Rywalka – a condensed sans, explored and extended

Following the thread about the S-shaped question mark, I hereby submit my project to your always helpful critique.
I am currently developing two cuts: Narrow and Wide, from which I plan to interpolate an intermediate width. Further plans include exploring the weight axis as well — the black weight (on paper) actually gave rise to the whole project.


  • Jasper de WaardJasper de Waard Posts: 603
    edited August 2018
    The condensed cut is amazing (great g!), but I'm not so sure about the wider one.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited August 2018
    Thanks. I agree. I am hoping the wide cut will spread wings in the bold/black weight, and maybe once that happens, it can have a good influence on the regular weight. (Meaning I might carry over some choices from the black to the regular).
    The unresolved issue is that the rounds (o, b, c, d, etc.) are implemented as verticals with curves attached at top and bottom, which creates the illusion that the curves bulge out beyond the vertical. I avoided compensating for this because I want to interpolate with the narrow cut. Besides, meddling with the structure of the wide cut's letters will pull it away from the condensed cut making them incongruent... Tough stuff I have little experience with. Anyway the main stars are going to be the Narrow and the Wide Black, which is out of the picture yet.

  • What do you make of this Preissig-inspired haček? Do you know of any existing typefaces drawing from this experiment?
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited November 2018
    I failed to show my /dieresistonos since so few words have it! I see now that most fonts squeeze the dialytika between the dots, but some stack them like I did, although the tonos still tends to point in between the dots. Is my solution acceptable? Does the diacritic extend too much above ascenders?
    Since you mention /finalsigma and a ‘solution’, I suppose you mean the bottom curves? They are too vertical? I didn't let them breathe and squeezed as much whitespace as I could for the sake of even color. I thought they still make up for that with their height, ascender and descender. The stretched curve of /zeta and retracted upper bowl of /xi were meant to come out as informed by handwriting (I saw a Greek girl writing her zeta almost like a Latin J with a topbar). Probably not a very good reason. I didn't change the strategy dramatically, but I widened both glyphs a bit and also lowered /zeta, see pdf.
    The gamma was designed as Latin gamma for phonetic/African use. I overlooked it, and still only had a vague idea about the loop and lack thereof, so thanks for the heads up! I see that even serif fonts have it filled in. Regarding Greekifying gamma and nu, I tried:
    • just a curve instead of the right arm (top line),
    • your suggestion to add the instroke from chi (bottom line) — not too calligraphic in nature? a bit too much whitespace on the left; the gamma, unlike nu, insisted to retain a straight right arm, I'm not sure if such discrepancy is allowed.

  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited November 2018
    John Hudson said:
    Personally, I don't think this form is working well in any of the scripts, including Cyrillic: the join of the two strokes is too low and too dark in all cases. In this design, I might be inclined to try this kind of construction for the Cyrillic:

    [That's rough: the join could be lower.]
    I failed to follow either of your suggestions at first. Here's another try:

    As you can see, I'm not sure about the lowercase now. Especially with the new broken-arm У my gut feeling is that the lowercase is too different.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,832
    I think the Cyrillic form base on my suggestion is working pretty well, but would benefit from descending just slightly further: it needs a bit more overshoot to avoid looking like it is riding high.

  • I pushed it down 8 units, so now it's at -10 units, the biggest overshoot in the project.  Too much? I didn't see a difference with smaller adjustments. (Maybe it's my Latin eyes.) Btw “Urdu” with the three descenders looks like a tricky word to test this. We might call this a “tendency for descender”, as someone pointed out.
    In the meantime I applied the same strategy to the lowercase, and now I'm wondering if this approach wouldn't be good for Latin as well. But then I remember there's /v and /w that need to play well with it too, so maybe not.
    The pdf contains the previous approaches to /U-cy, including the one with descender, for comparison.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,832
    I think this is looking quite good now, and convincingly Cyrillic.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,880
    edited November 2018
    The skip in the crotch of /У/у/ catches my eye in those samples, since it doesn't appear anywhere else. Have you considered a version of this architecture with vertical stems? You did so for /д/...
    I really like the look of the typeface overall. Some minor points: Kerning in /Г/у/ seems too tight, and the giant counter in the Bulgarian /з/ looks unbalanced. Oh, and the apices of /v/ and Bulgarian /л/ might look better if you made them less pointy.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited July 2019
    Blast from the past!
    Some (little) work has been done, I'm not going to bore you with the gory details.
    I'd be happy to hear which variants work better as defaults, my current choices are in the left column. @Emilios Theofanous I'm particularly curious about the Greek alternates, see comparison, pdf pages 5-7. I kind of like the alt /nu and /gamma more than the defaults.
    If something doesn't work too well even as alt, let know. My least favorite is ss10.
    As for the bent-arm /cyr-u design (@John Hudson's idea), I applied a slope to /cyr-el and /cyr-de to keep it company, maybe now it blends in better? Pages 8-10 Russian/Bulgarian/Serbian Cyrillic comparison.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,348
    On the general/Latin, I'd say:
    • The left ampersand alternate is far superior. If you want to keep the right one's structure, is there a way to raise its "x-height" (i.e. make the top crossover happen higher up)?
    • For the /one, have you tried a compromise of flag and no baseline serif? I think that structure would feel like a match for the font.
    • For the /g, the default is a bit showy but it'd be fun if you could get it to work. You might try a larger top bowl and more vertically compressed link. I'm not sure the right /a is necessary. If you keep it, you may want to separate out the /a and /g changes into two different stylistic sets, as I can easily imagine someone wanting the default /a and alternate /g. 
    • I like the descending cap /Y and /J as alternates, but I don't see much point in the straight /y vs. curling being a user decision. I think I'd just make the descending /Y and the /y curl as in SS06. A straight-sided ("u"-like) /y might be a more useful choice point for users if you want an alternate.

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