Can you put your finger on what's wrong with Nubium font?

Craig RozynskiCraig Rozynski Posts: 29
edited August 2020 in Lettering Critiques


First of all thanks to TypeDrawers for kindly adding me to the community. I've introduced myself in Introductions and hope I can give something back.

I'm working on a font called Nubium. To my eye it looks passable in the samples pasted here, but when looked at as a whole (I've attached a proof PDF) there's something undeniably awkward about it.

The inspiration was NeuBau’s Architekt ( and TT Lakes ( — I was going for a square sans-serif that would appeal to an engineer, architect or a futurist.

Based on my own expectation level I’m at a 5 out of 10 at this point. I need a 7 or an 8!

I would love to get your fresh eyes and opinions. Thank you


  • A few notes, in no particular order:

    In letters like /b, and /d, I see little sense in two different joints from bowl to stem. The narrow inktrap joint works best, the untapered joint creates a dense area.

    /r should follow the same logic, right now it has a unique treatment.

    /k, and to a lesser extent /K, are problematic. Their untapered arms kind of merging into the stems create an area far denser than found anywhere else in the font. The vertical end of the arm is unorthodox and rarely a good idea.

    I’m not sure about /y. This should be a very modular font, so having one letter breaking the rules doesn’t make sense. It could work just as well with a more square bowl like /u.

    Pretty much every figure needs to be worked on, par 4 and 7. They feel unbalanced.

    Make horizontal strokes a bit thinner than verticals, our eyes perceive them as heavier.

    Bold needs more optical corrections for more even texture. Squint, and you’ll see how letters like /e and /a are far heavier. While this isn’t always fully correctable, you can still move in the right direction by, for instance, giving those two letters a slightly thinner middle horizontal stroke.
  • Great feedback @Matthijs Herzberg, thanks for taking the time.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,036
    edited August 2020
    I would suggest changing the name of the typeface, as 'Nubium' won't just suggest, say, a new metal that makes futuristic alloys, it will also evoke a geographical region named Nubia, with the potential for controversy.
    As to the appearance of the characters in the typeface itself, the alphabet proof did not reveal to me much beyond what your examples showed. Depending on the effect desired, it could be pretty much right as is. The only character that struck me as a potential problem was the digit 2.
    It is possible that there are subtle changes in the other characters that would achieve your goals, but I'm not qualified to assist in that area.
    Possibly the typeface would benefit from the font offering a selection of alternate characters, allowing its users to adjust it to taste. Another possibility is that the typeface already does serve a purpose very well, and thus is satisfactory as it already is... but it could also be used as the starting point for you to change it comprehensively to make the typeface that meets your personal goals, which would end up being a different typeface, also worthwhile as a product.
    Wait: one other character is problematic. Capital A is jarring, because unlike any of the other characters, it suggests the appearance of one of those MICR-based "Computer" typefaces of the seventies.
  • Thanks John.

    Nubium is Latin for 'clouds'. The name's taken from Mare Nubium ('Sea of Clouds'), which is a basalt plain on our moon. Mare Nubium's the site of the largest recorded asteroid impact in 2015, which was visible from earth with the naked eye.

    Which isn't to say people won't misconstrue it, but at least I can back up why I called it what I did.
  • I have been on Type Drawers for less than a day and I've already broken something :/

    This should be in the Type Design Critique not the Lettering one. 

    If you'd like to comment please head here:

    Moderators feel free to remove this discussion in Lettering. I've saved the above feedback offline.
  • Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
  • Haha
  • Um, a moderator closed the new version of this discussion I created in Type Design Critiques, so please continue to use this one. 

    Hungry for your comments people.
  • Nubium is Latin for 'clouds'. The name's taken from Mare Nubium ('Sea of Clouds'),
    Technically, the Latin word for clouds is nūbēs, with the genitive plural form nūbium meaning «of clouds»; hence, mare nūbium «sea of clouds». (It should still work as a name, though, as does gentium «of the people».)
    I agree with John that the /A/ is problematic, especially in the word «SHINAHARA» in the top right of your picture, where it's barely distinguishable from /R/ and wobbles uncomfortably.
  • Touché! Thanks Christian.
  • Another vote for the problematic /A/. Duplicating the angle of the arm of the /K/ in mirror, meeting at a vertex, might achieve a more harmonious result, and remove any ambiguity as to what the letter is actually supposed to be.

  • I've focused on bold this week. More to do.

    @Matthijs Herzberg your feedback really saved me, thanks. 

    @John Savard You're right I was trying to include a hint of MICR in the A, B and R. Just couldn't get it working in bold so the B and R are now toned back. A and R still compete but I'm holding onto the form of that A with grim determination.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,036
    Although the A hasn't been changed to another form, the adjustment to the width of its top is enough so that now a hint of MICR contributes to its futuristic nature, without hitting the reader over the head in a typeface which otherwise isn't MICR-like. So I'm happy with the new A without further changes.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,317
    I agree with the point already made that the y should be more squarish. M diagonals feel light and m seems too wide. 
  • @craig.rozynski Looks a lot better, glad I could help! I do think your original /g was preferable, and yeah think about that /y a little more.
Sign In or Register to comment.