Frogs Titling

addison's picture

Earlier this year, I picked up a book in New Orleans containing two Greek plays: The Frogs and The Birds. The former is set Fleischmann with a great all caps display type. The following is based on (not exactly) those letters.

Frogs sample

I am looking to create a titling font with the fine lines of Bodoni or Didot, but more Baroque in flavor. I suppose the actual types could be a display version of Fleischmann. I'll post the printed sample when I get a chance.

Thanks,
Addison

hrant's picture

Very pretty! But do note that this is much more sedate than what F'man actually made.

hhp

addison's picture

Yeah, it looks more like something from Caslon maybe. A big difference in the book's font is that the serifs are flat, as well as the tops and bottoms of the "flat" glyphs (T, E, F). I chose to make them slightly concave.

Here's the title page from the book:

title page

degregorio2's picture

Muy bonita fuente, me recuerda mucho a la tiffany, ya que tienen una lectura muy similar.

Creo eso si que debes fijarte un poco en las proporciones de los caracteres problem

addison's picture

Thanks, Juan. If I understand correctly, you're saying the proportions of the L, T, V, A, W, etc. need more air?

(Sorry, the Google translator didn't help much)

eomine's picture

I guess Juan actually means the opposite.
And I agree with him. 'T', for example, could be slightly narrower.
OTOH, 'H' is narrow, and its middle could be lower.
Anyway, it looks nice (although it reminds me of some 70s/ITC things too).

addison's picture

Thank you, Eduardo (y gracias, Juan). I'll see about correcting that.

Does anyone know if the sample I posted is a display version of Fleischmann? Hrant, do you know where I can get a look at a sample?

degregorio2's picture

mmmmh

let me show you with an example.

The red colors show a big counter (troubles) and the yellow color, show a little counter (normal).

The orange counters show the differents steps you can found in the "interletra".counters

hrant's picture

Addison, I'd have to check the Enschede specimen book I'm hoarding from the UCLA library (the stratospheric 1908 edition) if this is really based on something F'man did (it sort of feels like Rosart too, although much more refined). Please remind me on Monday.

BTW, this is feeling more and more like Carter's Victoria&Albert font, a revival of which is now used by the LA Times for the section heads.

About the widths: an all-caps font can have more ample widths for "lopsided" letters (like the "T"), because it's supposed to be spaced out a lot anyway.

hhp

hrant's picture

The V&A font: could somebody put up a scan of it from Margaret Re's Carter retrospective? I don't have it.

hhp

eomine's picture

Good point about the caps spacing, Hrant.
The uneven color in 'Courage', for example, can be solved by adjusting the sidebearings (and maybe using some kerning).

What about making it lighter?

addison's picture

Nice illustration, Juan, I understand what you mean. I guess I'm still developing that sense of balance between the letterforms and the spaces between the letterforms. I don't use measurements all that much, perhaps I should...

Hrant, I've made a note to remind you about the Fleischmann specimen. I can't believe you can get an Enschede specimen from a library--the bookstores here (Mississippi) don't know what a type specimen is... but we have the blues. Anyway...

I need to get that Carter book, I'd like to see the V&A font as well.

Eduardo, the spacing was done in the layout (actually slapped together) so it doesn't really reflect the sidebearings. The sidebearings really haven't been set yet--I still haven't finished all the letters. So maybe the spacing would solve the problem (or help)?

Thanks,
Addison

eomine's picture

carter - victoria & albert titling

"Above is a reproduction of the original artwork for Victoria & Albert Titling (1979) commissioned by Derek Birdsall for a series of museum guides for the Victoria & Albert Museum."
(from Margaret Re, "Typographically Speaking - The Art of Matthew Carter", page 38)

hrant's picture

Hmmm. No match.
OK, now I'll have to unfurl the Enschede... Monday can wait - I'll do it now.

hhp

cjg's picture

Addison, I really like the slight concavity to the serifs. I thought it was an optical illusion initially, the subtle motion is really quite nice.

It'd be awesome if you included ornaments done in woodcut style to match the facing page of that play.

hrant's picture

OK, I checked: I'd be suprised if it's not a Rosart.

(BTW, Eduardo: I forgot to say thanks.)

hhp

addison's picture

Double thanks, Eduardo. Carter's had his hands on more stuff than I realized.

I had assumed the sample was Fleischmann--at least a display version because it doesn't match DTL's. I'm not familiar with Rosart... should I post a sample in the ID section?

Chase, ornaments would be cool. I may give it a try.

hrant's picture

> should I post a sample in the ID section?

Sure, although chances are slim you'll find a Rosart expert there (or anywhere, in public).
Do you really want/need to know exactly what metal font what you show is based on?

hhp

addison's picture

Nah, I don't really need to know, but because you think it may Rosart, I'm interested in knowing more. So...

Rosart sample

I found this in "Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering" attributed to Jacques Francois Rosart. The forms are similar to the ones from my "Frog" book, so you may be right. I want to find out more about him.

I'm getting off track with this, so I apologize. The source I'm using is mainly an inspiration--I wanted an exercise in something more refined than my last effort (which I'm still working on), but I think I need to work on the uniqueness. I'll post a slightly revised sample soon.

Thanks,
Addison

hrant's picture

That must be from the Enschede book (although probably the -almost as good- 1978 edition, which is much more common). This will have to wait until Monday though...

hhp

addison's picture

Thanks for those scans, Tiffany. It turns out that DTL is working on a digital Rosart.

When you think of display as narrow, are you thinking of the display version of a text font?

hrant's picture

Display can be thought of as narrow because there's generally more of an incentive to reduce linebreaks than in text.

hhp

cgibbons's picture

{This is a repost; sorry to repeat if repeating}

Tiffany's sample is a Rosart. Take a look at pages 7-16 of the 1806 Enschede specimen. Van Krimpen was probably using the Dubbelde Text Capitalen size -- hard to say from the scan. It popped up on a few dust jackets in the last decade [three vols of Dostoyevsky from Knopf, Sabato's "Angel of Darkness" [Viking?]]. Probably cut-and-paste there.

Yup. Working on my own version too.

<cg>

addison's picture

I'll be brave here and voice my opinion. (Gulp!) In this case, I like the broad letters--they have a bold, stately appearance that you couldn't knock over if you tried. In fact, that may have been one of the initial elements that appealed to me. Their forms and thick/thin relationships make them elegant. (I'm talking about the letters from the book, not mine.)

In fact, I don't see this type being used for setting sentences or paragraphs. Titling may not be the right word, but I had assumed its purpose was for setting titles, two or three words and such.

cjg's picture

Addison, I concur on the stately appearance the face has, especially that it's enhanced by the width of the seifs and the letters as a whole. Wide letters enable you to use looser tracking for heightened drama without looking too late-90s.

You could always do a supplementary condensed titling face if you felt the need for one.

jfp's picture

To be more complete, my classe did a Rosart couple years ago, in four optical sizes. Note the smaller caps sizes in the Rosart 1. Indeed the Rosart 2 and 3 are interpolated but in fact follow quite precisely the original sizes cut at the time, who confirm Summer Stone assertion when they have done ITC Bodoni in similar way.

http://perso.ensad.fr/%7eensadtypo/fontes.html#rosart

addison's picture

Tiffany, I definitely would use this AS BIG AS I COULD GET IT (I may just need more room). Sorry to be wimpy, but I don't have the background some of you do. I've never even heard of Rosart. It's just a little intimidation and I'll get over it. You guys are great.

Chase, thanks for the thumbs-up.

Jean, I wish I lived in France so I could take your class.

-Addison

hrant's picture

JF: pretty nice.
Question: how do you get multiple designers to work on one font? Collaborative type design has always seemed tricky - do you separate the tasks, or the glyphs, or what?

Addison: If you're worried about duplicating the work of JF's students (although it doesn't seem finished - not that that should have been the point of the class), you might consider making your version more idiosyncratic (either by replicating the funkiness in the original Rosart fonts or maybe even by putting in your own). Another option though would be to make a "clean" font but inspired by Rosart, instead of a revival.

hhp

pablohoney77's picture

narrower is more elegant

in what context? i find myself strangely attracted to wider letterforms for more display-type work. maybe i'm just an anomaly tho.

hrant's picture

> i find myself strangely attracted to wider letterforms

Well, maybe you in fact prefer friendliness over elegance?

hhp

pablohoney77's picture

LOL! interesting! i hadn't thought of it quite that way.
Hrant you should have a side stint in type psychology. Seems we've had a couple conversations concerning these types of topics (ie the gender thread). How many folks do you think are in need of such services? (sorry didn't mean to hijack the thread, don't mind me)

hrant's picture

Font Freudology. How many people really need it? Probably the same number as those who really need more fonts. Like maybe 5.

hhp

kentlew's picture

RE: Tiffany's scans above --

The first is from DBU (plate 214 in Vol. II). The second is a reproduction of the first: Griffith made photographic enlargements of several letters for Dwiggins (circa May 1943). You can't tell too well in the posted scan, but the faint circling of certain letters indicates Dwiggins's best guess at which particular instances Griffith enlarged for him. (Incidentally, this type was just Rosart's caption for the real subject of DBU's plate: Rosart's scripty caract

kentlew's picture

Addison, your inspiration does have a lot in common with some of Rosart's larger titling [all caps] fonts. Here is a sample from the 1993 facsimile of the Ensched

hrant's picture

I think elegance and stateliness are somewhat close, and both are better evoked with narrowness. Width can evoke confidence though, so maybe that's its relation to stateliness.

hhp

kentlew's picture

Oh no; don't ignore Tiffany. She often has good observations. Instead, take it all in . . . and do your own thang!

-- K.

jfp's picture

To answer to Hrant and Addison questions, I posted here more detailed answer, as seems bit of topic on this thread. Feel free to answer there directly or to open a new thread on typophile.

William Berkson's picture

About the width of capitals, I believe that for a titling face there is often more variation in width than in caps made with an eye to lower case. Personally, I think it is more elegant to have not uniformity in wide or narrow, but the variation, such as in Forum caps or Zapf's Michelangelo titling face.

I suspect that small caps may often work better for titling because they are designed and spaced for all caps setting, as opposed to regular caps, which are done with an eye to the harmony with the lower case. I am just guessing, and I'd be interested in hearing from those knowledgeable about this.

Jonathan Hoefler discusses the tension between the two goals for caps in an interesting interview at daidala.com.

addison's picture

I NEVER ignore anything any of you have to say--that's mainly how I'm learning--and I greatly appreciate everyone's input. Thanks for taking an interest. Kent, thanks for that page scan, it's awesome! It should help out a lot.

I'm working on posting a new sample...

jfp's picture

William, your first paragraph is very true and agree with it. Caps designed alone ar not spaced same way. Proportions are generally different too.

But, as Small Caps designs are generally bolder, less contrasted in booth width proportion and weight, I'm not sure to agree with your supposition?

Just compare caps and Sc from my Sabon Next to see what i mean
http://www.linotype.com/53159/sabonnext-family.html

hrant's picture

JF, thanks once more. Your method seems pretty optimal.

> I think it is more elegant to have not uniformity

It's also better for reading.

The one interesting thing I've discovered about caps is that you have to let them be their own alphabet (for better or worse): you simply can't make them harmonize with the lc too much (unless it's a funky font). This is an anti-Modernism realization.

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Thanks, JFP, for your correction and clarification. I have been using Minion SC for subtitles in a project I am working on, and found it worked better than the caps, but that is not actually a title, and there probably the smoothness of the small caps setting helps. I will look at this and check where I am using caps vs small caps with a better awarenes of the difference.

But I guess for Addison, who wants to work on an all-caps titling face the point holds: he would best be guided by looking at other titling faces, or compare those faces which have both regular and titling caps.

hrant's picture

BTW, Addison, if you're feeling brave you might make ligated caps (like in Mantinia). And if you want linguistics as a guide, here are the most frequent pairs and doubles in English:

pairs.gif
hhp

cjg's picture

Uppercase discretionary ligatures are very classy, and come in quite handy on occasion.

Hrant, that list contains the most frequently occurring pairs in printed English, right? Not spoken & printed

hrant's picture

Yes, written English.
The main difference between written and spoken English is "you", which occurs much more in the latter. So Addison, if you think your all-caps font might be used for setting a lot of yelling dialogue, adding "YO" to that list might be useful. ;-)

BTW, I also have a list of trigraphs.

hhp

addison's picture

That's a lot of ligatures. If this turns into something I'm really proud of, I may give that a shot. I thought about making an engraved version, kind of like the sample I posted earlier.

addison's picture

Yo, yo, post them trigraphs if you get a chance.

hrant's picture

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."
You guys will be my financial ruin.

Addison, it's many pages, so I need time to sort, encode, etc. But I'll have to get it ready for my talk in Greece at the end of June anyway ("Designers of the World, Ligate!"), so maybe by the end of this month.

hhp

addison's picture

Hrant, don't sweat it if it's lots of trouble--seriously. Turns out we (my office) have a copy of the Typographic Journal with that list of frequent pairs. I'll have to read that article.

hrant's picture

Wow, it's great you have that.
But unless it's another article than the one I have (by Scorsone) it won't have trigraphs. The article does have a reference to my source for trigaphs though: "Secret and Urgent" by Pratt, 1939. It's funny that the best linguistic source for type designers comes from war (via cryptography). There's also another source for trigraphs (and higher), but that's a huge unsorted list that would be pretty painful to distill.

hhp

addison's picture

All 26 letters (capitals) are complete now, but the spacing is still pretty bad. I'm revisiting Briem's site and Letters of Credit to take care of this, but meanwhile here's a PDF of what I've got so far. Let me know what you think.


application/pdfSpecimen
Frogs Specimen.pdf (12.3 k)



Thanks,
Addison

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