Ty Wilkins's picture

This is typeface created with all trapazoids. The first letter I created was the R, and from then I was anxious to see how an entire alphabet would shape up. Comments welcome.

ty_krypton_01.pdf31.68 KB
ty_krypton_02.pdf32.29 KB
castletype.pdf637.7 KB
ty_krypton_03.pdf28.75 KB
jlg4104's picture

Pretty cool. How purist do you want to be about using "all" trapezoids? Some elements don't look constructed from trapezoids. I like the K especially, something about the top and right-hand piece just work perfectly. I'm a little less keen on the X and Y-- something about the top of the X looking blobby bothers me, and while the Y works shape-wise, it's a bit awkward (extra lumpy on the left side I think).

In any case, since I'm new here, I do have a question, too: suppose you have a job and it doesn't require all the letters. Does it matter that some in the system don't quite gel right, as long as the ones you want to use fit the formula or rationale (e.g., "all trapezoids"). I figure it's a matter of taste, but am just curious.

- Jay

Ty Wilkins's picture


You asked how purist I want to be about using all trapazoids. My only rule was that I construct it will only trapazoids, however several of those trapazoids overlap in order to form a glyph. The J for instance uses exactly four trapazoids; two overlap and two don't.

The challenge for the X is that I am only using overlapping trapazoids. I've attached some ideas for the X. Check out ty_krypton_02.pdf

I've also icluded some ideas for the Y. I think one of these is probably a better choice.

You asked if it's ok to only design a few letters to fit a formula if a job doesn't require all of the letters. Are you referring to creating a few letters for a logo design? For a logo, I think its okay to design just a few glyphs that work. The typeface that is used for the Chevron logo only had 12 letters when CastleType was commisioned to do a digital version in 1996. Some changes had to be made to the original design to form a font. Check out castletype.pdf above.

jlg4104's picture

Thanks for the responses-- there are interesting issues here. On the matter of sticking to a formula when one is designing a whole font vs. desinging a one-off logo, I agree with you completely. Just to play devil's advocate on the "purism" issue (I like the discussion and am not trying to be a pest!), I would suggest that "overlapping" your trapezoids is a pretty big cheat, presuming you want to stick to all-trapezoids. I mean, at that rate, you could make any letterform out of any shapes, overlapping them when the going gets tough.

That said, I like the new second X and second Y the best. They're simple and elegant-- the Y has a knife-like verticality to boot (and it's truly all trapezoids, nonoverlapping!). The X's simplicity also carries some blandness (while most of the rest of the letters are more "edgy"), but that's a price to pay.

Here's something I noticed-- with the subtle white lines between many of the trapezoids (at least that's how my PDf viewer is rendering things), it actually looks like you've made them out of ribbons of folded paper, some pieces being simple long strips, others being right-angled strips. Like origami kinda. Neat!

Ty Wilkins's picture


These are the letters that are made of only trapazoids: A, C, D, G, M, O, R, S, V, W, Y. That leaves 15 letters and all of the numbers as non-trapazoids. Quite a challenge. I may give it an honest effort and see if I can build a face with only trapazoids. I probably would not promote the face as being made of only trapazoids, it would just be the underlying structure that gives uniformity to the face.

I have uploaded ty_krypton_03.pdf with the X and Y that you said you preferred. I have also added the other Y to the name KRYPTON at the top of the file. The jury is still out for me on both of these characters.

The white lines you mentioned are a result of a PDF being created from Illustrator. If I were to use the Pathfinder tool to merge the trapazoids, the white lines would dissappear. I'll think about the origami angle and see if I can find a way to play that up somehow.

jlg4104's picture

Cool-- sorry it took me a while to find my way back here. I like the look. As you might guess, I'm not a typographer-- just a fan of typography and a generally curious sort. I'm for anything artful-- whether it's highly geometric, minimalist in formal features, etc., or deeply crafted like all your classic hand-tooled faces of old. Thanks again for discussion!

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