New display font : Desperation

DarrenReay's picture

Hi Everyone

This is both my first comment and first real effort at creating a usable display font.

There wasn't any real inspiration or plan to start this project, it just kind of happened then took momentum once I created a few letters. If I had to describe it I would say it is angular but also subtle at the same time if that makes sense :). Any advice would be welcome and I know all the terms used involving type. The angular 'crossbars' seem to be working but I've been looking at these letters for so long I can't decide what works and what doesn't anymore.

I've decided to create only the upper case to see if it is well received then if I feel it has room to grow I will create the lower case, numbers and maybe other versions of the 'Desperation' type face.

Be as hard as you want as I've worked on this too long for it to contain any glitches.

Many thanks and love this forum, it has provided many hours of reading.

DarrenReay's picture

p.s. I found this site from this brilliant article

eliason's picture

I like the concept and it's carried through pretty well.
Top terminal of /C/ comes down too far.
I wonder if there's a different structure of /S/ that might fit the concept better - maybe something with a spine that straightens out for a stretch, diagonally.
The breaks from straights to curves are always a tough thing for me: if they adhere too much to simple geometry (e.g. a semicircle arc attached directly to a straight stem) the transition can look not smooth enough, as I think is the case here. So you get, for example, four little "corners" in the joining parts of the counter of /O/.
On /M/W/ (and /N/?) it might be worth trying the traditional thin-upstrokes/thick-downstrokes alternating pattern instead of keeping the verticals thickest as you have.

hrant's picture

The one thing I like about this is the dichotomy of the flat bottoms and the angled tops.

I would dump the small protrusions though.


DarrenReay's picture

Thanks to the both of you for your quick replies, it is very much appreciated.

@eliason the point about the curves and simple geometry shapes is something that definitely needs to be worked on, something I think is going to take a lot of playing around with. At the same time though it is something I'm going to have to do at some point as the lowercase font will no doubt contain a lot more curves.

Also, the M, N, W were the 3 letters that caused me the most hassle so yeah, I 100% they need working on.

@hrant The reason the small protrusions are still in this type face is due to the fact they were the first elements introduced to the designs and have just been carried through to the later designs. I think I was afraid the original designs would get lost if they were removed but I have realised the font can carry itself with other angular elements. They do look a bit awkward now and I may need to take a closer look to what the font will look like without them.

I'll update you with the changes when done.

DarrenReay's picture

Again thanks for the advice, from your comments I have made the following changes.

Curves blend in more with the stems. This has been achieved by opening up the width of letters with rounded bodies. It gives the whole font a more natural feel and less geometric IMO.

The angles of the cross bars have been reduced to give them a more subtle feel.

The 'M' 'N' 'W' have been balanced out.

The 'Z' have become more pointed to blend in better with the rest of the font.

The crossbar of the 'S' has more of an angle.

Lastly, the protrusions have been removed as they weren't really needed anymore due to the fact the other angular elements help to carry this font forward.

Does everyone feel I'm moving in the right direction with this from the first designs?


aluminum's picture

I like the slanted terminals. But overall, it all feels rather stiff. The angles are trying to be playful, but the overall structures are still rather rigid.

So maybe have all the glyphs stand up and 'shake it out' and loosen up a bit. See what happens.

eliason's picture

That Z is good.
I kinda miss the protrusions - is this now overnormalized?
Straight-curve transitions are definitely improved.
Another option to consider for /N/M/W/ is rounded humps rather than angles (i.e. a more lowercase form for N, like an upside down U with a corner top left).

hrant's picture

This thing is looking like a wild stallion - hell to tame, but if you do, awesome.


DarrenReay's picture

@hrant haha, I would like to call it something a bit more vulgar at this moment. It is really frustrating. I take my hat off to designers who create fonts that work.

@eliason yeah, I was thinking it was a bit normal now. I think I'm going to creat a set with and without the protrusions. See what people think. In my original drawings on graph paper I had the M an W rounded but quickly discarded that idea, maybe I should of spent a bit more time working on them. Ill have a play around with that again I think.

@aluminium, if you think it is stiff now you should of seen my first drafts on graph paper, I was using a ruler and compass to create the letter forms. In general the kind of work I create it is thought out and planned with measurements and everything, I'm finding it hard to be a bit loose at the minute but I think once I get to a stage, with a few of the letters, I feel comfortable with I think it should all click into place. Hopefully :-/

I'll keep you all updated once I've made changes.

Many thanks


DarrenReay's picture

Hi again

More changes to 'desperation' to share

I've tried not to be too cute with the angles of the crossbars. I've pretty much copied and pasted elements together to make them work and luckily I feel it has unified the uppercase together.

I've slightly changed the thickness of the strokes to make it feel lighter. This also made the angles more noticeable.

The 'M' and the 'W' are probably the biggest changes I've made.

I'm now in the process of creating a lowercase and numbers.

Please let me know what you think.

Many many many thanks



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