Cursive-flavor sans

eliason's picture

Here's the present condition of my first font. I've been blogging about it on Typophile but I thought I'd do a post here in the critique forum and specifically invite feedback.

(pdfs attached below)

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

AttachmentSize
loopysample.pdf13.6 KB
loopysample2.pdf18.35 KB
loopysample3.pdf33.64 KB
loopysample4.pdf111.13 KB
loopysample5.pdf57.98 KB
loopysample6.pdf63.89 KB
loopysample7.pdf60.38 KB
loopysample8.pdf122.29 KB
loopysample9.pdf119.3 KB
loopysample10.pdf118.61 KB
italpdf.pdf19.55 KB
loopysample11.pdf239.32 KB
loopysample12.pdf270.42 KB
uprightedsample.pdf50.73 KB
nina's picture

Oh, that text. Yeah, I haven't been dealing with it in anything but (lowercased) English yet :-)

I can't be of much help with the "æ" I'm afraid (don't we have any Danes around?), though I'm thinking that on a broader scale, this decision may come down to
how closely you want to adhere to a hand-written (hand-writeable) model, which would probably favor the continuous stroke; though you already seem to be subtly departing from that in places in search of a more refined type æsthetic (couldn't resist that one!), like in the terminals and, not least, probably the shape of the
lc "a" itself.

eliason's picture


1 is the first continuous crossbar version.
2 is the first discontinuous version.
3 is 2 with the e crossbar raised to avoid the near miss.
4 is a new tweaked update of 3.

eliason's picture

Oops, that should say "4 is a new tweaked update of 1."

eliason's picture

And while I'm soliciting advice...

Above is (1) the original u and y and (2) a revised version with the round hitting the stem lower. It looks more normal but does it lose something in the process? Below smaller.

speter's picture

For the æ, I prefer 4. For the u and y, I like the second variant, because it gives a more-open, and in my opinion better, counter.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the input Steve. I think I'd side the same way on both questions. I've updated the pdf with these and other tweaks (loopysample7.pdf).

eliason's picture

I've posted the latest at the top (loopysample8.pdf), which includes small caps, some additional ligatures, and other refinements. As always I welcome all feedback.

Bendy's picture

To me, the y looks better with the higher join, perhaps because of the tail already giving weight below, whilst the u looks better with the low join...but do you want them to be identical or just harmonise? Also, do you want to change the h, m, n joins to match?

Regarding the æ, I prefer 4 but it's not a character I am terribly familiar with. What we need is a Dane, Norwegian or Icelander! I don't have any cursive examples.

I think your quotes/comma could descend a bit longer and be less angled.

The £ could have a lower crossbar and possibly a non-vertical stem (tilt it to the right?)

eliason's picture

Thanks for the good insights, Bendy.

Below see the changes I made. The one marked "new" has:
- the higher join of the y but lower of the u. You're right that they don't have to match, and that y's tail in fact encourages different treatments. The high join may yet be too high; I may look for a compromise between these y's. As for the h/m/n, no, I don't wanna change them! I think that way up the branching works better.
- longer quotes and commas
- a much more felicitous pound sign - thanks for calling that out for me.

Bendy's picture

Felicitous! Indeed! Looking good :)

You've thinned the join on the y and that looks good, though you could be right about bringing the join down a bit. Think the u join needs a bit of thinning too?

The square brackets might look a bit light?

I wonder if the form of the o could be a bit stronger, as in making the beziers more superelliptical (just a bit though)

eliason's picture

You’ve thinned the join on the y and that looks good, though you could be right about bringing the join down a bit. Think the u join needs a bit of thinning too?

I'll look at that u.

The square brackets might look a bit light?

Originally I had all brackets (square, parentheses, curly) about the same stroke width as the letters. I recently lightened them but maybe that was a mistake.

I wonder if the form of the o could be a bit stronger, as in making the beziers more superelliptical (just a bit though)

Can you clarify "superelliptical"? Do you mean more square? (Diagrams on the Wikipedia page show both diamond- and square-like shapes).

Bendy's picture

Sorry, this is the kind of shape I'm imagining. Yours won't need to be this pronounced:


The grey shape is an ellipse; the control points on the contour pull it further than an ellipse.

I never heard of a squircle before!

eliason's picture

(2) shows the new, more squircular 'o', plus similar adjustments to the 'e'.

Bendy's picture

That's exactly what I meant :)

Do you prefer 1 or 2?

I'm not sure the e needs the same treatment, as the top version is a very pleasant shape.

Marcelo Soler's picture

Craig,
I like the version 2 the most, e included.
I think the whole idea is very pleasant, and need just some minor-little adjustments, matter of time.
I don't know why (to my eyes) it looks nicest when renderd as a piece of text than considered character by character in detail.
Good!

MarS

nina's picture

I'm a few posts late, but just wanted to say that pound sign looks great. And I must say I love the quotes, too. Really nice work.
I tend to agree with Marcelo about the "o" and "e".

speter's picture

Just to throw a monkeywrench into the works, I like the superelliptical o, but the original e. I think the difference gives text more vibrancy.

cschroeppel's picture

As for the ae ligature, i'd suggest to stick with version #2. It shouldn't be symmetrical, or nearly symmetrical, and it's not a new letter, so the a and the e should keep as much of their original characteristics as possible.

eliason's picture

Removed the base serif from the proportional ones; changed the curve on the two; most dramatically changed the base of 2 and z to a tilde-like curve. Too much?

(Also in this shot: an e that splits the difference between the original and the superelliptical revision above.)

Bendy's picture

I like the changes. You've made the 'hat' of the 1 shorter too. The 2 is much improved too.
I'm wondering if the curves on the 2 and z are a bit strong; the base of the £ has a perfect amount of curviness. My concern is that such a pronounced curve is too detailed/delicate for a font based on quick pen strokes, which is why the straighter section in the middle of the 2 works better than the previous version, to my eye.
I'm a fan of the narrow z, so this seems perhaps too wide, but I think that's a personal preference.
Can you post a pic of the three versions of e big enough to see the detail? I'd consider keeping the original e, and agree with the 'monkeywrench' comment above...in handwriting we tend to draw e and o in different ways, with different start points, so although they're both basically ellipses, I don't feel they need to match...

I'm enjoying this font.

eliason's picture

I think you're right about the curves being too dramatic - in fact I had tried to iron them out but was struggling to make it look nice. It's a great idea to go to the base of £ for inspiration, as I was happy with the way that turned out. I'll try that.

Here's the 'e's:

Left: original
Center: change I made when making the 'o' more superelliptical
Right: compromise between the previous two

Bendy's picture

I think I like the right hand one after all :)

speter's picture

I agree that the right e is the right e. :-)

And I like the changes to the numerals and z.

eliason's picture

Some 2s and zs:
Left: ugly original
Middle: base built on tilde shape
Right: base built on pound shape

Bendy's picture

I think the pound base works really well on both the 2 and the z. Is it worth trying the 2 with an interpolated diagonal stroke, between the curvy and straight versions?

eliason's picture

Like this?
Left: ugly original
Right: revised, with straighter diagonal
Center: diagonal part is split between the two

Is the right '2' a little too sloppy and quick for this font? I do think that its more acute approach works better with the base.

speter's picture

The top of the right 2 is cramped. I think the curves of the middle one work best.

eliason's picture

Okay, here's one more option.

Left is the cramped-top 2.
Center is the 2 that interpolated between the cramped-top and the original 2.
Right is a new 2 that opens the top curve while retaining more of an acute diagonal at the bottom.

Same twos smaller:

speter's picture

The right one wins, but the center isn't bad, especially at smaller sizes.

Bendy's picture

Right one gets my vote too. I agree with your reasoning for it, and it looks good.

I find 2 one of the hardest shapes to get right. All that space, with a curve that kind of looks like a line too, then figuring out what angle the heavy stroke falls. :/

Just looked back at the pdf. I think 4 would benefit from a rework as well. The crossbar is quite high and the counter looks small. What if the diagonal stroke was convex instead?

nina's picture

O, nice. I like the center one (just to complicate matters ;-) ), but the right one looks good too (a tad more top-heavy maybe? The center one looks a bit more balanced to me – then again, I'm still very far away from making numerals, you know).

Does that bottom look a bit thin though, next to the "3", or is the "3" a bit heavy? I'm basing this on the smaller sample you posted so it might just be some sort of rasterization problem.

eliason's picture

While I'm on figures, any opinions on these nines?

nina's picture

The bottom one reads as a raised "q" to me. ;-)
Seriously: I do nines like this in handwriting, but I personally think it looks odd in a (your) font, where I'd expect a stronger connection to the "6".

Need…to…sign…off…and…work… argh.

eliason's picture

Why oh why didn't I perfect these figures before I generated tabular versions, and lining versions, and tabular lining versions, and small caps versions, and superior versions, and fractions... X-P

@altaira: you're right, fixing the weight on that 3 is on my list. And speaking of boneheaded me, I just spent half an hour fussing with a 'd' to get it to look like a '9', without even thinking of the 'q' which is already there!

@Bendy: I'm finding all the figures really tough, and '2' is among the toughest. I'm glad to feel like I'm making progress on this. I'll look at '4' again.

I can't thank you guys enough for your eyes and opinions on this!

FontLab just crashed so I think that's a sign to get back to my other work.

Bendy's picture

>FontLab just crashed so I think that’s a sign to get back to my other work.

Oh, that's not fun...

>While I’m on figures, any opinions on these nines?

I do like the playful unsophisticated straight-back 9 and it does fit the handwriting premise of this font. However, my feeling is that it's a bit clumsy. I think a font can afford to have more harmony than handwriting and look more deliberate and settled. Stick with the curvy one.

You could include the q/d style one as an alternate?

eliason's picture

A couple of 4s (left is as before):

nina's picture

Ooh, the second one is sexy.
Might be a case in point for the "2" with the more curved diagonal too (the one you had in the center, above)? Or not?

Bendy's picture

Hmmm, I think Nina could be right. I love that new 4!

bemerx25's picture

I like that curve in the new 4 as well! Very nice!

eliason's picture

Wow, I wasn't sure that four was headed in the right direction, but sounds like consensus likes it!

A month ago Nina suggested removing the spur from G. I've gone back to that idea and welcome input:

(Side note: added a leetle more curve in the diagonal of the 2 shown here.)

speter's picture

I personally like the spur on the G, and feel it contributes to the cursive flavor. The G without the spur is beautiful, but it seems more abstracted to me, and less hand-written. (I don't see how I could slow my pen down to make such a precise turn, and if I could, then why the overdraws on the lower-case letters.)

One thing that does catch my eye, however, is the transition from the lower curve to the spine of the S. It looks somehow off. Maybe if the spine were a slight tiny teeny leetle bit more horizontal (by raising the right end), it might look better.

eliason's picture

Makes sense.

Good spot on the S curves. I've fiddled and I think this (2) is much improved. Do I need to raise the lower end of the S or is it okay where it is? I also smoothed out the curves of s. Does it look too 'wound up'?

Bendy's picture

I agree the spurless G is too precise for this font. The new S is really attractive. But I think some of these adjustments are starting to move away from the handwriting premise and making the script more formal and refined, more careful and slower writing rather than quick style which gave rise to the overlapping loops. I think you may need to make a choice. You have to trade off individual letters looking super with the whole harmony between the characters looking super. Hope I'm being helpful and not annoying :)

nina's picture

"The G without the spur is beautiful, but it seems more abstracted to me, and less hand-written."
Actually seeing this "in action" I have to agree. :-/ Sorry bout that!

SebastianWolf's picture

This font's really attractive, I love it.

I've noticed that the characters with ascenders and descenders can look slightly darker than other characters. This is more noticeable at small sizes, and could even just be due to antialiasing rules.
A good example would be an 'i' next to a 'g'.

Bendy's picture

It's only when you see things 'in action' that you can really tell whether they work or not.
Craig, do you think the new 4 fits better with the other numerals? I think the counterspace is much more in tune with the letterspacing.
Do you think 7 might be a bit wide?
Can you post a new pdf? I wonder whether some characters might be still a few units too wide (a.alt, c, g, s and v)?

eliason's picture

@SebastianWolf: thanks for the compliment and feedback. I'll look at those weights of ascenders and descenders.

@Bendy: This is all good advice. I do think the 4 is a better fit and I'm happy with it; I just never dreamed anyone would consider it sexy or loveable!

I've posted another pdf (loopysample9.pdf) in the first post with some of these recent changes that are going to stick. Also, here's what those glyphs you mentioned might be wide would look like a little thinner (on the right in each pair). This is just quick and dirty narrowing to help determine need. (These changes are not reflected in the pdf.)

eliason's picture

My own opinions:
Narrowing improves the 7, v, a, and g (Though I might have narrowed too much with the 7).
I'm not as certain on c and s.

Bendy's picture

Yup, I'd say the same. S is definitely nice wider, unless the spine can go a little steeper. Perhaps you could try a halfway c (between wider and narrower)?

speter's picture

I think the wider c is better, as is the s, but the others are nicer narrow. The 7 isn't too narrow in my opinion.

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