So this illustration
from Eric Gill's Essay on Typography recently showed up on my Twitter stream. In it, Gill shows that there is a limit to the boldness of classical serif typeface, since making the stems too heavy will lead the architecture of the letters ad absurdum. He calls this overbold
, and obviously means to discourage the reader from inflicting it on an actual typeface.
So of course, I did it anyway.
Is this worth pursuing? I know Gill's answer, but I'd like to get a second opinion...
The core flaw of Gill's sentiment arises from something most type designers misguidedly cling to: chirography as letterform architecture.
That said, when it comes to a text face, the useful range of weight is quite limited; far more limited than virtually all contemporary designers want to admit (and arguably stemming from the overly–screen-dependent comically dark Bold styles of the MS Core Fonts). In contrast (pardon the pun) Aicher had it right (which I've emulated in my Patria). Make all the crazy-dark weights you want. Just put them in the display cut, don't bundle them in the text cut. But I digress...
Although arguably less extreme, highly compressed or condensed family members often also have some design shifts, particularly straight sides—a phenomenon discussed in the recent thread Hrant linked to, above: http://typedrawers.com/discussion/3088/ultra-compressed-flat-siders
[ @James Puckett's Sybarite is a really nice revival of one of the Kinsley types, but not the heaviest, which I think was the twenty-line pica.]
BTW deliberately freakish is trending...
I wonder if instead of just thick and thin you could introduce a third medium-width stroke used judiciously to solve the trickiest letters like /R/ and maybe /B/. I have in mind the way that some bold eights cheat at top right and bottom left:
Did you try small tittles, in the vein of the /a/ teardrop or /Q/ tail?
Radius on the rounded tops of ascenders seems too wide to me.