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

"I’ve raised it to match the tittles"
That's not absolutely necessary. I agree the umlauts were a bit low before, but they're not required to be on the same height as the tittle, in fact they're often a bit lower (since they're usually a bit lighter too, which yours are as well). I'd move yours down a tiny hair if I was you.
FWIW: http://www.altaira.de/posted/tittles_umlauts.pdf

The new ß is cool and looks quite handwritten! I'd make it a little narrower though. Also, this might just be the antialiasing, but the curve in the top-left (where it bends right after the doubled stem) looks like it could use some smoothening.

eliason's picture

If anyone is still dropping by this thread (which has gone cold as I shake in fright at the though of figuring out kerning punctuation and hinting):

If you had this font, what would you most want to accompany it:
a) an italic (sloped, with even more "cursivity")
b) a straightforward bold
c) a bold that introduced more contrast (much earlier experiment along those lines is here.
d) a thin

Which of these would you find most useful (or, more bluntly put, which would make you more likely to purchase an Emi set)?

(p.s. please notice there is no "e) all of the above" option...)

nina's picture

Good to hear from you and Emi!

Hmm, I think I'd probably like a bold, but I'd prefer the contrast-less type.
Might just be me though.

I wonder if there could be a sort of accompaniment that is more scripty (maybe connected? narrower?), but not necessarily slanted. Maybe in terms of having a mini-family ranging from more "handwritten" to more "type-like"? Dunno, just an idea.

Or, how bout a Display cut? (Maybe a thin one? Or a fat one?)

Bendy's picture

Ooh, I don't know. That contrasty bold does have a nice flavour, but admittedly it is quite different. I'd be very interested to see the straightforward bold and I think it would be more useful than a thin for example.

In your example it's interesting how some letters look already quite nice without too much extra work (like the abu and g) but others (like the refo and s) seem to need much more careful boldening.

It would be also really interesting to see an italic. What about making a couple of mock-ups, for the italic and bold, just your hamburgefontsiv glyphs so we can see which is more interesting?

speter's picture

Oh, I'd take option e), but one that combined a), b), and d). :-) If forced to prioritize, I'd go with the order you've given above, namely the italic first, then a bold, then a thin.

wierdw123's picture

I would go with option A. It would be great to see a somewhat-cursive relative to this font.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the input, all. Some good ideas. I'll try to post some sample alternatives soon.

eliason's picture


Here's a first go at italics and bolds. Is this the right character for an accompanying italic?

speter's picture

I like it. For the italic, the t needs to have a curved bottom, and the s feels somehow stilted, but I like the way it's going.

nina's picture

Oh, I thought I commented already! Sorry.
I like it too! Really nice work. The italic looks wildly curly up close, but seems to have a really nice feel and flow in text.
The bold would be nice to have too, but I must say I'm more excited about the italic, FWIW.

Bendy's picture

I am also surprisingly excited about the italic :)
I think a descending f might work well?
Agree s needs work where the curves join the stem.
I do like the bold too. But go with the italic first.

eliason's picture

Thanks for checking in guys! :)
I'll keep going with it. Ideas about both 't' and 'f' occurred to me as soon as I posted the sample! I'll see what I can do.

eliason's picture


lowercase italic sketched.

Bendy's picture

Nice. I actually think it looks great small. I wonder if c and r are a bit wide, but hesitate before seeing a pdf.

nina's picture

I agree it seems lovely. I'm really liking this.

One thing I'm wondering about is the angle of the leg of the "k"; I wonder if it would "flow" more if it were steeper, and perhaps with more of a curve at the foot? Not sure.
The curve on the bottom of the "f" seems a bit lumpy (and the "j" too actually), but that may just be the GIF.
Oh, and I love the tittles!

Looking forward to a PDF.

BTW, what happened to the poor animal? ;)

eliason's picture


Thanks for the feedback.
Second row shows my new 'y' which I like much better.
Added head "serifs" to 'j' and 'i' and foot "serif" to 'x'. Not sure about that upper right terminal of 'x'. I need help with the 'c' - been altering the width back and forth but I think the problem goes deeper than that. (I thought it'd be easy because I was happy with 'e' after simply skewing it, cleaning up the widths, and extending the tail but the same treatment on 'c' didn't work.)
I also feel like 'a' isn't quite working right.
I narrowed the 'r' too.
Fourth row shows an experimental alternate 'z'. I've been talked out of using this form for an alternate in the regular, so now I guess it's time for you to talk me out of it in the italic!
I tried Nina's suggestion on the 'k's in the last line.
Should I try an 'f' descender that doesn't curve?

nina's picture

Oh, I actually liked the u-with-descender-shaped "y" a lot. Are you going to leave it in as an alternate? In any case, I think the new one might be a hint too dark.

I'm not going to talk you out of an ezh-shaped "z" – I'm a big fan of the form. But I believe it should be an alternate only, and I think the proportions are a bit off. At least the way I know the shape, I'd expect the middle point way above the baseline: example (but maybe this is not what you meant? Hmm.)
I think right now it looks a bit like an unhappy compromise, like a normal "z" with a swash or something.

I like the new "k", although I can't tell if it works better from this distance.

"c": It looks surprisingly "geometric". How about making it narrower and maybe the top curve tighter than the bottom, kind of like in the "e"? Maybe play around with the vertical position of the left side extremum?

Re the "r": That "rice" example looks like it may be good to test the "ri" and "n" for confusability. Or the "rn" and "m".

Bendy's picture

Yes, I'd try a straight descender on the f. Or make the curve taper slightly. It looks dark at the bottom.
I like the curly k!
I was also going to say you might need to raise the knee of your z off the baseline. I wonder if rather than a straight top and diagonal whether the whole shape could be much more curvy...more like a 3...fluid to go with the speedy felt pen feel?
If you're going with the straight y, maybe try putting a curl on the bottom of the descender like you've done with the leg of the k?
I think the top of the c could be narrower, like the top of the a. The bottom might be ok as it is.
[Edit: Oh, Nina just said that already. Hm. Good good :)]
I think with the a, it's the counter that looks funny. It might be worth rotating the counter anticlockwise a few degrees...just a guess though really. The whole right side of the glyph looks slightly slightly too light I think? I think it's hard to say without playing with the nodes. The answer will come naturally.

eliason's picture

Re: the 'z', you're right both about the compromising intention and the unsatisfactory result. Here's an ezh that's proud to be an ezh:

Oh, and yes, it would be a stylistic alternate.

eliason's picture


shows adjustments to y (curved lower terminal), c (narrowed top), a (revised SE of bowl), f (changed descender).

eliason's picture

The clamored-for pdf has arrived, attached to the first post. Just shows lowercase italic. I haven't yet added the f-ligs.

For the caps I'm thinking of doing very little to the skewed caps from the regular font - maybe just adding a serify top to B/D/P/R, and making the loopier Q standard. I think less "swashy" caps will rein in the curviness of the lowercase and leave the possibility of all-cap italic settings viable.

But of course I'll have to see how it looks and decide from there.

wierdw123's picture

One thing that I would like to point out with respect to the y is that its style differs from that of the unitalicized font. In the regular face, the y appears to be a "u-with-descender" (as altaira called it); however, your italicized version is a "straight y". It might be nice to have a "u-with-descender" as an alternate or something... I dunno, I'm just spitballing.

eliason's picture

Well, since you're the second one to ask, I better include the curvy one as an alternate.

Or am I alone in liking the straight one better, in which case maybe it should be the alternate?

Bendy's picture

I think the curvy one may fit better with the other letters.
Your t is looking great, just the right amount of swoosh. I think if you applied similar terminals on e.g. a,b,h,i...it would harmonise really well; their curly toes are slightly too tight in my opinion. If this was real writing, the t would have been written faster, it looks nice and energetic. Does that make sense? :)

The top of c is fine now, but the bottom terminal needs to come on or become more vertical or something.

Since you've taken some of the curve off the bottom of the f, would it be a nice balance to add more of a curl on the top end? (Like you did with the tail on y)

It's looking good :)

eliason's picture

You're talking about altering the terminal shape (of 'a', say) to be like t, but not lengthening the tail - is that right?

eliason's picture


More like this second 'a'?

Bendy's picture

Yes, that's it. The radius of the curve there looked a bit too tight to me. I wouldn't necessarily lengthen the tail but just make the curve more open...just my feeling. The second one is nicely flowy. It could even be less curved perhaps.

eliason's picture

Still looking at tail of 'a':

Bendy's picture

Hard to explain what I mean. Here's a diagram for the tail:


I've made it too soft on the terminals :(

eliason's picture

Ah, so coming out of the stem more vertically instead of hewing to the italic angle so strongly. I'll give that a try. The trick will be to avoid it getting too black as the bowl stroke and stem stroke come apart.

eliason's picture

Previous post shows 4 different tails of 'a' - most recent alteration last.
Below are 6 different head treatments of 'i'. #1 is a cleaned up version of what appeared in my last pdf. I think I'm leaning towards #3.
I'd appreciate hearing any opinions.

eliason's picture


Of course, I could go real swashy with the italic caps. Maybe that's best left for another font? The monoline character might make graceful swashes a challenge, especially for someone with my limited drawing skills. Opinions?
And maybe more seriously, still hoping for some feedback on the 'a' tail and 'i' head serif questions above.

bemerx25's picture

On the a's: I think version 3 has just the right amount of quirkiness but still maintaining a harmonious balance with the rest. So I approve of your preference! For the i - yeah I think 3 works best, again it has just the right amount of quirkiness but still maintaining a good balance with the rest of the letters.

As for swashes - I don't think this is the right font for that - but I could be proven wrong. Excellent work Craig.

eliason's picture

On the a’s: I think version 3 has just the right amount of quirkiness but still maintaining a harmonious balance with the rest. So I approve of your preference!

Thanks for the feedback. The fourth 'a' was actually my "fixed" one - do you think that one goes too far in smoothing out the lines?

Yet another question for all: Any point in considering a cursive structure of 's'? Here's an attempt. I'm not sure it's reading like an 's' yet.

nina's picture

That's a difficult question, re the "s". (For the record, I find all these detail questions pretty hard to answer – but highly interesting.)

Personally, I find the cursive "s" form harder to read, and in a way it seems to call for a connected treatment, which I guess you don't want to do. Dunno, I think I'd stick with the upper one. (BTW, is it possible that it's a bit lumpy where the spine meets the upper curve, I mean on the bottom of the upper uh, bowl thing, on the left? [Sorry about the lack of concise wording here.] But maybe it's only the rendering.)

I like your swashy "B" a lot BTW! But I'm suspecting it may be over the top for this font, especially since your roman caps are pretty neutral/factual. Hmm. Maybe as optional alternates? I must admit I'd hate to see you throw away that "B".

Bendy's picture

With the a's, I like the stem on number two and the flick of number four. The stem on four seems to be coming away too much from the bowl, whilst the flick on two seems too tight. Does that make sense?

With the i's, I'd like to see something in between one and three. I hope that's not a finicky thing to say. :)

I think the nodes on s where the top curve joins the spine need to retract slightly down the spine. Keep the bcps where they are though.

I like the idea of a loopy version; your B and cursive s are fun. Perhaps it's a different member of the Emi family.

Is it me or do you seem to have slightly reversed contrast? I noticed it on the a and t.

eliason's picture

@altaira:
Personally, I find the cursive “s” form harder to read, and in a way it seems to call for a connected treatment
Those are exactly the conclusions I was coming to.

@Bendy:
With the a’s, I like the stem on number two and the flick of number four. The stem on four seems to be coming away too much from the bowl, whilst the flick on two seems too tight. Does that make sense?
I thought that's what #3 was, more or less. Hmm. I'll push some more points around and repost.

With the i’s, I’d like to see something in between one and three
Hmm, maybe a "flag" structure with a rounder top? I'll see what I can come up with.

Is it me or do you seem to have slightly reversed contrast? I noticed it on the a and t.
I think that may be an artifact of my lazy skewing process to generating the italics. I have a lot of cleaning up to do on the stroke weights, and terminals, too.

So glad to have you guys weigh in on this!

eliason's picture


left: i #1 from above
middle: i #3 from above
right: new i

also, is my s better? boy, s is hard enough in an upright, major curve challenge in italic!

nina's picture

Hmm, dunno, "i" #3 looks a bit unhappy to me… cramped. :-\
I actually like "i" #1. Although I also liked #6 above (#4 I think is too "connecting" again in a way). But it's hard to tell from this distance how well that would harmonize in the font.

eliason's picture

The 'i''s at a different scale:


^ i #1 from the ititititit post. (Ignore that first i in "weeiis")


^ i #3 from the ititititit post. (Ignore that first i in "weeiis" again)


^ i #6 from the ititititit post.


^ rightmost i from the sisisis post (combo of #1 and #3)

Bendy's picture

I think the new i is going in the right direction...the top is certainly right. The flick needs to be longer, I think, and less steep. I'd make the terminal more vertical too, I think.

eliason's picture

Arrgh. Remind me to make my next font a rectilinear constructivist job - these curves are killing me.


Left: Old #1 that Nina liked.
Middle: Old hybrid of #1 and #3, called #8 in the previous post.
Right: New, latest attempt. Let's call it #9.

nina's picture

Yeah, let's all do a FontStruct party next time :)

Aargh, this is really difficult.
I think in your smaller examples, I like #8 better than #3, which seems to have a bit too much going on at the x-line. Although I don't quite want to give up on liking #6 – it's slick. (But yeah, maybe it's too slick.)
The more I stare at them, the less I can tell. :-\

Bendy's picture

But hey, once you've got the shape right you can do similar things with the other letters :)

Hm, I'm starting to like number 1 too (sorry!) I think actually it's less busy like Nina said.

I wonder if there's anything to be said for taking a marker pen and seeing what other things come out naturally when writing letters like this.

eliason's picture


Okay, first i here is the same #1.
Second is a new attempt, let's call #10. Trying to avoid too much business and crampedness, while also implying a little more change of direction than the swoopy round exit strokes.

Bendy's picture

I think it's good, #10. :)

eliason's picture

Okay, I'll go with that for now.

'k' questions: is my 'k' too 'R'ish? And should I close it up?

speter's picture

I don't think it looks too much like R, but perhaps if the return stroke were more parallel with the outstroke, it would look less so. And I think open is the way to go, in keeping with the more-or-less rapid writing flavor of the family so far. (If you want the connection with the stem to be so precise, then I'd go with a two-stroke k, which will also move it away from the R issue.)

eliason's picture

Then I guess I might also ask if I should open up the B & R similarly...

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