Friendly Grotesk Display...

dave bailey's picture

This project stems from here: the 'G's ayone?' thread. After James' enthusiasm I was motivated to continue on with the project based upon the original 'g' glyph that I drew out. Here is my progress after a few glyps. Does this look cohesive and going in the right direction? Ideas/Comments/Crits are welcome! Thanks.

friendly.grotesk.030806.pdf163.75 KB
friendly.grotesk.031306.pdf302.73 KB
James Arboghast's picture

Okay---it started with a "g", but g's, because of their structure, usually don't have much influence on how the rest of a font is designed. Whereas "h", "a" and "c" typically provide key elements.

Next step: skew that "n" upwards and right-a-ways to make it match the motion of the "g", then make the "n" into an "h", and keep extrapolating from there.

What you've drawn so far looks similar to a completed font of mine, name undecided;

This one is a Cooperesque display/text hybrid with a heavy cursive influence, designed for packaging and poster work.

Feel free to assimilate elements and details you feel will be useful---whatever fits in :^)

j a m e s

dave bailey's picture

James to the rescue! Haha, thanks for the feedback does have a similar quality to your font! Sorry, but I don't understand your skew suggestion... :-/

I was actually going to say something, where I knew most typefaces are started with the 'h' and the 'o' so I was planning on getting to the 'h' next. The only reason I did the 'n' and 'e' is because at the same time as I sketched the 'g' I sketched out an 'e' and 'n' for some unknown reason. :-D

I'll have to get back to this at work on Friday, but for now I would like to see what people think. If anything I'd like to complete this and have it to use in layouts and I don't own any font-creation software.

dave bailey's picture

Update (tweaked 'n' and added 'c' and 'h'):

Here are the glyphs in context:

istitch's picture

looks nice,

i'm a beginner myself, so take it for what it's worth…

i like the way that the "g" is weighted more toward the bottom without feeling imbalanced. perhaps there is a way that you can achieve that with the rest of the letters? i think i like that aspect because it gives it a fresh, almost brushed, feel but without being a script. it's the same reason why i like Bello.

you might want to open up the "e" just a bit; seems a little pinched...


dave bailey's picture

Small update:


I'm not sure but I think the 'a' seems too large...maybe the bowl dips too far below the baseliine...I opened up the 'e' a bit, and now the 'n' seems a little squooshed. Thoughts?

istitch's picture

the tail of the "a" is a new element that could be incorporated in a few other places… (???)

it seems like the counters are not consistent. the "n" is "squooshed" and the "e" has the same ammount of space in its counter. the counter on the "a" is huge. i think that the "b" is looking the most balanced out of all of them in regards to the counter, and the stoke modulation.

just my two cents,


dave bailey's picture

Hey thanks for the comments...I spent literally all day retouching and sizing photographs so I had no time to work on this or check the forums. I'll be sure to give this a thorough looking at when I get a chance!

istitch's picture


i thought you might want to check this font out. although the letterforms are quite different, i think the term “inline” might apply to your typeface.


dave bailey's picture

Had some more time today:

dave bailey's picture

laaa dee daa:

James Arboghast's picture

Keep it going David---it's gradualy taking shape. Once you've designed certain key parts, a font almost designs itself.

* shorten the descenders by 35%
* slant the stem (right side stroke) of "a" to the right
* try bending/curving the right side strokes of m, n, h to the left in a sweeping continuous arc, eliminating the curled tips. That will take it in a brushy direction and help make those forms more unique.
* "s" is interesting but I need to see it in use, as part of a word or two, before making any decisions.

If you want to turn it into a real font there is a free font making program listed somewhere in the Typowiki.

j a m e s

dave bailey's picture

I didn't see your comment, James until I came here to post this:

I'll look into your suggestions now for the next update.

James Arboghast's picture

That's cool David. I've been away travelling for a few weeks and only just got back here a day ago, so you're hardly late responding.

To get some clues about brush dynamics and features, spend a while looking at art brush scripts. Art & Sign fonts, and Letterhead Fonts, make some of the best examples around. My idea is to make your design more specific, and a brush grotesk seems a natural direction to go from this point. A brush grotesk would also be more unique than a typographic grotesk

j a m e s

dave bailey's picture

Ok I've done some tweaks, I posted it as a PDF now that things are all coming together. It's in the original post, attached. I had to compress the lower bowl of the 'g' a little bit even though I really didn't want to, so it would fit with the new descender length. Comments?

devisionbell's picture

I am by no means an expert, and will happily class myself as a complete noobie when it comes to the actual task of type design. Though I will offer some constructive criticism which I am only too happy to be taken with a very large grain of salt. (In fact I offer this as an opportunity for myself to learn also and look forward to finding out if I am seeing things that are viewed differently by the experts.)

Let me begin by saying I really like the feeling that this typeface exudes, its got a great energy and seems like fun!

Looking at the face as it stands I feel that perhaps the 'a', 'g', and 'e' seem to have a slightly different vertical axis than the rest of the face. These three glyphs feel as though they are 'falling' to the left a little more than the others which lean toward the right.

Should the counter of the 'g' and 'e' be on a similar axis? Perhaps the 'o' also? The counter of the 'a' perhaps seems a little squished relative to the 'b' & 'd' etc?

Could the space between the cross bar and counter of the 'f' be loosened?

I hope some of these thoughts are useful, and look forward to seeing you progress.

Good luck.

dave bailey's picture

I've done some tweaking and posted a new PDF up top.

James Arboghast's picture

Hang on David. I've got the new PDF, will come up with some crits later this week or newxt week. Sorry, I'm burried under a great big pile of work for now.

j a m e s

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