Nordic Text - please crit

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi guys,

As can be followed in earlier threads, I'm working on my type called Nordic. Now I'm sketching on the 'textversion'. It will propably not become a real text face, but it surely should feel like it.

Can you give me some good critique. Is this the right direction I'm going? This are some very early sketches where I'm trying to find out if the type work well in the light and the fat extremes. The weights inbetween then propably work as well.
I want the fat version to be rounder, like a blown up balloon. The more light the weight, the straighter the verticals. Makes sence?
This is the first time I'm doing a textface so all the tips are welcome. I feel I'm not good in keeping the type consistent in it's details.

Nordiclight
Nordicfat

See the difference in the light and the fat lc 's'. Would you like it with or without the spurs?
I'm not really sure how to handle the horizontals (a, e, g, s). Should they be much thinner than the verticals, as you can see above, or should they be 'equally' thick? That would make it more fat and I would loose a lot of details.

Thanx,
Ren

hrant's picture

Vertical proportions: I'd use the one from the top attempt - the darker one is too small on the body.

I think you need to make the forms less exagerated, like the "a" and especially the "e" are too far from the good norm.

The "s": they both work, in their weights.

Some people might tell you to make the stroke distribution "classical" in the dark weight - like give the "v" a thinner right arm. I like symmetrical weight in this sort of design, so I'd actually recommend keeping the way you have it - you just need to modulate it a bit to prevent a bunching-up of color.

BTW, I'd make the "m" less narrow.

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

hhp,

> the top attempt
What part exactly do you mean?

> forms less exagerated
I just made the light into a fat and that's what came out. The characteristic with the 'a' and 'e' is the diagonal. I would like to keep this, because it's a characteristic for the Nordic Family. Normally the bar of the 'e' would be horizontal and that would keep the form open.
How would you resolve this problem? Would you loose the diagonal?

> give the "v" a thinner right arm
I also like in this design the symmetrical weight. I will try to correct the color.

Thanks,
Ren

hrant's picture

The "top one" is the topmost one that's light.

> How would you resolve this problem?

Just make the counters smaller, at least in the "e".

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

I did some sketching this weekend on Nordic and I had a very nice spin off. I came up with an idea of a sans serif that I want to try to work out. I'm currently making sketches to get the proportions and the details right. Therefor Nordic will be pushed a little in the background. I will keep on developing it, but now I need a bit of concentration for the newbee.

I promissed my girlfriend her own font for her writing. She's writing her own book and parallel also writing for the Weight Watchers Magazine as a psychologist.
Having her own font would incurrage her to write more on her own book. So... i have to prioritize. ;-)

Regards,
Ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

I've reworked the lowercase characters of Nordic. I want to start working on the UC, but I could use some help.
Can someone judge if the proportions of the lc to the UC are OK? In the first line of the pdf you can see some 'ohOHoh...' as example.
Before I start reworking the old UC to the new one it would make sence to know if the UC's are wide and high enough. All the UC's shown in the pdf are still from the old Nordic and are off balanced.


application/pdfRV

Rene Verkaart's picture

My collegue had difficulties finding the differences in the font. He thought I only made it wider and spaced it more. Do you also have difficulties seeing the difference?
You can forget the old Nordic, just crit the new one. But for the ones who know the old Nordic, here is a pdf with a clear comparicence.


application/pdfRV

hrant's picture

This is looking really sharp! That light weight is a sexy little waif.

The new "g" is right on. I'd make the "f" a hair wider, and the bar of the "t" slightly longer.

Cap proportions: normally, in a text face, it's good to have the caps shorter than the ascenders. But in this case -especially with such a large x-height- I'd make them full-height: more harmonious for display. This means I think you need to make them slightly wider too.

The crossing in the "8" is too "noisy". The Pilcrow needs color. I'm not sure about the shears in your acute/grave accents. I don't like the curly braces.

Keep it up!

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

> Cap proportions:

Really? And they would not be too tall then? I trust you on your word, so I'll go for it.

> The crossing in the "8" is too "noisy". The Pilcrow

True, they are still leftovers from the old Nordic. I will replace them all so that they fit to the new verion. Until now I only changed the lc's.

Thanx,
Ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

What Pilcrow do you like more? I'm hanging inbetween. Right now I don't see a better way to give it more color.

gg

Thanx,
Ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

Oeps, my mistake. I just saw somewhere else the Pilcrow is the

hrant's picture

The left "Pilcrow". :->

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi guys,

Here's an early update on the proportions of the caps. I made them higher and a bit wider like hhp suggested. I'm not sure if they are OK like that. If you could give me your opinion, then I can finish them up. I will make them all rounder like the lc's.


application/pdfRV

Rene Verkaart's picture

Thanks for the compliments, Dan. You're right about the W. That, together with the M, worries me most. I can't seem to find a good solution. Although I think the w works as a lc.

In the next days I will post a new update. I did some vectorcontrolling and that made the font better and a little bit more round. I like it even better and would like to know what you think about it.

The

Rene Verkaart's picture

I've been asked by a well known graphic design magazine in Holland, called Items, if they could use my Nordic for their article. That meens that I have to get this ready with the speed of light. I finalized the capitals and the overall spacing. Some of the special characters are still under construction.


application/pdfRV

fonthausen's picture

Gefeliciteerd Ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hee, that's nice, a congrats in my own language.

Your fonts in Items inspired me to send in my own. Yours came out really well. Cool font btw. Did you have any reactions yet on the publication?

But you have to explain something; how does an obsious frenchman come to live in Den Haag and have a german website? ;-)

fonthausen's picture

Hi ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

do you have seminars, btw? Or perhaps workshops? I really wish to work on my typography skills. What I know I tought myself, but I have the feeling there's much more knowledge to get out there.

fonthausen's picture

Or you could just come over to The Hague and have a talk about it. ;-)

Kom gezellig een keertje langs, dan kunnen we rustig en uitvoerig praten. Lijkt mij overigens altijd goed. ALs je nog tijd hebt: ik ben samen met twee anderen (Wigger Bierma en Marc van Wageningen) gevraagd voor een lezing over letterontwerpen. 21:00 in A'dam.

Mail mij anders gewoon.

Gr, Jacques

hrant's picture

Congrats!

> I have to get this ready with the speed of light.

A rush critique, eh? That's gonna cost you double. It's a damn shame 2 x 0 is still 0.

The only important glyph that bothers me is the "N".
I'd make the body of the cent smaller.
The British Pound needs a smaller head.
Your cedillas seem too excited.
I might flip the asterisk 180.
No florin? If you make it, slant it.
I think the quotes and stuff are slightly too dark.
Your spacing might be a bit loose - and in spot uneven - like the right of the "r".

Is it too late to make the Narrow a little narrower?

Do you have a charset for the Italic? (And it looks much tighter, btw - a bit too tight.)

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

At least thanks for your reply. Too late, but I'm happy with the tips anyway. This is not the final version of Nordic so I will have a look for the tips you gave me.

>Your spacing might be a bit loose
I know. I did this because I wanted it to be right for small sizes. Is it for that perpose still to loose?

> (And it looks much tighter, btw - a bit too tight.)
No, not for this Nordic. The current italic belongs to the old version, the rigid one. So it doesn't fit to this one yet.

Thanx,

hrant's picture

> I wanted it to be right for small sizes.

Good idea, but then the color is too light (for small sizes).

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi guys,

I'm currently working on the black version of the Nordic Narrow. From the Light and the Black I will create 2 weights inbetween, so these extremes have to be perfect.
I like the overall look-and-feel, but I'm unhappy with the N. In light it's 'OK', but in black it's ••••.
In the pdf document you can see the current status of the Nordic Narrow, w

hrant's picture

> these extremes have to be perfect.

But also, they will probably need iterative tweaking based on what the [eventual] intermediates will do - in this way you'll have extremes that are both fine on their own and fine for generating any unforseen intermediates in the future - avoiding tweaking intermediates, if you can.

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

> Exactly, therefor these have to be perfect. I started working on a > Regular, but realised that was an unpractical way to work. I will > tweak the extremes and not the intermediates. I kinda like working on > the Black, because I like heavy fonts. The inner spaces are here very > important and 1 em counts here more than in a Light weight.

aquatoad's picture

Hi Ren

hrant's picture

> I started working on a Regular, but
> realised that was an unpractical
> way to work.

Well, it's less work to do the extremes first, but you have to remember that the intermediates will get more usage, so they should "decide" more. So ideally what you'd do is make the Regular as best you can, then derive the two extremes, but then keep the original Regular only as a reference to make sure the interpolated Regular is good enough, tweaking only the extremes to get a good total result.

On the other hand, since I agree with Randy that this is very much a display face, it's actually not a big issue here: things will most probably come out fine.

hhp

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi Rany and hhp,

thanks for the royal crits. I see I will have some things to do this weekend.
I agree that I need to tweak the black characters, especially the ones with small counters. You're right about making the horizontals thinner. I think that will do it for the inner forms. I wanted to leave it as fat as possible, only changing the crucial points at the bowl/branch connection. But I see now that makes it very noizy for the eye.

I have a Regular that I like but I'm not sure about it. I want to see what the result is when I make the intermediates from the Light and Black. I think the result will be very nice, because the Light is very monoline and the Black more sexy in his weight.

I hope to get an update after the weekend.

Thanx a lot,

Rene Verkaart's picture

So, here's a small update after my hard working weekend. I made the following changes:
- changed accents (they look funny in the pdf???)
- created the ligatures
- finished up most of the glyphs
- made a start with the Black Italic
- improved some spacing issues
- improved/created kerning pairs
- made a 'commercial' Euro sign
- increased the overshoot on the rounds
- enhanced the bowl/branch connection
- worked out the contrast a bit in the lc 'g'

OK, most of the things are below the surface. Therefor I uploaded the complete PDF incl. the textsamples.
I have to take a look at some of the crits Randy suggested. I had no nerves to do it this weekend. I'll have a look at it later this week.

Randy, did I correct the horizontals enough? I took 7em off.


application/pdfNordic Narrow Black2
RV©Nordic Narrow Black2.pdf (67.5 k)



Later,

aquatoad's picture

Like your amperstand!
Ligatures - Don't force the fi. You may not need one.
Overall I'd say the color is a bit better (mostly the better spacing?) I see that the horizontals are thinner, but it looks like you took off 7 everywhere. Yes? The trouble is that you've drawn what should be a 2 weight alphabet, but it has at least 3 weights. In other words too much noticable variation in the thins IMHO. Some variation is required, but they should *look* the same. For example the thins on the top and bottom of the c probably will be thicker than the thins on the d. The c needs all the darkness it can get! The d could shed a few pounds. See what I mean? (Oh, and I still vote for more traditional weight distribution in your diagonals, see the cap N).



Anyways, we may be getting into style preference here. This is your font so don't let me talk you out of something you like! It's looking nice overall!

R

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi Randy,

> don't let me talk you out of something you like!

No problem to me. I can handle it. I like your style and I think you have a very good eye for those details we all love and hate. So keep 'm coming.

> but it looks like you took off 7 everywhere.

Yes, I took 7em off of all the horizontals, but not the diagonals in the bowl/stem connection. I think it looks better because the inner spaces are more open. And ofcourse the overall spacing.

Ligatures - Don't force the fi.

I made them only as a gag. I don't really need them with my glyph weight and spacing. But I personally like them so I made them.

> hat should be a 2 weight alphabet, but it has at least 3

The Nordic Narrow was used in Items, one of the leading Dutch magazines in (graphic) design and a design magazine from Barcelona. Since I saw that I like it much better in bigger sizes. I started it as a font for small sizes, but it came out the other way.
So therefor I'm thinking about reducing the font to 3 weights; Light, Regular, Black. How does that sound?

> but they should *look* the same.

I see that now. I'm very often not bold enough to leave the grid. I'm in a way too pragmatic, I guess. When I see the details now and read your crits, I know your right and I will go for it.
Problem is also that I created this whole Nordic Narrow on the computer. I made it out of Nordic A Narrow so no handdrawn sketches were made. That means also that all the spontaneity is constructed. Therefor I easily oversee obvious 'mistakes'.

I have a lot to do. No time over the week, so I'll have to sacrefice my weekend again.

Thanks,
Ren

aquatoad's picture

I didn't explain myself well when I said:
should be a 2 weight alphabet, but it has at least 3
I didn't mean the number of weights in the family (ie light, regular, bold, heavy etc...) I meant the with respect to your modulation (you have thick, thin, and and almost thin = three weights). I'm probably using the wrong terminology.

Also before you make really drastic changes based on my opinion, note: My comments were very nitpicky. And I am having second thoughts about your b/d. The current modulation hints at a little diagonal stress in an otherwise very up and down font. That could be a nice departure and soften it up a little. At this point I wouldn't change it.

In the glyphs I highlighted, the only things I would reccomend you change from a technical standpoint are adding the weight to the bowl of the a and thinning the ear and waist of the g.

Carry on. You're doing great and I'm offering too much *advice*

Rene Verkaart's picture

Hi Randy,

I see what you mean with the weights. That doesn't change my opinion to the three weights though.
I made the bowl/stem connections thinner than the other horizontals to reduce stress. Like I said I started off making a font for small sizes. The current thin parts are a leftover from that, but still I think they work because they reduce some weight in a difficult spot in the glyph.
The difficulty here is that I want to keep the diagonals in the font that are the most important characteristics. In the Light you can see them very well. These areas are almost flat and then go over in the bowl. In the Black they become more round so I have to do some optical surgery.
Normally I would make a nice thin connection to the stem and then a female round curve to the bowl. Hmm, I love typography. ;-)

Thanks for the *advice*, it's very very welcome.

Rene Verkaart's picture

Does anyone have a tip for me on the accents? I kinda have second thought if I should take the old ones back.

Thanks,

e's picture

Hi Ren

Rene Verkaart's picture

> Hi Vicente,

Thanks for your crit. I'm thinking about going back to the old accents, they seem to fit more to the font.

How is Nordic A Narrow doing in Barcelona? Some reactions on the designmagazine you made?

Regards,

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