Condensed black display all-caps face (with unicase alternates): Radiator

This is an experiment I did a while ago, and now decided to revisit. What do you think?

I previously designed Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, and upon this iteration I added Armenian.

This last one is tricky, with the forms often protruding to the right. I tried to make them bump into following letters gracefully, but that didn't work all that well. The uppercase variants contain more moderated but also experimantal forms.!AulK0yIHtt_3ju4-dzWiHr6tn33FAw



  • It links to an indesign file. Could you, instead of links to other hosting platforms, just post a pdf here? Better yet, also include an image or two.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    Oh, I'm so sorry, I was posting in a hurry.

  • Looks fun!

    I'm a bit bothered by the round endcaps of the counters; I suspect they would look better if they were less elongate and closer to the circle.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,966
    This is wildly original, albeit a little tough to read.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    Is this more appealing? Not perfectly circular, 10x13.

    I forgot to mention, though, not that it matters much, that the font was created as quadratic curves. I just thought I liked the shape of the straight-angle-control-point curve for this design and sticked to it along, which helped me make uniform curves quicker. I now converted the font to cubic Beziers to try this out. Maybe a good step at this moment, time to manipulate further and polish?

    I found the letter /C surprisingly difficult to get right. I tried to let more light inside, but that just spoils the fun of it. Right? Only maybe it looks more Thai with the curls rounded inside. :sweat_smile:

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,396
    With that top C my eye keeps seeing an E (in a figure/ground reversal) which the bottom one successfully avoids.
  • Have you tried a foot serif on the T? And I would try the counters with square endcaps instead of circular.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    Here are a couple of other /C ideas I had (note the left one has the center element lowered to align with crosstrokes of E, H; all three in two variations each re. roundedness) along with some 'new' round caps (above) and newer square ones (below). That /T fills the space up better, but I think the serifless one has a perverse sportive quality to it. But perhaps the lower one is better readable to ordinary folk.

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,396
    Of those I think the first reads most easily as a C; second looks like an @ and third like an e to me.
  • Square counter caps work even better!

    I like the second C a lot, but it could be read as a Q. I have no trouble reading it in SPICE, but you might want to test with a larger volume of words. 

    I’m amazed that the /a works, but it does!
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    @Craig Eliason  Figure-ground reversal was something I had in mind from the beginning, though I didn't know that's the term then. Because of this, I want to try ditch the vertically symmetrical /C altogether and work on the "Q/@" version to make it a C. I made the top-right a corner:

    I also put up some serifs on /P and /F to make /T feel less lonely. By the way — does the /P in the middle work? I somehow favor the one(s) on the right, as it compliments /A/B/R better; the left one was always kept just in case (the lower one :smirk:) — but maybe it compliments the other letters full of verticals,/M/T, the new /C?

    @Christian Thalmann @Dave Rowland
    Does it make sense to develop both square and round endcaps? I somehow cannot decide on either. It is a small detail but repeated everywhere; could you please explain how one or the other works better?

    Did I get C-arried away?

    5 mins later

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,937
    edited May 2018
    I read QUE BARBEQUE up there... maybe it would work better with a full square terminal in the bottom right.

    The /P works much better with a CCW spiral and no foot. I like the foot on /T but not on /F.

    The new /C are very hard to read indeed. I mostly thought of /L at first.

    I also read something like «Piccould» instead of PICCOLO. Maybe you could get rid of the cheat in /O and give it a full circumference and a filled rectangular counter.

    The /E might profit from soft corners on the left side and hard ones on the right.

    As for the counters, the problem is mostly with those very blunt outer curves (like the bottom left of /a) that feel completely disjoint with a streamlined slit cap but feel like a natural extrusion of a rectangular slit cap. I would suggest sticking to rectangular, and if you absolutely must have a curved variant, make the aspect ratio wider than tall.
  • I would also try to avoid cheats as much as possible. For instance, the /Ø in the OP looks out of place. I would go with an ʃ-shaped slash superimposed on an /O (set off by gaps).
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    Corner on /C. I might be keeping the old C for now because it goes well with lc /a /j etc. Though I dislike the reversal /e ghost. Btw the previous bbq had a typo, sorry.

    Two new versions of /O.

    I guess the third one works against /U? But the /U and /V dislike each other. I rounded the bottom of /V a bit for what it's worth. I mean, we are supposed to recognize letters by their tops, it's bad if we have to look at the feet to tell them apart. Any ideas?

    And the corners on /e. Below I type ~wAvY~ old school. Comes out almost like an /f_f ligature.

    Two versions of /Oslash — one with the «cheats» to go with the /O with the cheat, and one cheatless. I prefer when there is connection between the O and the stroke, but with a full height integral this would require cheating muchly.
    I dropped in a new /m, based on armenian /ayb actually :smiley: That might be another one with lots of cheating at the top.

    There is more cheating in the Greek as on the last page of the pdf. What do you think of the cap-style accents incorporated into the letters? I've heard in all-caps settings accents are only kept on the word initial letters. If I say my face is unicase, do the accents work, especially that the Latin ones are incorporated in a similar fashion, only centrally above the letter? I guess we would need to hear from someone who won't read into this by accident.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    If you say it's an ell, let it be.

    I'm saving all those failed attempts for a separate version of the font, Radiator Extreme. Or maybe Xtrm, for it will be harder to read.

  • /E with corners on the right side is much better!

    I read the top line as «AORISM VEGAN». Maybe you could lift the drooping serifs of /T up from the bottom serif by one unit?

    The full metal jacket /O works well, except that the counter corners are rounded at the bottom for no good reason.  (In fact, I would unround all the corners of all negative spaces.)

    Your /M are both cheats, come to think of it. Maybe make the top completely flat, and maybe just round one or both outer corners?

    Your /Ø is way better than my suggestion. Run with it!

    Is that supposed to say JO NESBØ? I read AO the first few times.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    This is my preferred /J. Get rid of the other one?

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    The square corners in /O are there by mistake. Making all corners square would be interesting, but I would say "I must've seen that somewhere before". Such step would be dramatic, but I see where you are going with this. It is true that the arches of the counters are, for the most part, not concentric with the outer curves. This makes the corners heavier than the stems and the strokes themselves nonuniform. But is that really that bad?

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    Saying goodbye to the all-round /E feels sad to me, though.
    This is what I could do to /M, and /W by the way.

    Feels somehow streamlined, though... Maybe I could just adjust the M and W by giving their endcaps extraordinary leeway.

  • Legibility is definitely improving overall! Before, I couldn't figure out the words, now I can simply read them :)
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,937
    edited May 2018
    Lose the curves in the top half of that /J and I'd say we have a winner. :grimace:

    I like the cheatless /M. If it's too technical for you, maybe try a version whose top cascades downward on the right side...

    Not sure about the lowercasey /h and /t there; they disrupt the texture quite a lot.

    Is that just aliasing, or are some of the sidebearings in that last image too narrow?

    BTW, how about cutting a dot from that /i to make it more recognizable despite is narrow frame?  Never mind, I just saw you tried that already. I would promote that to the default /i!

    The current /B works very well, but is a bit cheaty on the right side. I could imagine a cheatless version in which the two bowls are made from separate spirals curving away from each other...

    The lowercase /g is nicely recognizable, but there's some weird thinning going on at the top, as well as a cheat on the neck. Maybe it could work without those crutches, too. Maybe by making the eye a contiguous flat squircle?

    This is coming along very nicely!
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,937
    edited May 2018
    BTW, next step: Ligatures!  :grimace:

    (On second thought, no, most stroke ends are curled inward and don't lend themselves well to linking, and I suspect it would make it too hard to parse the individual letters... But maybe two adjacent /T might pull off holding hands...)
  • The /ae feels oddly normal in this context, though it does follow all the rules of this typeface. The new g is somehow readable, but I suspect most readers will just think WTF. Also, I don't really like it aesthetically, tbh. 
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    The /M had a bump on the side. One unit. Thanks!

    The lowercasey /h was a recent development to accompany the /t. The latter was a tribute to Coolvetica, I guess. It was always meant to be used with discretion, but if so, maybe it should be eradicated.

    I suppose you mean something like this?
    I also removed the curve in the /D, and for the best. But how about leaving the hint of an open counter in /J /C? Just like /A /K /H have it.

    If I remove the incision from /C as well, it will no longer differ from D apart from the rotation. Correction: the middle counter in /D goes up 10 units higher to reinforce the presence of the vertical stem.

    I could try to get all the counters to the minimum and keep them square as you suggested before (if that's what you meant; maybe you only had curves deep inside the letters, not open counters?):

    The /g is a full-fledged cheat. It has thinnings to accomodate all the tucked in terminals. Having thickened the thinning, I get the impression the inner stroke is now optically wider than the outer ones—but perhaps it's because I've seen it so many times with the thinning? Anyway, I don't really like the uppercase G either, because of the image-ground reversal thing.

    I don't even know if it's better or worse with the curves straigthened. Maybe better? The sight of two curves facing each other is somehow unpleasant in the middle of a letter, right?

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,937
    edited May 2018
    I didn't mean to suggest that all rounds should be made square, only the ends of whitespace cul-de-sacs (and perhaps interior bends as well, as in /O). I like your curvy /W and /N much better than the squared-out ones.

    The /J is exactly what I meant, but I see it loses legibility that way.  I read «DACKDAWN» at first. (BTW, I believe the word is «jackdaw».)

    Making the inner corners of /G sharp is a good move. I would continue that trend with the inside of /a, for instance.

    I don't much care for the cheats in /g (tail joint) and /G (chin). I'm sure you can find an honest design for these! :grimace: For instance, just leaving out the chink in the chin of /G should do the trick...

    Maybe /H would work better horizontally flipped so it looks less like an /N?

    BTW, how about these for /F and /C?

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited May 2018
    The /F looks crazy! A bit extreme to me, at first I thought I had a mind corruption. The /C looks like an entirely new kind of cheat :sweat_smile: But maybe it could work. For one, it's superlegible.

    Yes, jackdaw! Sorry, my bad.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688

  • The /F looks crazy! A bit extreme to me, at first I thought I had a mind corruption. The /C looks like an entirely new kind of cheat :sweat_smile: But maybe it could work. For one, it's superlegible.
    You do have T-intersections in other letters too, but I agree there is no natural stroke flow in my design, so that does break an unwritten law of the typeface.

    Maybe cutting the core free makes it better, but then the whole thing is in danger of falling apart:

    Not sure what your last image says. If that's a /B, it needs a continuous stem on the left side.

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688

    I guess the top one better?
    Anyway, feels awkward, because the golden rule has been that it's not a stencil: rather monoline. Except for /8 which couldn't be connected and not look like S, and now the full metal alchemist /O.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
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