guifa's picture

Note: Corunna -> Coruña

After editing around with Berling to get the feel for font making, I went ahead and started making my own font from scratch. Couple of things I did was start off with a lower x-height and larger descenders since I plan on taking it multiscript. Hrant may or may not notice that the serifs are a little stronger on the right side, so when the left serif is removed down the road for Armenian, it should flow nicer. I just have lowercase now, but I think I'm off to a good start ... but comments are of course greatly appreciated (I've not begun kerning adjustments yet at all). So far the comments from my friends have been they really like the g, j, and y, but they don't like the t ... I'm figuring for it just make the filled section a little smaller (not as tall and not protruding as much to the left?)

File name note: coruna5 is the italicone. All the others are newer versions by increasing number.

coruna1.pdf20.27 KB
coruna4.pdf30.2 KB
coruna5.pdf9.96 KB
coruna_cyr_v1.pdf68.91 KB
guifa's picture

I've now attached a PDF of the completed upper and lower case, as welll as preliminary diacritics and the eth/thorn. Some things on the caps I've noticed and wondered what others thought: the M to me seems a bit wide, as most of my other straight-lined characters are thiner in the caps form than normal (whereas the rounded are wider). Should I try to keep them thin too? I should probably post this in the build section, but how do I make sure the accents don't get hinted out? (using FontForge, viewing on OSX, notice most of the grave accents are thinner than the acute, but they're just reversed copies of the others).

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

anastasia's picture

Very nice. The unusual non-geometric lines of the a, c, s etc make it engaging and visually interesting. In a way, these shapes are almost asking for interaction as opposed to offering a passive exprerience.

guifa's picture

Figures you'd say that just as I changed those very same letters (well, not the s). I'm about to post an update, the main difference being slimmer serifs and not-so-bulky bowls on the pbdq.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

guifa's picture

Okay, here's the second draft. Still just working on letter forms, kerning will be next along with symbols. Does the a/c still keep the same qualities you liked Anastasia? My goal was to get rid of some of the, as hrant put it, calligraphic feel to make it more sutible for body text. Uploaded both a sample in the new one and a comparison set.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

crossgrove's picture

Don't be in a rush to move on to kerning and other scripts. There is more to do before you reach that stage.

"get rid of some of the, as hrant put it, calligraphic feel to make it more sutible for body text."

This isn't a useful way to conceptualize suitability for body text. They aren't opposites. There are other larger issues with your design which are more important than "calligraphic feel". One is contrast. The thins are very thin. That alone makes it unsuitable for body text.

(You use "thin" and "wide" as though they were opposites. Because there are so many concepts and terms in type design, it's good to keep them clear. Narrow / wide, thin / thick, tight / loose.)

Your serifs are already small. I don't think it adds anything to make the serifs sharp-tipped in addition to bracketed, especially if you intend this to be used small.

More about stroke contrast: A specific ratio like 2 to 9 can be a starting point, but like almost any "rule" in type design, it will fall apart spectacularly and often. The main stems will probably all be around the same weight, and the rounds will all be something thicker, but you'll find KMNVWYXZ will look strange and heavy if the stems are exactly the same weight. The thin stems will range from very thin where the h arch joins the stem to moderately thick at the bottom of the left leg of A.

There's something very mechanical about these letters. Did you draw them on paper first? I very strongly recommend you try a couple other techniques for digitizing them. These techniques will show you how different a shape or letter looks when you're trying to construct it in PostScript. Reducing and enlarging things also makes them look very different. Draw the letters you want with pencil, get them as clean and final as possible, then A: autotrace them, and also B: hand-digitize the shapes with the scanned drawing in the background. Compare the resulting shapes, in black-and-white, side-by-side. One other factor in the results will be how faithful you are to your drawing and how much you simplify or rationalize it. Type looks like it's made of ruler-straight bars and segments of circles, but even in the case of Futura that's an illusion. I should point out: Berling is one of the most mechanical and lifeless typefaces out there. Its proportions and spacing are fine, but Berling looks to me like a machine designed it. It works better at small sizes, ironically.

I can see that you recycled the main cap stem. Recycling is smart. For some letters, though, there is an unfortunate artifact where the former serif joins the bowl, arm or other stem. The cups on the ends of the original stem abruptly switch to perfect straight lines of the adjoining part. It may seem calligraphic to some, but this is an area that looks better at any size when it's smoothed out somehow. Those little jags, kinks and spurs are more detrimental to reading flow than you might think. See BDEFLPR. For examples of how these joints can be addressed, see Adobe Garamond, Goudy Oldstyle, Georgia, or Times (all different, but all resolved).

When you set some text with default spacing (and you should not be thinking about kerning at all at this point), you may notice f colliding with other ascending letters. LC j will collide with all descenders. They stick out really far, and while by themselves it isn't a problem, typefaces are essentially modular systems, and every combination has to work automatically. Kerning is only to fix real problems that remain after spacing is carefully adjusted. There can be a real benefit to working on outlines and spacing simultaneously, but unless you have gotten control of those and resolved the basic spacing, kerning will only make you sad. Re: spacing: f needs to move right; more room on the left and the whole top part overhanging it's right sidebearing, like you did with j. bdpq are all tight on the straight side, loose on the bowl.

To me, both cap and lc S look completely foreign to the rest of the alphabets. They are jaunty, angled, informal, angular, sinuous. Everything else is mechanical, vertical, precise, machined, formal, serious. I do not presume to push you in either direction, just know that there is a large variance in the character (ha ha!) of the various letters. It seems to be a trend to make S and s with softer teminals now, but among the others here it looks wrong.

LC m is typically not made from n + n-arch. This gives a very wide-looking m; usually the stems of m are closer than those of n and h. For that matter, h, n, u already look wide to me. Similarly, W doesn't usually look right when it's made of 2 V's overlapped. Again with the illusions.....

I suggest you look very closely at some other typefaces in a similar vein: Caslon, Baskerville, Times Roman, Bembo, Galliard, Minion. Those aren't all in the same category, but I think Berling has very little nuance to offer you. If you could get digital access to other typefaces, open them in your font editor and examine how they are constructed; where the points are, where curves start, how curves join straights, measure the thins wherever they appear. For examples of thins, see Galliard's AEHKMNU.

One other suggestion in general: Draw everything on paper first. Draw it at 2 or 3 sizes, make clean, tight drawings, and don't be distracted or lured by the seeming economy and precision of digital outlines. Outline formats tend to lull people into relying on the format for consistency and precision. Often the result is dead-looking, mechanical shapes. PostScript is very very robust and flexible and will give you any shapes you want, including very organic, messy, or rough ones. Let it be a tool and not an influence on the design.

guifa's picture

Crossgrove, thanks for the very detailed comments. You’ve noticed a couple of the things I had thought about and was wondering if others had noted....for instance, the wideness of the n, m, u, and h (which are also a bit more narrow, somewhat like the qpdb change I made). The S I've completely redone.

Unfortunately, back in my old design class days, I avoided the on-paper sketches, so I'm not accustomed at all to sketching by hand first; I'm a freak who has most of the time gotten away with sketching digitally, and it has definitely become a crutch.

I have access to Baskerville and Times, the latter of which I've been using for some of the changes (I noticed, for instance, that I had the stem of the r started in my original a lot higher than most fonts, and that the c and e are generally weighted on the bottom). Lately now for each one I've been keeping a window open with each letter presented in all the serif fonts that I've got on my machine.

I'm about to go on a trip (God help me, Auburn to Orlando — 9 hours — chaperoning a bus full of 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds) and will probably work on it some, but won't be able to post anything until then.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

guifa's picture

Posted an updated version. Now includes some slightly improved spacing (still need to work on it some), some punctuation, and numbers. The s has been greatly changed, as well as a few other minor changes on some letters. Also posted the lower-case italics. There are major spacing problems with it still, but a lot of it I think is just going to have to wait for kerning. Comments on the italic thus far would be greatly appreciated.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

guifa's picture

Wow, I realized I haven't posted an update in a while. I've reworked quite a few letters, and set far better default spacing. While I'm working on IPA and the other latin set, I decided to take a break to attempt the Cyrillic. While I *think* it seems to flow well, it does seem to be a bit closely set, especially in light of the Latin. Does it feel too close? And do any of the stylistic choices just feel absolutely wrong? The Latin version is admitingly simply an amalgam of the particular forms I prefer and made to go well together, but I just don't have the experience to say for sure with the Cyrillic. Any comments/help/suggestion is greatly appreciated.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

Number3Pencils's picture

You've got a few mistaken characters. Most noticeably, you have a myagkij znak (ь) in place of the ve (в). The i kratkoe's (й) breve is too fine to be visible from a normal zoom. The capital El (Л) should have a thin left leg, like the lowercase el does. The tail on the sha and shcha (ш and щ) is an outmoded form and looks very out of place in such a modern design. The er (р) shouldn't look like a Greek rho (ρ--note, no stem), but like a regular p. My suggestion is to study a variety of contemporary Cyrillic alphabets and then come back with a fresh eye.

guifa's picture

Total oversight on the в (started it and forgot to finish it), for the й I accidentally left the stroke direction in the opposite direction which renders lighter for some reason.

My primary concern was with the щ and ц and . I went with the older form to try to give a little bit more descending feel, but since it's out of place, at least the other form is a lot easier to do :)

For some reason I had it in my head that the р rounded...I think it got stuck in my head from the thread discussing the ruble's design a while back and one or two people mentioned it being a more traditional form.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cerulean's picture

Italic u looks entirely too much like v.

Number3Pencils's picture

I've seen a rounded er, but it was in the same font with the scroll-style descenders on tse and shcha. It exists, but I think it's been pretty thoroughly superseded, as I've only seen it in that one old (cheap) book.

victor ivanov's picture

i haven't read all the comments above, so sorry if this was mentioned before.
but on the last pdf document, 2nd page. the 3rd letter of the lowercase Cyrillic is incorrect. coming from Russia, I can't recognize that letter. From what i can remember (haven't read a Russian book in awhile) but the lowercase of that letterform should just be a "small cap"

hope you find this useful!
Besides that, in the word CORUNA, the C and O look a bit too wide, but maybe thats just me. I really like that upper-case R

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