A Garamond-non-garamond

mauro sacchettomauro sacchetto Posts: 334
edited February 14 in Type Design Critiques
I submit to the forum a provisional version of the font I'm working on, a sort of Garamond-non-garamond: at the moment only roman, even if italic is quite well advanced.
Allow me an excursus. Italian publishers make extensive use of the Garamond Simoncini, to which we Italians are accustomed and basically fond: Mondadori, Il Mulino, Rizzoli, Feltrinelli and many other publishers adopt something very similar to Adobe Simoncini Garamond Std, which - as it is known - lacks many glyphs (small caps, old style numbers etc.), as well as Bold Italic. We can then discuss the meaning of a Garamond Bold and Bold Italic from a philological point of view. The publisher Einaudi instead uses the original (and original) Garamond that he commissioned to Francesco Simoncini in 1958, a non-commercial and unavailable version.
Now, my intent is (or - perhaps better - would like to be) to produce a "contemporary" Garamond, without the Renaissance traits of Adobe Garamond Premiere Pro or Duffner and Pardo's EB Garamond. This also explains the Greek, which does not use the Grecs du roi (that one of the EB Garamond is absolutely identical to that one of the Premiere), but which was entirely created from scratch. In fact, this font fully supports Greek, both monotonic and polyphonic, as well as Cyrillic, in a "contemporary" key.
I would like to point out that I am neither a graphic nor a font designer, but just an enthusiast who learns, often by trial and error, as I progress with work.
In other threads on this forum the first and most obvious flaws have been highlighted: first of all insufficient under- and overshoot and then other details, which I have tried to modify. As for the height of the caps, it was pointed out to me (by @JasperdeWaard) that it could have been increased a bit. What holds me back at the moment is the fact that uppercase lowercase (such as | f | or | l |) should slightly outweigh the uppercase when touching the Ascender, but raising the uppercase and correspondingly higher lowercase would result in an excess than the lower case.
I still have a lot of doubts, small further corrections to be made, some lookups to create (for Greek and more), but I would feel more serene and better addressed by the always competent observations of the experts of this forum, whom I thank in advance.
I specify that there is yet no kerning or correction of the positioning of the diacritics, which I will do as soon as the definitive shape of the glyphs is established.

Comments

  • I look at the text specimen you have provided, and I see a beautiful text face. The distinctive characteristics of Garamond are muted.
    But I'm not sure how well your stated goals are achived. This still looks very much like an oldstyle typeface, now pushed back somewhat to the Aldines and even the Jensons; it's not made obtrusively more modern. Of course, that too may be part of the intention.
  • mauro sacchettomauro sacchetto Posts: 334
    edited February 14
    In fact it is not my intention to produce a hyper-modern font, let's say like Ysabeau, but to attenuate certain characteristics that I have defined above as "Renaissance" (compare for example my Old Style Numbers with those of Premiere). I repeat, my starting point is something similar to Einaudi's Garamond
  • Ah. Well, you have succeeded in achieving a typeface that qualifies as timeless.
    Also, I am pleased to see that you avoided the eccentricity of the squashed lower story of the lowercase "a" in the otherwise excellent Einaudi Garamond.
  • Thank you. Any technical comment on the details, if you feel like wasting some time, is welcome!

    PS
    Einaudi Garamond is decidedly beautiful printed, but the design has a very wide range of irregularities, I don't know if they are intended or not. See for example the three serifs of |m|:


  • That is really good looking font, very good overall white-black balance.

    Just few quick thoughts:

    /a/ : seems a bit off, kind of sticks out in the block text, feels like it is a bit bolder than other letters.
    Maybe it is because of heavy upper terminal and a too steep arc slope? So it creates the effect of almost closed aperture, which in turn makes it look heavier than other letters.
    /v/ : aperture opening seems too small, optically it looks almost like triangle. Maybe pull the serifs more apart to make the opening slightly bigger.
    /v/ : the apex is too rounded-off. I personally prefer a pointy end, but if that was the intention to make it rounded-off, maybe at least make it less rounded. Currently it feels a bit "foreign".
    /u/ : the bottom serif looks kind of strange, I'd make it more like by /n/'s serif (rotated by 180 degrees).
    /A/ and /V/ : seem a bit too narrow.

  • @MikhailVasilev: Thanks for the careful observations.
    I also ask: the Uppercase Psi is anomalous compared to the usual one, because it takes the shape of the lower case. I do not know the current Greek typographical use, but I wonder if the use of the two protruding arms should not be respected.
  • nice work!

    a couple of quick notes:

    /M — feels a bit unsteady, not necessarily because of the way it leans, but because the whitespace between strokes doesn't quite feel evenly distributed
    /g - the bottom loop feels a little bit flat (the outer curve more-so than the counter). my eye could be deceiving me on this one, though.
    /e - I might say this letter has a slight overbite, or at least, isn't something I typically associate with garamond. how would it look if the terminal were pushed a few units to the right?
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,279
    Some of this may be intentionally preserved from the source material, but anyway:
    /e and /p feel too wide. 
    My eye really gets hung up on the weird treatment of the apex of /A. 
    /r feels too fiddly at the top, too much contrast in the arm perhaps. 
    Some spacing issues, e.g. RSB of /c and /r and LSB of /t may be too big.
    The whole thing seems light to me; I would explicitly establish your target contexts and point size and make sure the weight is well suited to them. 
    Agree with the others that this is well balanced and comfortable. Nice work!
  • Thank you. Any technical comment on the details, if you feel like wasting some time, is welcome!

    Unfortunately, not being a professional typeface designer, I am not qualified to tell you how to improve what is already an excellent typeface. Had it some obvious infelicity that even I as an ordinary reader of text could note, of course I could point that out, but it does not seem to have one.
    Presumably you will include the extra Cyrillic characters needed for Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Serbian, and the old Russian orthography at some point.
  • Nice work @""mauro sacchetto"

    Agree with the all the above.  A couple of things stood out for me.

    CAPS
    • /E & /F seem wide
    • /Q tail could be longer
    • /R counter looks squashed and/or a little wide
    • /U bowl could show smoother transitions between verticals and curves.  It also feel a little narrow to me
    • /V looks narrow (compare, for example, to the /Vs that form the /W)

    lowercase
    • Maybe the tittles on the /i & /j could go up a touch?
    • /k seems wide

    Lining figures
    • /0 and /8 seem light (or, maybe /1 and /2 are relatively heavy?)
    • Maybe taper the stroke a little more on the /2 where the curve meets the horizontal?
    • /3 seems light and, whilst this form works better for the OS figures, I'm not sure it fits so well with the other lining figures
  • I just Photoshop'ed the /a/ to illustrate what I said about the /a/ terminal, so my idea is to shrink the terminal a bit, make it kinda more modern Minion-ish styled to increase the counter and aperture.

    See attached file to see the difference.

    And a general tip that might help: working with Bezier curves especially in sensitive areas can be pain in the butt. This appears as major issue especially when working with high quality structure definition, like in fonts aimed at legibility (Garamond, etc.).
     
    So there is a trick - work with the letters in Photoshop using pen tablet
    and then create Bezier curves as final step.
    This allows much better and easier control, and saves a lot of time and nerves.
    Depends though on the font editor you use, if it allows importing bitmap as background in the glyph view, if yes, you can try this approach.

    aaa.psd 24.1K
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,441
    Am I right in thinking that the bold used in the header to the specimen is faked? It has that dipped-in-chocolate look.

    The Greek lowercase is based on 18th and 19th Century styles, so looks to me very strange in the context of the renaissance caps and as a companion to the Latin.

    For the Cyrillic, consider Lazurski’s approach to backdating the script to renaissance styles, e.g. the triangular Д and Л may work better.
  • mauro sacchettomauro sacchetto Posts: 334
    edited February 15
    I thank everyone for the pertinent and very useful comments.
    I have taken on many of the suggestions (too many to mention here individually) and now I'll reflect on other ones (it is true for example that |p| is very "round", but so are |b|, |d| and |q|. It is a characteristic trait of the Simoncini: I'll do some experiments.

    @JohnSavard
    I have already created, but not included in the specimen, some additional glyphs for Cyrillic (not Russian and archaic Russian) and for Greek (archaic letters). I have to integrate further, but I definitely will.

    @MikhailVasilev
    I'm using Fontforge on Debian Linux (and on my almost new Mac Book I'm trying to learn how to use Glyphs which I find very good, but which seems to lack some convenient FontForge utility: I need to learn more...) ), so I don't have Photoshop, but Gimp: I haven't used Windows for at least fifteen years. In any case, I understood the general concept: producing an image "by hand" with a graphic program and then importing and reworking it with the font editor. Thanks for the work on |a|.

    @JohnHudson
    The Bold is a non-reworked version, obtained simply by "fattening" an older version of the Regular. In fact, as I wrote at the beginning, I'm working on Roman and developing Italic. The rest will come calmly as I only take care of the font during not much free time. Loved the joke about the "dipped-in-chocolate look" :)
    As for the Greek, the publisher Einaudi adopts the OdysseaU since its Simoncini does not contain any Greek. I understand that, from a historical-philological point of view, we have here an accumulation of characters that stylistically belong to different eras. So are there any alternatives to adopting the Grecs du roi? The EBGaramond uses that one of the Premiere and, apart from the adaptations to the metrics, its glyphs are exactly those of Slimbach.
    Regarding some letters of the Cyrillic, I believe that I will prepare some Stylistic Alternatives, as they are already present for Greek (the two |k|, the open or closed theta, etc.)

    IPA Extensions
    Does it make sense to produce the SmallCap version for IPA Exensions glyphs? I see that generally they don't exist, but some fonts contain them instead. Is it more appropriate to consider them as glyphs - and then it can be assumed that they have a SmallCap version, or as (phonetic) "symbols" - and then that version does not make sense?


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,441
    Re. IPA:

    The International Phonetic Association alphabet itself does not involve case mapping: all letters are lowercase. However, some of the IPA letters are also included in natural language orthographies—notably in Africa—, and hence have uppercase forms. So providing smallcaps for the latter is helpful.
  • Thank you!

    And what about your opinion of the Greek? I repeat the question asked above: are there plausible alternatives to Grecs du roi?

  • The Greek lowercase is based on 18th and 19th Century styles, so looks to me very strange in the context of the renaissance caps and as a companion to the Latin.

    For the Cyrillic, consider Lazurski’s approach to backdating the script to renaissance styles, e.g. the triangular Д and Л may work better.

    Given that his stated objective was to make a Garamond without the Renaissance traits of other Garamonds, but which is contemporary instead, I don't think that this advice is consistent with his objectives. The kind of Greek and Cyrillic which you are recommending would not be usable for normal contemporary typography. And I think that usability is more important than historical accuracy for the kind of typeface he is seeking to produce.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,441
    Mauro’s Latin still carries plenty of renaissance DNA. Rather than mixing stylistic and idiomatic forms from different historical periods, another approach would be to figure out what makes his Latin different from the 16th Century models, and apply the same design logic to contemporary Greek and retro-renaissance Cyrillic models. The Greek may need to be pushed further than the Latin, having further to travel from the cursive form, but one could look at later, less ligature-heavy evolutions of the Byzantine-Aldine style, such as the Foulis Press Greeks cut by Wilson. The Lazurski model of Cyrillic works totally fine for text: it fills part of the pre-Petrine gap in a way that makes possible a distinction between renaissance and baroque models of Cyrillic.


  • For the Cyrillic, consider Lazurski’s approach to backdating the script to renaissance styles, e.g. the triangular Д and Л may work better.
    I suspect that his cyrillic set is just a rough sketch now, judging by the specimen. Triangular Д like in Lazurski - noo that is godawful. Triangular Л ok maybe worth trying. All in all, I would personally just 'translate' all the Latin graphics into Cyrillic, e.g. for Cyrillic /к/ I would just cut off the Latin /k/, etc. Yes I know that most cyrillic fonts insist on e.g. curly greek kappa but I don't think it is fair from design perspective.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 996
    edited February 16
    The Lazurski model of Cyrillic works totally fine for text: it fills part of the pre-Petrine gap in a way that makes possible a distinction between renaissance and baroque models of Cyrillic.
    I'll certainly have to admit that the Lazurski Cyrillic typeface is not terribly outrageous. I could see it pairing well with Aldus, for example. But despite there being a lot of Garamond still left in his "not-Garamond Garamond", because his description of the project gave me the impression he was trying to make use of the beauty of Garamond without striving for historical accuracy or consistency, I'm still not convinced it's appropriate here.
    There may be much more subtle ways in which the Greek and Cyrillic could be changed so as to be harmonized more with the Latin of this typeface - harmonized with respect to the strokes, the form, and so on - but as for major changes aimed at historicity, I think that would take the project in a wrong direction, towards a "me-too" Garamond instead of a Garamond for today.
    Of course, I'm biased: I think what he has constructed fills a crying void, a Garamond-ish typeface that can be used to replace, say, Times Roman, without having to think too hard about the decision.
  • mauro sacchettomauro sacchetto Posts: 334
    edited February 16
    About Cyrillic: now I will look carefully at Lazursky's solutions, but it seems to me that the game to readjust Cyrillic is rather limited, at least compared to Greek. Following the input of @Mikhail Vasilev, you can think of readjusting the graces, drawing the sign from the uppercase or from the lowercase. But I have to take a little more time to follow @JohnHudson's more complex directions, which require a historical excursus on styles. Here is a simple experiment with the letter |k|:



    As for the Greek, the matter is more complex. Of course, Slimbach has created different characters inspired by styles from different eras, but in the first place he is a professional of excellence, while for me it is more tiring to orient myself between different styles. However, the idea of ​​"to figure out what makes his Latin different from the 16th Century models, and apply the same design logic to contemporary Greek and retro-renaissance Cyrillic models" is acute and very striking.
    I understand @JohnHudson's historicist and "puristic" instance. My intent, as @JohnSavard has grasped, is to create an immediately usable font (even if, possibly, not entirely inconsistent): in fact I am also retouching to simplify the strokes as much as possible, as well as to correct some curves not in the all happy.
    Further investigation is needed!
  • As it happens, I went looking at Google Fonts, and found the typeface Cormorant, which has Garamond as its inspiration; and it comes with a related typeface, Cormorant Garamond. The former has the conventional Cyrillic D and L, the latter, the older forms. So this appears to be something that may have been designed with goals similar to your own in mind, thus being worth examining.
  • Thanks for the indication. I have several Garamond and Simoncini, not only those contained in Adobe Fontfolio: for example Simoncini Scangraphic, Stempel Garamond and ATF Garamond, but none of these contain Greek or Cyrillic.
    I also have the various Cormorants, all of which have Cyrillic, but not Greek. Of course, the features of Cormorant are quite different from my project, but they can offer general ideas on how to homologate Cyrillic to Roman.
    However, since, as I wrote before, I have to undertake to study a little the variations that occurred in the passage between the various styles in the case of Greek and Cyrillic, in the meantime I dedicate myself to perfecting the Roman and resuming the revision of Italic.
  • As it happens, I went looking at Google Fonts, and found the typeface Cormorant, which has Garamond as its inspiration; and it comes with a related typeface, Cormorant Garamond. The former has the conventional Cyrillic D and L, the latter, the older forms. So this appears to be something that may have been designed with goals similar to your own in mind, thus being worth examining.
    @John Savard, I believe @Christian Thalmann is Cormorant's author.  Interesting thread here if you're interested in its development.
  • One thing, though: on "e" and "a", the counters are actually smaller in Cormorant than in Cormorant Garamond. So it could be that its goals are the opposite of those of Mauro Saccheto's project in some respects.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,781
    edited February 16
    I certainly designed Cormorant with utter disregard to historicity, but the design goals were very different from yours (to unshackle Garamond from the limitations of period technology and small sizes). It looks like you're trying to make a quiet workhorse whereas Cormorant is a flamboyant diva.
    I also have the various Cormorants, all of which have Cyrillic, but not Greek. Of course, the features of Cormorant are quite different from my project, but they can offer general ideas on how to homologate Cyrillic to Roman.

    You can also look at this thread for native Cyrillic type designer Alexei Vanyashin's review of Cormorant Cyrillic. There's also a bit of misplaced discussion about Cormorant Cyrillic in this thread about Ysabeau Cyrillic, where we address Ilya Ruderman's review of Cormorant Cyrillic. In particular, Ilya considers the Cyrillic styles offered by the different cuts of Cormorant «difficult to navigate», presumably precisely since they don't conform to any historical stage... Instead, our idea was to make the default cut of Cormorant take some hints from the Modern origin of Cyrillic and depart from strict humanism for the sake of conforming to readers' expectations, whereas the Infant cut swings the other way and leans heavily into the humanism, with triangular alternates of /De-cy/ and /El-cy/. The latter presumably looks eye-catching to Cyrillic readers, as does Trajan to Latin readers.

  • Mikhail VasilevMikhail Vasilev Posts: 28
    edited February 16
    About Cyrillic: now I will look carefully at Lazursky's solutions, but it seems to me that the game to readjust Cyrillic is rather limited, at least compared to Greek. Following the input of @Mikhail Vasilev, you can think of readjusting the graces, drawing the sign from the uppercase or from the lowercase. But I have to take a little more time to follow @JohnHudson's more complex directions 
    Diving in historics IMO only complicates the matter here.
    Maybe I didn't get the idea of @JohnHudson right, if the proposal is to take unrelated Cyrillic typeface and put it in the same font file together with this Garamond, then I admit that is unusual solution at least, not what you see often. And there are already Cyrillic examples.

    On the other hand, direct copy of Latin graphics and naive construct from Latin strokes may also impede the legibility and overall optical quality, major factors are:

    - In Cyrillic, vertical strokes prevail, this means I would choose a slightlythinner, ca. 95%, base (vertical) stroke,  to retain good overall b/w balance and improve legibility. That of course increases the amount of work dramatically.
    - If you choose to directly copy the serifs which are quite big in this case, then consider extend the width of this group of letters /нишпм/ to retain the proper counters/apertures.

    That all sounds simple but in fact,it's not simple at all, so depends on your drafting skills and skills at controlling the overall image, i.e. block text legibility.

    Regarding the /к/ for me the choice is simple, going from e.g. example:

    I conclude that the straight stroke version (you can find it in unicode as /latin kra/ U+0138) is simply better legible so I would say just forget about the curly variant and use the straight option.

    Regarding the /л/ - I like triangular variant (kind of rotated /v/ but with top half-serif added), it improves legibility and it is totally possible to make it fit in the set stylistically.
    So I'd vote for it.



  • mauro sacchettomauro sacchetto Posts: 334
    edited February 16
    I thank @ChristianThalmann, first of all for the Cormoran and for the ideas and references it offered me.
    I also find the idea of ​​freeing the Garamond from the small size interesting, as models like the Premiere appear quite small when printed at 12pt. And if you think that the default in LaTeX standard document classes (article, report, book) is 10pt, reading can be quite tiring. In fact I had some sketches with larger dimensions, which I could take back. What do you think? Another element of "contemporaneity" compared to the most faithful models, but an improvement in readability!
    For the moment I put the question of Greek in parentheses, because it requires me to document myself more and better also from the historical point of view.
    It seems to me that harmonizing Cyrillic with my Roman is easier than Greek. Then you can discuss the shape of |Д| and |Л| to find the best stylistic correctness, but my main goal is to make the rendering homogeneous from an optical point of view.
    Speaking of @MikhailVasilev's precise observations: I set the Uppercase strokes at 80pt and those of the Lowercase at 70pt. Currently the strokes of the lowercase Cyrillic are 74pt, but in fact it is more logical to homologate them to the PetiteCaps, since some Roman and Cyrillic letters are the same (|M|, |H|, |X|, |Я| which is nothing but a horizontally overturned |R|). Here the PetiteCaps have a thickness of 72 pt, I can try to do this also for the Cyrillic, or set everything even at 70pt to avoid excessive thickness (although typically PetiteCaps have strokes that are slightly wider than the Lowercase). And finally I should correspondingly decrease the height of the serifs.


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