Newbie. First grotesque type design.

Hello everyone,

I recently stumbled upon this great forum and I got super excited. I'm currently working on a branding redesign for a furniture and lighting studio. The project developed in the way, that I decided to have a go at it and develop a custom typeface for the brand. Typography has always been an issue for me. So much respect, that I never dared to give it a try.

Here is my first draft. Looking forward for expert feedback.
Thanks in advance.


  • First off, I hope you didn't take an existing typeface and edited it.
    Secondly, I would recommend getting some more experience with type design before actually applying it in a branding project.

    Thirdly, here are some pointers. I see two features here: thin joints like in 7, V, W, etc. and a contrast in inner/outer curvature for basically all curves. These features could work together, but they need to be applied consistently. I think it would be nice if (some of) the curves also got thin joints, because now the diagonals feel a little out of place. The curvature thing could be applied more consistently. It is barely present in P and ? for example, but very strong in 6 and G.

    Good luck, and have fun! 
  • Although I am not really an expert, but more of an ambitious aspiring type designer, I can already tell you that I need a bit more context if you really want to get a solid and grounded critique.
    Things like:
    - What was/is your thought (and design) process?
    - What exactly is the end goal, meaning the look you are going for?
    - What was your starting point? Helvetica?
    - How does/should the design of the typeface relate to the company?

    Because, to be very frank with you, this typeface here just looks like Helvetica, modified to look disjointed and with heightened inner curve tension. And that's not good. If you really have something specific in mind, please, at least start from the ground up. Because modifying an existing typeface is not the way to go.
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,280
    You've got weird connections on the 47VWZvwyz which could reflect the construction of furniture. The Z looks like a desk lamp arm. Look at the connections of the knr. Boring, conventional connections.

    Modifying an existing typeface could be a way to go if the EULA allows it. There are plenty of public domain typefaces that could be used. There's an actual Helvetica clone in the public domain but I did a quick search and couldn't find's out there. Not saying I recommend it but there's a 1970's chopped up Helvetica vibe that has some value. And some times distoreting a familiar typeface is the whole point. I made Order, purposefully to resemble Univers and Jillican to resemble Gill Sans and Coolvetica which know. The best example I can think of is Shatter. It works so well precisely because it's a well known typeface (Helvetica) that's been distorted. It's so familiar that we only notice the broken glass and not the typeface itself.

    But it crosses over into cheesy if it looks like you tried to get away with a hacked up version of a famous typeface. It has to look like you're not trying to hide the fact that it's a distorted Helvetica or it becomes cheesy.
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