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A little background before my questions...
I am just starting down the path of type design. I am a graphic designer, but I've never taken any type design classes (nor can I seem to find any in the boston area).
Right now I am at the point where I am reading an abundance of typography books (not too many just on face design out there), and trying to study and understand the history and relationships between different styles and movements. When I walk down the street, I don't even read any more -I just look at typefaces in signs and on newspapers, etc.
I have made several attempts to design individual letters, but this has been pretty unsatisfying. I usually attempt one or two letters, and really am not pleased with what I am producing. I've tried handwriting forms, and using Illustrator. (I used to think I was pretty handy with the bezier curves - not any more).
It appears there are some very experienced type designers on these boards (apologies if that not your preferred nomenclature). I even see a lot of "first time" designs, and that is even more frustrating, because they have so many great details and ideas that feel out of reach. I feel like I can't even create adequate stem weight for the letter "A", much less create a whole typeface.
On to the questions...
Could some of you suggest some strategies for trying to organize a truly first time attempt at creating an alphabet? Is handrawing the way to go? Playing with existing typefaces? Some kind of master chart for proportions? Picking apart the anatomy of serifs, bowls, ears, terminals, etc?
I just don't know where to go from my current position (the very beginning).
I'm definitely a neophyte, and any approaches or steps for creating some kind of structure to my effort would really be appreciated. Even a homework assignment or two would help.
Thanks very much,