Width proportions across weights

Im currently working on a sort of exercise to practise interpolation and I was wondering what everyones thoughts are on how to approach width consistency across weights.

For example, the /a and /e in a monoline sans; having three horizontal strokes forces the form to widen in order to accommodate appropriately sized counters, and even out the colour. Should this then influence the proportions of the lighter weights, or should the widths adapt naturally?

For my design, I was initially going for quite classical proportions, but for bolder weights it felt right to make the widths a bit more uniform. 

So (depending on the design), what should be prioritised, even colour/width or retaining a visual consistency of widths across the family?


  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,318
    edited May 2019
    You ask about whether to preserve color or width proportions, but looking at your images I think an issue is that you’ve preserved contrast too much. In a conventional bold the thicks should take on much more weight than the thins. Thickening all more evenly results in the “dipped in chocolate” look your letters have (esp. the caps). Simultaneously that decision makes evening out the widths tempting as you’ve noted: in classically narrow letters like /B/ or /E/, because the horizontal thins are thickening too much, they make the counterspaces too small, which you are wanting to relieve through widening the whole letter.
    I would test out a higher contrast bold and then reconsider the issue. 
    If you definitely want that bold at that contrast, I would probably say color is more important than width proportions. But sketch examples both ways and let your eye decide. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,467
    A long time ago, I was curious about exactly how master type designers add weight to letters—where the weight gets added as stroke thicknesses increase.

    It varies depending on the letter (and a little depending on the designer). For example, on a round "O" if you are adding weight, the overwhelming majority has to go on the inside. Overall, for round letters it was more like 90%+ goes on the inside. But for others, it was typically 2/3 – 3/4 of the weight goes on the inside.

    In this typeface, the bold feels a little more condensed than the light in certain letters, at least. Particularly H, E, O.
  • AbrahamLeeAbrahamLee Posts: 255
    What you’ve done here seems more appropriate for optical sizes than the typical weight adjustments.
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