Align Sans--a bit on the square roundaboutly

dezcom's picture

Here is one of the new type families I have been working on for the past few months. It started out as a display face but I pushed towards the text face side. There are 3 weights in the posted PDF: light, regular and bold. There are small caps and oldstyle figures as well as all the CE glyphs. See if you can tell what I have "almost" done.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I really benefitted from my first font here last year and am hoping the comments will be as fruitful this time.

Regards,

ChrisL

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Align_postTpfle.pdf87.1 KB
Align_AltGTpfle.pdf49.93 KB
Gadget_Magazine.pdf148.46 KB
Gadget_MagUpdate.pdf377.83 KB
paulTerrific.pdf37.99 KB
Align_3weightAlign.pdf56.93 KB
dezcom's picture

"I think that a “g” like this one or like the one in Quadraat are not that odd."

I think that to naive readers, those who are not involved in typography or design, the oddness is not perceived. I think the average person just "reads" it. I think that people who are very schooled in the typographic arena are more likely to notice that a glyph departs from the mainstream. Some may have trouble fitting it into an academic reference and it may bother them. Others, like Héctor, who are more open to variation in form, just accept it as either a viable mutation or dislike it if it does not suit them. I make a practice of showing text in types I am working on to mostly naive viewers without telling them anything other than to read the text. I have yet to have anyone comment at all on the font. They just read. We, in the field dissect and categorize, looking for comparisons. Sometimes this can cloud "just looking" and get in the way. It is an occupational hazard I guess :-)
If a women asks her husband if "She looks fat in this" there will be no honesty in his answer (if he is smart). If she asks a young child (and she NEVER will), she had better be prepared for the naive but very honest truth.

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Good points.

BUT:
Type's relevance, especially in text, is "subvisible". The silence of the layman is a result of an inability to grasp, much less verbalize, what's happening deep in the subconscious; not of the alternative: that all types are basically the same! This is normal, and you're right that asking a type designer is quite often a can of worms. Yup, this makes it all quite a challenge! :-/

hhp

dezcom's picture

"... and you’re right that asking a type designer is quite often a can of worms. "

That is why it is very good to have several type designers of different opinions comment. You can get a notion from the disparity of views yet perhaps be opened to some very valid points. I don't think you should have to heed every suggestion from them. I think it is good to be forced to take a hard look at your own reasonings and divergence of opinion fosters that.

ChrisL

ebensorkin's picture

What I think is at issue is if like in Meta or Fago the face is really intended to be used in text - or not. It works remarkably well there considering but I think it is really a headline & display face as it is presented at the moment. I have been working on some comments and have been stuck in some sense because of this ambiguity of purpose in my own mind. I suppose that ideally the face could do all these things. But Align's effectiveness as display face will eventaully be reduced by too much emphasis on text & vice versa.

So far I prefer Chris' double bowl g to the single bowl because it adds alot of flavor and is eye catching - and in a pleasing way. But if you were to set an article in Align I would want at least a suggestion of a closed lower bowl. Or the altrenate form. I am not sure it needs to close per se but putting a bend in the end might be a good plan - for text anyway.

The characters that still jump out at me are the w and thed y. In a logo they would arrest attention. A good thing! In text the catch & hold my eye which is tiring. The k and to a minor extent the x also feel this way to me.

The weights don't totally work for me. The Regular feels a little light and the bold feels more like a black to my eye. This effect is far more pronounced on screen than it is on my inkjet. I am curious to see what Hrant's idea looks like in print because the bold feels a little cramped to me. The regular a bit too.

Still, I can't believe how easy this is on the eyes despite the superfical regularity of form. For some reason the irregular features and the pleasantness of the face for text seem greatest in the lightest weight. Does anybody else feel this way? I think that the rythm of the letters works best in the lightest weight. Thats probably why. I would love to see the regular with more light-like spacing!

Congradulations Chris!

hrant's picture

> I suppose that ideally the face could do all these things.

I think that "ideally" you actually can't have a font that's both very good in text and very good in display. Trying results in luke-warm soup.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

>Luke warm soup

True. But despite this underlying truth some fonts seem surprisingly strong in a variety of uses even if one of those uses is a core purpose. This is the ideal I was referring to. I can't advocate splitting the difference.

dezcom's picture

Eben,
Thanks for joining in on the critique!
When I started this face, my intention was just to do a light weight and as a display face (I had a job which needed something like this). I still think the light is the most successful weight.
Regarding the weight issue--Inkjets notoriously add weight. When I compare the same page printed on both my inkjet and Laser, It looks like a whole different set of weights. I have yet to get Lino output or see Align printed offset but I am sure it will be noticably lighter than even my Laser. There is a discussion going on here about proofing which may interest you. http://typophile.com/node/15453
Regarding text or display as a target usage--I can't imagine someone using Align in book publishing but I think it can be used in smaller doses of text. I will allow the user to decide that. I never thought Din would be set as text at all but obviously, many users think otherwise.

ChrisL

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