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
eliason's picture


Experiments opening the counters of k (as above), B, R, and e.
I think I like k/B/R, maybe not e.

nina's picture

Oh, the second "R"/"B"/"k" are very nice indeed! The whole thing flows so nicely.
Strange, in this comparison the "old" version looks almost stiff and uncomfortable – which it didn't seem like at all previously! Great improvement, to my eye at least.
I'd agree about leaving the "e" closed though.
What about the "P"?

eliason's picture

Thanks! I think the P, like the e, doesn't work as well.


On the e and P, the strokes just fall short and look "stencil-ly."

Bendy's picture

Nice with the disconnects (agreed on the e too).

The a looks great now. It's easier to judge even with just a little bit of text to compare it to.

Hyphen is a bit high for me. And a bit far right. But I guess you haven't looked at metrics for the italic yet. Sounds like that won't be fun ;)

eliason's picture

Or maybe the P *does* work. Opinions?

speter's picture

I think the P works perfectly being open. Historically, too.

eliason's picture

Italic ampersands! Any of these would need cleaning up, but which do you like best for this font?

speter's picture

No question in my mind: number 2.

2 > 4 > 3 > 0 > 1

cuttlefish's picture

Ampersand number two looks good between capitals, but I think number four looks better among the lower case text.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the input. Here's another view of the same ampersands at smaller scales.

eliason's picture

Oops, I mistakenly changed the numbering there - that 1-5 from the last post actually correspond to 0-4 from the previous one.

traviskochel's picture

I agree, number 3 (new number system). It seems to work better with the lc at smaller sizes.

eliason's picture

Thanks. I definitely think that was the most attractive glyph of them. I worried that it might be too elaborate for the face, but then I think an ampersand can bear to be a little more baroque.

In addition to cleaning up the weights, I reshaped italic 'S' with a steeper spine.
1) Do you agree the new 'S' shape looks better?
2) Must/should I make a corresponding steepening of the lowercase 's'?

traviskochel's picture

I like the steeper spine. To my eyes, it seems like the bottom curve is a little flat or squished though. Maybe the bottom terminal, or the spine, could be moved up slightly?

I'll leave question #2 to be answered by someone more experienced.

eliason's picture

Good eye. Here are four versions: the "old" and "new" from above, as well as two different redrawn ones with less squished bottoms.

traviskochel's picture

Both of the new ones look good to me, but I'd say #3 if I had to choose.

eliason's picture

New pdf posted up top (loopysample11.pdf) shows progress, most recently on the italics and generating diacritics.

I'd welcome input on everything, but maybe particularly on the alternates.
Presently, Emi has these stylistic alternates:
I in regular and italic (without and with crossbars)
J in regular and italic (descending and baseline)
a in regular (double and single story)
g in regular (single and double story)
q in regular (tailed and straight descender)
t in regular (straight stem and curved)
y in italic (curvy and straighter)
z in regular (without and with crossbar)
z in italic (baseline and descending)

Which of these have value? I'm thinking of dropping the alternate regular g and z.

Also, right now I have the "crossbar ligatures" coded as discretionary (DLIG). (They are listed on the last line of the character set listing in the specimen.) Should I go ahead and force them on everybody (and enable them for everybody) by making them LIGA instead, or are they too weird (or is the answer different for different combinations?

Bendy's picture

Your italic is looking really nice there :) In fact so is the regular!
Here are my thoughts.
Italic:
I love the k. I think you could transpose its leg onto the Q, which to me doesn't quite work strongly enough.
The stem of q looks thin. And to some extent the same goes for g.
Compare S and O and you'll see O looks quite thin in the SE and NW. S looks a bit heavy all round.
Comparing U and V makes me think U needs thicker uprights.
I think æ should have a one-storey a.

Regular:
I prefer the t with the tail. I prefer the lower height on it too. Perhaps the original t could be shortened?
Square and curly brackets look narrow.
After all that discussion about your q, I think now I prefer the straight descender one.
The strokes on @ look thinner than the other glyphs.
I might consider making the arms on k steeper with the leg joining the arm rather than joining the stem. In comparison to n or p, the gentler slope of the arms looks a bit disharmonious.
Crossbar on £ looks as though it could go down and right a bit. (Especially on the SC and lining versions)
I know the Euro is supposed to have sheared crossbars but to me I think in this font they need blunter ends.
÷ fell down a bit somehow.

I'm really liking this. I'm really pleased how well it stands up next to Myriad, as I think I mentioned before :)

eliason's picture

Thanks so much Ben for the feedback. I'll get right on the changes!
I was leaning the same way on the q tail, actually. I think I'll save the flick for the italic.
When you say "square and curly brackets look narrow," you mean the overall glyph, right (not the stroke weight)?
My very first attempts at k (back on p. 1 of this thread, changed maybe before you even joined the conversation) were the structure you describe, but the arm came out of the stem way too high. I think there's promise for that structure but drawn with a more conventional shape.

nina's picture

Aw, I just realized I still owe you some feedback there Craig. Hopefully, tonight!

eliason's picture

Great, I've been hoping you'd chime in. :-)

Bendy's picture

Yes, the shape of the brackets rather than the weight. They seem a bit underfed compared to the round shapes of the alphabetic glyphs.

eliason's picture

How do I make a one-story ae that doesn't look too much like an oe?

Bendy's picture

Ok, I prefer the lower t, but I know other people prefer them to be taller. What about a middle height? (It's only a small difference :)
With the k, I think the lower leg could start lower and have a gradient similar to the original, but I think the top arm looks really nice, especially with the link at the bottom.
The tail on the Q isn't quite as steep as I meant but I like it a lot! Keep it.
Perhaps the ae needs to have the top of the a starting higher up on the e. I can't think of any other way. It doesn't quite look like an oe at this size but at small sizes you might need to make it more distinct.

nina's picture

OK, I'm here. I tried to look at this like I'd never seen it before, so here are a bunch of semi-randomly listed comments. (Whoa, this got a bit epic)

I'm in love with your italics! Where the roman is amiably nonchalant and "human-handed", the italics bring in a level of self-confident, refined elegance that's just lovely, and amazingly enjoyable (without losing the connection to the roman though!). Great work. (I may have said this before :-) )

It still puzzles me that when I look at some (if not most) of your italic glyphs up close – like the "s" above, or the "j" – there's a hint of reversed stress that seems unusual. But in text, it works/reads beautifully, so that probably means don't change a thing. :-)

My favorite glyphs are the italic "k" and "q". Regarding what Ben said about the "q", I agree the flick on the tail works better (= would probably be expected more) in the italic than the roman, but I for one like it in the roman too.

I also really like the alternate "z"s in the roman and the italic. And the alternate italic "y". I hope all of these can stay. (Dunno about over there, but in German it's quite usual for people to cross their "z" in handwriting, so to me the crossed "z" makes a lot of sense here, as a device to make it look more handwritten, whereas the normal "z" would look more typographic.)

There's some minor lumpiness to your italic "m" I think. Specifically, the top-right of the first counter.

Your eszett is in danger of being dark in the top-left, but I'm not sure how to fix it.

The word "the" (of all things) looks strange in your italics :-(. I suspect it's either the relative widths ("t"'s foot being too wide compared to "h") or spacing (in terms of making the "t" tighter on the right side).

To my eye, there's some spacing weirdness in your examples of contextual "f" substitutions – in "offhand", the "fh" seem much closer than the "ff". Might you be overdoing the "whee, I can space this closer now" effect from the narrower "f"? :-) (I've been guilty of that…)

Looking at your roman again, I'm not sure about some of the cap proportions (which I admit is uncool to say *now*, but it just struck me). In DUCKLING and QUIZZICAL, the "U" looks rather narrow to me. Maybe the "A" (and "V") are also a bit on the narrow side? Not sure.

There's some minor curve wobbliness in the oldstyle "3" methinks, in the bottom.

Your commas and apostrophes are great. I'm envious :-)
Don't forget to kern your punctuation. ("NEAT -O")

The small caps seem a bit smallish to me seen next to the lowercase, but that might just be me. (BTW, there's a lc eogonek instead of a smallcap in the Polish sample text, not sure if that's a problem in the font or the setting?)

And I think something went wrong with the spacing of your italic fractions.

*

Diacritics:

Your tilde is enviably nice.

Your accents are quite light. Is that intentional?

Also, you seem to have found the only coherent Hungarian sample text without hungarumlauts ;-). But I see you have some. They're a pretty strange shape in the small caps – I believe they're supposed to relate to the acutes, but I'm not sure.

Regarding the ogoneks, have you seen Adam Twardoch's how-to?
http://www.twardoch.com/download/polishhowto/ogonek.html
I'm not quite sure but it looks like the one on your "a" exceeds the width of the base glyph on the right, which seems to be a no-no.
(BTW also see what he says about zdotaccent, where the dot should be the same as the tittle apparently.)

Your italic lslash seems a bit stiff. I think I'd model it after the italic "l" (at least that would seem logical – but I don't read Polish so mind the salt).

*

Really unimportant stuff:
Your "fj" lig and your italic dollar sign aren't merged. :-)

I'm beginning to eagerly look forward to seeing this out in the wild. It's really quite nice! And holds up impressively well against those other fonts in your sample. Very nice work. :)

[EDIT: That new italic "Q" rawks!]

eliason's picture


I think regular k is headed in the right direction

I raised the start of the a-part in ae, and also nudge a bit of the beginning of the e-part's tail over to be more suggestive of an a tail, but I still fear it may be mistaken for an oe. I should probably do some research on one-story 'ae's.

Bendy's picture

Yup, the third k works very nicely. I don't know what to suggest for ae. Someone with more exposure to it needs to comment.

eliason's picture

I’m beginning to eagerly look forward to seeing this out in the wild.

Me too, but my to-do list grows faster than I can cross things off! :-\

Thanks you two for your eagle eyes and welcome encouragement. :-)

eliason's picture

New pdf. (loopysample12.pdf) Can't believe it's been a month since I posted.

Many changes (though none terribly dramatic). Some include:
- Added a Th ligature
- Tinkered with a's bowl, some stem baseline terminals
- Resized the smallcaps a little bigger - how does their size look to you now?
- I think I thickened some accents - do their weights look okay? (I also wonder if some should be steepened...)
- Many of the other fixes and corrections y'all suggested.

I think I need to review the spacing on the italic.

I'm still hoping for feedback on whether the crossbar ligatures (and now, I suppose, Th) should be DLIG or LIGA.

Maybe I'll be able to get some feedback on Emi from the masters at the TypeCon crit session!

wierdw123's picture

The new pdf looks great! I'm glad to see that you chose that æ-ligature over the œ-esque ones. In my opinion, it's best to go for clarity because ambiguous characters are a real pain when reading. The only thing I wanted to point out was in your sample text for Hungarian: the 'õ' should be changed to 'ő' and the 'û' should be 'ű'. Tildes and carons are not part of the standard Hungarian orthography.

eliason's picture

Thanks Wesley. I pulled that text off of Project Gutenberg, and I was *wondering* why my diacritics with "hungarian" in their name made no appearance! I'll fix it.

Talked to Chris Lozos (dezcom) about Emi today at Typecon - he's helped me to realize I should probably start over completely on the spacing and kerning. 8-\

Bendy's picture

>I should probably start over completely on the spacing and kerning.

Can I ask what's your reasoning?

wierdw123's picture

Well, as a font that is reminiscent of handwriting, I don't think that the kerning has to be perfect. In fact, a little unevenness might add to the overall effect.

eliason's picture

There's some faulty spacing at the root: a string of nununnuu for example looks all uneven; and I've lost confidence that my kerning classes (made by a couple of runs through with FontLab's tool) are complete and appropriate.

I haven't nuked anything yet and perhaps I don't need to, but there is appeal in the idea of a fresh start...

In the meantime, I sought some guidance on Emi from Matthew Carter, Akira Kobayashi, John Downer, and Gerard Unger. !! I sat down with them for about 10 minutes at the sign-up crit session at TypeCon. I'm hoping video will be available soon, both to share with you guys and to review myself, as I was rather freaked out and probably missed much of what they said. If my memory serves correctly, though, it went well! :-)

typerror's picture

I think there is a bulge in the area that I have highlighted, or maybe the "diagonal spine" is thinner than the rest of the letter. It appears to me in both large and small settings. Get out the calipers :-)

Sorry if I am wrong but it stands out to me. It just looks more harsh than smooth or fluid.

Michael

Bendy's picture

> I sought some guidance on Emi from Matthew Carter, Akira Kobayashi, John Downer, and Gerard Unger

Oh Gosh! What an amazing opportunity! Can't wait to see the video! Now if only they did TypeCon here in the UK... :(

eliason's picture

I think you're right, Michael. I'll see what I can do (besides start a petition to remove 's' from the alphabet). :-)

typerror's picture

There is a wonderful little oblong paperback out there by HZ (with a marbled cover). It is an instructional book he did for Rotring. In it is a modulated sans that is very beautiful, and yours has hints of it. If you can secure it, it is called Calligraphy, it might be very helpful to you as you hone this font. It is available in French, Spanish, German and English... and probably won't cost you more than 10 or 15$

Michael

Edit: if you cannot find it I will scan the page for you.

typerror's picture

Graig

It is Creative Calligraphy, it is available on Amazon..... page 4 or 5 if you search Books/Hermann Zapf. 22.99$, I was close, sort of!

Michael

eliason's picture

Thanks, I'll see if my library can get it for me.

bela.frank's picture

Nice project.

Will you sell this or do you have other plan with it?

I've gone through the latest specimen and found that
in Hungarian section there are many mistake - had you wist
to correct I could help.

Keep up the good work.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the compliments.
I do plan on selling it when it's complete.
Thanks for the offer on the Hungarian - I think what I'll do is look for another text. Of course if you happen to notice problems in that one it would be helpful to know them...

eliason's picture

I've attached a pdf to the first post which shows an experiment suggested by Gerard Unger at the TypeCon crit. The critics thought the italic was working better than the roman, and he suggested taking the italic design and tilting it back upright. So the latest pdf shows three versions for each language specimen: roman, uprighted italic, and italic. (Note that I did do any cleaning up of the shapes - the uprighted italic is just a raw re-skewing.)

Next to the uprighted italic I think the original roman looks pretty clunky now. On the other hand, replacing it with the uprighted italic would lose much of the range of the typeface family.

Thoughts?

Bendy's picture

I faced a similar thing with Eternal, after starting the italic, I realised the roman looked less convincing...I put it down to the lack of experience when I drew the roman first...and then stopped working on it :(

However, with Emi, I actually think there's room for both. Your upright italic looks really lovely because of the dynamism introduced with the strokes more connecty. The original roman looks quite sturdy in comparison. Somehow the forms in the new roman seem to gel better, I think.

eliason's picture

It's alive!!


With some encouragement from type-designer friends, I've finally started to figure out multiple mastering.
I'll still push Ambicase out next, but after that I will return to Emi looking for insights that these weight experiments might offer.

Bendy's picture

Ah! This will certainly be interesting to see. I'm finding I need to work on Mixteca's bold in the same font file as the roman so I can compare them directly in the preview window. I'd started with bold separate and the widths and heights looked fine on its own but on comparison found that it was very much not fine...

eliason's picture

so I can compare them directly in the preview window

by alternating between them, or is there a way to see different masters side by side?

eliason's picture

Also, Ben, when you built fonts out in both lighter and bolder directions from an initial regular, were they all in one .vfb file somehow?

Bendy's picture

Well I wasn't doing it with MMs. I started with the medium, thin and the bold in separate .vfbs and then realised that switching between them didn't really allow me to compare them simultaneously. I realised I'd added/taken away the weight to the interior of the forms, and therefore the thin needed condensing and the bold needed expanding to get the counters back to where they should be. Also the relative heights needed compensating (smaller for the thin and larger for the bold).

What I'm doing now is pasting glyphs from the thin/bold into the medium so I can have /n.thin/n.medium/n.bold in the preview window together. Once I'm happy with the proportions I'm then pasting them back into the right .vfbs for final tweaking. I'm sure there must be a better way.

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