Geometric–humanist chimera

This project started out as all-caps hand lettering with varied proportions as the main feature. Trying to draw a matching lowercase, I ended up with monoline, geometric /c and /o, and somewhat humanist, contrasted other letters of varied widths, with /a /u /y more robust and /k/w/b/d/q/p pretty condensed. Some quirks appeared, like reversed-loop /g, and an idiosyncratic structure for the question mark.
Is this going somewhere, or is it just too much of everything? If the former, I'm planning on making a Text cut (with cut-off apices, for starters) and a Hand cut.
More samples in the PDF.


  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 729
    edited January 2020
    It is going somewhere - you can develop multiple fonts from this mixture :)
    I can't comment on it right away, it seems very much raw to me. I know it's geometrical, but the difference in width can perhaps be somewhat compensated.
    HNY btw! May it bring you good things :)

  • It seems odd that, almost whenever possible, any weight added for the heavier weights is added exclusively to the inside of the letterforms. This does not feel like a normal weight progression, as most of the bold glyphs seem more condensed than their light counterparts, and the difference in counter sizes in the light is then exaggerated in the bold.

    A more typical progression puts weight growth on both the inside and outside of counters. A bit more on the inside for round shapes like O, a bit more on the outside for crowded shapes like B.
  • Are the glyph widths really intended to change so drastically from one glyph to the next?
    Also, at the danger of stepping on your toes, I find that /g/ rather absurd. It's certainly neither humanist nor geometric.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,632
    edited January 2020
    “Absurd” seems a little harsh... but he’s not wrong, it does seem out of place.

    Also, the capital O is circular, but the lowercase is not. This seems odd.
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 180
    Yeah, this looks like a ransom mix of at least three faces. Even for the intended variety, /a is just too wide and /k is much too narrow. Backwards /g is backwards, to no apparent benefit.

    But really, I'm afraid the humanist stuff just doesn't fit. Save it to build another face from. You have a coherent uppercase, and the best thing may be to study it and start a new geometric lowercase with different ideas. Maybe turn /P over to make /d and see where that leads.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited January 2020
    Thank you everyone, and Happy New Year too!
    As usual, I wanted to try out too many ideas at once. But nothing good is born without pain.

    Btw /comma and /quotesingle are very early drafts, they will go more geometric for sure.

    To recap, I took the proportion variation thing too literally. I guess the classic proportions result naturally from the shapes of the glyphs themselves, but I took these and exaggerated them to the point of ridicule. Then I naively tried to do the same with the lowercase which obviously didn't really work.
    Since I need the caps to also work with the lowercase, I equalized the proportions further still, and decided to go for a slimmer look for the lowercase so that they work better with the narrower of the uppercase. I drew some of it from scratch, “humanist” influences mostly gone (I did make a copy of the old version for the future, as suggested). Perhaps one more thing to let go of is the outstrokes in /d /u and maybe also /l? Then I can see someone complain about the way /e still doesn't follow the logic of /c.
    @Thomas Phinney I will address the weight progression thing later, when I'm confident what direction to go in the Regular weight. Thanks though, duly noted.
    @K Pease I tried the idea, but I'd have to make up a whole new approach to the lowercase that I'm not so fond of:
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 180
    New /a is a winner, very smart!
  • Much better, although there are still a fewelements that seem like they are just coming from different typefaces.

    If cap COQ are circular, then D needs to be wider (the right part more like a half-circle).
    In the lowercase, if co are circular, then bdpq and e should be reasonably circular as well.
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 180
    There is a case for potentially keeping /e like it is, provided you eventually work out what to do with bdpqg. These look like they dropped in from Frutiger or something, especially /g looking even more out of place than the first one in its own way.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited January 2020
    Thank you both.
    I thought those Frutiger /b/d/p/q worked better than Futura /b/d/q/p would. But maybe not, so here’s another take, informed by /a. (I’m not sure I like it all that much). I also widened /D/e and narrowed down /o (Maybe I shouldn’t have? Now it’s still jumpy but doesn’t look intentional any more). Not sure about /d/u but I wanted to leave some hint of cursive to go with /e.
    (Btw, is this humanist again, or can it be justified as “advanced” geometric? :D )

  • Claudio PiccininiClaudio Piccinini Posts: 670
    edited January 2020
    Some typefaces you might want to check for ideas on how to rule out excessively eterogeneous elements while keeping the initial inspiration:

    - Claude Sans by Alan Meeks (1988, a monoline Garamond-like skeletal typeface with rounded terminals and optical corrections);
    – Capone by Tony Geddes (1968)
    – Arta Italic by David Quay (1987);
    – Fiatadvert by Piero De Macchi (2007, but this one is caps only);
    – Suburban by Rudy Vanderlans (1993, for the post-modern "variability").
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 180
    The new approach is gelling into something, but I can see how it may not be the feel you were hoping for originally, and it is all-important to like your own work. Something about the /g really seems to hit the mark, though, and you might well hang onto it without necessarily having to carry the ♭-shape through everything else.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,073
    I agree with the judgement of the others here, that the oldest version was too radical, especially the lower-case g. But then, that is only stating the obvious. In moving between your second and third versions, it seems that you are trying to gently make some of the letters a little less tame, again, partly so as to balance the typeface - rather than having some letters somewhat radical and others totally conventional.

    I would not consider the typeface to be particularly related to the geometric versus humanist dialectic in sans-serif typefaces. It may borrow a little from some of the geometric sans-serifs, but from there it is going in another direction, not towards the conventional humanists.
  • It's interesting to see how much the flavor of the typeface changes when just a few key letters are modified...  take care not to lose track of what you want it to look like!
    I agree that the Frutiger letters look out of place (I also pegged them as Frutiger at first sight, even if the asymmetric thinning at the bowl/stem junctions given them away upon closer inspection).
    The new italic-like teardrop bowls work well, but ironically the /a/ they're supposedly based on now stands out as a foreign body...!
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