Sëftos Parathenia

WurdBendur's picture

This is a font designed for an invented alphabet, so designing a font for it is a little tricky with no examples to follow. (If you're interested, you can read a little about the fictional history of the script and find a sample manuscript here).

I didn't know about OpenType when I designed this font, so the alternate letter forms are all just placed in different positions to be typed by the user. I'd like to design an OpenType font to make the replacement automatic. Anyway, it's been a little while since I actually made this font, but I just recently found Typophile and thought I'd ask for opinions. I'll explain the sample PDF (and GIF) so nobody will be confused. It's contents are, from top to bottom:

  • Font Name (Sëftos Parathenia, in the Sëftos script)
  • Three lines containing all the letters, with alternates
  • Two lines with groups of similar letters
  • A sample sentence
  • Four columns containing a poem
  • And finally, figures 0-9 at the very bottom

Thanks in advance.

sftos.gif33.22 KB
sftos.pdf181.04 KB
dan_reynolds's picture

This sounds like a great project, but I can't open the PDF! I get taken to a "we can't find this link page." Is anyone else having this problem?


WurdBendur's picture

Odd... I'm having the same problem with this and others, too. I hate to do it, but I've attached a GIF to my original post so you can get an idea of what it looks like (if a very vague one). Should I try to remove and reattach the PDF?

Oh, at it appears I've accidentally distorted the top line. It's really not supposed to be that wide.

Norbert Florendo's picture

Hail WurdBendur, welcome to the realm of Typophile.

You might find this section on Ancient & Arcane from Fontcraft's Scriptorium where you can see samples of both, well... ancient and arcane (fantasy) letterforms.

Yes, I'm old, but I'm back in style!

WurdBendur's picture

Thanks. I did use some real scripts as examples in that I wanted this font to have the feel of uncial, with some black-letter qualities.

Every people using a particular script will develop guidelines describing what constitutes a well-formed letter, especially in relation to calligraphic styles like this. But, since this is an artificial script with no real history, I have to invent that myself. And of course, It would hardly be authentic to emulate any one script entirely.

What further complicates it is that even this style is a bit non-standard in the fictional world where it lives, but needs to still be readable by others while imparting it's character onto the area where it's used.

My main reason for posting here is that I think there are several forms that need adjustment, though they're hard to see in the GIF, unfortunately.

cerulean's picture

You seem to have three discernibly different weights here to reconcile. The round letters are heavier than everything else, and the fishhooks and descending mirror S are lighter. The latter is going to need some serifs or curls or something; look how solid that letter is in the manuscript.

I understand why the letters with ascenders don't have a full x-height, but I think the "n" should grow to reach the x-height, because the "nc" ligatures look like they were made from two different sizes, like a 12pt fused to a 14pt.

WurdBendur's picture

The weight bothered me, too. Some of the characters, like the mirrored S, were just never cleaned up because I wasn't sure about the way the shape came out. I'll probably fix that by curling the ends and improving the stroke contrast.

I'm also a bit worried about the letters resembling S turned on it's side. Do these seem too wide?

cerulean's picture

Those seem perfectly natural to me, because it's apparent that they represent a ligature of two open round letters.

dan_reynolds's picture

This is a great experiment that really belongs in the Typophile Critique's "Experimental" section, but I've selected it to be the Display feature in the first Critique Thursday anyway.

You're off to a great start, but the character that looks like an "n-c" ligature really bothers me. This has already been addressed above, though. Any new samples?

Miss Tiffany's picture

The shapes are very interesting. If anything I would say to not show samples of settings in paragraph form as I find myself wanting to say it is too spindly for something that small. Your shapes might benenfit from rounding the corners as well.

How do I refer to the shapes that I think need work?

dan_reynolds's picture

This imaginary script feels like it fits in the modern western group (i.e., Latin, Greek, Cyrillic). It seems more like those than like Arabic, Thai, or Chinese. Why not take some queues from other expression forms? Do you imaginary people live in Europe on on the Eurasian Steppe? This isn't a critique, per se, but I'm interested to know how you have been thinking.

With what sorts or tools do your imaginary people write with?

paul d hunt's picture

oooh... some tibetan influence would be rad!

WurdBendur's picture

Thanks for all your feedback! I wrote up a great long message before and apparently pressed the wrong button, so I apologize if this is a bit short, or repeated, or anything else. I'll take everything in order.

Cerulean: While they appear to be ligatures, and are in fact based on earlier ligatures, they're really distinct letters in this version of the alphabet.

Dan: I'll try to make sure I get them in the right place from now on, and thanks for the feature. That n-c ligature bothered me, too. If you look closely, you can see that I already adjusted the n part it a bit, but I guess it still needs to go higher. I haven't had much time to work, though, so I don't have any new samples yet.

Miss Tiffany: This font is pretty light for text sizes. I wonder how it would look in print. Anyway, I imagined the script being written with a broad pen, so it should probably be darker anyway. It was for the same reason that I made it so sharp. But that was before I tried displaying it on my slightly fuzzy television (my computer was already connected anyway), and it looked absolutely beautiful! So I'll have to try that and see how it looks. As for referring to letters, I considered posting all their "native" names, but I didn't want to confuse everybody. A reference to the closest Latin letter, or another descriptive term will suffice.

Dan: It was inspired a bit by Greek and Latin. I did an earlier font, which came out terrible (partially due to the software I used). That font (here) is much more like Latin, but with this one I'd like to create a design that would be more natural to the people writing it. They live in a fictional world, thoughThey would generally use pens (perhaps metal or read, probably not quill), though brushes could also used in some areas. For another interpretation, see my mediocre calligraphy, with ample ligatures, alternate forms, and embellished names (also the source of my icon):
When I designed the script I was thinking of Insular miniscules (more like in the manuscript), but I just went in completely different directions with both fonts. I'll have to try lettering this style more on paper to see if I can come up with any other ideas.

Paul: I'm not sure if that's supposed to be a joke or not, but I like it! I will definitely try some things in that direction. As it happens, the fictional people in question had earlier encounters with a race of giants whose writing is based more heavily on Tibetan, so that would make a lot of sense.

Thanks again for all the feedback. I have many more ideas now to work with, so I'll start trying some things as soon as I get reunited with my calligraphy pen (been moving...).

cerulean's picture

Ah, so an analogue to our w, then. Still no reason to compress it, unless your dwarves have invented the typewriter.

WurdBendur's picture

Looks like this thread is returning from the dead. I've fixed some (but not all—see the last two in the following sample) of those letters without the full x-height. Since I can't seem to add an inline picture to this thread (why is that?), here's an external link.

As you can see, there's still the problem of inconsistent weights. However that got past me, I'll never know, but I guess fixing it is the next step. Since I have the work already started, I'd like to split this font into two weights. Then it's on to OpenType features. Here's to having a plan!

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