May 2013 Font (Working Title)

Hello all.

I started my first typeface hence the temporary name for the project.

It would be great to get some feedback while working on the typeface so far I have done the lower-case and plan on working on the upper-case next. Once I have done that I will go back to the lower-case as a lot of the curves are far from perfect or maybe.

Also please note I haven't done any kerning yet as this is something I need to research more in depth first.

The inspiration for this typeface where early sketches of Futura, Bauhaus and Univers. Please let me know if it looks too similar to any of these fonts as i wanted to use them as inspiration and not to look exactly the same.



  • Jack Jennings
    Jack Jennings Posts: 151
    edited May 2013
    Your problem right now is the problem that most people have when drawing their first typeface, and that is you have too many ideas for glyph shapes, and not enough ideas for the typeface as a whole.

    Since you haven't told us a lot about the reason you made this, we'll have to guess, and if I had to guess It seems like your original thought was either: "I like different bits of Futura, Bauhaus, and Univers, so I'll mix all of those bits together"; or "Since this is my first typeface, I'll draw a geometric because I think that's probably easier than drawing anything else". The problem with both of those starting places is that neither sets out to solve a problem or to serve a specific purpose. Without knowing that, you are going to have a hard time moving your typeface towards something cohesive (and "finishing" it).

    Currently, it's pretty easy to tell which characters came from which of your inspirations, and which ones you made up yourself. Because you have three pretty disparate starting places, and each of those is trying to do something pretty different, your glyphs don't gel. Trying to force them together is going to be a long battle.

    I'm guessing that you've probably learned as much as you can from this effort. If you're drawing your glyphs in a font editor, then you've learned your way around the software. You've looked at how these three typefaces are drawn, and from that observation you've tried to recreate and reconcile them. These are both good first steps (seeing and drawing).

    That being said, I don't think that you need to continue on to the capitals or numerals in this face. Unless this is the only typeface you ever want to make in your life, you will get more out of starting something new, with a different and more clear purpose. Spend some time thinking about who is going to use your typeface, where it is going to be best applied, at what sizes it might appear at, who it's supposed to appeal to, etc. The more specific you can make it the better. Drawing something with a lot a character is going to be easier than drawing something as refined as a geometric needs to be (I believe that James P suggested to someone else to draw a black serif with tons of contrast; that's good advice).

    That's probably not what you wanted to hear, but based on my experience as an amateur type drawer, it's much more productive (and rewarding) to start many times, even if you throw away what seems like a lot of potential material (at the time).
  • Jacob Law Sales
    Thanks for the advice Jack.

    It definitely helped me a lot in the progress of drawing the font on paper to using software and i learnt a lot about drawing the different shapes.

    You got the reason for me drawing this typeface pretty head on i was taking parts of the fonts i liked and getting rid of parts i didn't like and trying to create something in-between. I defintley hesitated once i finished as i felt i didn't achieve much of a distinctive typeface but i didn't want to throw in any gimmicks to set it apart but i did gain valuable experience.

    I think i will start again and look at more resources and maybe go for a different approach, the black serif idea sounds interesting.

    Thanks again.
  • Jack Jennings
    Jack Jennings Posts: 151
    I feel like I should reemphasize too that you can definitely come back to this as well. I've found that taking some time off and looking at a different project for awhile help you to reevaluate something like this more objectively. The amount of time that you invest in a typeface tends to make it your darling, and you reach a point (at least in the first couple of faces), where you can't bring yourself to make the changes that need to happen. You might love your current /k, but it doesn't work in relation to any other letter.

    When you do look at this again, look at which character(s) is still your favorite, and try to use one of those as a starting point in generating the rest of the alphabet. For example, if /m feels the most like what you want to accomplish, what does the matching /b look like? Should you remove the spur? Should they be omitted across the board?

    The last approach you could use to continue this would be to think about the motivations again. If you approach this from "I like futura, but I wish it was more... or had…" I think you'll get much further and be happier with the result.

    Good luck! If you come up with many ideas and need help choosing something appropriate, please post again and someone can help you in this strange as well.
  • West Adams
    West Adams Posts: 3
    Aside from any formal tips I've received, the most helpful advice I have ever gotten while designing a typeface, is as soon as you have enough letters, to begin using your font to typset some text you feel is representative of the tone you are trying to create.

    Jack mentions identifying a problem that you can solve, and using those perimeters to guide your design choices. This is absolutely good advice that will make the process feel less arbitrary. For example designing for a particular medium can prescribe certain formal constraints like x-height and counterform shape.

    At the same time, for most of us, seeing a new, brilliantly drawn typeface can be incredibly inspiring (or jealousy inducing, depending). In fact, from the image you posted it seems there may be one or two designers whose work you quite admire. Even in more polished work, this is almost always the case.

    The reason I bring up finding a selection to typeset is that fonts designed to satisfy only formal or functional requirements often seem to be without an appropriate context. Furthermore, selecting a written work you admire is perhaps a way of introducing a subjectivity you may miss otherwise. If your typeface is for reading, and many are, your taste in literature, in street signs, or what have you can be another useful way of determining the suitability of a given letterform.
  • Thomas Phinney
    Thomas Phinney Posts: 2,808
    edited May 2013
    There are a ton of guidelines for optical issues that you need to learn about. I am seeing a lot of stuff built with strict geometry that needs to be fixed to accommodate human perception.

    Don't worry, you're in good company. Compare Paul Renner's original drawings for Futura to what Bauer actually made (Renner, being an architect, did not know about these things either).

    Some classic issues you have encountered:

    Horizontal thickness needs to be thinner than vertical to *look* the same.

    Curve needs to thin where it joins with pre-existing line to avoid appearance of getting heavier and "clotting." (examples: abdghmpqrw)

    Straight line becoming a curve needs to have more gradual onset, not just gluing the two shapes together. (examples: mnu)

    On the side, visually it looks like your "s" is leaning backwards. It is okay to give it a little lean if you like, but if so make it lean forwards rather than backwards.
  • PabloImpallari
  • Jacob Law Sales
    Thanks for the advice and tips everyone.

    I have decided to take a break from it for a week and then come back to it after some more practice.

    Pabloimpallari, my art director has those 3 books they are a collection of truly amazing work I would love to have my own set maybe after saving some money i will splash out.