Thickness preference for crossbars of high contrast typeface

I'm curious others preference or default when it comes to how thick you like to make the crossbar of /t /f (etc.) in a high contrast typeface (particularly in the bolder weights). My observations and personal experience have been varied, with it seemingly boiling down to them being either notably thicker than the /o contrast (for example), or optically just about as thin as the /o.

Perhaps this is a case by case basis and normal considerations still apply regarding the overall design intent, weight/color, size of text setting, etc.

I've just found that sometimes I wrestle with how dense they look when I make them thicker, but too thin and they tend to feel a bit frail or disappear (although they might feel more fitting to the contrast of the face overall). Sometimes just thinning out the left side helps.


  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 185
    edited December 2022
    Thick crossbar is the artifact of the broad nib pen held at an angle, typical for ‘old-style’ or ‘humanist’ styles with a diagonal contrast. Not only it’s thick, but often also slanted, and can form a triangle on top left of t.

    Thin crossbar comes from the pointed pen, typical for ‘modern’ or ‘new-style’ serif faces with an upright contrast. In this case, triangular top left on t would be unconventional, and it’s either straight or smoothly fades to a pointy ascender.

    By the way, the crossbar also makes it to 4.

    It is of course more pronounced in serif fonts, but you can find sans examples too:

  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 225
    edited December 2022
    Thanks for expanding on this and the origins/classification influences. A good example is the top left in the pic. Though it leverages more of the broad nib approach, I wrestle with how thick it is still optically, particularly the /t (I consider some other details help 'thin' it out... the triangular top and tapered exit stroke on bottom).

    So I guess that's where some of the personal preference might come in, and made me curious to hear others views on it.
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