Minimal Geometric Lettering

Hi all. I'm working on a lettering project just for fun, and I wanted a little critique on this. I haven't done any optical correction yet (is it necessary?) and I have had troubles with the /S and /@, especially the /@ because I haven't been able to find a reference. Any improvements would be welcome, and also comments on font pairings — I wanted to use a Vulf series font but not sure if it even fits. Attached are 2 variants for different aspect ratios.


  • Unless this poster contains a bunch of meaningless acronyms, I can't even figure out what these letters are supposed to be.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    Oh, I should have clarified — it's Vulfpeck on the left, Live @ MSG (Madison Square Garden) on the right. I tried to get this as legible as possible, but I certainly could improve some more?
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 44
    The thing I took longest to decode was the /V. I understand that it's literally the cornerstone of your design, but the truth remains that for several minutes I thought it probably wasn't supposed to be a letter at all, just because the black space separates it so much.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    Does this look better?

  • A big part of the problem I think is that I see this as two vertical columns of text. I read it as VLPCUFEK. And like K Pease I wasn’t sure whether the triangle was intended as a letter or as an arrow. Unconventional letterforms can work, and unconventional ordering of letters can sometimes work, but combine the two and you just end up with confusion.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    Would having bigger vertical spacing between lines help?
  • Peter BakerPeter Baker Posts: 74
    It takes too much effort to decode: many viewers will give up. I also think it should be two vertical columns instead of four horizontal rows. And since "VULFPECK" consists of two syllables of four letters each, it should gain a lot in legibility! Worth a try anyway.

    V P
    U E
    L C
    F K

  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    edited July 16
    Isn't the norm left to right, and up to down? I feel like if I were to change anything, I'd want a horizontal layout like

  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 44
    It is clearer. But another thing you might try, to fit with the 45° rule and set it more solid, is a five-sided "home plate" shape.

    As for the /@, it is probably composed of a few too many elements, making it inelegant. My best suggestion is to center in the circle a relatively simple /a shape, such as a backwards D, or a quarter-circle. Alternatively, another approach could be to plop a conventional @ from a text face onto the white circle; the style contrast may be appropriate there.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    This is what I have so far - I'm trying out your ideas, but I'm exploring alternative ways to separate everything before I have to rearrange everything.
  • Evie S. said:
    Isn't the norm left to right, and up to down? I feel like if I were to change anything, I'd want a horizontal layout like


    That may be the normal reading order, but not for columns which are only two characters wide since English doesn't normally break words in this way.

    Also worth noting is that, apart from the issues I already mentioned in my previous post, Vulfpeck (I assume this is the name of a band) isn't an actual English word, and for those of us (like me) who don't live in NYC, Madison Square Gardens is Madison Square Gardens, whereas MSG is either Monosodium Glutamate or Message.

    So you're really layering three problems on top of one another: (i) very nonstandard character shapes combined with (ii) a non-standard reading order combined with (iii) words which will not be familiar or salient to most readers who aren't vulfpeck fans from the City.
  • Jasper de WaardJasper de Waard Posts: 411
    edited July 17
    I actually think the original looks quite cool. I would go for the second but they're both nice. If you know Vulfpeck (like I do) I think it's not that hard to read. If you don't know them, the poster is not for you anyway. I do think that making it read as two columns (vulf and peck) perhaps makes more sense.

    Keep the old @. I love it.
    Try horizontally mirroring the old V.
    The new V is more legible, but a step down style-wise.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    Alright, I'll consider these suggestions. I'm definitely biased but these posters are for fans - keep in mind Vulfpeck's poster designer once made this - let me know if you can read it, I'd be surprised!
  • Nope! That makes yours look downright legible! If you’re aiming at fans and this band has some sort of established aesthetic then obviously that should take priority over my views. I’d never actually heard of this band before this thread, so I'm probably not the audience you're aiming at.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 396
    edited July 18
    I took maybe 20 seconds to parse that last one. But I get your point :smiley:
    You asked about optical corrections, I think the V definitely needs some, ideally it should be wider and taller (overshoot) so that it instantly parses as a letter, but I'm not sure if that's possible without the correction looking too obvious. Following Jasper's suggestion, flipping it to glue it to the next letter might be worth a shot if you keep the two-letter columns.

    But the vertical layout is worth considering, especially that “Live | @ MSG” will split into the two columns neatly as well.

    Finally, I'd try flipping the C vertically to disambiguate from G (and make it even more rad).
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 465
    edited July 18
    The V is definitely an improvement. I thought it was Ulf Peck, since Ulf is a common German first name. As it's a poster advertising a concert in New York, and it has "live at Madison Square Gardens" in normal type, the "Live @ MSG", despite MSG standing for "message" or Monosodium Glutamate usually is, I think, permissible.

    I'm not sure you could radically improve the legibility without spoiling the Art Deco-ish effect of the stylized text, unless you simply started over with a completely new design.

    However, if you can restate "live at Madison Square Garden" in normal type, perhaps you can sneak in Vulfpeck's name in normal type as well somewhere on the poster. Then you could even put the V back.

    After being totally mystified by the extreme example of a Vulfpeck poster, I looked around for other examples of that band's posters, and found this.

    The extreme example is included among a set of posters, most of which are actually legible. (Spoiler warning: the page reveals what the extreme example was intended to say. Also, it notes that because the poster was illegible, it was replaced with a design people could read.)
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    So I tried some new designs and layouts based on your feedback. What do you think? I'll definitely add the "Vulfpeck" text once I get all this lettering sorted out.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 396
    I might've been mistaken as to 'C', the new one rings the 'e' bell. How about going for simple geometry and vertical symmetry? Or does that leave too much whitespace on the right?
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    I was considering that, but I didn't want to leave space on the right, as it wouldn't align, and I'm not sure stretching the circle would be optimal, either.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 396
    edited July 19
    Maybe you could try a semicircle attached to a rectangle (with a triangular incision in it).
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 922
    I keep wanting to read the a in at as an OL. How about making the bowl the left half of a circle instead of the full circle? That will allow it to be narrower and less likely to be misread as two glyphs. 

    Having the color assist in hinting at the direction of reading as you now have it helps a bunch. 
  • Jacob CasalJacob Casal Posts: 95
    Similar to what Craig said, you could squeeze and combine the elements of the a in /@ so a semicircular bowl joins fully into the rectangular stem with a fourth of a circle poking out as a spur at the bottom. Alternatively, if you’re fond of something closer to what you have now with the circle, perhaps choose either the left or right bottom fourth of a circle as a spur directly under the square stem and not have it extend out.
    Perhaps lower the height of the stem slightly as well if you do go down a route similar to what you have now. At least to my eyes it looks uncomfortably taller than the circular bowl at the moment.
  • Evie S.Evie S. Posts: 56
    Original on left, alternates are to the right. I'm partial to the middle one myself.
Sign In or Register to comment.