Effluent v7: New W, w, lots of other stuff. Hooks or no?

cuttlefish's picture

An uppercase display experiment I cobbled together in a day and a half. It's really rough, but might have potential.

The darn "insert image" link isn't working for me, but the PDF is uploaded. I'll amend this post if I can from another browser.


EffluentOne-sample.pdf16.71 KB
EffluentTwo-sample.pdf14.75 KB
EffluentThree-sample.pdf22.98 KB
EffluentFour-sample.pdf30.6 KB
EffluentFive-sampleA.pdf31.6 KB
EffluentFive-symbols.pdf25.93 KB
EffluentSix-sample.pdf30.77 KB
EffluentSix-symbols.pdf31.3 KB
EffluentSeven-sample.pdf32.62 KB
cuttlefish's picture

Here's a little update. I did up the lowercase except for k, and the g still needs a lot of work. On screen the lowercase letters look HUGE next to their UC counterparts, but it all looks fine on paper. Something feels wrong, helll I can see it's wrong, but I am not sure why.
New PDF up top.

cuttlefish's picture

Nobody seems interested in talking about new regular type anymore, always going to the Logo/ID section.

That's OK I can critique myself.

The lc a has the most character of these characters, but the lower curve needs to be smoothed out a bit.
That f is a joke, right? Just an upturned j with a cross bar. I do like those inset curled ball terminals on the f, t, and j, though. Hard to say if that feature fits in with an otherwise wide font though. Try stretching them out, like the tail on the Q.

Keep working on that g. The line weights seem about right but it's still too dark.

guifa's picture

Don't worry I'll be in to give a more in depth critique....just been busy with some non-type stuff.

The firs thing I'd do though is the uc H. While the U traditionally has two different stresses on the vertical strokes, the H does not, both are thick.

I like the inset balls. But push the ball of the r in some. you can have skinny rs and be okay.

Also, a problem I noticed I had in Coruña the other day you have too.... the Ss look like they were made with entirely different angles and curves. both fit the font, but they don't fit each other I don't think, if that makes sense.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

Oh, I know about the H. I tried it with equal stems and it just looked way too heavy, but I'll try that again.

cuttlefish's picture

BTW, I REALLY want to change the name on this one. "Effluent" is neither marketable nor appropriate.

speter's picture

While I don't tend to like typefaces with too high a contrast, this one has potential. The one thing that sticks in my eye is the spurs on the K and the R. Also, the offset in the crossbar of X and x make them a tad too alephy for me.

Can you provide some text in your sample? I realize you may not have done spacing yet, but it's still helpful for judging letter forms.

cuttlefish's picture

I've made some improvements and d most of the letters look a lot better, but when I did a test text print at 12pt it looked absolutely terrible! There is a problem of uneven color to say the very least (not that even color is a supreme goal in and of its self, but well, you'll see soon enough.) The thin parts of the high-contrast strokes frequently disappeared at that size. Clearly this isn't meant to be used so small, but it's too wide for titling. Maybe its destiny is in signage?

The x-height is huge, so much that the lowercase overpowers the caps. 'm not sure how this can be repaired.Making the cap stems heavier might help.

I want to give it another pass before I show a new sample, but it shouldn't be too long now.

Sye's picture

this looks really nice, keep it up!

cuttlefish's picture

I made the curved shapes of the lc letters lighter, straight stems of the caps heavier, a bunch of other tweaks and some new characters and here is what I've come up with:

I also made a sample with dummy text set at 12pt. I haven't done anything with the spacing other than set arbitrary sidebearings, so that will need a lot of work but it should give you some idea of how it's coming along. It's in the new PDF in the attachment list.

cuttlefish's picture

Well, those numbers still need some work, and those cut-in terminals on the f, t, and j, though nice on their own, look like they belong in a different font. But what would be the solution? Do I pull them out like I did on the r? Do I replace them with straight tapers like off the bottom of e? Or would a really long hook with a ball like on the cap J work?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Uppercase alone is wonderful, but there's something about the size and width of the lowercase that bothers me. I think it's too wide, the x-height too high, and also i think the letters are unexpectedly round. I love the lowercase "t" and "j". I'm no expert, so my critique goes at the whole concept, and it is very dependent on which direction choose.

UC: The top left serif of "N" is wierd. "W" bothers me, and the left stroke on "Æ" falling from the E-shape serif as well. The lower part of B ends straight on the right side of the stem, but "E" is rounded. Is that done on purpose?

Forgive my bad terminology.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

"K" is unbalanced in my eyes. There's a wierd spot where the two bowls meet in your "B". The top right serif in "Y" (on the left side) needs to stick out a bit more. The thin strokes on "X" doesn't visually hit each other. I would keep the first "S" as an alternate, but the lower ball terminal is different from the upper. I think the upper is best.

cuttlefish's picture

The lower part of B ends straight on the right side of the stem, but “E” is rounded. Is that done on purpose?

Yes, I found that the B looked way too heavy with all the internal corners rounded. Squaring that one kept it balanced to my eyes.

I don't know what to do with the Ws . I may have to beat them with a mallet. I agree with you on the faults of the lowercase. the x-height and overshoots are what you'd expect for a text face, but with the extreme contrast that would be impossible in this case. I'll try tightening them up a bit.

guifa's picture

For the W maybe just take out the middle serif. Much as I'm a fan of the 3 and 4 pointy Ws, here just the two with a half-center will work best.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

Any of you folks have a suggestion for a name? "Effluent" means sewage, and that hardly seems appropriate for this.

cuttlefish's picture

All right, I think I've tackled most of the problems with the lower case. "k"s are still giving me trouble. Anyway, a new sample will be up soon.

The name "Elefont" is already taken, isn't it? That's not quite what I hope to call it anyway, but there it is out there.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Elefant? :) I'd love to see the next sample!

guifa's picture

Un elefante se balanceaba // An elephant was balancing
sobre la tela de una araña. // on a spider's web
Como veía que no se caía, // Since he saw he wasn't falling
fué a avisar a otro elefante // he went to tell another elephant

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

I just redid all the numbers, and should be ready to post a sample shortly. Still haven't come up with a better name, though.

cuttlefish's picture

OK, here you go,, version Four, with all that stuff I've been talking about.

The ball-ended Ss are in the font, but not shown on the sample. New PDF is up top too.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I'm coming back to this with fresh eyes. This is what's bothering me:
I think "a", "e" and "o" are too wide.
The thin part of the curve in "h" and "n" looks wierd. "m" is better.
The right stem on "H" is very distracting.
"S" and "s" are both a bit wide in my eyes.
The mid section of "W" and "w" doesn't really work.
The right leg on "k" should stretch further out to the right.
The thin stroke on lc "x" still doesn't visually align.

I'm not sure about those numerals. I think 5, 3 and 7 look great, but the others need some more work.

cuttlefish's picture

The thin stroke of the "x" rarely aligns in didones, especially at heavier weights. Not much I can do about that.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned the hooked serifs on the "p" and "r".

Well, anyway, the next iteration has even more changes, including further work on the numbers. They will play along with each other even if I have to beat them with a mallet!

cuttlefish's picture

I've come to the conclusion that the ultratight inset ball terminals on the f, t, j, and long s really don't play nicely with the other letters so I'll be trying something different here and save those things for something else.

This could also mean changes for the g, r, y, ß, and Q, but I'm not sure yet

cuttlefish's picture

So, in replacing the inset ball terminals, should I go thin, as on the c, or spurred, as on the S? Or should there be balls on longer stems, as on the r, y, 6, or 9?

Also, the lc "l" looks really excessive when doubled. What can be done about that?

Yehan's picture

I really really like this face. I think you should keep some of the quirky-ness you took out in some of the previous versions and make alt glyphs. I really thought the W the last time round was quite cute. The whole font(the first pic) had this quirk about it I really enjoyed.

THAT said, I'm totally for you making the letters more standard so we all don't get irritated when you finally make the font available.

The f and j bother me in that they come back onto themselves. And the ear on the g is really really tight. Might get lost...give it some space - ala the r?

Other than that I think it's coming along really nicely..very very nice!

guifa's picture

4 0 and 1 are the numbers that most bother me. The 4 and 1 are just too angular. The 0 suffers some of the same problems of the H: normally they have stress on both sides and here they only have it on one side.

The inset terminals work, but you might want slightly thinner strokes as your approach, thus the inset appearance isn't as strong, but will still be recognized, and should flow a bit better.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

The zero still needs to be distinct from the O, and since these are lining numerals I'm going with the half-contrast style zero. There is certainly precedent for it. As for the 4 and 1, it's hard to make figures customarily composed of straight lines that aren't angular, but I'll see what I can do.

guifa's picture

The four and one both have lots of precedences with curls.

The top of the four remember doen't need to connected, and you can take the left edge to curve and end with a nice ball point. The part of the 1 that sticks out can also be made to curve downwards, if you've ever seen a European write a 1 you'll know what I'm talking about.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

cuttlefish's picture

Time for yet another update!

You will notice a lot of changes this time, some small, others far less subtle than previous go-arounds.

Nearly all the lowercase are slightly narrower, the H is symmetrical, the inset ball terminals have been replaced with hairline hooks, the J has a spurred hook, the leg spurs on K and R have been replaced with convex curves, ear of g and tail of y are relaxed a bit, new tail on the Q, modification to the ß, leg of k adjusted, several of the numbers have been redone (the 6 and 8 still bother me, though they are improved) and a bunch of smaller changes throughout.

new PDF of the sample up top

metalfoot's picture

Oh, that final version of the K is much, much nicer.

cuttlefish's picture

symbols and junk:

PDF of this page up at the first post

cuttlefish's picture

I think I've resolved the closed-S "8" and open "4" but I'm thinking I may want to go with the stacked-ovals "8" instead, as appears more common in Didones. The more I study my design and its relation to other typefaces, I'm discovering a lot of grotesque influence here, which is kind of weird, I guess.

cuttlefish's picture

Now thay I get it together, the changes are more subtle than I expected. Some of the spacing issues are addressed. The most obvious changes are the 8 and narrower a and g, but there really is a lot of stuff going on in there; yet another alternate 4, for example.

EffluentSix PDFs are up top.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I think this has improved a lot since the start.
The various different terminals (hooks, balls and thin lines) seems like a mistake.
Same goes for serifs and rounded white corners.
Both S's are falling over.
I personally don't like Ww and aæ.
Love the alternates!

cuttlefish's picture

I get what you're saying about the S's and I think I've fixed that, changing the angle of the spine to match the new 8, though that does result in making them narrower.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about the serifs/terminals/white corners. I don't think they're all perfect, of course, but lots of fonts have varied terminal features, even Jeanne Moderno. Please, if you could, hone in on what seems wrong to you and how it could be corrected.

Bendy's picture

Hi Jason,
I think there are some interesting quirks in the shapes and the experimental feel of this is nice, so there's no reason this shouldn't be even better than Jeanne Moderno that you referenced.
However, I do agree with some of the comments earlier. I think there's a bit of disharmony between the terminals as well.
In particular, to my eye, it looks like there's something missing on f and j's terminals. I like the barbs on C and G but somehow it doesn't work so well for me the other way up on the J. I'd make k's lower leg fancier somehow. g and s look oval when I think they could be rounder, look at the eszett's curve. The tail of Q feels a bit small. The dip of the V and v looks a bit left of centre and I would nudge it right. I don't like Ww and aæ either. On adu the tail looks a bit floating next to the overshooting curve of the bowls.
The numerals are really interesting, I like the grooves in 137. Can you put a similar white cut into the 8 (where the hairline crosses the diagonal), or disconnect the ends there? Your alternate 2 and 4 are great.
Look forward to seeing how this develops :)

mehallo's picture

Thought I'd weigh in, since my types have been mentioned. :)

There's a lot of interesting stuff going on in your alternates. REALLY interesting stuff that's not quite syncing with your basic alphabet.

Such as in your second esset, @, copyright symbol that could carry your face in a whole, cool direction.

LOVE that second alternate 2 - it's very ... Eastern European.

Leslie Carbarga says it in his Font/Lettering Bible (I'm paraphrasing): anything goes, even mistakes - but once you make your decision, repeat it and do it often.

I see lots of little decisions here - but they're not consistent throughout.

For example, consider taking your @ construction and applying the cool 3D-like strokes to your other characters. You could even build an entire alphabet from the way you structured your @! The smooth stroke on the bottom with the calligraphic flourish, really interesting treatment. What would your other letters look like if they had this treatment? Lowercase y, God, even the tail on the Q would benefit sooo much!

Some other thoughts:

Don't be afraid to throw a lot away (edit!) in favor of getting everything cohesive/working well together. You should see the cutting room floor on any of my fonts!

When researching 19th Century Fat Faces, I've run across a lot of unusual edges and components that you could also be incorporating. With all the small foundries (that eventually made up ATF) producing very odd versions of Modern type, there's a lot to reference and build off of; just apply what you find in a consistent manner.

Bodoni himself was a tinkering fool - with the money and resources to overwork his lettering ad nauseam. Octavo.com has a great digital version of his specimen book, there's a TON of stuff in there that to this day still hasn't been mined (except for a few font designers who have been building off of it). Look at Bodoni's odd numbers - and imagine all your round shapes going in that half moon direction. That would be SOOOO cool.

Really, this is a display face, it doesn't have to be totally legible. (did I actually say that? That's so not me.)

Stop looking at Tiffany, it seems to be holding you back (my opinion). What you're doing is different than Tiffany's approach, you could actually end up doing something better.

Stop looking at my fonts, they seem to be taking you in my direction and really, you have potential to do something unique here if you just create something totally ... You. You have some incredible elements in there - you just have to focus on a few of them and go for it.

The name is good. Memorable. But if you really don't like it, that's up to you. Some of the best fonts do have horrible names.

Also: take your time. Focus on one letter and work that until its finished. Then work it again. Trying to do a whole alphabet at once will just drive you mad and you'll end up with some good forms and some forms that haven't been fully realized. DON'T RUSH IT and you'll have a better product!

And insane as this sounds, I spent 10 years on Jeanne Moderno. Rod Cavazos saw my first sketches back in 1998 and it's been a really fun journey, I've learned a TON about modern types - and I'm no where near finished yet (there is more jeanne on the drawing board)



cuttlefish's picture

While the first version (caps only in a day and a half) seems rushed, it was little more than a sketch. I just sketch directly in FontForge sometimes. It helps to keep my thoughts organized, though it is limiting in its way. (I sketch type on paper too but it seldom looks like this).

Effluent is a pretty sounding word that is synonymous with sewage. It nicely reflects the low self-esteem of this designer, but I question whether that will impair its marketability.

Likewise, the alternates I show are also largely sketches or designs I've rejected from the main line; most will likely be eliminated from the final font but they may see life in another project. I've already tossed out those inset ball terminals I had on f,j and t, and the barb on J is gone in the next version.

Thank you Steve for your input. I only mentioned Jeanne Moderno as a point of comparison since it is broadly in the same genre of high-contrast modern type that has recently in everyone's face here since it became featured here on Typophile. I hadn't even been aware of it before then. Sorry about that.

cuttlefish's picture

I just took a look and now see why you think I might have been influenced by Tiffany, but honestly, I've not been looking at that before. I might have seen it years ago in a specimen book, but I'm not using it as a reference.

cuttlefish's picture

The problem with the W/w may stem from trying to maintain the same angles as V and A. That makes them unbalanced if I try to extend one or both of the middle arms all the way to the top, or makes them too wide if I don't cross them. But if I change the angles, they start looking wonky other ways. I'll have to try again on those.

The thing I really can't figure out is what to do with the b and q serif. I don't like the ones they have and am tempted to give them the curl like on a, d, p, and r, but I'm not so sure that's right on all the places it already is.

mehallo's picture

Hey, wasn't accusing you of anything :), just wanted to say:

You have a lot of ingredients and flavors in your recipe.

Try distilling it down to protein, vegetable and a seasoning or two and you'll end up with a better product. Less is, of course, more. :)


If you don't use the name, I'd looooovvvvee to steal it.

But then again, Garbage is one of my favorite bands, so what do I know? :)

Best of luck!


cuttlefish's picture

Sometimes I come off a little defensive. I need to not do that so much.

mehallo's picture

Go make type. ;)

cuttlefish's picture

I posted a new update to Palormak before turning back to this. Always jumping from one font t'nother.

I made the parentheses, braces, and brackets vertically asymmetric. I think it was so they'd look good with either lowercase or all-caps or number settings without a baseline shift. I'll have to thoroughly test them to see if they actually do that.

cuttlefish's picture

OK, I'm now sorely tempted to replace all the hooked serifs with the flat one as seen on the northwest corner of "n". It feels too damn conventional, but it may be the only right thing left to do. Maybe I should show off version 7 before I do anything drastic.

cuttlefish's picture

Updated since v5 and/or 6:

%, 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, @, D, J, Q, S, T, U, W, X, a, b, c, e, g, s, w, z, §, µ, Æ, ß, æ, ð, Ω, π, •

Superscript and subscript numbers added also. I'll get the symbols chart up soon.

Meanwhile, I changed many of the lowercase serifs to hooks, as is most usually seen at the base of "a". I'm not terribly happy with them, so what, if anything should take their places?

bemerx25's picture

Nice work. The ball terminal off the top of the number 4 strikes me as not quite fitting. But that's the only thing so far that's sticking out to me. As for the lowercase serifs - well you can't really terminate them with a ball approach (at least I can't see that being feasible for most of the LC) . So hook or perhaps a slim flattened serif (like your UC letters have) may be the only real options. Hope this helps.

cuttlefish's picture

I can't seem to make a 4 fit no matter what I do to it.

bemerx25's picture

Hmm. What if it uses just a hairline, no terminal or serif?

cuttlefish's picture

I think I've found a solution to the 4. Will come back soon to show it off along with the rest of the font. We'll also get to see if Bean makes a better type layout tool than TextEdit.

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