Adjusting Obliques

hello seb's picture

Hey guys,

Recently started cutting my first italic/oblique for a typeface I'm working on, and I'm pretty new to optically adjusting obliques shapes.

Am I on the right track?


William Berkson's picture

The o doesn't look right. Do you know about the method Briem describes?

Albert Jan Pool's picture

There is one more trick … especially when working on a low contrast typeface, it may save a lot of time.

Start with an upright typeface
– reduce the weight of the horizontal strokes by approx 10%. Unless you already have made a high contrast or a thinner version, you’ll have to do this manually. When you already created one of such variations, Multiple Master (or whatever it is called in the program you’re working with), combined with different interpolation values for x and y will be of great help.
– scale the typeface in horizontal direction by approx 96%. Depends a little on the angle, colour and the width of the italic you have in mind. Has to be balanced against the reduction of horizontal weight as well.
Do several rough tests with different reductions of weight and amount of scaling with some key characters to get the right color. Especially with sans serifs this is very critical.
– slant the typeface at a rational angle. Doing so, the bcp’s become easier to handle & the rational angle makes shure that they will never create bumps in the transitions from straight to curve when they are short.
Go here and check page 20–21. Don’t bother about the typeface in question having round stroke endings. The mathematics described go for all italics and for all transitions from straight lines to curves.

Now take a close look on what Briem suggests. I’ve never tried to combine his suggestions with my procedure, but I think that when you follow his suggestions after getting the weight right using my procedure, you’ll be heading for a perfect italic!

Nick Shinn's picture

Have you ever come across a typeface named Univers? A study of that might provide some answers.

hello seb's picture

William —
No I had no clue, I'm still very new to type-design, thank you for showing me such a goldmine!

Albert —
Thanks for going into such detail, I think this sounds like a very sound method, it will mean I'll have to scrap the work I've already done, but that doesn't matter. At the risk of sounding incredibly naïve, I didn't realise how much mathematics went into type-design.

Nick —
Yes totally have heard of (and love) Univers, Frutiger was only 8 years older than me when he designed it (a sword that's hanging over my head). I have been looking at the designs of other neo-grotesques, such as Atlas and Neue Haas, but I was interested in process, just to gain a better understanding.

Thanks for your comments guys, such heavyweights commenting on my thread.. going off to bed a little starstruck... :)


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