WarGames—a retro novelty typeface

Hi, I'm new here. I have zero experience with type design, so this is my first attempt. I'm modeling it after certain retro sci-fi LED type novelty typefaces with horizontal stripes, but for my application (I'm designing a GUI for a raspberry pi home automation interface) I wanted a typeface only 5 stripes high, rather than 7 or 12, which seems to be the norm for these kinds of designs, because it will be seen on a small display. It presents an interesting design challenge, because the lower-case letters are only 4 stripes high, which as you can see, made the e especially challenging.


Comments

  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,367
    Fun!

    Yes, the lowercase is a challenge. I suspect maybe the y and g would work better if you raised the intersection point above the baseline, separating the merged bits.
  • TorgoTorgo Posts: 6
    Yeah, that's something I could try. Do you know offhand if there's a way in Glyphs Mini to make alternate character designs without overwriting the original? There were a few letters that I wanted to try different designs for, but hesitated for that reason.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,299
    Torgo said:
    Yeah, that's something I could try. Do you know offhand if there's a way in Glyphs Mini to make alternate character designs without overwriting the original? There were a few letters that I wanted to try different designs for, but hesitated for that reason.
    Using Mini (which doesn't support layers IIRC), the easiest way might be to Glyph > Duplicate Glyph (Cmd-D) the glyph. From the /e that will give you a new glyph called /e.001 with the same paths and sidebearings etc.
    Then when you're typing strings to look at in an edit tab, you can use Find (Cmd-F) to locate the glyph with the new suffix. 

  • TorgoTorgo Posts: 6
    Torgo said:
    Yeah, that's something I could try. Do you know offhand if there's a way in Glyphs Mini to make alternate character designs without overwriting the original? There were a few letters that I wanted to try different designs for, but hesitated for that reason.
    Using Mini (which doesn't support layers IIRC), the easiest way might be to Glyph > Duplicate Glyph (Cmd-D) the glyph. From the /e that will give you a new glyph called /e.001 with the same paths and sidebearings etc.
    Then when you're typing strings to look at in an edit tab, you can use Find (Cmd-F) to locate the glyph with the new suffix. 


    Excellent, thank you. I'll try that out!
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 175
    Very effective choices over all. I know it draws from monospaced predecessors, but seeing as how it is actually a proportional face, maybe experiment with allowing M and W some more width.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,299
    K Pease said:
    Very effective choices over all. I know it draws from monospaced predecessors, but seeing as how it is actually a proportional face, maybe experiment with allowing M and W some more width.
    And similarly, you could cheat the /c and /L narrower. 
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,367
    I am going to disagree with @K Pease and say that I think the M and W (and N) are just fabulous as is. They work! No real need to make the true mono a fake mono.

    One thing I note belatedly is, you use two different widths for ovals in straight vertical strokes. In particular, lowercase t f and l get wider ovals than other lowercase letters, for their main vertical stem. This maintains a more even color, so I can understand why you would do it. But when I look at those letters next to the others, they feel a bit weird for that reason. I would suggest _trying_ getting rid of the wider ovals for those few vertical stems, and see how it looks.
  • TorgoTorgo Posts: 6
    I am going to disagree with @K Pease and say that I think the M and W (and N) are just fabulous as is. They work! No real need to make the true mono a fake mono.

    One thing I note belatedly is, you use two different widths for ovals in straight vertical strokes. In particular, lowercase t f and l get wider ovals than other lowercase letters, for their main vertical stem. This maintains a more even color, so I can understand why you would do it. But when I look at those letters next to the others, they feel a bit weird for that reason. I would suggest _trying_ getting rid of the wider ovals for those few vertical stems, and see how it looks.

    I noticed that too when I was making the proof for this post. I can't remember if it was a choice I made and forgot about or just a mistake, but I don't like it either, so I'm taking your advice.
  • TorgoTorgo Posts: 6

    Fun!

    Yes, the lowercase is a challenge. I suspect maybe the y and g would work better if you raised the intersection point above the baseline, separating the merged bits.
    I was skeptical about trying this at first, but I think you were right:


  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,299
    Yes, if you're already lowering your /i and /j it seems very sensible to raise your /g and /y. If the outlier dark-spotted /e then bugs you, you could try approximating a "Venetian" (diagonal) bar to open up an eye. 
  • TorgoTorgo Posts: 6
    K Pease said:
    Very effective choices over all. I know it draws from monospaced predecessors, but seeing as how it is actually a proportional face, maybe experiment with allowing M and W some more width.
    And similarly, you could cheat the /c and /L narrower. 

    Thank you both! I'm going to try both ideas
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 175
    The original was fresh, though. For less of a bouncing baseline, I think you could keep the new /y and the old /g (perhaps not so squared on the lower right) and it would still go together well.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 696
    edited October 24
    I could read it, but I suspect if I didn't knew it was the English pangram (dog fox etc.), I would have some trouble. And indeed the last example is a bit hard to read.
    I would go with some boring, run-of-the-mill solution for the lowercase, because the style obscures much detail that would usually help decipher the letterforms.
    I think using only one line per row causes problems with uneven color that I can't see being solved easily. I would break longer lines into smaller ones. Not doing so also causes the design to have some whajacallit... labyrinthine feeling to it. It may go against the logic of the model, but I see you have already broken this rule in the /m, so... at least try a version, some companion font. OR you could try making the glyphs narrower, this would shorten the heavy lines while the short ones can remain the same length, thus the /e and other letters will look more natural.

    If I may suggest another name, NORAD in the mist sounds intriguing. Because the letters are obscured by the fog of war. How does it sound to you? :)

    Here is our https://www.fontfabric.com/fonts/perfograma/ to get some idea of what I am suggesting.
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