New serif - 2 styles of g.

Nick Cooke's picture

This is something I've been playing around with for a few days. After my last script font Olicana was so well received I started thinking about a calligraphically influenced serif - something with plenty of movement. What are your thoughts of it so far? Maybe I'll do an infant 'a' to go with the alternate 'g' for a different stylistic variation.

Is it worth pursuing this? I have no idea if something like this exists already - does it? and is this different enough?

This is the Extra Black style, I've also done some Light glyphs. There will probably be 6 weights (if the response is fairly positive, otherwise I'll abandon it and come back to it when I've finished all my other half-finished projects).

Stephen Rapp's picture

I like it a lot. The serifs seem like an odd mixture at times, but I think both styles can plausibly work together. In the "p' the mixture seems nice. I like the more structured looking 2 story g best. Also I think the single story g and 2 story a have a more cartoony look that make them stand out too much. I would imagine a solution for the a is not so simple in the bold weight. Overall though, I think its a very rich looking font. Great work!


William Berkson's picture

Very nice hand-molded feel.

For me, some of the joins are a bit painfully thin. This is especially true for the bowl of the a. Compare the join of the top of the p and of the r. To me the r is good and the p too thin.

Also given the rounded tops of the head serifs, it would seem to call for cupped foot serifs.

But overall the curves are very sweet, and this would be a very warm and attractive display face.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks for the comments so far. I'll match the thickness of the 'r' thin stroke in the other characters William.

The serifs are cupped - they just don't show up at this size very well. There are many details that one can't see at this size, but can be seen on the new larger pic of an 'n'.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Nick this is really nice. I could absolutely see this in use. To drive yourself even more crazy you could think about how optical sizing might change the shapes. And you could always use stylistic sets or alternates to include both a and g alternate glyphs.

Quincunx's picture

I think the double story g works best in your example. Although I could imagine a single story could work very well too, but your current incarnation might be a bit too 'freeform', so to speak. But I think you should definitely do both g's.

ebensorkin's picture

I think both kinds of g might work equally well although the double story is more what I would expect to see with serifs and modeling of the kind you have. That doesn't mean you have to cater though.

I wonder if a big more weight to the ear would be good, maybe a higher arc on top - but that is partly an optical size question.

This design has the funk. ( a compliment )

Rez Oo's picture

Thats very nice Nick... I see elements of Acanthus within it... Especially Acanthus Extra Black Italic, which has the same 'calligraphic lines' which is what has influenced your ideas... It'll be nice to see the progression.

Best Wishes.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks for the feedback so far. OK, so now I've done a few more characters - and you can see it in 6 weights.

I'm concentrating on the one 'g' at the moment, but will include the other as an extra alternate glyph.

I've thickened the thin strokes, made the ear of the 'g' a bit more beefy and shortened the crossbar on the 't' to lessen the space between it and the following character. I also shortened the serifs on the 'y' for the same reason, but that isn't shown here.

Miss Tiffany's picture

I really like the irregular quality of it. The 'g' looks good. I think the underbelly curve at the top of the 'f' is a little soft in the lighter weights.

William Berkson's picture

I hesitate to mention this, as maybe it's the look you want, but you might try rounding the tops of the foot serifs to match the pattern of the head serifs.

The lightest weights are to me less successful than the heaviest. I don't know why--maybe higher contrast would help? Or maybe narrowing them a bit?

Randy's picture

That g needs to be more kinky!

The horizontal stroke of the tail in the boldest weight has the flavor, but the lights are too regular. In general I think the light weights need more faceting in the round letters (o, e, g etc) to match the other letters (m,n,h,b,d,p...). I don't think contrast is the issue as William suggests. Get kinky with it!

haildesign's picture

Hi Nick,
Great work, its looking really nice. I especially like the e, c and o. They have a really nice feeling cut. I also like the double story g, the y, the r and the f - although I find the g to be a little upright. I love the hard angled internal serif on the s - but maybe it needs to be accentuated further. Not a big fan of the serif on the top of the s.

To me the glyphs I've listed above seem to fit into a more harder chiseled face, which seems a little bit at odds with the other softer more hand-drawn characteristics. EG, the ear on the g, the underside of the e, the hard internal bowl of the o all work together, but don't really fit with the more fluid calligraphic style of the h, m, n, b, t, i, v. BTW, I love the variation in weights - its nice to see the skeleton underneath still holds up at light weights.

AGL's picture

"It is looking so nice". It also works awesomely with Olicana :-)

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks everybody.

I've been refining away for the past few days, and now I've done the complete lower case. I decided that the light weight was a bit too anorexic to get any decent bumps so I fattened it up. The heaviest weight is also a fair bit heavier, and looking pretty damn chunky!

This has been quite a learning process - there's a very fine line between good-looking curves with a few bumps and a bumpy mess. Some characters are more angular than the previous examples - c, e g (slightly) and s, and others have been made more substantial - a, the ear on the g (BTW - I like the top of the s, so I'll leave it). William - try rounding the tops of the foot serifs to match the pattern of the head serifs - What? like Cheltenham you mean? I'm not keen on that idea - I like the contrast between the top and bottom serifs.

I'm pretty pleased with it so far - it has plenty of character but can be taken seriously, without straying into the 'cartoony' look.

Any glaring errors I've missed?

Thanks in advance.

Nick Cooke

Quincunx's picture

Somehow this double story g seems to stand out a bit. At least to me. I guess because it has less angles than some/most of the other characters.
And is it me, or does it lean to the left a little bit? (especially in the lighter weight in the last image).

Apart from that, I think you're right; it does have alot of character, without getting cartoony.

ebensorkin's picture

I think what's going on is the g is the most typical/normal of the glyphs. So it stands out. It doesn't have the same degree of kink in it. The double thinness of the a catches my a bit too much in the heavy weights too. The q is similar. What if the crossbar of the f was a little higher on the right? This is evolving really nicely.

Quincunx's picture

> I think what’s going on is the g is the most typical/normal of the glyphs. So it stands out.

Yes, exactly; that's what I meant as well.

Nick Cooke's picture

I can't see it myself. What about other 'normal' characters - f, i, j, k. l, r, v, w, x, y and z?

You have to look at how well the overall design works - not just focus on one letter. But I may have a look at making the top bowl more squarish like a squashed o.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Maybe people are tripping over the single glyphs because they aren't seen it in a paragraph.

Bendy's picture

i like the feel of this a lot, especially with the asymmetry.
the lowercase u looks too wide, and i wonder if the top left serif should be the same as the top serif on the n (beaky shape).
it's really nice :)

Nick Cooke's picture

Maybe these new g's are better?

The new ones are on the right.

I like the u as it is - it's not too wide, and the top serifs are OK - they fit in with k, v, w, x and y and add to the overall rhythm.

Nick Cooke

Miss Tiffany's picture

I don't understand what was wrong with the old 'g'. What am I not seeing?

Nick this is really wonderful. The more I see it the more I like it.

Nick Cooke's picture

Neither do I Tiff, but what the hell? I like the new one as well. Thanks.

eliason's picture

I think the (apparent) symmetrical regularity of the outside contour of the upper bowl of the g could be the culprit in making it look like it didn't belong.

Quincunx's picture

I think the new g has improved. Although I didn't think the other one was wrong per se. But the less smooth oval fits better with the rest of the face, I think.

Katharina's picture

Looking forward to the release!

Nick Cooke's picture

Don't hold your breath Katharina!

Nick Cooke

ebensorkin's picture

These new g shapes will probably fit in with their family better because these have more of the funky stress' of the other letters. What Jelmar is saying about being less smooth is exactly right I think. It is hard to really know without seeing them set en masse but I think this seem promising indeed.

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks for the comments so far.

Now I've done the caps, I've tried to inject as much character into them as possible - I think they work pretty well with the lower case.

malcolm's picture

Hi Nick

Very nice design, I bet you could be even harder on the shape of the lc g, it still looks 'a tad' soft compared to the other letters.

Are you looking at this as a text design for use below 14pt? Some years ago I remember doing some work on a font with a similar shape lc u (flat top serifs) and it made some word shapes look a bit awkward in small sizes. I'll try and find some more detail of what it was.

William Berkson's picture

Lovely matching caps.

To me the V and W feel too wide in relation to the rest of the caps, though.

Nick Cooke's picture

I've narrowed the V and W - I had also thought they were too wide.

Now the heaviest weight is UltraBlack. I've also altered the lower case s and u. There's almost a touch of Blackletter about this typeface, although it's not too Teutonic looking. Besides I think I'm too late to jump on that Blackletter bandwagon, it has already driven past.

Nick Cooke

eliason's picture

I love this face. To me, the arm of the k looks a bit fragile, and the bowl counter of the a in the latest weight is too pinched.

jt_the_ninja's picture

Wow, really much? I feel like using it to help me compose some poetry...


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