Updated Ver Sacrum style

Here's something I started last week. This is just the beginning. There are lots more variations to do, but it definitely has potential. Updating a style from 125 years ago. Monoline from Thin to Medium and contrast from Thin to Medium.
The original designs were very illustrative but I thought I could make it sharper and with a slight flair. My sketch had a very contrasty style, as seen in pencil, but while digitising I really liked the Thin monoline, so I have done it in both monoline and contrasty styles as shown below. The Thin remains the same for both styles.

I looked for other digitised versions of the Ver Sacrum style but wasn't enamoured with any of them, so I thought there is room for improvement, especially with the versatility of OpenType.



  • Grzegorz Luk (gluk)Grzegorz Luk (gluk) Posts: 112
    edited January 2022
    ... I really liked the Thin monoline..

    I totally agree, Thin monoline look spectacular and has something that is lost (for me) in Medium monoline (maybe softness?).I am curious to see next alternate characters :) good luck!
  • Since all the caps naturally emphasize the baseline and cap-height line, and some letters particularly so (like A/R/D), the contextual alternates that lose touch with either line jump out to me. 
    I would make R and K legs thick in the contrasted style. 
  • The /G sticks out for me.  It seems a little out of place next to the /B, /C, /D, /P and /R, particularly in the monoline.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,864
    edited January 2022
    Overall, I find the contrasted versions much more convincing that the monolines. Many letters seem too wide (especially /A/ and /N/) or too weird (/B/; maybe /L/?). The tiny contextual alternates (especially /E/) look out of place. All of these are more noticeable in the monolines.
    Does contrasted /B/ look too busy?
  • I'm not really bothered about proportions being too wide or weird. I spend most of my time restraining myself from exuberance so I'm going a little wild and IT FEELS GREAT. Running with the wind in my hair. Laughing HA HA HA!
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 688
    edited January 2022
    I personally already like the monoline medium when set in small size, maybe I'd just add some organic terminal flaring or subtle contrast to give it more oomph when set in larger sizes.
    I'm loving the tiny T in CT/ST, and I'd try to make the tiny E feel more like it — make it more substantial, maybe wider, so that its size and proportions feel justified by the shape of the adjacent letters just like it is in CT/ST. Currently, in PE/LE it feels as though there's either "too little E" or "too little P/L".
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,052
    In general, this looks very nice as an Art Noveau styled typeface. However, the smaller E as an alternate - particularly in the third line of the phrase Opentype Characters - looks like it belongs to a completely different typeface. (Although as the smaller letter O elsewhere demonstrates, alternate smaller letters are appropriate to this typeface.)
  • DanielilloDanielillo Posts: 10
    edited January 2022
    An interesting art nouveau font, although the origin is a manual pen font, if the idea is to make it as a standardized font, I would try to make some visual adjustments.
    For example, the endings are all different, even in characters of similar construction, such as E and F.

    Although it may be on purpose, there is the contradiction with the construction of the crossbars that they are all at the same height
  • This was all just the initial stage. It's evolving all the time. It has a degree of randomisation depending on which style set, or combination of style sets is chosen.
    This example shows all sets together:
    Contextual Alternates
    Up and Down
    Curvy bottoms
    Long stretched S
    Alternate E
    Alternate W

    This has all except Alternate E and W:
    This is as above without Curvy bottoms, (E andL):

    This is just Up and Down with no others:

    So there are quite a few possibilities for different styles, some which I haven't thought of yet.
    There will be the contrasted style and monoline styles in the same font:

    Before anyone mentions it, no it isn't fully kerned.
  • Awsome. btw. long stretched S have potential for other contextual alternates like "SO". I'm sorry I couldn't stop myself to try:

  • I haven't exploited its possibilities yet.
  • Latest WIP. Trying to introduce as much variety as possible. 
  • I’m not sure what to do about the lower case. I don’t find them convincing for this style. Maybe I’ll do lower case as small caps instead. 
  • I quite dig this design, and the closest existing font I can imagine in this Secessionist style at the moment is Paul Shaw’s Kolo, which also lacks lowercase.
  • DanielilloDanielillo Posts: 10
    edited January 2022
    I think your font has very "lowercased" cap letters, that's why you have the feeling they are not necessary. I think designing lowercase letters, although being an interesting challenge, can result in something a bit redundant, where the biggest visual difference would be just the difference in size.
  • edited January 2022
    Incidentally, Uni Heidelberg offers the complete run of Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring), which was the magazine of the Sezession artist's group.


  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 975
    edited January 2022
    You might also enjoy the Wiener Werkstätte’s Die Fläche. A few highlights at Letterform Archive. And if you’re a member, you can see a recording of a talk I gave on the topic last year.
  • Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring)

    Ooooh... and here I thought it said «Sacred Worm». But that would be Vermis Sacer. :#

  • My Mac has decided to be uncooperative; It’s stuck on opening and there’s nothing I can do to boot up, and I have tried everything I can from various forums. Unfortunately my Time Machine hasn’t been backing up either since December 17th and I didn’t notice, and all this work has been done since then. Hopefully sending it to be repaired won’t wipe all work from this month or I’ll have to recreate it. At least I have these images, but I’ve done a fair bit more since. 
    I have seen the Uni Heidelberg stuff. Thanks. 
  • That’s it, it’s gone!
    Back to the drawing board. 
  • Ugh, Nick, I'm so sorry! I’ve been there. This is why I regularly backup both locally and online with a service like Backblaze.
  • Thanks Stephen. I’ve got my Mac back with a new hard drive, now with two external HD’s plugged in the back. Lesson learned, start again. At least I didn’t lose everything, just this, so I’m happier than I should be in the circumstances. 
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 175
    I’m now back on track, having progressed further than I was before disaster struck. I also figured out how to make a variable font with the Monoline and Contrast styles thanks to the help of the excellent Glyphs Forum. Here are some numerals:
  • Incidentally, Uni Heidelberg offers the complete run of Ver Sacrum (Sacred Spring), which was the magazine of the Sezession artist's group.


    The Austrian National Library (ONB) has also a complete run of Ver Sacrum.


    Obviously, as the ONB has a complete collection of all newspapers, journals and books published in Austria or the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Oldest newspaper is from 1568.

    The Museum of Applied Arts https://mak.at/en has a large collection of Art-Nouveau posters, but unfortunately without open access.
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 407
    Re the drive failure, I save everything to either Google Drive or Dropbox, I keep almost nothing local, and what is kept local is unimportant. Aside from the peace of mind that if my computer melts down I have all my files, I also find it useful as I can access my files from anywhere, from my phone or iPad, or from a browser on any computer. I use to use Backblazw, and might consider it again, but it use to be (have no idea now) strictly focused on backup, not day-to-day use. 
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 407
    Re the type design, I’m loving watching the process. Thanks for sharing 
  • Love those numerals!
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 175
    Testing different feature combinations work in both Monoline and Contrast styles. 
  • I prefer the straight "L", the round one looks a bit cartoonist, a nose ;-).

    I also prefer the straight "M", the other option is a bit forced, it seems like a typographic error.
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 175
    There are many options as you can see. You can choose what you prefer. 
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