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I have roughly finished my typeface and would like to start kerning. Before that I would like to know what still needs changes.









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  • Paul HanslowPaul Hanslow Posts: 157
    Judging and assessing glyphs in isolation can be tricky and I'd suggest providing images of word samples for each master.
  • What Paul said. Also higher resolution or vector images would make it easier to give feedback.
    At first glance:
    • G seems narrow
    • a seems wide
    • S & s in darker weights need balancing
    • Eye of e in heavy weight too squinty.
    • Tittles in lighter weights seem too heavy
    • Bars on $ could be more pronounced
    • Quotation marks ill-fitting, seem to belong to a serif typeface.
    • Take another look at the eszett in existing fonts and try that one again
    • Same for Thorn—too big of a bowl
    • Same for double dagger
    • Beak on 1 looks off, too sharp
    • Slash on Lslash muddy. Can be less vertical, thinner, and longer.
    • Are those smallcaps or petit caps? For smallcaps, they are very tiny. Also they frankly look a mess compared to your regular caps.
    Keeping it at that for now. The light weight is definitely smoother than the black. I think it's pretty rough around the edges, but keep at it—practice makes perfect, and all that.
  • You should really assume that kerning is off by default. That means you want to rethink the sidebearings on all of your i/l characters which are colliding horridly.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    What size is this intended to be optimized for? If it is for larger display sizes, you need to show it at those sizes. If for closer to text sizes, then it is definitely all spaced too tightly—but especially the bold.

    (My #1 suggestion to anybody working on a typeface: show it early in the design process and get feedback then, don’t wait until you have a “finished” typeface.)
  • What size is this intended to be optimized for? If it is for larger display sizes, you need to show it at those sizes. If for closer to text sizes, then it is definitely all spaced too tightly—but especially the bold.

    (My #1 suggestion to anybody working on a typeface: show it early in the design process and get feedback then, don’t wait until you have a “finished” typeface.)
    I have used Designing Type second edition book as my guide with sidebearings for typeface. Before even staring work it was supposed to be for text use. By spaced to tightly by how many units wider. Lowercase n sidebearings are 25% of n counter in regular weight. 
  • What Paul said. Also higher resolution or vector images would make it easier to give feedback.
    At first glance:
    • G seems narrow
    • a seems wide
    • S & s in darker weights need balancing
    • Eye of e in heavy weight too squinty.
    • Tittles in lighter weights seem too heavy
    • Bars on $ could be more pronounced
    • Quotation marks ill-fitting, seem to belong to a serif typeface.
    • Take another look at the eszett in existing fonts and try that one again
    • Same for Thorn—too big of a bowl
    • Same for double dagger
    • Beak on 1 looks off, too sharp
    • Slash on Lslash muddy. Can be less vertical, thinner, and longer.
    • Are those smallcaps or petit caps? For smallcaps, they are very tiny. Also they frankly look a mess compared to your regular caps.
    Keeping it at that for now. The light weight is definitely smoother than the black. I think it's pretty rough around the edges, but keep at it—practice makes perfect, and all that.






    - G bowl was made wider.
    - Can a stay wide or is it a bad idea?
    - S & s, should middle spine be heavier?
    - Should eye of e be fixed by reducing horizontal weight at the top?
    - I have read that for text typeface it is better to have period and comma bigger for better reading, if its wrong correct me.
    - Bars of $ made longer.
    - Thorn bowl made less wide.
    - Dagger changed.
    - all 1 glyphs changed .
    - Slashes on Lslash fully changed.
    - Eszett will be experimented with (again).
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    I have used Designing Type second edition book as my guide with sidebearings for typeface. Before even staring work it was supposed to be for text use. By spaced to tightly by how many units wider. Lowercase n sidebearings are 25% of n counter in regular weight. 

    Try more like 40%, in all weights.
  • In my opinion, the shapes are altogether too uncouth to worry about kerning. I'd shelve the project for the moment, make a few low-stakes display typefaces to sharpen your eyes and hone your skills, and then return to it later.
    I realize this is not fun to hear, but I was in that position too not too long ago, and experience is the only thing that helps.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    edited July 2023
    You should really assume that kerning is off by default. That means you want to rethink the sidebearings on all of your i/l characters which are colliding horridly.
    It's only the versions of i and I that are accented that have this problem. I realize that this may seem like a point that's too obvious for words, but as a native speaker of English, I have to remind myself that accented letters do exist, and are important.
    In my opinion, the shapes are altogether too uncouth to worry about kerning.
    As I am no type designer, your opinion is clearly superior to mine.
    I have to confess that I looked at the type samples, and thought that this typeface was very well done, the equal or superior of many commercial typefaces out there. (Of course, Sturgeon's Law suggests that the latter part of this statement could well be true of many typefaces that aren't all that great.)
    That being said, though, I am not particularly fond of this general style of sans-serif typefaces, and so I may have set a low bar when judging it.

  • In my opinion, the shapes are altogether too uncouth to worry about kerning. I'd shelve the project for the moment, make a few low-stakes display typefaces to sharpen your eyes and hone your skills, and then return to it later.
    I realize this is not fun to hear, but I was in that position too not too long ago, and experience is the only thing that helps.

    I am going to use your advice and work on display fonts. Can you expand on what makes the shapes uncouth as my eye is not there yet.
  • Matthijs HerzbergMatthijs Herzberg Posts: 142
    edited July 2023
    Can you expand on what makes the shapes uncouth as my eye is not there yet.
    The unfortunate thing here is that it's very hard to explain this well, without going over every letter in minute detail. But you will see it too, when you look back on your work in a year or two or three. Keep practicing, your eyes will learn.

    Christian's suggestion for low-stakes display typefaces is good. But I'd also recommend basic broad nib calligraphy practice (foundational hand specifically) and lettering—small projects where it is easy to keep oversight and study the relationships in form and spacing. And observe, observe, observe, all the type around you!
    And Paul is right—I hope none of us come across as harsh. Wish I'd asked for more feedback back when I was learning the craft (and even now, I should probably do it more often).
  • Can you expand on what makes the shapes uncouth as my eye is not there yet.
    The unfortunate thing here is that it's very hard to explain this well, without going over every letter in minute detail. But you will see it too, when you look back on your work in a year or two or three. Keep practicing, your eyes will learn.

    Christian's suggestion for low-stakes display typefaces is good. But I'd also recommend basic broad nib calligraphy practice (foundational hand specifically) and lettering—small projects where it is easy to keep oversight and study the relationships in form and spacing. And observe, observe, observe, all the type around you!
    And Paul is right—I hope none of us come across as harsh. Wish I'd asked for more feedback back when I was learning the craft (and even now, I should probably do it more often).
    I always prefer to get harsh feedback from skilled people. Best way to learn quickly. Thank you  ;)
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    • Take another look at the eszett in existing fonts and try that one again

    I completely failed to notice the eszett, as well, when I looked at the typeface initially. The dagger as well as the double dagger have the crossbars too low. (But I didn't notice any issue with the thorn.) But other than that, and the accents on I and i, I have still failed to connect with the typeface's other flaws that the experts here have found.
    Oh, all right, I never liked the @-sign, but I felt that was a choice that you could make that might differ from my tastes.
    Taking another look, though, the fi and fl ligatures are problematic. And the ampersand, &, is a horror.
    But the letters A-Z, a-z, and the digits 0-9? They seem well-done and beautiful to me, and if you're able to get them right, making... safer choices for the special characters, and then redrawing them is something you would obviously have the capacity to do.
    From what I hear often from many of the professional type designers here, in fact, is that one has to avoid always making the "safe" or "conventional" choice.
    So I can accept the idea that you may need to learn quite a bit to develop the judgment that allows you to know the appropriate extent to which you can be new and original - to have a way to avoid going too far, without sticking completely to the safe and conventional.
    But these are issues of taste and of familiarity with the range of options explored by existing typefaces. Your technical skill in constructing the basic letterforms does not seem to me to be lacking, and yet some of the criticisms here seem to be... all-inclusive.
    What I read seems to say the whole font is crude; but when I look at it, I see beautiful and well-done basic letterforms that make an excellent foundation... but some excessive adventurousness, or even sloppiness, when proceeding out to the special characters, ligatures, and accented letters.
    That's an issue, of course, but it's a very different issue from not being practiced and able enough to draw an acceptable alphabet. You definitely don't seem to have that problem to me.
    So, although I am no professional type designer myself, I am puzzled, as it seems like the professional type designers here are steering you wrong; your lack seems to be one of knowledge, of a wide enough familiarity with what people expect of the other elements of a font beside the most basic characters. Not of practice in drawing letterforms.
  • John Savard said:
    What I read seems to say the whole font is crude

    Yes.

    Of course, some things are better than others. The lightest weight is the most refined, but it gets cruder and cruder with every step toward the black.

    Your technical skill in constructing the basic letterforms does not seem to me to be lacking

    So do you approve of the Black /a/S/s/e/ example above?

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    So do you approve of the Black /a/S/s/e/ example above?

    You are right that the blackest weight is perhaps flawed. Since usually black weights of typefaces have to be redesigned to such an extent that they're really new typefaces, I hadn't taken that into account.
    But I hadn't seen anything to seriously complain about in any of the other weights; this, though, I am willing to admit is likely due to my having a less acute eye than that of professional type designers, who need to deal properly with the issues that arise when the weight of a typeface changes.
    On closer examination, it may well be true that as the weight increased from the lightest one, he didn't make the necessary subtle adjustments to the face that would be done for a professional typeface designed to the highest quality standards.
    Silly me, I had imagined that even greats like Hermann Zapf didn't do all that stuff themselves, but instead that large type foundries had among their staff other people whose specific area of expertise was the subtle optical adjustments that need to be made between different weights and sizes of the same typeface.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,936
    edited July 2023
    John Savard said:
    ... he didn't make the necessary subtle adjustments to the face that would be done for a professional typeface designed to the highest quality standards.
    I don't think you're doing Eryk a favor by downplaying the current shortcomings of his typeface. Good curves, stylistic consistency between letters, and matching readability expectations for symbols are not «the highest quality standards»; they are basic necessities.
    These are perfectly normal shortcomings for a beginner type designer, and I'm sure Eryk will overcome them if he sticks to it, but denying them will hinder him in his progress.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    edited July 2023
    On closer examination, it may well be true that as the weight increased from the lightest one, he didn't make the necessary subtle adjustments to the face that would be done for a professional typeface designed to the highest quality standards.
    Silly me, I had imagined that even greats like Hermann Zapf didn't do all that stuff themselves, but instead that large type foundries had among their staff other people whose specific area of expertise was the subtle optical adjustments that need to be made between different weights and sizes of the same typeface.

    Broadly, I agree with Christian, on both scores: don’t downplay the importance of these things, as they are basic; yet also, errors in these areas are absolutely normal for a beginner and should not be a cause for dismay or abandoning type design.

     The kinds of optical adjustments that go with increasing weight are something that I cover even in a three-day intro type design workshop. Optical adjustments for different weights have pretty much always been the responsibility of the type designer. With large foundries sometimes there have been multiple type designers involved with a family, but there haven’t ever been “weight specialists” who did just that. (Note: specifying which weights of a continuous variable font to instantiate as the standard instances is a different task.)

     For different sizes, that depends on the foundry and the time. In the days of metal type it was certainly not unusual for the type designer to do them. Not sure who spec’d these things for ATF pantographic engraver tech, the first time/place where adjustments for scaling became actual data (written out on slips of paper).




  • I have looked at many typefaces on adobe fonts library and realised what I did wrong in heavier weights. I just changed these 3 glyphs for now.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,396
    To my eye the shapes are changing too much as they add weight: 
    The light /s is tall and leans backwards; the heavy /s is wide and feels skewed diagonally.
    The light /e has an almost cartoonish large eye and wimpy outstroke; the heavy /e is much more conventional.
    The light and heavy /a's are closer in character, though the light one feels like a more open aperture and feels maybe narrower. 
    Other tips: Keep the spine of your /s's, and all of your terminals, strong. Try to ease the straight-into-curve transition in the middle of /a more. The crossbar of /e needs to be (relatively) thin in the bolder weights as you have here, but should be closer to the other stroke weights in the lighter weights. If you're trying to tackle a full range of weights (an ambitious plan I think), you will need intermediate masters to control that kind of thing. 
  • Craig's spot-on; those letters change character too much from Light to Black. I suspect the main problem is that you're adding most of the weight on the outside of the Light to create the Black, when it should be on the inside.

  • Craig's spot-on; those letters change character too much from Light to Black. I suspect the main problem is that you're adding most of the weight on the outside of the Light to create the Black, when it should be on the inside.




    I tried again but added more weight from the inside. Thats the thin, regular, and black weight. I will be using variations panel to add more later in between.


  • Im not sure which one appear more consistent. These or the ones above?
  • I don’t see that much difference between them; the main thing that catches my eye is the middle horizontal, which is ok in the Bold but too thin in the other two weights. In the Light, it should be pretty much the same as the other horizontals. 

    The new Black /a/ is certainly much better than the old one.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,086
    edited August 2023
    Good curves, stylistic consistency between letters, and matching readability expectations for symbols are not «the highest quality standards»; they are basic necessities.

    Except for the third of those, I didn't think I was saying that. It was stylistic consistency between weights that I had been dismissing (at least to the level it seemed to me some comments were concerned with); I had not intended to categorize good curves, or stylistic consistency between the basic characters of a typeface, as being other than basic necessities.
  • Eryk KosinskiEryk Kosinski Posts: 70
    edited October 2023


    I have done Thin and black weights again from the start. For now its lowercase, capitals, period and comma. 
  • Hmmm. It feels weird that you have noticeable thick/thin contrast with many of your diagonals, but not vertical vs horizontal. Either reduce the diagonals contrast or increase that with the horizontals, I should think.

    The angle of the terminal cuts on a c e g s y C S is not working so well. It is quite unconventional, and while it is probably possible to pull this off, I don’t think you are there yet. Mind you, the problem may just be awkward curves on CcSs, even more than the terminal cuts. If the glyph doesn’t look right, it is tempting for me to blame the obviously unconventional factor, but that may be the wrong culprit here. If your font editor has tools that help with curvature consistency, you might want to learn about them and try them on these glyphs (in FontLab: Genius, Harmonize, etc.).


  • Diagonals contrast have been lowered. I am not sure what is wrong with terminals. Is it the angle of terminals altogether or the angle outlines are going out of the terminal. I use genius and x, y servant tools for all glyphs. 
  • The S still feels stiff/odd.

    Do this on a copy only, make sure you save the original, but…. One trick that sometimes helps for those of us who struggle with the S (I am one of them!) is to delete any points in the middle of the spine so that the spine is defined solely by the vertical beziers. Then reshape. Once you have a more pleasing shape, you can reinstate them.
  • The S still feels stiff/odd.

    Do this on a copy only, make sure you save the original, but…. One trick that sometimes helps for those of us who struggle with the S (I am one of them!) is to delete any points in the middle of the spine so that the spine is defined solely by the vertical beziers. Then reshape. Once you have a more pleasing shape, you can reinstate them.


    Changed S glyph. Seems to fit more with lowercase s.
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