Teutonia Serif

dan_reynolds's picture

Hello everyone. I'm working on a semi-serif display face, which is currently unnamed. My working title is "Teutonia Serif", because the letterforms are in part based on Teutonia, a geometric display face that was cut in Offenbach by the Roos & Junge type foundry in 1902.

I'd love to hear any feedback that anyone here might have.

AttachmentSize
teutonia serif.pdf11.68 KB
teutonia-serif-fs.gif5.97 KB
teutonia serif 2-Hrant 1.pdf11.93 KB
File12.17 KB
teutonia_serif_3_will_2.pdf37.11 KB
paul d hunt's picture

it's lookin good, Dan. very nice. just a few personal preferences: I think i'd like k,v,w,x,y,K,V,W,X,Y with just the entry stroke and no exit stroke. i'd like to see an atempt to put a serif on the end of the ampersand's arm. i think if you're going to serify the 2, you might as well do 3 & 5 as well. keep up the good work!
p.s. and welcome back!

dan_reynolds's picture

Thanks again Paul [Paul has already seen this design once]. I put exit strokes on the k, v, w, x, y, K, V, W, X, and Y because the overall spacing looked really awful without them. The diagonals would bash into the entry-serifs of the letters that have them (d, e, g, o, etc don't have top-left serifs…).

Good idea with the ampersand and 3 and 5.

I'm glad to be back in Germany. France is a beautiful country but it is sad to not be able to speak their language :(

as8's picture

Sorry, very fast, I like it, Q tail is weak, S is kind of upside down.

See you,

Alessandro Segalini

cerulean's picture

The foot serif of the f doesn't read right to me.

dan_reynolds's picture

Kevin, I've added an image of four lowercase fs above.

The third f shows my first f. The fourth shows the current design: I wanted to get some weight down there on the baseline. The first two are some other options. do you like one of them better?

paul d hunt's picture

i'd say either 2 or 3. the current f almost looks like a stylized E or even a sterling symbol.

cerulean's picture

I concur. 2 has that baseline sturdiness but is far less confusing.

dan_reynolds's picture

Paul, I just uploaded a new number-string, with the bottom serif of the 2 on the 3 and 5 as well. I don't know… the serif on the top of the 2 and the 7 would definitely not work on the 5 (not pictured). What do you think?

BTW, are PNG files ok for everybody? I just saved the newest image as a PNG, which I've never uploaded before… they're kosher in every browser sans uralt-IE, right?

hrant's picture

This is pretty cool, especially some of the caps. But are you sure you want to make the UC [that much] darker? And I think the ascenders should either be exactly cap height, or they should be a full "notch" higher. I myself would go with the latter, as I think it would give the face some added elegance too, which would be refreshing.

f: Your original form has the problem of "E"-confusion, and it looks like it's leaning backwards. You don't think just the form with no serifs at the bottom makes great sense?
g: I wonder if you couldn't do something with it...
i: I might try removing the half-serif, to somewhat relieve paragraph texture of all those top-left half-serifs.
j: Make the tail terminal much stronger.
k: Either move the right half-serif to the bottom, or make the leg stronger than the arm (maybe by raising the joint height).
s: I would try putting the weight in the (horizontal) spine, taking it away from the top-left and bottom-right sidewalls.
t: I would make it wider (on the right). This would prevent the bottom looking like a half-serif.
u: Maybe move the half-serif from the top-left to the bottom-right.
v, w, y: You sure you want half-serifs at the top-rights?
x: I'd give half-serifs to the top-left and bottom-right only.
eszet: I might dump the nick. And maybe make the bottom bowl wider.
B: Narrower top?
D: Killer.
E: Shorter top bar.
F: Wider.
J: Love the nick, but maybe give the bottom a diagonal finish, or even an angled stroke, to help recognition.
K: Same as in the lc.
L: Shorter up-serif. Wider.
N: Very nice.
Q: No go. Maybe a stub coming straight down from the right wall?
T: Wider.
V, W, Y, X: Same as above. And the slant in the "X" join doesn't work for me. But the "Y" is super.
Z: Too much like a "2".
&: No go.
Nums: I like your originals - I'd just dump the serif on the "2". And make the "7" wider. Plus the one needs a straight beak.
?: I wonder if you couldn't do something special with it.
Euro: Love it!!
Registered/Copyright: It would be nice if you could make the former [relatively] smaller.

I can see this selling; the texture is compelling.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

Thanks, Hrant.

I've deleted some of the older attachments above (but not the first PDF), and I've added a new PDF that incorporates Hrant's changes (it is the PDF with Hrant 1 in the name).

Hrant, I've implemented most of your suggestions, sans the u,v,w,x,y (and their respective caps) for now. I did raise the ascender height significantly, and I raised the x-height a bit to compensate. Note that the lowercase is now relatively narrower.

dan_reynolds's picture

I can see this selling; the texture is compelling.

I hope so. I will distribute this face commercially, and hopefully soon. But I haven't settled on a vendor yet.

William Berkson's picture

Interesting effort--this can be a unique look. My feeling is that it doesn't quite 'click' yet as far as the relative weights of the horizontal and vertical strokes, and as far as the widths--too narrow in the lower case. On the weight, I suspect the horizontal and vertical should have less contrast.

On the serifs on diagonal letters, I think the exit strokes on the caps work, but not the lower case. It should be possible to space them without right serifs because this kind of thing is on some traditional serifed italics. Kerning probably very needed. On the x, you could try the serif on the exit lower right instead of upper right.

The diagonal cuts on the stem of the D look good, but out of place. In think it would be better either made to conform with the rest, or change others to conform with it.

The bottom of the S looks squashed; I would make it more like the lower case s. The join of the P bowl at the bottom is too low, it threatens to become a D. Should the cap X have serifs on the bottom too? Right bottom of N distracting. K too wide? M not wide enough? Serif on the lower E bar looks way too heavy. The one serif on the H looks lonely, it needs bottom right or all four, maybe.

The lc e might look better wider. I think when you divide the letter & have the smaller counters it needs width for balance.

Overall, I think this is very promising, but needs a lot of work on relative width of characters and weight of strokes and where to put serifs & their length to look really balanced and good. Varying more the widths of characters and lengths of serifs will eventually get everything to look more optically uniform and balanced. Being more physically uniform will always look awkward.

Because it is a good concept, it demands a lot of work to bring it to its full potential. You will see new things every day for months, and then it will be what you want.

Good luck!

oribendor's picture

The (u.c.) P is the weakest link, I think. Perhaps because of the serif at the bottom, which the R lacks, the bowl looks too big and too close to the bottom. It even took me a while to recognize it was a P.

dan_reynolds's picture

William, I've attached a new PDF to the lead thread of this post. The PDF is called "drupal," but it should be called "Teutonia Serif 3-William 1.pdf"… anyway, in that PDF, I've begun address your points in your post above. I think that the uppercase may be a bit, too heavy now. What do you think?

Ori, I've changed the uppercase P a bit, too.

William Berkson's picture

Dan, it's progressing well. I don't think the upper case is too heavy; in the current state it's working better than the lower case. The whole design is going to be very assertive because of its squareness, so I would say just go with it.

My only current problems with the upper case letter forms as far as balance are the vertical serifs on the bottom of the E and L, and the horizontal serif on the T. The vertical serifs look to heavy. I would thin them slightly. I think they can be subtly thinner than the other verticals, because they are serifs. The T starts to read as an I, which is distracting. Your F doesn't have a foot serif, and I suspect the T will do fine without it.

On the lower case, I think the basic forms are good now. The vertical serifs on the c and r might be thinned slightly like the E and L on the upper case. or maybe only the c serif.

The striking thing is that now the lower case, while wider has way too much 'dazzle'in the smaller size. Currently there is an optical illusion of the corners having hairlines shooting from them, which is surprising. I suspect this has to do with the weight of it --did you increase the weight? --but particularly with too tight spacing.

I think you have a lot of spacing issues, on both the upper and lower case, but it's affecting the lower case most. On the upper case alphabet, for example, the HIJ look much tighter than your MON. You might have to adjust your serifs, like the top of the J in order to get everything to work.

My suspicion is that the lower case would be better lighter, but mainly with looser spacing. I guess you need to figure what is the minimum size you want this used at, and then work on it accordingly. Again the spacing on the lower case is quite uneven. For example in the alphabet the nop are much looser than the lmn. I would loosen the latter rather than tighten the former, because of the dazzle issue, but basically see what works.

I think at this point working on the spacing is key, because that will also tell you what letter forms or weights you need to modify as well.

So overall, I think you have the basic letter forms down pretty well, and the issue is spacing and color--both the overall darkness, and particular the issue of evenness.

On evenness, is your eszett too dark on the top? Maybe try thinning the left vertical slightly, and the diagonal? The thing is, to get evenness of color--and I think that it the main challenge at this point--you will probably need to vary the width of stems slightly, as well as respace. For example the B stem is often thinned slightly. Playing around with this kind of stuff and getting right will make this design 'itself' and polished.

One thing you might think about to get the direction is what this will be used for. Sports? Bands? That mood might help guide you in finishing it.

dezcom's picture

Dan,
It has a nice blackletter updated look which does not surprise me coming from you. Besides the metal bands angle William mentioned, I think it has a nice between bitmap and PostScript niche.

I can't seem to get the Drupa file for some reason, I am using Safari.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Hmmm… Chris, it downloads for me in Safari 2.0 (Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger)… so sad!

I've uploaded the file to my web space. Here is a link to it:
http://www.typeoff.de/dan_personal/Teutonia_Serif_3-William_1.pdf

I'll be posting an updated PDF soon, which will reflect William's most recent suggestions.

dezcom's picture

Dan,
I got it now! Looks good too! The more I look at it the better I like it. It does a Russian Costructivist thing with Blackletter. It has that El Lizzitsky feel but with the warmth of manuscript illumination. Let me know when it is for sale and who you are selling it through, I will buy it for sure.
My only crit is that the weight of the caps seems a bit too heavy for the lower case.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

I've got a thing about this Russian Constructivist style… a lot of fonts billed as "Russian Constructivist" were actually made in fin-de-siècle Germany. (The basic model for this face included).

My theory, which I need to investigate, is this: these forward-thinking German Display Faces were not really accepted or used in Germany at the time. People tended more toward organic art nouveau things. Then during and after World War I, a lot of display work moved (back?) into solid calligraphic blackletter styles, a la Rudolf Koch.

But German typefoundries did big buisness with printers in Czarist Russia. Somehow, these types must have gotten to Russia before the revolution (because international trade shut down after it…). I suspect that, when the Bolsheviks took over, things kept being printed in typefaces that were on hand. It must have taken a while for new "Soviet" types to be cast.

Or maybe Russian designers and typefounders just copied and changed similar European designs? Perhaps it wasn't so commercial. But I still think it is pre-revolution.

By the 1930s, I think that what a lot of what westerners typically think of as "Russian Constructivist" was gone. I think that the Stalinist regime had other ideas of what Soviet design should look like. But I can't speak with any authority on Russian typography. Paul? Anybody?

paul d hunt's picture

looks good, dan. just a few comments (personal preferences if you will). The tail of the Q is bothering me. Maybe come up with a different solution. I didn't think the original was so bad... I know i said to add a serif to the ampersand, but that looks just a bit ackward. Maybe try finetuning it just a bit more. And I like the bar you put on the J, nice touch!

dan_reynolds's picture

So, since my audience isn't Russian or Cyrillic, I'd rather go to the "roots" of this style. The result is something different than constructivist, I think, because there is still some art nouveau and blackletter traces in there (and there would me even more if I had some long-s lgatures…).

dezcom's picture

The Russian Avant Garde movement with Rodchenko, Malevich, and El Lizzitsky, et al., with Supremacists bloomed in the early revolutionary time. There was also interaction with the Dutch De Stihl. Stalin wasn't a fan of many of these guys (I think he thought them to be too intellectual for the "worker" and pushed for a national worker style. The Bauhaus people were fans however and you can see the relationship. To me, this was a design culture which blurred national borders. Later, Stalin kibashed the Russian avant garde and Hitler in time did the same to the Bauhaus gang. Nationalism triumphed over the young cutting edge designers. Later, the Basel folks "rediscovered" El Lizzitsky and Rodchenko and their typography reflected that. The so-called "New Wave" designers of the 80's grew out of this extension with designers like Dan Friedman and April Greiman.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Willam, Paul, Chris… in this thread's first post is a new PDF, called "teutonia_serif_3_will_2.pdf".

William's Sun, 2005-10-09 17:17 items are addressed here, including the E and the L serifs, the T, the c, the r, and some overall spacing.

For Paul I've changed the Q and the ampersand.

Chris, I didn't thin out the uppercase any yet. I'm not sure what I'm going to do there (see my discussion with William above).

William, because of the audience of the foundry who'll most likely distribute this, I'm assuming that the primary customers will be indy music and fashion clients. Sports is unlikely.

dezcom's picture

Dan,
I think your latest looks better. The spacing is very blackletter and part of its charm.
The lc e looks like the right upper vertical needs to be thinned a hair to correct optically withe the taller vertical at left. I am sure that they are actually the exact same thickness now. The illusion makes the right side look thicker though.

ChrisL

dezcom's picture

Dan,
How is this going? The other day I saw a book at an opera director's house which was old and perhaps used the precursor font you mentioned above. It was a German book on German music. I will try to borrow it to make a scan.

ChrisL

William Berkson's picture

Just got back from travelling. I like the revisions. The upper case E is especially better--making the lower arm longer really works here.

Good luck with it.

sim's picture

Good work Dan.
I'll make only one comment concerning your D. To me he's look out of the game, although it could gave some personality to the face. He is the only glyph with cutted stem and his angle looks like a calligraphic letter. Did you try to simply join this stem with the top and the bottom arms?

dezcom's picture

"It was a German book on German music."

Dan, I was wrong on 2 counts, it was an English book on Oscar wilde!
Here is the scan:

ChrisL

dezcom's picture

"...only glyph with cutted stem and his angle looks like a calligraphic letter"

André,
I think Dan might be trying to stay true to the original which inspired his design.

ChrisL

dan_reynolds's picture

Chris, the type on that bookcover is a revival of Teutonia, which I have also already revived… Mine will be released by a small German foundry sometime in 2006, but under a different name—probably "Mountain."

(Mountain includes small caps & obliques… of course R&J's 1902 original "Teutonia" didn't have anything in the way of additions or ornament. So far, I think only Paul Hunt here as seen it… I don't want to publicly display it, since it's initial marketing is in the hands of its foundry. I'll make some small hoopla about it when it debuts for sale online)

André, Chris is correct in that the D in Teutonia Serif harkens back to the original Teutonia's quirkiness. But you are right, it doesn't fit in with the design. Teutonia Serif (which will someday have a wicked-cool name…) is its own design, a design with a clear inspiration, but no longer a revival. I've changed the D.

sim's picture

Sorry Dan, I did'nt see the original D.

Edit: but I still think, event though it's different from the original typeface, you could change the way the D is done.

dan_reynolds's picture

André, you were right, so I wrote at the end of my last post that I would in fact change the D (see the post right above yours, or two before this one)! I'll post a PDF in a few hours.

sim's picture

Dan, your last send with the new D is really good and more intregrate to the entire face.

dezcom's picture

Looks very good Dan! Best of luck with the forthcoming distribution.

ChrisL

Syndicate content Syndicate content