Centerline

hrant's picture

So, what do you guys thing of making fonts based on a centerline, as opposed to a baseline?

http://briem.ismennt.is/2/2.3.2a/2.3.2.04.grid.htm

For a decorative joined script like Mistral it might be more obvious to do so, but I actually think there's a lot of other potential in using a centerline. The Ancient Greeks for one used the centerline method - and here it's interesting to note that Carter's Skia has some "centered-ness" to it.

hhp

j_hisekaldma's picture

I wonder how that would work in a serifed typeface...

hrant's picture

Maybe by turning the serifs "up" (in a rigid design) or making them irregular (in a fluid design)?

hhp

j_hisekaldma's picture

Possibly. But wouldn't the letters rest on the same baseline then?

Or perhaps I misunderstood you -- I was thinking quasi-experimental display type here; a typeface with a centerline *instead* of a baseline.

Anyway I was just thinking out loud. It sounded like an interesting idea. Does anyone know of a serifed, or semiserifed, typeface using a centerline but no baseline?

hrant's picture

> a typeface with a centerline *instead* of a baseline.

Yeah, that's what I meant.

In a serif face, you might have to prevent the serifs from creating imaginary lines, not just on the baseline, but elsewhere too (as [I thought] you were hinting).

Experimental? Sure.
Hopeless? For a serif face, probably, but who knows; for a sans, maybe not at all hopeless.

hhp

Diner's picture

Hey Hrant,

I've designed many a font that are aligned on a centerline but bumped down to where they should sit on a baseline to set well.

For playful display faces, considered animated or bouncing on a baseline. Each character is designed to play off the counter of the the next one. I think Randumhouse by House really is the king of this technique.

For as nice as you can make a display face on a besline, by altering the baseline position, it is able to bring another level to the font. A certain planned randumness. This technique works especially well for script or connecting faces but works for serif or sans serif versions.

There is a site called Pixel Decor that uses my Pink Flamingo typeface. This will offer some example of a serifed face looks in centerline use. My Spaceman font does the same but the letters are cleaner.

Stuart :D

hrant's picture

Stuart, cool!

Question:
When you write "Each character is designed to play off the counter of the next one.", it makes me wonder:

How exactly do you decide which letters to move in which direction, not to mention by how much? (Assuming it's not some trade secret... :-)

hhp

sevenfingers's picture

removed, typos.

sevenfingers's picture

>http://briem.ismennt.is/2/2.3.2a/2.3.2.04.grid.htm

Thanks a million for that link Hrant! It cleared up some problems that I've had lately...Extensive type design info always feel good. Not that I needed the centerline design of characters info (even though it was interesting), but the rest was really good :)

Diner's picture

There are some basic ideas that I apply to adjusting the distance from the baseline in relation to the entire typeface.

In the old days, I used to move all the characters together in one long string and select all and align vertically. Where I found an oddball, I'd just move it up or down.

As I played more with this technique, I'd move all the characters together in one long string and manually position them up or down to see which shapes filled the counters of other shapes well.

The next evolution was discovering which letters seemed to affect the "bounce" but showed up consistently enough in the typeface as I set copy with it. To no surprise, it was the vowels.

Once I had a good understanding how to adjust the bounce of the font, I began working through each glyph in the typeface to exaggerate the bounce even further by making some letters taller, some smaller, raise the stems on some, lower the stems on others, and repositioning each glyph to further exaggerate the face while creating a consistent flow and color with the counters.

At some point, by studying more animated styles, it became second nature to start my initial glyph drawings with a bounce in mind. The left and right sides were often looked at closely to see how they may interact with the rest of the face and often readjusted several times throughout the construction of the face.

Stuart :D

hoefler's picture

Christian Schwartz' Latin fonts for House Industries might be worth looking at, if you're interested in finding clever ways to avoid the baseline. Check them out at houseindustries.com.

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