First a bit about me: I’m a professor of English medieval
literature, fascinated since the 1980s by all things to do with type
and lettering—both because paleography is a significant part of
what I do and because of my struggles, as a young scholar, to get my
KayPro II + dot-matrix printer to produce the characters needed for
medieval texts. Since then I’ve produced several fonts based on
medieval scripts, and also a general-purpose font called Junicode
(loosely based on the Fell pica), which is pretty widely used—more
because it’s free and has lots of goodies for medievalists than
because of its design. I am self-taught and frankly a bit scared right now.
This is a variable font called “Elstob” after Elizabeth Elstob, a celebrated medieval scholar of the early 18th century. It takes as its starting point the Fell double pica used by the Oxford Press for dedications and the like in the decades around 1700. That face has its faults, but I think it has a kind of simplicity (for example, flat or flattish serifs, minimal or absent brackets) that make it a good model for a variable font. Elstob has three axes: weight, optical size, and grade. I have tried to keep the classic proportions and modernize the details, keeping the outlines as simple as possible to hold down file size. I hope to end up with a practical and readable typeface for websites having to do with medieval studies.
I won’t go into my own specific design concerns, but will just say that the farther I get from my models (heavier weights, smaller optical sizes) the more anxious I feel. Also, as I don’t think of this font as a revival, I am very willing to depart from the original for the sake of design improvements. I have been working on the roman and italic more or less simultaneously, so my samples have both (sorry). I welcome any advice this community can give.
are links to a PDF, a web page with the obligatory sliders and
checkboxes, and a couple of images (here and here) from the 1925 specimen book,
printed with type cast in the 1890s from the seventeenth-century
matrices. And, of course, an image:
The source pics show capital stem weights as much heavier than lowercase stems. Even if you don't want to go as far as that I still think your cap stems should be wider. Similarly, you may have lowered the tittles a little too much.
I'd ease up a bit on the lean of italic A and V.
Consider making the cap vertical serifs (on C/G/S, and maybe on the middle arms of E/F) more wedge-shaped instead of just line segments.
b/d/p/q counters should capture about the same amount of white space.
Did you consider having the optical size axis change contrast, and not just proportions and sidebearings? I think a higher contrast master would make this face work at a broader range of sizes.
The space glyph may be too wide.
Fun variable-font showoff page!
I would add space in and around the letters of your extralight master, and take away space in and around the letters of your extrabold master.
Keep working on even spacing (your top line reads like en en en en en and bottom reads like e ne ne ne ne ne ne), and where the shapes hinder even spacing they may need to be altered.
As for the n from the u... it's a pain in the ass to cut a punch!
(Of course, you are doing a reinterpretation, so there is room to change things.)