A humanist grotesque (sic!)

Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,802
edited October 13 in Type Design Critiques
The recent resurgence of the old discussion whether a «humanist geometric sans» was an oxymoron or not prompted me to try out something else that's been itching in the back of my head: A humanist grotesque.
Now, I generally vastly prefer humanist sans over grotesques, but every now and then a super-clean neo-grotesque catches my eye, and I'm starting to warm up to their aesthetic.
So here's my attempt at crossing the genres while trying to preserve what I like about either of them. I've probably gone overboard with it, but it's always easier to rein something back than to make it more interesting retroactively...

What currently stands out to me is the stylistic disparity between the drop-shaped counters and the upright /c/ and /s/ (an presumably /e/, though I notice that much less). The /c/ already looks a lot less out of place after I've opened the aperture from the original drawing; perhaps there's more to be done in that direction.
In any case, I'd offer alternates for a pure neo-grotesque experience as well:

I'd probably still use the humanist forms for the Italics, though.
Opinions?

Comments

  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,802
    edited October 13
    I've probably gone overboard with it, but it's always easier to rein something back than to make it more interesting retroactively...
    Then again... :grimace: 

    (Obviously not for the default cuts...)
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,483
    /c/e/s/ all look to me like they belong to a different typeface.

    Part of the problem is the width of /c/e/: they’re too wide relative to /o/, which is a better fit proportionally with the other letters.

    The /a/b/d/g/p/q/ all have a strong LR directional stress, while /c/e/s/—and to /o/—all have a static, vertical stress. I would experiment with the outer extrema and stroke modulation in these letters to compensate and adapt to the directional stress of the other letters.

    Idiomatically, I don’t think you have made a humanist grotesque: I think you’ve made a humanist type with a handful of grotesque letters that don’t fit. When you show the proposed alternates for ‘a pure neo-grotesque experience’, what I see is the /h/m/n/u/ now jumping out as being non-grotesque.
  • Hi John,
    I agree that /c/e/s/ are problematic in the humanist cut. I don't mind the arched letters in the grotesque, though... perhaps they could thin less at the joint? Are the arches too asymmetric for your taste?
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,802
    edited October 13
    Ugh, I've tried making the /c/e/o/s/ more humanist, but now /e/ looks like Syntax and /s/ like Scala. :unamused: I've tried to preserve the horizontal cuts of the grotesque substrate, but maybe that's asking too much? And the /k/ will probably have to sneak away into a stylistic set.
    I find it much easier to work on the grotesk than on the humanist, it seems. Maybe I should focus on that for the moment.
    Admittedly, the world doesn't need another neo-grotesque. Then again, maybe a true Italic to go with it would make it more interesting.
  • Meanwhile, I quite like where the grotesque is going with a two-storey /a/.
  • How about comparatively narrow caps just a touch shorter than the ascenders?


  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,299
    In that last one, /m looks wide (thus light). Perhaps /u and /n too, to a lesser extent.
    /k leg also looks light. 
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,802
    edited October 13
    Thanks Craig, good points!
    State of affairs at bedtime:

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