Worth working on?

pille's picture

I worked out some sketches and I was wondering if it is worth continuing. Does it look (to much) like an other font?

font3.pdf (6.0 k)

pille's picture

The sketches...

degregorio2's picture

here is a good idea, but you have to work hardly.

the sketches are very good, the bezier sketches are better.

i think your font can work with a ultra mega black stroke.

cjg's picture

Strokes look almost like Hebrew script. It's an interesting look, but it might not be readable enough to use as a text face.

It has good motion within glyphs, I'd be interested to see how it kerns together. Perhaps alteration of the serifs so that adjacent letters like lc U and M nest together with a nice squiggle of whitespace would look nice.

pille's picture

I worked out the rest of the lc's this weekend and made some addaptations. I also dont think that this font should be used as a text face.

fontin.pdf (16.8 k)

pablohoney77's picture

i say this with fear and trepidation, but does this look like the care bear font to anyone else?

eomine's picture

Well, it is definitively worth working on, and it doesn't remind me of any existing typeface.

But maybe it looks too 'cute' (soft). Try making the ascenders and descenders longer, and perhaps, giving it more contrast (make the thins thinner).

pille's picture

I made the ascenders and descenders longer, reviced the bowles of bdpq and made some minor changes. Think it works better.

fontin2.pdf (16.9 k)

I'm not sure if I should change the lower serifs, mayby even cut them of...

hrant's picture

This is great stuff. And why wouldn't it work for text? You might not set a book in it, but if people use HELVETICA for text why would they balk at this? The half-serifs are great, and very nicely counter-balanced so it doesn't look like it's leaning backwards. And I actually like the flat stem bottoms - it gives a nice contrast and makes the design more "progressive".

Your x-height is modest (which means large point size usage), but your color is darkish and your spacing a bit loose (both better for smaller sizes). It's hard to say which direction would be better. We don't have enough evocative fonts suitable for small sizes (here I mean about 9 point), so if you pull the extenders [back] in it might make this a more valuable contribution to type, I think.

Whatever direction you go though, plesae take this all the way.


pille's picture

Hrant, thanks! You have a very clear view on type. Your words made me realise that indeed I had to make a choice. I'm going to make the 'Fontin' suitable for small sizes. I kept the flat stem bottoms and pulled the extenders back in. Worked on some caps to determen the best Caps height and weight.

fontin3b.pdf (19.4 k)

hrant's picture

I think this is getting pretty interesting - you've put a lot of "expression" which is great for small sizes, but you have some stylistic mixing too, so it's not boring. That acute accent is killer!

Some suggestions:
- A slightly wider "a".
- Bigger eye in the "e".
- The "f" might be slightly too expressive.
- What do the "f"-"i" and "f"-el (non-ligated) sequences look like?
- I'd give the lower arm of the "k" a non-flat terminal.
- Maybe a stronger bar on the "t" (and maybe the "f" as well).
- The question mark could be more in character.
- I like smallish capitals, but for small point sizes I think it will backfire, especially in your classically-narrow letters like "E". What you can do is make them all wider.
- The numerals you have look nice, but too small. Try hybrid numerals.
- Judging form the last line (the rest are justified so I can't tell), I think your blank space needs to be a hair wider.


pille's picture

I made the capitals slightly bigger and increased the extenders a very little. The 'f' is a difficult story: on the pdf it is non-ligated. It has so much overlap that it swallows the dot on the 'i' and merges with the extender of the 'l'. I intended that in the beginning, but I'm not sure if I want that effect to happen all the time. for example 'f' 'i-accute' is where this goes wrong.

Adapted the 'a' , 'e', '?' , 'space' and made the bar on the 't' wider.

The hybrid numeralrs are bulls eye! A realy great concept.

I know that it's far from perfect at the moment. Most weights and curves and forms have yet to be corrected, but after this weekends work this is status quo.

fontin3c.pdf (26.2 k)

hrant's picture

Your technique with the "f"/"i" is smart. And it's clicking with the "el" too.

I forgot something last time: the ear of the "q" needs more character.

Overall I think it's falling into place nicely.


eomine's picture

It looks nice, Jos. But, I'm not sure about using it for small sizes (9pt). Isn't this too narrow?

The acute accent is nice, but too big.

pille's picture

It is a bit narrow, but I think it's very readable for small sizes.
The accent was indeed too big. It didn't work with i-acute. Worked on a lot of other characters too.

Here's a PDF

fontin49.pdf (30.0 k)

pille's picture

Here's a sample of 9 pt text set in Photoshop. (Just to get a global idea...)

pille's picture

I'm also working on a bold version now. I'm looking for the weight the bold version should have to have enough contrast...

fontin_bld_reg.pdf (9.1 k)

hrant's picture

The bold is very strong - but that makes more sense the smaller the target size. I'd make it a bit less dark though, and maybe add a Heavy weight (that's slightly darker than this).

BTW, if you can get this design to work on a weight axis (and I see no reason to prevent that) you won't have to decide so early! :-)


pille's picture

I think that to make this work at 9 pt. I have to have enough contrast. I tried it with a lighter version and it didn't stand out enough (in my opinion). In this perspective a normal-bold-heavy (roughly) could look like this.

But that 'weight-axis-stuff' still seems atractive. Any url's where I can get more information about that?

hrant's picture

> I tried it with a lighter version

Did you try it on a laser printer? Their lower resolution reduces differences (compared to imagesetter output). But if the font is meant for lasers, then that's the best test, yes.

Interpolation: are you using FontLab? It's in the manual. But Fontographer can do it too. The main trick is to make sure the structure of the curves (number/type of points, curve direction) is identical between the two extremes.

Your "e"s: there seems to be a difference in behavior on the inside of the lower stroke. Also, I'd make the horizontal bar flare more, not less, the greater the weight.

Lastly: darker forms have to be taller to appear the same height.


fonthausen's picture

Dont interpolate with FontLab. Do it with Fontographer.

I dont trust FL when blending fonts. And it adds beziers and points where you dont want them.


hrant's picture

I thought they had fixed that, no? (Adam?)

But anyway one nice thing Fog can't do is extrapolate.


fonthausen's picture

I didnt want to sound harsh about FL. I like the programm a lot. Although sometimes it does things with the outlines which often mean more work. But that probably is fixed in FL 4.6. I have been trying to install the updater the last three weeks. I am therefore still working on FL 4.5.2.

It's funny, because I sometimes have some 'reflexes' in FL, as if I was drawing in Fontographer ;-) Shortcuts etc.


pille's picture

> Did you try it on a laser printer?
Yes (on a 600 dpi), and I think you're right again :-)
I printed them also on a 1440 dpi inkjet and the difference was really great, so I adapted the weight a little.

> Interpolation
I was confused with weight axis; I know interpolation.

> Lastly: darker forms have to be taller to appear the same height.
I know, figurering out the right amount...

fontin56.pdf (21.7 k)

hrant's picture

This is looking really sharp!

Some observations:
- I think the "g" needs a stronger ear - something that rises and thickens.
- I'd give the tail of the "q" a curl.
- I like the funky "s", but it's leaning left.
- The tail of the "y" is too flat inside.

The new Bold: I think you need a little bit more weight. :-/
BTW, I'd give the Bold's "g" a larger opening in the tail's gap (so maybe make the head smaller).


pille's picture

> The new Bold: I think you need a little bit more weight. :-/
LOL, I'm going to print the darn thing tomorrow and look very, very critical(y) at it. The difference between my earlier bold and this one is globaly about (in FontLab horizontaly) 5 em units.

Think you're right about all the observations...Don't know about the tail of the q. Help me out; where is that thing residing. My terminology sometimes isn't that good.

I myself am not sure if I should lower the thin stem hitting the stem on the m, n etc. (my terminology doesn't follow me

hrant's picture

> 5 em units.

That's all?! Well, maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.

> where is that thing residing.

You lost me there - what's the question exactly?

I wouldn't change the arch connections.


pille's picture

> That's all?! Well, maybe my memory is playing tricks on me.


> You lost me there - what's the question exactly?

I didn't knew what the tail (of the q) was....

I worked on an italic version and on the rest of the character set of the regular. Also on the rest of the lc of the bold version.

fontin67.pdf (47.1 k)

hrant's picture

lc: All good, except the "o" and "s" are too narrow.
UC: I like the classical widths. You might make the "L" slightly wider. My only "global" complaint is that the waist (like in "A" and "H") is a bit too high.
Numerals: those mild hybrids are super.
Accents: Nice nice! I'd give the ring stroke contrast though.
Other: The percent/mille is too "geo". The "@" sign is really nice. The BP is too big, no? The bar thickness in the "AE" has to be resolved. I'd close up the double-quotes.

The Italic looks charming, although the "k" (especially) and "f" seem distracting.

The Bold's spacing is too tight (still assuming your color and proportions imply smaller sizes).


pille's picture

I completed the character sets of the regular, italic and bold, with all the comments above in mind (thx hpp).

I spaced the lc's and the numerals globally.
Uc's still have to be done.

I'm going to start with the bold-italic soon and I'm thinking of making small-caps for every style.

Fontin87.pdf (69.4 k)

hrant's picture

-The "k" looks a bit wide.
-The bottom of the "x" seems too flat.
-I think your italic ampersand could use more flourish.
-The Yen is too dark.
-Your square brackets are too light compared to the parens and curlies.
-The Bar is too thin.
-Spacing is nice and loose for small sizes, but a bit uneven in places.
-In the Roman only, I think you need a slightly wider blank space.
-Can we see some all-caps samples?

Overall, almost there!


pille's picture

> The bottom of the "x" seems too flat.
Does that mean that the base should be wider?

> The Yen is too dark.
I noticed that too, just after I uploaded the PDF... *blush*

> Spacing is nice and loose for small sizes, but a bit uneven in places.
Still working on it...

I put some all-caps samples in the PDF and I worked on a (regular) small-caps version.

> Overall, almost there!
It's a long way to typorary... :-)

Fontin01.pdf (89.4 k)

hrant's picture

The "x": No, I meant that at least one of the bottom two terminals shouldn't be sheared horizontally flat.

I have to think about the all-caps settings...


pille's picture

I took some time looking at the all-caps settings and I found the image a bit wobbly. Here's a test with adapted serifs and stems.

Fontin_CAPS.pdf (17.6 k)

pille's picture

Adapted much serifs and glyphs and came up with an other name: Fluente (because of some 'fluent' shapes).

Fontin12.pdf (47.2 k)

-- Just got 'The elements of typographic style' by mail. I'm going to read myself to sleep tonight. :-) --

hrant's picture

I'm thinking that the italic "f" shouldn't have a descender. Like look at the italic "el": the way it just cuts off is a general distinguishing mark of this face, I think.


Jos Buivenga's picture

It's been a while... :-) Something went wrong with my pille-account. I could not login anymore, nor obtain a new password, so I created a new account.

Thanks (especially hrant) for all the comments. It helped me me very much to realize my final version of the 'Fontin'.

I've desided to make it free. A download link can be requested at my website:

macinchik's picture

Hi. Sorry if this is rude. I wanted to tell Jos how much I enjoyed working with Fontin in a recent web project:


Congratulations on creating such a beautiful typeface. And thanks for letting me use it!

Best wishes,

Jos Buivenga's picture

Hi Jennifer, it's not every day that a three year old topics come to life.

I'm please that Fontin (Sans in this case) worked out that well for you.
Thank you for the kind compliments.

Predabot's picture

Hej Joe, just thought I'd give you a compliment as well. :)

I really like the early version, extra friendly-looking font as well. I think a super-cool future project would be "Fontin Friendly", the extra kind version! :D

Is the font Open Source btw? If it is, then I think it would make for an outstanding addition to the League of Movable Type website.

It's just so darn fitting for that project.

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