I would appreciate if a professional Type Designer could give a very detailed opinion on my Sans Serif Typeface I am currently working on at stage of finishing 5 weights. All mistakes I am doing as well as advice on how to become more efficient. I use Fontlab software. Voice chat with screen sharing will be very helpful.
I started my project from light weight and sidebearings are only finished in this weight. I plan on using Variations panel to add more weights later when i properly fix these 5 weights and adding ink traps and smart corners later on.
I find it helpful to think of a typeface as a collection of answers to one or more questions, and being able to articulate the questions helps evaluate the answers. Some basic questions are
Other questions emerge from within the design as it progresses, usually of the form ‘If this, then what?’, and articulating these questions helps the design to coalesce by suggesting answers that apply across multiple glyphs.
- What is this typeface for?
- How do you intend to use the typeface?
- What principles define the design?
- What makes this typeface distinctive?
As a general comment, your lighter weights are doing better than the heavier ones. There are the makings of a strong skeleton in the lightest weight, but it doesn’t put on weight in a healthy way, and it all ends up a bit mushy in the heaviest.
There are proportional problems in the widths that will be easier to see in test words that put various letters in combination. The lowercase c looks too narrow, and the a and e a little too wide. The overhanging e is unstable and looks like it is falling forward.
The f and t stand out as an unusual shapes, but I think they can work and could be the key to the distinctiveness of the design. Possibly the crossbar should shift a little to the right, rather than being symmetrical.
My advice to new type designers tends to be that looking is more important than doing. It is easy to get wrapped up in moving beziér handles around, but time is much better spent contemplating the shapes, testing them in various combinations, and also looking at other typefaces with an eye to understanding what makes them work. You are working in a couple of well established genres, with elements of grotesque and geometric sans serifs. I would spend some time looking closely at the classics of those genres—say, Helvetica and Futura—, and in particular at how they handle modulation of stroke weight, how bowls and stems interact, and how they gain weight as they get heavier. Don’t work directly on your design while you are doing this looking, because the goal isn’t to import influences from those classic designs: take the time to really analyse the classics and learn from them, then go back to your design and figure out how to apply what you’ve learned.
As the typeface is for text and I have looked at text typefaces I have seen many of them have ink traps. Tell me what you think of the last n glyph with it added.
Inktraps are complicated. I think they are best understood, and work best, as output-specific design features, i.e. whether a design should have inktraps and what kind and how large they should be really depends on how the typeface is going to be printed or displayed, and should properly also be size-specific. Scaleable digital type, by its nature, is largely output-agnostic: it is going to be printed or displayed in arbitrary sizes, resolutions, media, and technologies. So if you include inktraps in a design, you have to be aware that in some situations they are going to cease being a compensatory feature that helps avoid an area becoming too dark in some output and instead become a really obvious visible feature that may be distracting.
So I tend to use inktraps sparingly, and will not usually employ the kind you illustrate here. I am more likely to introduce a simple line segment in the crotch of a v-shape connection between two stems or between a stem and a bowl as in your n, just to open the space a little. I would certainly avoid the kind of impact of the inktrap that you have on the top right of the vertical stem of the n, where it becomes rounded, unless you intend to make that roundness a feature of the design.
Your curves are still a bit… lumpy. The outer curve of the n, the shoulder is weak at the top left, and the inner curve, the shoulder is strong. I don’t know which you intend, or if you want a normal/neutral shoulder, but it feels like the two sides are coming from two different places. For both of them, the apex of the curve is a bit to the left of where it should be—but especially on the outside.
Assuming you want a relatively normal/neutral shoulder:
- on the outside, move the apex to the right a little, and the handle (BCP) of the outside right stem up a bit while at the same time moving the on-curve point down on the stem.
- on the inside, again move the apex to the right a little bit. Move the on-curve point of the right stem down to keep it matching the outside. Move the handle (BCP) down as well, until you have a relatively smooth/symmetric look.
Alternatively, you could use FontLab’s “harmonize” functions to move nodes and handles. Even if you want to do it by hand, you could use “harmonize” functions on nodes/handles just to see what they would do. You could also turn on curvature visualization (View > Show > Curvature) to see where you have discontinuities.
I took your advice and made changes. I am still not sure if I should stay with the 1st one or 2nd one. As the typeface target is to be used in text and for printing i thought of adding Ink Traps and Round Corners for function as well as style of the font.
Thats my rough idea of Black Weight. I'm not sure how I should approach my "s" glyph, something is still not right.
At the very least, you need to move _some_ weight to the spine. Try making it the dominant stroke—and if you don’t like how that turns out, experiment with something closer to what you have now, with just a little more weight on the spine.
I have made top and bottom parts of s narrower and middle spine the same width. Does any other glyph need adjustments?
To me, the f and the t did not stand out that much as unusual. Instead, the first thing I noted about the typeface was the y. Now, this is not a shape that is so unusual that it hasn't been used in other typefaces, but since this typeface looks a lot like Helvetica, News Gothic, or Akzidenz-Grotesk, it did not seem to be appropriate for that kind of typeface.
Here is my regular weight.
The thin strokes where the round sections of several glyphs merge with the stems look too thin. (In heavier weights, reducing the bulk in those areas is necessary, but in lighter weights, that isn't as much of a consideration unless it's a consistently applied design feature throughout the typeface.)
The arm of the r seems to stretch out too far and will create spacing issues with whatever glyph follows it. The x strikes me as a bit too light. The curves of the s seem a little unnatural. The point at which the arm and leg of the k touch the stem creates a tension point that doesn't exist elsewhere in the font. The z seems just a bit too narrow. The apex of some of the bowls seems slightly off, preventing the roundness of the strokes on either side from flowing naturally. I'm unsure about the large-radius curves in the f and t. I'm also uncertain about how some terminals end at unusual or inconsistent angles.
Many of these quirks I've mentioned could be design features if they were applied more uniformly throughout all the typeface weights.
Middle strokes of e and a same now. Bowl of the a adjusted. Thin strokes are a design feature which will be applied in other parts of the font. Arm of r made shorter. x adjusted to be darker. Lower s terminal lifted for more balance. z made wider. f and t curves adjusted to be thinner and more in line with n glyph. In regards to terminals all of them end in the same angle.
It will be interesting to see how that evolves as you propagate it elsewhere. I would expect the thinness of those bits to be reflected in (at least!) the thinnest parts of stroke joins such as those in hmnu, and the thinner/sharper joins (of the two in each) of bdpq.
I have finished designing uppercase and lowercase glyphs with comma and a period. I have added files with pages for each weight in different sizes with 300dpi for a4 size.
Definitely the H is inconsistent with other treatments. But even if you fix that, I am not convinced this is “working” for me, as yet. Is “being weird” part of the plan?
I have made adjustment to the black weight for now reducing contrast in lowercase and uppercase. Your thoughts?