First font - Fresh eyes needed

LeonAASmithLeonAASmith Posts: 5
edited October 1 in Type Design Critiques
Hello,
Firstly thanks for the advices that I've read on other threads last years, I learned a lot through it.
I am a young graphic designer with a strong interest in typography, I am always fascinated by the connotation, the tone of a type face rather than what's actually written. I had some basic calligraphy (small flat brush).
For two years now, I am working on a typeface as an exercise, I had nice and interesting feedback from coworkers, teachers and friends, but I changed shapes a lot as I could not find an pleasant style for me.

My own starting brief was to have a rational typeface, straight axis, but with some organic features, I liked some Century old style, Baskerville etc. But more in Times maybe Plantin proportion. For the contemporary designers I like Academica by Storm (Is it too obvious ?), Lido. But also Helvetius by Cortat.

Now I believe the feeling is good, I chose to have slightly slanted axis (but bdpq seems a bit weird), but not for the "o" (the shape always seems wrong). There is not so much contrast but I don't think it is a 6pt font...
A lot of letters are missing and it looks a very little work but before digging more I would like news eyes on it, as I cannot have any new feedback (construction, proportion, contrast, hints, anything), even laser print for proofing is miles away... Thanks a lot ! ("B" "D" "P" are very new sorry, I like big tittles, and tears drops are always the same everywhere)





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Comments

  • Don’t apologize too much, for a novice’s work it’s pretty good. The overall idea and tone seems fine to me, that could become a text workhorse some day.

    I like your melancholic a and your idea for the k.

    Top half of thin stroke (A) and bottom half of thin stroke (V) are too thick. Also serif of L. This may be less thick but more lengthy. M is a little too dark. The bowl of the P wants to get more space.

    Harmonize the inner spaces of n and o; they are two of the most important glyphs. When getting back to bdpq, think of the c glyph. The e is fine but maybe a little opening of the bottom counter will be beneficial.


  • @Andreas Stötzner Thanks a lot for your feedbacks and encouragements!
    I have not spend as time on uppercase than lowercase so your hints are helpfull and will save me time.
    For bdpq, I think you are pointing out the main issue I fought against. I fancy straight axis and "industrial" shapes (I love Media77), but I hate drawing "e" with thin/weak bottom. But apparently one can not work without the other (at least with my skills)... I will try to find out something, thanks again !

    (I wonder if there is a story/history about straight axis "o" in a slanted axis bdpqec font...)
  • @Leon: I think Andreas meant that the overall weight of /n should harmonize with the overall weight/perception of /o: since they are two important and very recurring characters, from your bitmap image it seems to me that the /n and /m are too narrow (and the stem thickness in the point of departure from the vertical looks a bit heavy.
    Personally I quite like the /b /d /p /q. You might want to differentiate a bit more /p from /d and /b from /q (just in terms of vertical weight balance).

    The upper terminal of /f, but this is a preference, extends a lot. You might want to consider a narrower /f or see what you’ll decide to adjust with basic ligatures.
    Also, while I like the unusual /k, I think you could strive for more consistency with the treatment of /a. Since you have chosen that peculiar form for /a, I’d make the /k opening larger at the top as well (lowering the meeting point of the stems).
  • (I wonder if there is a story/history about straight axis "o" in a slanted axis bdpqec font...)
    If it works I would not worry much about such things. Besides, yours is a mostly vertical/modern axis alphabet, with just a limited number of hints to calligraphy/classic serifs.
  • For two years now, I am working on a typeface as an exercise
    From what I can see you can now stop exercising, and start running.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,641
    If you are unhappy with b d p q, you might consider that the usual way of achieving diagonal weight distribution with those letters is to twist the counter—not so much changing the shape of the outside of the bowl.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 428
    edited October 2
    I agree with what's been said above, and would add my usual mantra that it's very rewarding to flip the specimens vertically and horizontally to see what may have been missed in the standart LTR way of work.

    If I had to nitpick, the diacritic on the e grave is too centered for my taste. Personally, I push two thirds of the weight away from the optical center.

    Overall, pretty impressive.
  • I'm a fan of courageous /a/ designs, and this one is very courageous indeed. :grimace:  Love the tiny counter, but the design as a whole feels «pinched» to me. I'd probably try to lighten the ball terminal a bit, or lift it up just a hair, to get some more air in there.
    The two heavy strokes in /k/ are a bit too close for my taste; they create a dark spot there. Maybe you can lower the stem intercept of the thin diagonal and then slide the contact point of the heavy diagonal away from the stem a bit?
    The /e/ just strikes me as very Times New Roman. Maybe you could get away with something more adventurous to match the /a.
    Great job so far!
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 461
    edited October 2
    For the contemporary designers I like Academica by Storm (Is it too obvious ?),

    I certainly see no reason to differ with the opinion of the professional type designers here that your efforts are of professional quality.
    It was not obvious to me that you liked Academica, the Storm Type Foundry's digital recreation of Academia by Josef Týfa, as I, personally, had not been aware of that typeface, but, yes, there is some resemblance: it clearly inspired your "courageous a".
    I consider your "k" to be more courageous than your "a", and perhaps a little too courageous, but then I'm a rather timid sort in these matters. I approve of simple, plain Roman typefaces that could serve as alternates to Century Expanded. I suppose that's why I find your "e" just fine as it is, although to make it harmonize more with the "a", perhaps slanting the crossbar as in an oldstyle typeface is a way to be "courageous", but then it clashes with everything else about the typeface. Hmm. Maybe Josef Týfa was wrong, and discretion would be the better part of valor with the "a" after all.
    However, you have very limited scope to make the "a" less courageous, given your consistent teardrops/ball terminals. The top of the "a" could be made more level, like the top of the "f", instead of being angled downwards when one goes to the left, but that's about it. The crossbar on the "f" may extend a little too much to the right, making the letter look too wide, for that matter.
    Not being a type designer, though, my advice would no doubt be bad advice compared to that of the professionals here: the courageous "a" gives the typeface a charm, something similar was good enough for Josef Týfa, and several of the professional type designers here like it.
    The nitpick on the e with grave accent appears correct to me, it doesn't quite harmonize with the acute.
    Maybe I'm just imagining things, but the low stroke contrast or the large size makes me think your specimen is almost in a semibold weight, and so there might be additional changes needed in the final form of the typeface if you do make the normal form lighter in weight than this specimen.
    The shape of the back of the lower-case "q" may be slightly unconventional, not coming to a sharp point at the top.
  • @Claudio Piccinini @Hrant H. Papazian @Thomas Phinney @Vasil Stanev @Christian Thalmann @John Savard Thank you all for your great feedbacks (type designer or not @John Savard " ;-) )
    I am very glad to have posted here, I will weigh the pros and cons of what I want and hope come back soon with adjustments and news shapes!
  • ronotyporonotypo Posts: 9

    I’m still a very « junior » type designer myself, but here’s a couple of additional remarks

    1. I would try to even the counter of the a with the one of the e. Either make a bigger counter on a, or a smaller one on e.
    2. Accents on é and è should be directed towards the top of the letter — not centered on the letter. 
    3. The angle on the top of the a is wonderful. Maybe this should be replicated on the top of the f and the bottom of the j. (Same diagonal angle, not symmetrical)
    4. I would make the « inside serif » of P, p, F, f and q a bit longer. As if it was a way to prevent the letter from falling under the weight of its upper part. 
    5. Diagonals on V and N are maybe a bit thick. 
    Hope this helps and makes sense :smile:
    This is beautiful work !
  • @Andreas Stötzner Thanks a lot for your feedbacks and encouragements!
    I have not spend as time on uppercase than lowercase so your hints are helpfull and will save me time.
    For bdpq, I think you are pointing out the main issue I fought against. I fancy straight axis and "industrial" shapes (I love Media77), but I hate drawing "e" with thin/weak bottom. But apparently one can not work without the other (at least with my skills)... I will try to find out something, thanks again !

    (I wonder if there is a story/history about straight axis "o" in a slanted axis bdpqec font...)
    You might want to have a close look at a designer like Gerard Unger – his typefaces often very subtly introduce a slanted stress. 
  • Hello there,
    the feedbacks were so helpfull and encouraging that I though after three weeks that it could be interesting to post again.
    So there it is, the second batch. I tried to listen advices, considering all of them, but obviously I did not put them all into the design.
    I believe the main issues are the deal with P B R D bowls. My eye don't seems to understand how to manage the weight of the curves. Also I found the idea of @ronotypo interesting (using the same angle as the a for f and j). Don't know if I understood it right but... I like it on the f and j even if it is not well made. And I am not sure if it fits right into a "late transitional typeface".
    I am pretty sure that now the spacing is too tight, but it looks nicer on screen :smile:
    It would be lovely to have a feedback on bqpd bowl, now I get it how it should be, be not sure if I did it right (how the balance the weight comparatively to the o) ; and on the g.
    Most of all I need to print it as soon as possible... Also the bottom of the e and c look flat to me....
    Thanks a lot!
    Cheers




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  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,641
    The /P has a very high waist. So much so, that while the /R usually goes higher, it may not be necessary here, or at least not so much. The /B is very even, more so even than average. That is not necessarily wrong, but it feels like it is coming from a different typeface than the one that particular /P is in.

    So, either (1) make /B more high-waisted, or (2) make /P and /R more conventional (lower waistline), or (3) compromise and do a bit of both.

    Probably the most “normal” approach would be to pick (3) and make 2/3 or 3/4 of the adjustment to /P and /R, and just a little to /B.

    Additionally, /A /E /F /H also have some crossbar-height relationship to the above, though more loosely so. Whatever you do will need to be evaluated in relationship to those as well, and they might need some adjustment. Currently it looks like maybe /E and /F have the same height crossbar, btw—/F should be a tad lower.
  • Nice going!
    I still think the ball terminal of /a/ has too much weight; probably also those of /f/ and /r/. For /r/, you might also want to consider lightening the branch holding the terminal, or tilting the top of the stem a bit away from the branch in order to make a more pronounced gap. (That might also help your /n/m/u/, but then again it might disturb the transitional flavor — use with a grain of salt.)
    Yes, the spacing is too narrow for book use, but you could always offer a more compact display cut. :grimace:
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 461
    I noticed there seemed to be too much space after the capital N, and not enough space after the capital B, although the rest of the spacing in your typeface looked correct.
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 44
    I feel that while /b /q are as they should be, /d shoulder could use a touch of thickening into the join, and /p would be better with all its stress distributed more vertically, not fully vertical like o but closer to it.
  • LeonAASmithLeonAASmith Posts: 5
    edited October 24
    @Thomas Phinney Thanks for reminding me these ground "rules" that I forgot obviously to consider..!  For the /B yes it is even, it was intended like that, I wanted to have a "construted in a box" feeling, even /B, even /S s/, /E in a box (more or less). But I guess that if it is rising questions it's not well drawn  :#
     Also @Christian Thalmann thanks, in fact it is hard to set a right balance between distinctive features or trying to have quirky interesting shapes and things that prevent a good reading experience... As these a bit oversize balls terminal  ;)
    Thanks also @John Savard, @K Pease I will consider these interresting feedbacks! Anything about /g /j?

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