Rolos Deluxe

tyleryoung's picture

Some experimentation I've been doing with aliased pixel fonts. The majority of my energy has been going into the launch of Mean Tangerine ( very soon, I hope ), so the gradients of gray can be improved I'm sure. I've only been tinkering with the technique.

My main question is how the grays look in relation to the black. Due to the bold quality of the font, I'm not sure that the grays really work as elegantly as a font one pixel wide.

Any thoughts would be welcomed.

kakaze's picture

I can hardly read what it says. All the letters are running into each other.

tyleryoung's picture

Chris, thanks for your input, even if its a bit on the abrupt side. Can you tell me what kind of monitor you're using? I've heard that older monitors actually blur the pixel fonts that employ this technique.

I ask this because the letters do not run into each other. I'm not sure how literally you meant that. Can you send me a screen shot of how the graphic shows up on your screen?

Now that I think about it, since this is a graphic and not the actualy pixel fonts, the letterforms should stay in tact.

Can you give me a bit more to go on here? I'm afraid your input has come across as more of a put-down than anything I can use to make the font better.

Do the grays make each letter look blurry, and because they are placed one pixel apart from one another, they give an overally appearance of running together?

Also, how does the non-aliased version of Rolos strike you? Do its letters run together as well?

Perhaps it's the design as a whole that you dislike?

Any greater detail on your feedback would be great.

kakaze's picture

My monitor is new, only purchased last year. It's a Samsung 700 IFT set at 1024x768.

I didn't mean they literally ran into each other, but they "appear to". I see it as a thick black line with notches in it before I see it as letters. It's so squat and so bold that there's not much room for the bits that differentiate the letters from each other. The majority of them look like little squares with holes in them. There's hardly any word spacing either which doesn't help.

The aliased and antialiased versions look basically the same to me. The only one I really notice it on is the Deluxe set in flash, it's a little fuzzy but still suffers from the same problems as the others.

In contrast, the font you used to title each section is quite readable.

tyleryoung's picture

Chris, thanks for your added input. It is quite helpful. I've added an extra pixel to the space keystroke, and it brings out the words far better than before.

Having spent so much time on so many different faces for the launch of MT, I'm afraid I lose perspective on things.

I know that Rolos is a squat, specialty face, and that's all it's intended to be. More than anything, it is one example of my desire to push the boundaries of each letterform to their limits in ways that other pixel font designers haven't explored already.

Despite the fact that this font is only four pixels high, it's intended to be used as a ( very small ) titling font, for burst useage.

The other font is Nerve, a narrow face also intended for titling. The two little ones in the logo belong to the Toto family.

Thanks again. I'm glad to have had your help.

kakaze's picture

The extra space helps.

It still kind of runs together though. It could use a little more space, IMO.

tidchris's picture

cheers. there is still room in the small-pixel world for unique fonts.

the space helped, try another. The thin font reminds me of the classic star trek font, and the meantangerine is a bad mofo. [in a good way ok.]

the deluxe versions are better, you need the freedom I think.

tyleryoung's picture


Thanks for the enthusiasm. I've been building a catalog of fonts for over two years. To say I'm anxious to introduce them to the pixel font world is an understatement.

The Mean Tangerine store has been under development for one year now, a fact that keeps me up at night. If everything goes well, the site should launch by Jan 1.

The logo font is part of larger family called Ram.

I'll put some more work into Rolos and post some samples.

schwa's picture

I took a look at your site, the nav looks nice .. is this the font you are using ....

i didn't realize it had been released.

i also noticed that the the bottom left section of the second page of the 'history' section looks remarkably like ...

did you work on that site too? you should include it in your portfolio.

tyleryoung's picture

No, that pixel font is not mine. The one I used on tyleryoungcreative is my own, which I will release as "TYC". Some of the other Mean Tangerine fonts I used were "Ram", "Resolution", "Samara", "Stomp", and "Toto".

All of these will be included in the first release of Mean Tangerine, hopefully any day now.

As for the Revelare site. My site? Hah, I wish. That site is a seriously advanced Flash application. Mean Tangerine has changed slightly in its overall appearance from the screen shot on TYC.

However, the zooming metaphor is the same.

cgs's picture

looks to me like you are ripping off both that font and that site. what's up with that?

tyleryoung's picture

Christian, take a stroll through these forums and you'll find both pixel fonts and outline fonts that are alarmingly simimilar in some or even all of their characters. I won't even bother to include links to these unless you persist in your assertion that every font reviewed on this site is original in every way.

Ironically, I say this in regards to the Revelare site, as I didn't even know about the message boards here until some time after my font Ram ( which is the one I assume you're referring to ) was built.

Many of my fonts are as much as two years old, which is when I began building them for my now defunct web magazine Champfactory. Mean Tangerine was supposed to launch almost exactly one year ago.

It was then that I changed the site design from the first one I'd built ( have you looked at that one? ) to the one you don't approve of now, and it has taken way, way too long to build, and cost too much to change now.

What you're failing to take into account is that many of the same letterforms can be reached by any number of pixel font designers entirely independantly simply by the limitations of the traditional pixel grid size.

When I did see that post, I was bummed that someone else had produced a similar font. However, many of my characters are entirely different, and are smoother as a set. Am I going to delete my work because someone else has created something similar?

Of course not. Take a look around before you make despairing accusations.

As for the Revelare site, I have in fact used their zooming metaphor. As i've described in a previous post, that metaphor is so elegantly simple and effective, I can't think of a way to change it without breaking it.

The navigation metaphor is all I've used. It just so happens that squares look like squares no matter what kind of background you put them against. At any rate, my button assisted navigation is unique, my layout ( entire site structure ) is completely different, and my presentation of content is also different.

Take a closer look at Revelare. You'll see they sell their whole site as a site navigation solution. I mention this because it is highly indicative of what the revelare site really is, as recognized by its creators.

A superiour navigation system. Is it graphical? Yes. Is it beautiful to look at? I think so. They are actually marketing it the same way Flash Loaded is marketing their Ultimate Scroller. A method of presenting and navigating large amounts of information.

I'm curious to know what you think of all these sites ripping each other off with menu bars, animated masks, and scrolling lists?

Perhaps next time you could comment on the font I've posted, thereby fulfilling the purpose of this particular message board?

cgs's picture

tyler- you seem very sincere, and i'm willing to agree to disagree regarding the font.

however, your argument regarding the relevare site is bogus. that's their design, their nav, their metaphor...not to mention their colors and text treatment. scrolling lists, animated masks? these are tools, windows elements... by your logic, no navigation is proprietary.

all this aside, you are only hurting yourself...the relevare site is well known in the design community, and my reaction to your design is not going to be uncommon.


tsprowl's picture

I may need binoculars here but the top of the uppercase B is totally cut off - unless that's the intent

lowercase q is more lowercase g-like even though I see you've used the uppercase g in lowercase. perhaps knock out a pixel on the second last row on the right instead of adding pixel to the bottom left of the decender. (least that's what my eye sees)

tidchris's picture

tanya, I think the cutoff B is intentional. you don't really need the top, right? ;)

Relevare means 'to relieve', to lift a weight.

So they did, by stapling a few graphic rules together with a timeline and a database. Bravo! Now we can all copy it, unless they've got some kind of patent. Better to improve on it. tyler's only sin is aping it 1:1.

As for the font, go fish. Bitmap pixel space is a small country and simultaneous evolution happens all the time. Again, the only sin is 1:1 copies.

Good luck bringing up meantangerine tyler. Before you release the deluxe versions, read .

tyleryoung's picture

Tanya, yeah, the top of the B is cut off. It's a stylistic thing born of the need to make the letterform as recognizable as possible while maintaining the 4 pixel height. I'll definately look further into your suggestion for the q.

Christian, thank you for your reply. Having a litte more text to read this time around gives me a much better idea of your overall message.

I realize that there are going to be many who disagree with me on many issues. All I can say is that the fonts I've used on TYC come from months of hard work and experimentation, as is evident from the body of work there, from the photography to the journalism. I have a love of storytelling, and the typefaces are just one element in that.

As my argument regarding Revelare, which part is bogus? Revelare IS selling its zooming metaphore as a navigation/content delivery solution. It's not bogus, it's real. It's also a valid interpretation of that to say that they recognize the beauty of that system as a navigation system rather than a singular instance of a page/site design.

It may not be the only interpretation, granted, but it surely is not a bogus one.

As for navigation systems being proprietary, can you tell me a few that are? I've never seen one. The Apple/Windows thing being one easy example.

As for the overall reaction of plagarism: oh well. As I said before, I've delayed the release of my fonts to some amount of peril ( as illustrated by your questioning my font Ram ) for the sake of going forward with a superior navigation system that not only has never been used as a commerce store, but doubles a pixel metaphor, while also zooming further and further into the world of the small, reinforcing the theme of pixel fonts.

I made my choice a year ago to put the site experience first and my "I wanna be a star designer/creative" second. That meant going with a system that reinforced the pixel font motif and was easy to use.

The pixel fonts I'm trying to market are the creatives, here. The site design is solely intended to show them in their best possible light. I believe this design does that. I've used the best possible design elements to present my product.

I think those principles apply to every commercial designer.

Even though this board isn't about my site design, I'll post a few graphics displaying MT as it is now. It's as unique as I could make it considering my budget constraints and time constraints.

The site recolors itself randomly ( from a predetermined list of color sets ) every visit, which explains the different graphics.

tidchris's picture

supernice. I know you have no time, but ...

- double the font size in zoom boxes. then you can read the level 2 text.

- relevare's idea is not perfect. change the idea a little. e.g. add a white depth gauge, or use nested circles. up 2 you.

- random recoloring shows control, but consistent section colors may be easier on the customer.

tsprowl's picture

its usually the bottom that can go i.e. that ledgibilty test covering the tops and bottoms. We do need the tops moreso then the bottoms to guide the eye to the next letter...readability.

in any case be it a stylistic thing - perhaps it could be employed more often in other characters? right now it looks like a goof and could be taken as a screen error?

tyleryoung's picture

Chris, thanks for your input. I'm not releasing any deluxe versions initially. I'm having problems with them rendering in the published Flash environment. They work great in the authoring environment, but not where it counts.

My main objective is finishing the store application. You bring up a good idea about a depth gage. MT actually already employs a bit of this idea, and is one of the departures from Revelare's.

As you drill down, the site lessens in opacity until at great depths, the color approaches white. This is a subtle but effective psychological indication of depth. In fact, looking at the graphics, you'll notice that the squares with the greatest color saturation are the font specimen squares. This is where the greatest depths are reached. You see the relationship there.

As for implementing better thought-out features and overall posishing of the site, I definately have plans on the board to do just that. But for now, budgets demand I release the site with the assets I have right now.

Can I email you personally to discuss your "grey" pixel font technology?

Tanya, your observations are spot on in my opinion. However, to my chagrin, I've tried that letter b in about 37 different encarnations. It didn't look right to me with the bottom missing because then it looked too much like an A or R. However, I'll revisit that and see what else I can do.

Your point that it looks like a screen error is a good point indeed.

tidchris's picture

hi Tyler
authoring vs. published: I know that problem. photoshop also counts.

> until at great depths, the color approaches
> white. This is a subtle but effective
> psychological indication of depth

as an effect, I like it, except I'd go dark(=deep). Such a subtle analog-style drift seems not enough to convey the change. how about concentric borders?

> Can I email you personally

sure, please do.

tidchris's picture

> We do need the tops moreso then the bottoms
> to guide the eye to the next letter...

whoa ... I never thought of it this way, always assumed the baseline was king. yet the eye gets to the top first. hm.

has anybody seen eyetracking data (or images )for pixel type?

tyleryoung's picture

The only eyetracking data I have is that mine start to go blurry between the hours of 3 and 4 am. ;)

schwa's picture

this original post was reposted after a formatting error appeared

schwa's picture

yet another formatting error with this post .. posted again below .. my apologies to anyone getting emails

schwa's picture

"The navigation metaphor is all I've used."

Apparently, maintaining this metaphor requires maintaining the type treatment, shapes, size and position relationships of zoomable content area, basic color treatment, and (a safe assumption i think) the exact behavior.

Here are some sites that have expressed a similar "metaphor" with original aesthetic ideas ...

I find it hard to believe that you posted those screenshots as a defense to your stance that you have not completely ripped the relevare site. Here is a screenshot of the Relevare site. I think the remarkable similarity is clear even with static images (no 'navigation metaphor').

Perhaps you should email your design to the good folks at relevare ( ) and see what they think about it.


tyleryoung's picture


I've already tried to contact the good folks at Revelare, in an effort to purchase the metaphor in question. Several times. They haven't replied.

I makes me think that they're only interested in enterprise clients, but that's only my take on their unresponsiveness.

Those sites that you've linked to are beautiful. I wouldn't say that they use the metaphor in question though. You say they use a similar metaphor. That's a true statement. To say they use this metaphor with similar and therefore original designs is not a true statement.

They give up too much of the overall beauty of Revelare's metaphor. They're simply linear zooms. No grid. They give no idea as to how much content is on the site at a glance, nor where that info is in relation the everything else. They do not operate on a grid, and do not give the overall impression of different sized pixels, which is the whole pixel font reinforcement thing.

I like the idea of matte colors because they assist in the overall navigation feedback. This could be where I'm stumbling big-time. I've always taken the simplistic color treatment to be an integral part of Revelare's navigation metaphor. This due to the section ques they offer.

I could achieve the same thing I suppose by sticking more titles up there in each square, or putting icons in there, but that wouldn't be 1/10 as intuitive.

That's my whole take on the Revelare metaphor. Intuitiveness.

As for the size of the squares, not to worry. I'll be changing many things over time, as I can generate revenues to continue development on the site.

As it stands now, I'm pretty locked in to what's been developed thus far. Sure, I could change the squares to rectangles, I change the color of the font to black, and I could use a pixel font that is too wide to fit in the size of each square given the possibility that future titles will be longer than others, but all of that strikes me as a pretty weak stab at making it all unique.

I didn't change the color of the type because white looks the best. I didn't change the size of the squares because I don't have enough content yet to build the site on a smaller grid. As for the font treatment, it's my own pixel font.

Also, when you posted your graphic of Revelare, why didn't you take a shot of their entire site, showing how they present their content? As methodical you have been in presenting your proof that I'm a rip off artist, you have misrepresented your evidence.

So far, at least under the name jh, you've posted five times. All five have been to me, and none of those posts have been to offer critisism to my type, or anyone else's. I welcome your critical eye, but so far, despite the fact that you've seen at least five original fonts of mine ( between the TYC site and the fonts on this board ), you've only seen fit to call me bad because you've seen a link to a font that's similar to one of mine.

How about some of that critical eye going to the font I have up for review?

Hildebrant's picture

It's too small(period).

I find things like this completley UNusefull. :-(



tyleryoung's picture

No apology necessary Kyle.

tyleryoung's picture


I've got some work I'll post a little later. I wasn't planning on developing this idea until the site went live and I could afford a more extensive development environment, but your argument has convinced me of one thing:

I doesn't matter what my take on Revelare's nav metaphor is. What matters is the target audience and how they interpret the brand/product.

The new design centers around the logo itself, something I hadn't even developed until recently, which is why my designs didn't aim in this direction from the start. A major tweak to the store application will delay the release of the site, which has been my main goal for some time.

Thanks for your arguments. I have to say that the exchange hasn't been the most pleasant one, but that's what the boards are all about. You've encouraged me commit to a higher level of design and that is a very good thing.

tyleryoung's picture

Okay, I've posted my next generation designs on a different, more appropriate board. These designs represent what I'd planned on building as soon as MT brought in a few revenues to fund the development.

However, I now see that it is critical to work out the details of the new look before going live.

Can you give the work a look jh, and hit me back?

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