Baroque text face

addison's picture

I have loved letters for a long time, but this is my first attempt at making them. The following attachment will show that I am very early in the process -- the character set is far from complete and there are no kerning pairs (please forgive the spacing!). Any advice or insight is appreciated.


application/pdftype specimen
Clarence Sample Sheet.pdf (24.9 k)

aquatoad's picture

Hi Addison,

Great start. This has a good funkiness to it that I think is
really seen in the a. Here are some things I notice:

n,m,h,u,b,d,p,q,t: Check the stroke modulation. It seems a
little wobbly. Particularly in as the horizontals lead up to
and transition into the verticals in the branches and bowls.

t: Crossbar is too short!

g: Check the spacing in the waist. You may need to
open it up a bit to prevent clogging.

w: Looks wide. I think you took two v's and put them
together. This is fine, but I usually narrow each before
doing so. It makes the fit better with other characters and
keeps it from getting too wide. (same goes for an m made
of and n + an n branch

addison's picture

Thanks, Randy. I appreciate the acknowledgement to "funkiness."

I also appreciate your comments. The g and the w I had questioned myself -- the others may simply be my shortcomings. I'm going to look into the modulation problem.

Thanks again,
Addison

hrant's picture

I think this is a rare effort: a gently "defaced" classic roman that's just tame enough to be broadly usable.

Could you please provide an alphabet setting?

hhp

addison's picture

I have to say the comments are encouraging!

Here is the alphabet setting you requested, Hrant. The lower case is all there, but the caps are incomplete. I have also included another text setting. Both of these PDFs reflect some revisions per Randy's comments, although I'm not sure that I've solved any problems.

Thank you,
Addison


application/pdfAlphabet setting
Clarence Alphabet.pdf (14.4 k)



application/pdfText setting
Clarence Sample Sheet 2.pdf (24.9 k)

hrant's picture

The two things I'd say are:
- The "f" is way too shy - it should be exploding with characater!
- In the "j" you're messing with extender alignments. That might actually be a great idea here (and maybe elsewhere too!), but only if you apply it to other extending letters too. The safer option is just making the "j" go all the way down.

BTW, Clarence is a great name for this.

hhp

addison's picture

Thank you for your suggestions, Hrant. I'm going to take some time and work on completing the basic character set before I post another sample. The feedback here has been wonderful (I gladly welcome more) -- what a great resource!

Concerning the name "Clarence," it was my grandfather's name (as well as my first name). He was one of those men who could teach himself to do anything with books, which is sort of the path I'm on right now.

Addison

addison's picture

I've finally completed the uppercase, as well as some punctuation. The spacing has been refined a little, but still no kerning yet. Please let me know what you think!

Thank you,
Addison


application/pdfPDF specimen
Clarence Specimen.pdf (21.7 k)

addison's picture

Here we go:


application/pdfSpecimen
Clarence Specimen.pdf (21.7 k)

hrant's picture

Looking good!

lc: can't think of a single improvement!
UC: The "A" seems too tall. The "T" and "L" need to be narrower, to reduce spacing issues.
Numerals: Killer zero!
Other: I personally like "rationalist" quotes (the kind that point inward, as opposed to being 66/99), but I think they don't fit this free-willed design.

The spacing is nice and tight overall, although it does need work. And I'd make the blank space narrower.

hhp

addison's picture

Thanks for your help, Hrant. I'm glad you like the zero--I thought it fit. I'm continuing to complete all the glyphs so I can finally work out the spacing and begin kerning. Any other comments are welcome.

-Addison

rs_donsata's picture

I think that the lowercase y is too wide

szlobodan's picture

Hi everybody ! This is my first post on typophile, and I would greatly appreciate to get some feedback on this design. I've been working on it for a few weeks. It is my first serif typeface, although I think small text sizes won't work. thanks in advance for comments !
Gentry specimen

addison's picture

Jean-Baptiste,

You need to use the "Start new thread" link at the bottom of the Critique>>Serif page. I had trouble finding it myself. Your work will more likely get noticed with its own thread.

BTW, I'm no expert, but your sample looks great to me. The numerals and perhaps the capitals look a little heavy compared the the lowercase. You should receive some good advice from the people on this messageboard. Good luck!

-Addison

Jon Whipple's picture

Concerning the name "Clarence," it was my grandfather's name (as well as my first name). He was one of those men who could teach himself to do anything with books, which is sort of the path I'm on right now.

Addison: You are an inspiration, and your grandfather too!

Jon (a lifelong traveller on the same path)

(and in truth, Clarence is a cool name for a typeface, even if it wasn't named after anybody)

addison's picture

Jon,

I appreciate your kind words. You have inspired me to keep going with my work!

-Addison

Jon Whipple's picture

Hey Addison, anything new? ;-)

addison's picture

Hey, Jon.

Unfortunately, no -- at least not worth posting yet. The holidays and paying work are keeping me tied up. I'm completing the glyphs and working on spacing/kerning when I'm able. Hopefully, I'll have a complete font to post before the year is out. Thanks for asking.

I never thought I'd have this much fun doing such tedious work!

-Addison

rcapeto's picture

Interesting project, Addison. It

hrant's picture

Yeah, "defaced" was a lousy term.

BTW, this is really way too narrow and light for small text.

hhp

addison's picture

Rodolfo,

I may be telling on myself, but when I purchased TypeTool, I just started drawing with whatever the current settings were. The x-height and other proportions may default to those of Times creating the "Timesy" look you're talking about. I'll try lengthening the descenders (I'll slap my own wrists for using default settings).

I wasn't aware of that type of zero in some Didone types, so thanks for the info. Something I had seen made me try that, but I can't recall what it was.

The irregularity is the result of different readings. Part of it is my fascination with Frederick Goudy's freehand drawing techniques. I've often admired the handcrafted quality of his letters, especially in Kennerley. I also have a Caslon specimen book that claims imperfections are part of what makes Caslon so readable. Then there's Fred Smeijers' Counterpunch. Anyway, it's probably just a phase I'm going through that I will hopefully learn from.

And Hrant, I understood what you meant by "defaced."

I appreciate both of you commenting on my work.

-Addison

hrant's picture

Rodolfo, the only font I remember which uses an asymmetrical zero is G G Lange's Whittingham (which most cetainly is a Didone). Any others, like some old French stuff?

hhp

rcapeto's picture

Hrant, I don't know

addison's picture

I've taken in the latest comments and tried to incorporate them. The descenders are a little longer now, which I like. Any resource recommendations on type proportions would be appreciated (I found some good stuff in Counterpunch). I've narrowed the T and L, but I've got to take another look at the A. The zero is flipped and the waist of the y is a little higher now after studying some other samples. Some kerning has been added, but it still needs work.

Some other changes may have been made that I've forgotten to mention, so please fire away.

I really can't thank everyone enough for their time and comments.

-Addison

Clarence Sample


application/pdfClarence Specimen
Clarence Specimen.pdf (35.2 k)



Oh yeah, I'd like opinions on whether I should press on to really finish this, or consider it a learning experience and move on to something else. Thanks.

aquatoad's picture

Hi Addison,

Looking good, and you haven't lost the funkiness. The proportions look fine to me. You might consider deepening the crotch in the r. Otherwise it will square up at small size. Your 9 looks over rotated counter clockwise by about 5-10 degrees. You'll need to rework the tail to fix the problem.

If I were you, I'd press on. Whether or not it turns in to coins for you, there is more to learn. What would small caps look like? How about an italic? Try to make a bold weight. The learning will continue. Also, I think everyone gets to a point in any long creative project where you wish you were working on something else.

If you did decide to shelve this, I'd suggest working on something very regular (anti-funky). It will present new challenges.

Oops, forgot to mention. The spacing is too tight (IMHO) and the y is indeed causing spacing issues.

Good luck!
Randy

addison's picture

Thanks, Randy.

I'll try revising the r to see what happens. I read the discussion you were involved in about the legibility issues--and it looks great in your Saint Nicolaus. The 6 and the 9 both look a little strange to me, perhaps your suggestion will fix it.

I think I will press on and try small caps and italics--might as well learn with this font. There are other doodles I'd like to get to, and perhaps I will soon, but I really need to tackle italics.

Did you mean the spacing is too tight (in your honest opinion)? Pardon my ignorance.

Thanks again,
Addison

Jon Whipple's picture

Hey Addison,

It's great to see more on this. Looking good. I was looking at the numerals, and they all appear to decend too far except the 9. I love the zero.

At first I tought the question mark wouldn't fly, but I like the way it looks in the text example. I think that Randy is right: overall the spacing seems to be a little tight.

I think I will press on and try small caps and italics--might as well learn with this font. There are other doodles I'd like to get to, and perhaps I will soon, but I really need to tackle italics. You are a man of persistent vision courage.

Looking forward to more over time.

Jon

rcapeto's picture

The descenders are a little longer now, which I like.

Yes, so do I ! However, some purists will possibly complain
that they are now too long compared to the ascenders (or
either that these are too short...):



Any resource recommendations on type proportions would
be appreciated


For now, just two references on these relationships we

hrant's picture

Purist? More like pragmatist. Unless a font will never be used conscious of economy (ie with minimal leading) descenders need to be notably shorter than ascenders for reasons of language - you know, that thing people use our fonts to set. Descenders are too rare in actual text to "deserve" as much space as ascenders, even though structurally they in fact need more room to elaborate - this being a serious mismatch between the alphabet and the languages which use it, btw. This is why the "g" in a "real" text font needs to be slightly cramped.

As for optimal x-heights, the primary determinant (for a text face) is intended point size usage primarily (and things like "taste" only secondarily).

hhp

rcapeto's picture

language - you know, that thing people use our fonts to set.

Yes, Hrant. And since I

hrant's picture

> real-life work often allows more leeway than you seem to think

No, I agree with that. I think my apparent dogmatism stems from my inability to consistently frame my opinions in terms of the separation between theory and practice. For example when I use the term "real", usually it actually means "unreal"! :-)

hhp

addison's picture

Thanks, guys, for the advice and opinions. I suppose I haven't really observed the effects of proportion in a body of text and how it helps or hinders readability. And I actually have a copy of Walter Tracy's book on the way, so I'll dig into that for some more information.

I

John Hudson's picture

Hrant, I'm always puzzled by how you proceed from the fact that descending Latin letters are relatively infrequent in text to the assertion that they need to be shorter. What is the necessity? It seems to me a better formulation to say that because they are infrequent they can afford to be shorter, and that it makes more sense to shorten the descenders than the ascenders. But this is not the same thing as saying that they must be short.

hrant's picture

> What is the necessity?

Maximizing apparent leading, hence readability.

But "must" is probably too strong.

hhp

addison's picture

Well, here is an early attempt at an italic for Clarence. I'd like to know if I'm headed in the right direction before I get too far.

Italic sample

Thanks,
Addison

down's picture

I love the change for the italics. It's the perfect distance from the original font--good resemblence while not just looking slanted.

hrant's picture

Very nice.
Reminds me of Eidetic's italic (in a good way).

hhp

aquatoad's picture

Hi Addison.

This is looking really nice. The italics are super. One suggestion to bring them more into character with your roman set:

A defining characteristic of the roman is the heavy horizontals found in your branches and bowls (top curve of the h, bottom of the a, top of the m, bottom of the u etc - even looks slightly darker than the verticals). This is part of the funky. You might try that in your italic also. Granted the curves are much more abrupt in the italic, however, try a tad more horizontal emphasis in the tops and bottoms of the strokes. Pleased to hear you will be continuing!

Randy

addison's picture

Thanks, everybody. I'm glad to hear that it's not a bad start.

Randy, I'll take a look at those horizontals. I've often wondered about methods of relating an italic to its roman. I can see how this may help pull mine together a little more.

I should be further along with this, but I've already started another type based loosely on Bembo and Dante which I hope to post soon. Just couldn't help myself...

Thanks again,
Addison

bwhitla's picture

a quick note.. i love the italic b. i want to set things that have that letter in it. glad my name is ben.

Jon Whipple's picture

Addison, It's looking great. I think the direction you are heading with the italic is great. Randy may be right about the heavy horizontals BUT it may be hard to get in the italic. You may not be able to go down that road, but some attempts might yield an answer.

Hang in there! Looking forward to more.

Jon

addison's picture

Here's a new specimen with full lowercase italics. The spacing is starting to come together more, but it's extremely frustrating. I've got Walter Tracy's book and I've discovered Briem's website, so things are beginning to make sense. I'll post the full uppercase italics as soon as I can...still working out the kinks per everyone's comments.


application/pdfSpecimen with italics
Specimen 1-9-04.pdf (19.4 k)



Hope I can share the love one of these days. You guys have been great.

Thanks,
Addison

BTW, I've applied for an uppercase membership but haven't heard anything. Who should I contact?

Jon Whipple's picture

I am liking this a lot, Addison. My eye sticks on the last word in the paragraph: 'possibly'. I think it may be that the bowl of the p is apparently larger than the bowl of the b. I love the forms of these letters but it looks like apparent sizing needs to be adjusted in these cases.

Contact Joseph Pemberton. It takes a little bit.

Contact Info for Typophile

hrant's picture

It's coming together great!

Roman: the "k" can be a bit more mannered; the "s" doesn't fit.
Italic: the "f" and "s" are too classical; the "t" and the "x" need more flair.

Spacing: I don't think it's too bad, actually. For one thing a little bit of irregularity of spacing fits this design. But your italic spacing is clearly too loose.

hhp

aquatoad's picture

Couple of comments for you:

1. Foot serifs on the roman r and f could extend to the right a tad to balance the letters.
2. g appears to be leaning right. try moving the head left a touch to fix. The bicameral g is way too grotesque, consider... wait, wrong font.
3. The spacing on the italics is loose (agreed)
4. Try the dot of the italic i a hair to the right. Actually, you may want to revise the structure at the top. It looks identical to the n stem. The result is too left leaning at the top. It shows up as a hole when next to round letters (as in the song: old mcdonald had a farm, eieio). To correct follow the italic angle a bit longer before exiting into the pothook.
5. The k seem ok to me, just a little wide. Too much spacing to the right too!
6. The w. Kern baby kern.

Randy

addison's picture

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I'm trying to finish the uppercase italic, then I'm going to make some revisions per your comments and create another post. I also want to ask someone about the creation of small caps -- do you simply scale the uppercase and adjust the weight and width of the letter? Or is that cheating?

Thanks,
Addison

addison's picture

Ok, I think I need some advice on creating italic capitals. I've been referencing Caslon and Janson (mainly Caslon) and it seems that the capitals are slightly more upright than the lowercase -- except in cases of the A, V, and W, which are more angled. Please take a look at page 2 in the PDF below.

I've modified the italic p (smaller bowl), f (exaggerated the curves a little more), i and j (fixed the top and moved the dot), and t (the top is scalloped and leans more to the right). The lowercase spacing is better, but the capitals are a nightmare. I've restrained myself from kerning anything until the sidebearings are resolved.

On the roman I extended the the right foot serifs on the r and f and the g doesn't lean anymore. Hrant, can you explain more about the k and the s? I want to make sure I understand what you mean.

I'm still tweaking, but I've got to let this one go one of these days. I feel the need to take Randy's advice and try something "anti-funky" and more refined. I still want to add small-caps, at least to the roman. Anyway...

Let me know what you think, and thanks in advance.

-Addison


application/pdfSpecimen with italics
Specimen 1-13-04.pdf (31.2 k)

hrant's picture

> italic capitals

I'd take a shot at making them semi-serif.

Giving the caps less inclination than the lc (and wonky diagonals) is very old-fashioned - but it might actually work well here.

hhp

rcapeto's picture

Hi Addison, I did miss a bit of the conversation here. Some good
advice from Hrant and Randy. Well, cada cabe

rcapeto's picture

I wrote:
italic i: in this sort of design I think it works best when the dot is
slightly to the right of the stem

Jon Whipple's picture

Addison, the italic p is looking better now and doesn't dominate like it did. I love this thing.

Jon

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