Natural Condensed Display

Joseph NavarroJoseph Navarro Posts: 6
edited April 2020 in Type Design Critiques
Hello guys!

I am a brand designer with an incredible admiration for typography so for a project I'm working on right now, for an Interior design studio, I decided to take a stab at my first typeface design. Last few months I've been on a quest to expand my skills and eye for typography from free sources online like this blog, which is by far the best one I've found so far.

The brand I'm working on is named Natural Instinct, so I wanted to make the N, R, A characters have a bit of personality.
When drawing I kept coming back to this N structure with the horizontals that form at top and bottom, from there, I played a bit more with M and W to make them a little wacky and then tried to make everything matched the best I could. The type is meant for posters, ads and special situations so I want it to be a little fun but in just the right amount. Just have this set so far but the idea is to make a full set of characters and glyphs this coming days.

Let me know what you think, any comments, questions or feedback would be greatly appreciated and taken into account.


  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited April 2020
    I agree with Christian, /M/ and /W/ are the most distracting. I'd add the /X/ looks a bit anemic - all others are very concrete and stable while it seems distractingly weak. The ampersand might be a tad too elaborate to fit in this no-nonsense yet simple set. Good start overall!
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,279
    Five and two are wide, and horizontals of two five and seven too slight. 
  • I marked up your PDF to give you my thoughts. Some other items that I did not put in the PDF, upon further inspection, are that some characters look a little too wide, specifically the S, X-check after reducing contrast, Y, Z, and 2 — T could be a little wider, too. Hope this helps! Good luck.
  • Hello guys! Thank you so so much for your feedback it is greatly appreciated. I finally had a chance to work on this dear project in the middle of this crazy times. Learning must not stop.
    The comments were all very helpful in achieving a more professional type. I reworked the M and the W as @Christian Thalmann suggested, those anomalies looked too different and were hard to read. I made the X a little stronger and more balanced as @ValKalinic pointed out (it did felt different than the rest). Also reworked the 5 & 2 as @Craig Eliason said. @Joe Elwell Your maked PDF was so incredibly helpful.  I reworked all the horizontals width, I do want the mono linear sans look you pointed out. Also worked the stem in the 7, increased the notch on G and did the same for all other inktraps, made the  top pocket in 3 smaller and overall tried to smooth curves a bit. So happy with how it's looking rn.

    Let me know if you have any other piece of advise, it would be again, greatly appreciated. And thank you for your time and the willingness to share your knowledge. It's all really inspiring.

  • Joe ElwellJoe Elwell Posts: 34
    @Joseph Navarro This was well improved! Much better in curve quality and overall stroke-balance. I think from here you can push it even further. 

    5, 6, & 9 could emphasis the ink-trap joins like 3 and 8 use. (2 looks a little too wide). 

    /J serif might as well extend to near about the terminal to close up that negative space. The terminal also has more room you could take up, vertically.

    /X and /Y could use less tapering. These are optical treatments for smaller-use sizes and this is display so they don’t need to be as aggressive. The lack of contrast in the K should be your guide for these. The Y in particular needs a different solution at the juncture to create the squared/ink-trap feature a lot of other characters employ. Could the K also have a boxier inner counter to lighten that up?

    ? (question mark) looks like it is about to fall to the right.

    ! (exclam) stem could be a couple units wider in the thickest part.

    Z too wide? LSB might be a little too wide — check the space on the top horizontal between H’s and balance that.

    Are you going to add a lowercase? I hope so!
  • @Joe Elwell Thank you so much for the comments! I will emphasize inktraps and find a solution for Y, now that you mentioned it looks apart from the set and a bit boring. Thank you for the tapering advise, I'll keep that in mind. I'll finesse X and Y and the other characters and glyphs you mention. About the lowercase.. Im going for it! I'll come back in a couple of days with this changes and the first attempt at it. Im excited. Thanks again for all the help.
  • Hi guys! Im back with the minuscules set + all the other tweaks that @Joe Elwell kindly suggested in the last comment. (Definitely took more that a couple of days!).

    While fixing the tapering on Y and X it was clear that a lot of the other letters where overdoing it as well, so things changed a bit, also did not find a good way to give Y a more squared juncture without making it to different from the rest. If any of you have any suggestions let me know.

    With the lowercase I try to match the style the uppercase had set, the best I could. I want to ask you to take a look at the descender - ascender proportion and see if the difference in size is admissible.
    Again all the help and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    cc @Christian Thalmann @ValKalinic @Craig Eliason
  • ValKalinicValKalinic Posts: 45
    edited June 2020
    This is progressing nicely indeed. To me, /M, /N, and /W look a tad too "mechanical". Not sure the problems of /X and /Y are fully solved yet, and as you took a different apporach to solve their shortcoming, they now don't fit each other that well. The spine of /? seems a bit thick. The ear of /r is too long to a degree that makes it obvious it is a stylistic choice which is absolutely fine, but no other glyphs seem to share this whimsical style. I'd either make the other glyphs expressive in a similar fashion, or normalize /r a bit - probably a bit of both. Just my 2 cents. Well done.
  • @ValKalinic  You are right about /MNW I think I can give them a bit more "human" feeling, I'll try some stuff out. And about the ear of the /r that is really great, I did not see that before, I do want to carry that around the other characters a little bit. Thank you for the feedback, I'll work on your suggestions.
  • Joe ElwellJoe Elwell Posts: 34
    I like the mechanical look and feel of the caps and think it gives the design some personality, otherwise. I would like to see those features injected slightly more into the /Y.

    The /r doesn’t bother me because it is following the /a and /c. It could be slightly narrower and the arm could not drop quite as far, but it’s fine and legible as is.

    /g /j and /y could use a tighter/faster transition into the terminal similar the /f.

    Most of the diagonal-based characters could use some more finessing — the juncture solutions don’t seem quite consistent.

    Keep going — good job!
  • Compared to the counters on /a and /s, the counters on /e and /c seem a bit too narrow. In terms of the /r, have you tried making the terminal vertical instead of horizontal? It would probably look like an oversized ear, but alas, worth giving a shot. 
    Regarding the junction of /y: I'd suggest opting for a junction similar to /v and /w, resulting in a step/corner/whatever (not sure how to phrase it).
    Otherwise, really digging the overall look and feel!
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 167
    Diagonal of /Z seems heavy.
    Thin join in /G is flimsy; you've developed a good practice for this sort of thing in the lowercase bowls and should use it there.
  • Thank you guys @Joe Elwell @Philipp Schumann and @K_pease for the input. It's been  incredibly helpful. I'm currently working on this tweaks and I am pretty excited to show you the new version. Will be posting it soon.
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