Overbold: Ignoring Eric Gill's Advice

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  • It occurred to me that while /A/V/W/ deliberately suffer from being overbold, I've spared /N/M/ the same fate. Maybe I shouldn't? Here's how it might look if I were consequent about it (second line).

    Too much? Or maybe I could expand the broked-apex versions into a full non-overbold stylistic alternate, even if it defies the purpose of the typeface.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,748
    I think the top-line versions work better.
  • Of course they're a superior approach to the matter... but the typeface's whole raison d'être is to go against better wisdom and stick to the naïve construction. Are those new /N/M/ worse than, e.g., the /B/R/?
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Are those new /N/M/ worse than, e.g., the /B/R/?
    Can we see them in context or proximity with /B/R?
    The new ones are certainly more distinctive and further reinforce your concept. Not sure they’re quite there yet, but I think they have potential to work in a unique fashion.
  • Context!
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,398
    I kinda like ’em!
    (Does black come too far into the curve of /U/?)
  • The /N/ diagonal is already way heavier than any other stroke in the typeface, but the glyph still feels immaterial. Maybe I should enlarge the serifs or make the diagonal even thicker (and possibly widen the glyph as well).
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,748
    The newer N is ok, although I prefer the older one by a slight margin.

    But the new M... I think what bothers me is the right-hand stroke being off-vertical, combined with the heavy diagonal. It ends up feeling very off-balance somehow, in a disturbing way rather than an entertaining way.

    (A lot of the letters are working really well. The lowercase e and a are especially fun.)
  • Widening the /N/ seems to help:

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited April 2019
    @Thomas Phinney: My gut reaction was «I can't possibly make those angles work without tilting the sides», but then I realized it doesn't have to look good. :grimace: This seems to work quite well within the theme of the typeface.


  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited May 2019
    How does this work for Cyrillic?
    I allowed myself some cursive shapes due to the overall cuddliness of the typeface, but it's not consistently applied. Is that a problem?
    I really want to make a starkly triangular /El-cy/ to go with the seminal /A/ of the typeface, but then I'd have to give up that /De-cy/ for a triangular form as well, which would be a pity.
    @Hrant: That /Er-cy/ is for you. :grimace:
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,748
    Regarding the “M” I have to look at it some more. I am not sure which one is working better, honestly. Perhaps your first one is working better, and I am just reluctant to admit it.   :D

  • Among these last two, you mean? Yeah, I think I still prefer the one with sloped sides. It certainly works much better for the lowercase /em-cy/.
    Here's what the triangular forms would look like. I like the /El-cy/, but miss the /De-cy/ from before. Think I can mix them?


  • I allowed myself some cursive shapes due to the overall cuddliness of the typeface, but it's not consistently applied. Is that a problem?
    That’s okay…
  • Among these last two, you mean? Yeah, I think I still prefer the one with sloped sides. It certainly works much better for the lowercase /em-cy/.
    Here's what the triangular forms would look like. I like the /El-cy/, but miss the /De-cy/ from before. Think I can mix them?
    I wouldn’t.

    I don’t think the ‘bald P’, ρ-like form is acceptable in this context. I would simply use the Latin P for the Cyrillic Р. 

    In the б the ~ over the o is too heavy.

    The wavy terminals in the Ц, ц, Щ, and щ are a bit too small. Anyway, I would use the wedge-like, not the tilde-like, form.
  • In the б the ~ over the o is too heavy.

    That's the point of the typeface, though... allowing the heaviness of the heavy strokes to distort the letters into surprising shapes. Compare the heavy horizontals of /five/ and /seven/:


    As long as this still works as a /б/, I'd like to keep it.

  • Since I'm already using some cursivey forms, should I also use a tall /be-cy/? I find the horizontal serifs on the short /be-cy/ a bit jarring among all the humanist ones.

  • Jacob CasalJacob Casal Posts: 99
    I think stylistically the thicker /be-cy/ feels more comfortable, maybe touch up the top counter a little more as it feels a little too sharp. Looking at some other italicized cyrillic it seems they make use of a thicker top sometimes as well.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    @Christian Thalmann You meant /ve-cy/ (в), right?
  • The heavier /ve-cy/ is certainly uglier but also more fitting with the typeface’s philosophy. Assuming it works, I’m running with it. 
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited May 2019
    Perhaps some Greek would round off the typeface? Not too sure about the /Theta/; see ideas below. Maybe I'll just lose the interior serifs on /Theta/ and /Xi/.Think a slightly raised middle stem like in the /Psi/ might also work for /Zhe-cy/?

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,379
    edited May 2019
     How about using your zero strategy for Theta? If you trim the inward facing serifs on Psi I think it'll go nicely with the Omega.
  • Good calls on both accounts!
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 689
    Is /em-cy too narrow?
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited May 2019
    Is /em-cy too narrow?
    Doesn't look too narrow to me... I also suspect its morphology would suffer (even more than it does now) if I were to widen it.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 689
    edited May 2019
    Oh, I meant too light. Sorry. Definitely couldn't be wider. Probably it's the structure and not much you can do about it. Would be good to see some words though.
    I meant kind of what you said about the new /N, immaterial.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited May 2019
    It doesn't look too light to me either... The counter is huge, of course, but that can't be avoided while sticking to the typeface's philosophy (same with the lone peak of /el-cy/).
    Meanwhile, a first attempt at Greek lowercase:

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,398
    /delta shouldn't swoop up at the top.
    I wonder if you could try a /xi with uneven horizontals (a thinner one in the middle).
    /omega should be more symmetrical, and maybe it could be skinny in the middle? And could /phi and /psi have thin bars in the middle?
    Both /sigmas and tau seem wide. 
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,941
    edited May 2019
    Thanks! I've changed /delta/ and made /sigma/ and /tau/ shorter, though the /sigma/ always feels too light, which is why I have the urge to widen it.
    I've tried a thin interior to /omega/, but it came out — quite literally! — butt-ugly. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.
    Given the problem with /omega/, I haven't tried out a thin interior for /phi/ and /psi/ yet. It seems weird to thin the main mast, as it were, but it is a weird typeface...
    I've significantly thinned the three stems in regular /psi/ and /omega/, though; I think it's an improvement.
    A /xi/ with thin interior works surprisingly well, but I think I still prefer the more symmetric version.
    EDIT: Hmm, the narrowed /sigma/ was too small for my taste. I feel it should compare to /o/ in heft.
    I've found a way to add more weight to the flat-topped glyphs, though: Adding a bit of a bulge to the top. Also helps them look more natural.

    Oh, and I guess /omega/ could use some rounding, too:
  • Jacob CasalJacob Casal Posts: 99
    edited May 2019
    The bulges are good touch, I like the interaction of white space in /delta, and shortening the /tau helped quite nicely. I am torn on the /σ, it may match the heft of /omicron but feels awkward next to the other letters. Maybe if it was shortened to appear as if the top stroke matched /pi’s top stroke visually it would still be long but fit better.
    Omega. It looks much better more rounded and adds a little symmetry. That serif did not do it favors. I have seen a thick interior stem (and this goes for /phi and /psi too) as I have been looking through Greek uncial on vellum, but oftentimes for lowercase I see that the interior is thicker because its done in a close looping motion and not because a main stem was rising up. Regardless of whether you keep /omega’s interior thick or make it thinner, you probably don’t want it to look like a main stem if you’re going for a more Greek lowercase look, and if you do make it thinner you probably don’t want it to be thinner than the curves leading into it (as in your first experiment). I would also reiterate what Craig said about symmetry too, but I can understand why you may be hesitant to flip the left stem inward, being the only time it would happen amidst the rest of your Greek.
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