Thoughts on this serif

Hi all,

Whilst working on an unrelated sans project, I started experimenting with an angled bar on the /e/. I'm quite deep into the other project and really didn't need any distractions, but I ended up doodling my way to a set of lower case characters using a modified version of that /e/ as the starting point.

I quite like where I'm at in general, but feel it needs a lot of attention. I've attached a PDF and would welcome your thoughts about the best way to proceed. I know there are issues with bearings, so please try to ignore this for now.

Thanks in advance.


  • Sorry, I just noticed that I attached the wrong file to my OP.

    Here is the latest version.
  • Nice work.
    Few things I've noticed... The /e seems a bit "smaller" and the /q/b/d/etc' seems a bit "larger" or inflated. I think I'd try to balance them with the rest of the characters this way or another first. Then I'd check all the finals and serifs and try to find in it some unique harmony, but first of all try to feel and ask myself what I want this typeface too feel like, because it's kind of like all the other fonts out the at the moment, maybe caused by not enough emphasis on the unique characteristic you have there that is "swallowed" by all the familiar characteristics.

    Also notice the /y is thinning too much, and the /j is kind of "disappearing" .
  • Hi Ofir and thanks so much for your feedback.

    I think the key statement for me is "ask myself what I want this typeface too feel like". Given this project was more the result of idle curiosity than clear purpose, I can't answer that at the moment. I'm also committed to another project so I'm going to shelve this one for now and return to it when I can give it the attention it deserves.

    Thanks again.
  • I like it, though perhaps I would go for a more horizontal bar in /e. It seems while the diagonal bar increases aperture, it's not actually an optimal shape for reading. The horizontal bar works much more effectively, so you might want to take that in mind.

    I must also say I like the /g a lot.
  • Hi Martin... as I mentioned in my reply to Ofir, I'm going to have to take a step back from this one for now. But, notwithstanding this Venetian-style /e/ was the starting point for this font, the very first thing I plan to do is give it a horizontal bar! :)
  • It's got a nice attractive bounce to it! And yes, that /g is particularly nice.

    After you finish your sans project (which certainly deserves to be finished first!), I would also reconsider the weight of this particular cut. Currently, I suspect you are doing what I did with Traction: Drawing the serif face at display sizes, and thus ending up with too heavy a weight for running text. Of course, you'll want a spectrum of weights eventually, so that problem will become moot, but it's still best to start with the master you'll want to use as the default weight. (Also, many serif faces don't extend into the light end of the spectrum — if you're only going to have a Regular and a Bold master, definitely make the Regular lighter!)
  • I'd think twice before abandoning my initial idea.

    No. 6 on Michael McDonough’s Top Ten Things They Never Taught Me in Design School
  • Harmoniously schizophrenic, a summary of Italian design: Bodoni spoken with a Venetian accent, in a way. Very cool. Maybe a flatter angle (as opposed to none) on the crossbar of /e? That could match how the /o differs from /b -- not quite modernist, not quite humanist.
  • @Christian - you're right about the weight. It's not such an issue for me, however, since I don't have the tools to interpolate. Because I have to draw the full character set for each weight I create, the order probably isn't as important to me as it is to others.

    @Michael - I really like that idea. I really can't turn my full attention to this project right now, but I did a quick mock-up of an /e/ along the lines you suggested (file attached). The angle of the bar is in broad agreement with the stress of the /o/ and, once I iron out some wrinkles in the contours, I think it will work much better. Thanks!
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