Backstein, an abstract angular display font

Catharsis's picture

Here's a little something I literally built over the the weekend. It's inspired by the broken antiqua signage in the old Berlin subway stations. Backstein is German for "[baked] brick".

The idea of a squarish gemetric font is hardly original, but I hope I brought in some fresh air with those rather unconventional letter forms (especially the {r} and {s}).

Here's a PDF specimen: http://www.cinga.ch/type/backstein_specimen.pdf

J Weltin's picture

e, r and s might be too close for non-german readers.

Catharsis's picture

Hi Jürgen,

those forms don't strike me as particularly German. The script-style {r} and {s} are internationally widespread in hand-writing (though actually I learned a more Antiqua-like {r} in school in Switzerland), and {e} is pretty close to the Antiqua shape anyway.

Or do you mean the letters are generally not very legible and depend on context to be read properly? I'm deliberately pushing the boundaries of legibility a bit here in favor of a fresher look. It's certainly not meant for body copy.

I do feel the {s} is not quite finished yet. I'm thinking of cutting off the spur to the top right to clear up that join a bit — let's see if it's still legible then (or maybe even more so?).

Gruß

J Weltin's picture

To me they’re legible in German because of the context. But, generally i think they’re too similar, even for display.
I like the {s} though. But not the cap S. Make it narrower. T longer on both sides of the top. And make {I} just a stroke.

Grüße.

hrant's picture

Looking cool. I'll make time for a full crit soon.

BTW, you know what this needs? A Hebrew.
Related: http://www.vllg.com/Incubator/Kaas

hhp

Catharsis's picture

@ Jürgen: I agree on the {S}, not so much on the {T}. I like the fact that the current {T} needs no kerning other than with punctuation. I made a simple-stroke {I} as a stylistic alternate (.ss02). The .ss01 now houses a few alternate caps that eschew descenders.

@ Hrant: I'm not sure a font that was made on a weekend deserves a "full crit". It's made from rough wood, and ain't no polish gonna make it sparkle. ;o) But do tell me if you see anything stick out sideways, especially in terms of color or kerning.

I don't know the first thing about Hebrew, so I'm wary to dabble in it. I've been thinking about a Greek and/or Cyrillic, though. And different weights... but most likely I'm going to publish a single Latin weight first, see whether people like it, and then decide whether or not to put that kind of effort into it.

LevLev's picture

Great shapes!
Uppercase is easy to read even for non-Germans, the tiny is a bit 'difficult, it is evident that depends on the construction of the letters that sets limits.

cerulean's picture

The {s} gives the impression of a smallcap J at times ("jorgenfrei") so I agree that it needs rethinking.
The terminal of {L} is uncomfortably deep and invites second-guessing (b? V?) I think it would read more easily if it were shortened some.
Otherwise, I think you've made strong choices overall. Maybe get more creative with {$} to go with the classy os figures.

Catharsis's picture

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I've made changes to {L S X s w x}, as you recommended.

hrant's picture

Released already?!* Wow, you're too fast for me. :-)

* http://typophile.com/node/102983

hhp

Catharsis's picture

Well, I'm about to finish up a range of lighter weights for Backstein, at which occasion I'll also update the Regular weight on MyFonts. So if you have a few changes to suggest, that would be a good opportunity to sneak them in. ;o)

hrant's picture

How much can the other weights deviate from the Regular?

But if you'll be making a very dark one, and you show it, I'll look out for missing/insufficient optical compensation.

hhp

Catharsis's picture

There are some new posters showcasing the weights on the MyFonts page, and the actual fonts should become available within 24 h:

http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/catharsis-fonts/Backstein/

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