Cephalonia - 2nd phase design

Hi all,

After designing two uppercase display faces, I submitted them to myfonts. They gave me some really useful feedback and suggested I submit them here for discussion.

After looking through the site, I'm excited about the possibility of working with the members here and further developing these typefaces (the other is called LULU and I will post that later).

The main comments from myfonts on Cephalonia were around kerning and not enough differentiation on the weights. To start though I was hoping to discuss the design in general and look to polish up anything that may not be working.

Initially, I designed the typeface with all the distinctive extra crossbars (pulled out in blue colour, below). But as they also suggested designing a lowercase, I decided to make them alternates and try and extend the reach of the typeface beyond display. The first amends have been to add the 'standard' versions.

My first questions are then: what glyphs/features do you think could be improved? And, what other typefaces would you suggest looking at as reference for a lowercase? I can post more close up images of individual glyphs if necessary.

In case my background is of use, I'm a freelance graphic designer and letterer. I have no formal training in type design and I have mainly been using Karen Cheng's book, Designing Type.

Thanks in advance to anyone who has taken the time to read this and respond. I look forward to what you have to say!



  • Stephen ColesStephen Coles Posts: 975
    edited November 2014
    You are wise to refine the core weight before adding styles. There is a lot of work to do here. But first, what is your goal with Cephalonia? What are you trying to achieve? I don't want to discourage you, but there are already a lot of "experimental" sans serifs with these kinds of trendy alternate forms. Before looking at other typefaces as a reference I would give yourself a brief. Good type usually starts with a purpose.
  • Hi Stephen, thanks for taking a look.

    I agree it's not breaking new ground and aware of those experimental sans serifs. While I like many of them I think the ornamentation goes too far and felt like it was added just for the sake of it. I wanted to try something that was pulled back, just a few consistent angles and touches.

    My design goal was to try and borrow from ancient greek engravings and some of the earlier alphabets to see if you could get something that, while ticking the trendy box, had a bit of that ancient feel. Attached are some images I was initially looking at.

    In terms of an overall goal, this is a learning experience so I'm not concerned too much whether I end up producing something that isn't original. I want to complete it to a high standard and move on to more ambitious projects!

    Not sure if that is enough of a 'purpose'?! Let me know what you think.

  • here are those images...
  • My design goal was to try and borrow from ancient greek engravings and some of the earlier alphabets to see if you could get something that, while ticking the trendy box, had a bit of that ancient feel.
    I don't see that back in your design though. If this is the direction you want to head into, why not add that ancient feel subtly?

    First decide on the direction and then fix all the issues. I would check the curves in particular if I were you as there are quite a lot of kinks. The top bowl of B is hanging down while the top bowl is going up, there's a kink in the curve of D and I would extend the vertical curve, there's a kink in the vertical curve in C and G, the vertical notes in C and G are horizontally off-center, O and Q feature kinks in all 4 directions, the horizontally cut tail in Q is way too modern if you want some of that ancient feel, the U is too squared and the curve too sudden, the join of Y should be lower and the Z is falling to the right. D/E/F/L are also too condensed. Some of the symbols are also problematic, like the dollar sign falling to the right, the percentage symbol looking awkward, the ampersand hash strange curves and kinks, your question mark is falling to the right and the M in TM is too heavy.

    If you want to continue on the path you're on, for the polish I would have a look at faces like Neutraface, Nobel and Futura. For the alternate glyphs I couldn't recommend anything as I'm not that familiar with these kind of display typefaces. If you want to design a typeface with the brief you provided and taking inspiration from the Greek script, I don't really know what to recommend. There seems to be a disconnect between what you show here and what you say your initial brief was, so I would first re-think the brief and follow up on it and show an update on the typeface before I could possibly help further.
  • Hi Martin
    Thanks a lot for all that detailed observation, that's fantastic. I hope my untrained eye can spot the kinks!
    I think for now I'm just going to concentrate on the polish as a big part of this first design was to learn the technical side of things. I hope you'll be able to take another look when I've looked at those changes and see if I correctly amended the glyphs from a technical point.
    Thanks again
  • I will take another look.
  • It's going well, just pay some attention to your curves; the software does not look after that, you have to tweak until there are no breaks in the curves.
  • I've worked on correcting some of the issues with the curves and redrawn some characters in the light of comments. Please let me know any thoughts and/or any basic problems that still remain with how characters are drawn.
    Much appreciated.
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