Traction: A text font with grip and bite (in development)

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Comments

  • Glad you like it, Jan!

    As for your release suggestion, I'm replying to that as part of this other thread.
  • image

    Waiter: ‘Madam, are you interested in a further tasty comparison of details and proportions?
    Lady: ‘Nah, I’m still digesting “Until today I never compared the proportions with Times NR”
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 350
    Nice work Christian! I'm looking forward to seeing how Traction progresses :-D
  • I've got a first version of the display and stencil cuts of Traction ready. Now for the polishing!

    Incidentally, do you think it's worthwhile to make an inline version...?
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,836
    I've got a first version of the display and stencil cuts of Traction ready. Now for the polishing!
    Go work on the text fonts. You might end up redesigning entire characters in the text font and then change them in the display fonts as well. In that case your polish time is wasted.
    Incidentally, do you think it's worthwhile to make an inline version...?
    You’d be better off coming up with a weird multi-layer display type than a simple inline version.
  • Go work on the text fonts. You might end up redesigning entire characters in the text font and then change them in the display fonts as well. In that case your polish time is wasted.
    Good point, though the medium weight of the text font is pretty much finished as well. Do you think expanding it to a weight spectrum will shake things up again?
  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 158
    Yes, expanding it into a weight spectrum probably will shake things up again.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    I just added a provisional schwa, but I'm not sure it looks right. Does anyone here have experience with Azərbaycani typography?

    (It also needs some more cosmetic polishing, but I'm worried about the architecture first and foremost.)
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    Sorry, attachment:
    image
  • Hmmm, I guess the slanted bar is too jarring in the caps. How about this instead?
    image
  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 158
    Why is the /Schwa so much wider than the /C ?
    I mean, it feels really, really too wide.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    I agree, it does. I had already made the body narrower by 10 units, and the arm by an additional 10 units, after posting this. Now I've also done a bit more adjusting on the curves:

    image

    The /Schwa is still wider than the /C, since the latter is lacking a stem on the right... but now the /Schwa is optically the same width as /O, which seems sensible to me.

    Does the lowercase /schwa call for a serif on the upper left?
  • Dan ReynoldsDan Reynolds Posts: 158
    Still too wide!
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    Hmmm. I slimmed it down a bit more, and retracted the arm a bit. I also reduced the left sidebearing quite a bit — I had made it too large so as to look good in "AZƏRBAYCAN", whereas the real problem was that /Z had too tight sidebearings.

    image

    I do agree that the result looks good in relation to /C and /O, but it feels a bit stunted in the vicinity of /G, which I feel is /Ə's closest relative (as opposed to /C). On the other hand, /C/G/O by themselves all play along well in my opinion.

    As for the lowercase schwa, I gave it a serif and made its curves bottom-heavier in order to ground it a bit more. I fear it might be more confusable with /a now, but I guess that's in the nature of that glyph.

    image

    (The middle one is the new /schwa.)
  • Here's another update, based on Craig's feedback. I made the bottoms of /e/c/C heavier, which did them good. Doing the same thing to the serifless /schwa makes it more able to stand on its own. While I think the serif /schwa is more true to the font's nature, it might just look too similar to /a.

    image
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    Actually, after some discussion with a friend who speaks several language that use the schwa character (albeit in a Cyrillic environment), I have decided to use the serifed version of the schwa after all. Apparently, the similarity to /a is not very problematic, and the serif is more in line with how the letter is actually written (which is very different from /e) — not to mention that it's decidedly more in character for the font.

    Incidentally, I also noticed that the display cut hat a weird discrepancy of stroke weights in the central strokes of /a and /e. I've thinned down the crossbar of the /e to match that in /a. I think it looks much better now:

    image

    (I must have been thinking of /H when preserving that thick crossbar in /e, but that's not what it's going to be compared with. It should play well with other lowercase letters, first and foremost.)

    Also, is my /g too freaky? I've made a quick alternate version with a flat ear — does that work better? I do like the concept of an ear that continues the motion of the neck connection, but that flaring ear is just a bit unsightly up close.

    image
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,250
    If you want a flat ear it might be worth trying a shape more akin to the /f/t/ crossbar than to the serifs. But I think a rising ear could work. Strange as it sounds, the one in the previous post might stick out less if it were *bigger*.
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited June 2014
    @ Craig: I tried out your suggestion of /f/t-like flat ear. Maybe I didn't try hard enough, but among those attempts, none strike me as particularly attractive:

    image

    As for a bigger diagonal ear, how about this? Honestly, I'm not quite sure whether I like it better or worse than the original. Probably leaning toward better.

    image

    Yep, I like it the better the more I look at it. :)
  • None of the above for me. Putting the ear directly opposite and erect is giving the g a character and energy that none of the other characters share. In my opinion you'd be better served going back into the other characters and finding sympathetic gestures that would be more appropriate.
  • Hey, I like that last one a lot! I'd just thin down the connection a bit to make it fit with the other thins. I'll give it a try. Thanks!
  • Yep, I like the way that turned out, and it fits right in with the tails of /f and /y. :)
    image
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited August 2014
    Man, making the light weights is way harder than I expected. Many of the organic forms of the default weight don't work anymore, and I have to introduce new points to iron things out. The top of the /a is a particularly difficult case. Luckily, a certain ruggedness in the shapes is required for the family likeness.

    image

    Still, making progress...
  • The best thing about filling out the light side of the weight spectrum is that I finally get to see what are going to be the regular book weights of the text face. Does this look about right?

    image
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited October 2014
    Book weight used in Pages:

    image

    Certainly more readable that the "Medium" weight I started with!

    (I had previously made the mistake of checking out the font on Word:mac 2008, which screwed up the spacing for some reason. Pages, on the other hand, apparently knows how to treat a font.)
  • Looks beautiful to me.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 544
    edited October 2014
    Christian, allow me to suggest a wider version for long running text.
    Currently it's a bit too narrow, and that makes it naturally best suited for headlines, or newspapers columns.
  • Should that always be the goal though? I honestly believe there may be a need for somewhat condensed book typefaces. If optimal reading is your goal though, I would definitely widen the text variant. Perhaps bring out two widths?
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited October 2014
    Interesting point! I'm aware that the current version is rather narrow. I figured I might be able to amend that a bit with wider spacing, but I guess that's only part of the problem. It's an interesting proposition that the current cut might be particularly suited to newspaper columns; I'll have to think about that more.

    Currently, I'll be happy if the weight spectrum of Traction gets finished within a useful timeframe; adding width spectrum as well sounds very daunting at the moment. Although it's not so much of a headache from the technical side, since Glyphs supports such things, and I guess widening a font must take a lot less work than changing the weight. I'll consider it.

    I guess with the display cut called Attraction and the stencil one called Subtraction, the narrow newspaper text cut would have to be... Contraction. *runs away*
  • Christian ThalmannChristian Thalmann Posts: 1,772
    edited October 2014
    Alright, I've added +5/+5 units to the sidebearings in the Medium weight, which I guess translates to something like +4/+4 in the Book weight. The difference is quite striking when seen at large sizes in Glyphs. In small sizes in Pages, I'm not so sure anymore. Maybe I should add even more...?

    image

    Though comparing it with Attraction, Traction Medium does run wider and makes a more readable impression:

    image

    (The /T_h ligature will obviously have to be widened a bit for Traction Medium.)
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