turned out I have much more experience working with latin fonts. And all of my ideas were for the latin letters.
Generally, I don't like most of the fonts with Cyrillic support. Myriad Pro and Roboto are the only fine ones in my opinion.
So I thought I'll fix it. But when I've done with my font, I had the same feeling: that's it's just a latin font with very basic Cyrillic support. It doesn't feel like complete Cyrillic font somehow. And I've received no feedback on Cyrillic letters at all. Not quite sure how to fix it for now.
I'd appreciate any advice or reference.
The Serbo-Croatian Cyrillic alphabet does not use the letters Өө /ö/ and Үү /ü/, whereas the Mongolian Cyrillic does.
Perhaps it's a Croatian sentence with some letters switched for the Mongolian specific ones? Google translate couldn't translate that sentence (though it recognized it as Mongolian - probably because of those letters) nor did Google return any results for it.
Is it better?
The /f/t crossbars strike me as a bit low now. My own solution would be to raise the ascenders, but I suppose the genre asks for a low ceiling...
The designs of /a/s still look very funky to me, and the curves are not smooth yet. The interior contour of /g/p has acquired a strange asymmetry, which looks especially strange in /p where it goes against humanist expectations.