Looking for critique on my Canberra typeface entry

Hey people,

First time poster, long time lurker.

Now the Canberra Typeface comp is over and all of the entries are out in the open, I'm looking for some suggestions / advice on the typeface entry I designed for this. I haven't built a full alphabet set like this before, but I have always had a keen interest in type design / typography and have only just ventured into the actual production of fonts. I think getting a copy of Karen Cheng's "Designing Type" really got me motivated with exploring type design! I'm also a graphic designer by trade, having run my own studio for a few years now in Adelaide, South Australia.

I designed this entry in 10 days using Glyphs (I only found out about the competition until very late in the process!) It's main inspiration is drawn from the 20's & 30's art deco era, around the time when Canberra was planned and built, and it also has a few natural shapes & letterforms that draw upon the scenic / natural bush landscape that Canberra it was situated in. I'm particularly proud of the lowercase /a/ shape that communicates this - the spur at the bottom has a nice bulbous ending like a twig would!

After the competition, I wasn't really sure about what my plans are next with this, whether to shelve it or extend it with more weights, alternate styles etc. But now I feel like doing something more with it - I am thinking of redrawing alot of the letters so I'd like your opinion on what you think needs the most improvement. I'm not precious so please be honest!

PDF type sample: http://www.canberra.edu.au/typeface/gallery-folder/3239.pdf

And here's a screencap:

It also has no name yet (Other than "Canberra Type Entry" :P ) so if you have any thoughts on that, that would be cool too :)

Thanks everyone, great forum here.


  • Chris D
    Also please ignore the weird gradient thing going on in the colouring of some of the words - for some reason this copy of the PDF has mangled it, though it exported out nicely in Illustrator...
  • Thomas Phinney
    A few things spring to mind.

    To "appear" monoline (assuming that is the intent—yes?), horizontals need to be a smidge thinner than verticals. Looking for example at the bottom of the "u" compared to the vertical stems. Bottom of the "c" is heavier than the side, and the top. (I think—possible the gradient is fooling me.

    Curves that join in to straight strokes need some thinning at and near the join to avoid a clogged appearance. See: abdhmnpr. Look at how pro-grade sans serifs handle this.

    Anyhow, a fine first try at a typeface! Welcome to the great addiction of our lives. :)
  • Chris D
    Hi Thomas

    Thank you very much for your input & your welcome - you are correct in that I intended this to be monoline, with no contrast as such. I agree with your points about introducing some tapers where curves meet straights - I'll definitely keep working at it!