Geometric Textura experiment

Catharsis's picture

I recently stumbled upon some hand-painted blackletter capitals by Sasha Prood (in orange, towards the end of the sequence):

They inspired me to start experimenting with a very geometric approach to a textura font myself. In particular, I'd like to stick to (quasi-)circular arcs and straight lines with either horizontal, vertical, or 45° diagonal stroke cuts. Here's what I have so far:

It feels strangely complementary to my previous work on Octant, where I applied blackletter features to a humanist serif chassis, whereas here I'm applying features from geometric sans to a blackletter chassis.

Whaddya think?

I was toying with the name "Zukunft", in the line of Futura and Avenir, but that seems to be taken already. :\

marcinc's picture

From the legibility point of view, these are excellent changes. The rest is a matter of esthetic judgement, which I don't feel qualified to perform -- perhaps you could ask in the Cyrillic subforum. Your preferred version of |Д| is also my favourite one of the two. If your lowercase |ъ| has a similar bar to the uppercase, then the entire alphabet looks good to me. Also, hereby I withdraw my yesterday's nitpicking on your |Л|.

marcinc's picture

Hm, I refrained from making esthetic judgements but I do have one remark that hasn't gone away with sleep: the serifs in the better version of |Д| are asymmetric. I tend to think of these vertical strokes as organic parts of |Д| that only get degraded to serifs in serif fonts. Perhaps you could check if making the left serif similar to the top left part of |в| looks acceptable.

Catharsis's picture

There is a cyrillic subforum? Where...?

Thanks for your comments! I just did the caps for the Adobe Extended cyrillic characters and am working on the lowercase now. Should have them finished before long.

marcinc's picture

Oops, indeed there is no Cyrillic subforum :(
Maybe you can request for feedback here: (the registration Captcha is about putting together a picture from its top right corner).
Glad to be of some help. Good luck with the rest of Cyrillic!

Catharsis's picture

I don't speak Russian, so I wouldn't even know how to register on that forum, much less where to post. :P

Anyway, I know a few Cyrillic-users from work; I'll ask them for opinions.

Here's my take on the Adobe Extended Cyrillic characters:

I believe there's still "Che-descender" missing, but that character name is currently buggy in Glyphs, so it didn't get generated properly. I'll get it done ASAP.

Also, I made an angular |E| for Cyrillic to distinguish it from |Є|. I rather like it.

marcinc's picture

If the character in the middle of the second row is |ѣ (yat)|, then its lowercase version has its own special cursive shape, similar to |n| with a bowl. Otherwise, perfect.

marcinc's picture

Hi Christian. I saw your full Cyrillic at
I like the new |ъ| and |я| very much. I guess there is an oversight in |Ё| -- it is an optional variant of some |Е|s in Russian. Should somebody use both these letters in all-caps, their juxtaposition would look weird.

Catharsis's picture

Thanks Marcin, the |Ë| was indeed a mistake. Corrected.

marcinc's picture

Hi Christian. Hope you don't mind yet another comment of mine, this time on the capital |Ѣ (Yat)|. Given the archaic feel of blackletter, I would guess this letter will be used more often than in everyday writing (that is: more often than not at all).
IMHO, the current version would work better as the ultra-special |Ҍ (Semisoft sign)| that you understandably haven't done. Its generally small size puts it in the same league as |Ь| and |Ъ| that don't represent any sounds. But |Ѣ| is a full, majestic letter that represents |Е|. Try to typeset Dostoevsky's БѢСЫ (now БЕСЫ). My suggestion is to base |Ѣ| on |Ъ| with its bar prolonged to the right (IMHO cutting its right edge like this: /====\ rather than /====/ would be preferable) and an extra long ascender, like in |Ф|. The call is yours.

Catharsis's picture

Hi Marcin,

thanks for your insight. I've made the |Ѣ| taller, and I like it that way. I tried cutting the crossbar against the pen slant, but it felt all wrong. I hope it's still legible that way?

I also fixed the long-standing problem that the |Б| was too narrow to feel like a proper capital. Finally, I made a new Ы that looks a bit more "capital" than the old one, thanks to an exaggerated |I|-like serif on the second stem that ties the two parts together into a square box. However, I don't know whether that has a negative impact on legibility. What do you think?

By the way, I'd like to add a cyrillic poster to my MyFonts appearance. Do you have any suggestions for the text on it? I chose the first stanza of the German song "Die Gedanken sind frei" to illustrate Latin text. Unfortunately, I don't know any Slavic languages.

marcinc's picture

During the lunch, I did a field test on my Belorussian friend, a native speaker of Russian. The |Ѣ| is good. He found the entire minuscule legible, although he thinks that the thin crossbar that closes the |у| is an unnecessary hindrance. With respect to the capitals, he would mistake |М| for |Т| in isolation, so he suggests that you revert to the first |М|. To his eye untrained to blackletter, the arc in |Т| makes it too similar to |С|. Also, he prefers the old |Ы| that follows the way it's handwritten. As to the text, he pointed me to a Russian pangram: "Съешь ещё этих мягких французских булок, да выпей же чаю." but he says it's a bit cliché. I can ask him for some Russian poetry -- would you prefer a folk song, some classic like Pushkin or Lermontov, or some more modern poet?

hrant's picture

I'd been ogling this beauty since the beginning - sorry I didn't make the time to help with the crit. Congrats on releasing it!


Andreas Stötzner's picture

Absolutely fascinating (as most of your works!).
What is the state of this?

How far are you with the Greek ?


Catharsis's picture

Hi Andreas — Gryffensee has been out on MyFonts for more than a year now. I haven't started with a Greek version of it, I'm afraid. What little time I currently have on my hands for type design goes into Traction.

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