Neweue Helpetica:-)

aquatoad's picture

Hi All.

So here's my story: I've made a resolution of sorts with myself to stop design work early on fridays to start up a font ideas. So, this last friday I started in on a grotesque (purely for the name of course). Just making one little design decision after another I arrived at what follows. About 20 glyphs into it realized I'd just drawn helvetica. Lame.

At that point obvious differences were the: a, k, s and y. So I started working on variants some of which are included in the gif (really the only successful one is the two story g which is rough when you get up close). So I guess I'm looking for feedback of two kinds, 1) how could what I have be better drawn technically, and 2) any other ideas on how this could change. We need something like this about as badly as we need another humanist sans. I thought about turning it into a slab serif? Thoughts?

BTW, this is the first time I have ever made it all the way through a lower case so if only for that reason it was worth it :-)



hrant's picture

Actually, even though I think there are other genres more worthy of effort, to me a good, relatively readable Grotesque isn't nearly as cliche as a humanist sans. If you resist making it cloyingly grot (which however is somewhat fashionable now) and keep readability in mind, you might end up with a new workhorse. That binocular "g", the "k", and those angled stems for example make me think you're on the right track. What I might do differently is making it slightly narrower, and pulling in the descenders a bit. And keep an eye on Franklin Gothic, both for inspiration and to avoid coming too close to it.


eomine's picture

>to me a good, relatively readable Grotesque
>isn't nearly as cliche as a humanist sans.

I'll disagree, I think that's the opposite. Imho, the grotesque style is
almost a cliche in itself. Minimum stroke-contrast, closed shapes,
horizontal terminals, all these characteristics from grotesque typefaces
restrain the rising of *new* grotesques. In the other hand, you can
experiment more with humanist sans and achieve much more useful
results. Open and cursive shapes allow that.

Anyway, Randy:
-"k" and "y" doesn't fit;
-"y" is wide;
-reconsider that spur/finial (?) in "a";
-"s" looks odd (work the BCPs, man! use your fontographer :-)

Good luck.

hrant's picture

> achieve much more useful results.

Useful in theory...
I actually agree (?) that the humanist sans is a much nicer genre, but isn't it simply too crowded now?


eomine's picture

"Useful", compared to grotesques...
And yes, there's a lot of humanist sans
around, I did one myself last year. :-)

aquatoad's picture

Thanks both.

-reconsider that spur/finial (?) in "a";
I don't know what you mean.

-"s" looks odd.
This is what it looks like in Fontographer. Overall I was trying to keep the letter more open. As a result the character is not as closed as you find in Helvetica, and the weight is carried more in the spine. I'd love some BCP advise though!


Aaron Sittig's picture

Excellent! Don't know why but this design makes me smile.

Stuff I dig:
- Double-story g.
- Alternate j. (I'm not so brave)
- Alternate i and j in text. Especially in the word little.
- Slanted ends on the c, e, s. (Maybe make them parallel?)
- The k (Star of the set)

Stuff to notice:
- I think the tail on the a works ok. Maybe it should be a bit
bigger. It extends ok to the b and d, but it feels out of
place up top on the p and q, and a little less weird on n
and m. Hmm... what am I saying. Make the bigger every-
where. Helvetica needs all the help it can get.
- The arm of the a bulges near the end. I think the arm on
that BCP needs to be slanted to the right a bit instead
of pointing straight up.
- The y really does look like it got stepped on. It looks ok
in the text sample though, but I suspect it's because it
sits next to the g.
- Speaking of the g, neither version descends as far as the
rest of the descenders. Here's a chance to open things up
a bit more if that's your wish.
- The outer curves of some characters, o, e, c, look a bit
square. This makes the strokes at 45 degrees seem too
thick. I like to call this the square marker effect since you
get this sort of stroke modulation from drawing with a fat
square sharpie)
- The v, w, and x look like they're falling to the left and
they're a bit dark.

I dig this design on the whole. I called my second list stuff
to notice because I have a natural inclination to turn any
design into its closest relative, in this case helvetica, so
ignore any advice that might have this effect.

The beziers on the s look right on. The lower curve at the
left end of the spine is a bit too square compared to the
its sibling.

aquatoad's picture

Thanks again for the input. I dropped all the glyphs into fontographer to set some text. I hit auto space and auto bitmaps so it kinda stinks. Anyone have advise for strategies on this (perhaps a new thread). Particularly in getting decent bitmaps so you can make intelligent design decisions. I haven't the first clue about hinting.

I've made some changes based on your feedback:

- Adjusted the tails. They are truely spurs now, but not high heels ( a turnoff in Franklin Gothic)
- Adjusted the bulging "a"
- Lightened and hopefully corrected the v, w, x
- Narrowed the "y." I wanted to avoid the standard tail, but hopefully it doesn't look to stomped anymore.
- Re-drew the binocular g. The curves are much better now, but the bottom is light - grrrr.

I haven't got a laser printer at the home office yet. Does it look ok printed? The 6 pt type was a little hopeful probably.


kortes_gothic.pdf (31.0 k)

eomine's picture


About the "a", look to the picture below.


And about the BCPs, it's hard to give you some advice this
way (at distance). For me, dealing with BCPs is mostly
empirical, you must try changing them over and over until
you get satisfied.
Anyway, try removing (merge in fog) the blue points. You
won't need them, imho. And then, try changing the red
points as I sketched above.

Good luck

hrant's picture

Spacing, weight and size (and Cartesian proportions, and...) all interlock.

Your weight is dark, and your (overall) spacing matches it well. But -for text- such a dark weight works best at smaller sizes, for which you'd need looser spacing (and a larger x-height). Is that more cofusing? :-/

> empirical

You mean deterministic. :-)


eomine's picture

>You mean deterministic. :-)

Maybe, but what would that mean more specifically?
I meant "empirical" like, you must experience doing the
thing to understand it. Is that it? ;-)

hrant's picture

Well, I think "empirical" means based on something measurable to some quantity, while "deterministic" means... it's simply adequate (in context)? Hey, now you've confused me! :-)


aquatoad's picture

Hrant: Yes, the weight is definatly dark for text. This is probably a medium weight or a demi-bold.

Eduardo: thank you for taking the time to mark up the BCP's I will certainly take a look and get empirical or determanistic or materialistic or philanthropic or psychoanalytic on them untill they seem right :-) I'll also take another look at that "a" It's looks terrible with that big red pimple hanging off the end :-) Yikes!


eomine's picture

>It's looks terrible with that big red pimple
>hanging off the end :-) Yikes!

You're right. It is awful that way... Yikes! :->
Anyway, I just didn't know the name of that part
of "a". I did a little research, and it seems to
be named a "terminal".

eomine's picture

Hmm... good question, Joseph (maybe I should think a little more before
typing silly statements :-/ ).

At this moment, I can remember of Jonathan Hoefler's Knockout family.
It's a good grotesque and it seems to be really usable, even for longer
text settings. Bureau Grostesque is nice too, but I'd prefer Knockout.
Anyway, I still prefer humanist sans over grotesques... :-)

aquatoad's picture

I would say that both Knockout and Bureau Grotesque fall into the category that Hrant called cloyingly grot. While I like those faces and also their economic widths, they have a woodtype quality to them. Like old newspaper headline type (there is a name for it and I'm not coming up with it, sorry). Would Josef M

Joe Pemberton's picture

Eduardo, can you point us to what you would call a
'new' grotesk?

(Sorry Randy for taking this somewhat off-topic.)

Joe Pemberton's picture

Ah. Ok, I was just thinking / hoping that a new
classification was developing. Didn't mean to put
you on the spot.

Joe Pemberton's picture

I personally will hope your R is closer to Helvetica's and
not Frutiger's. To me, the slight curl on the R is Helvetica's
anomaly that makes it interesting (but it sticks out in
Helvetica). It's coming through in your i and l, so I'm
hoping to see that more.

cuttlefish's picture

It's always interesting to delve into these old projects, particularly so when I'm cooking something of the same genre.


For some reason that gray of the "g" seems to throb on my screen.

1985's picture

Why do people critique the genre in this forum?
Did you click on the wrong link? ;-)

I've really struggled to make my own 'grot', well done on getting this far! Has it come on since 2003?

Syndicate content Syndicate content