My First Serif

jonathanhughes's picture

This is my first attempt at a serif text typeface. This is by no means anything super original (in fact, it seems to have some similarities with Alex Heilmair's lovely Paulista Serif a few posts below). I just wanted to try doing something that actually looked like it might be able to hang out at a fancy party with Garamond and Charter and not run home crying because it's not classy enough.

After looking at it closely, I see several problems, and I'm hoping you can point out anything else that looks weird or inconsistent (either within the typeface or with common practice).

• The curves in the "S's" seem a bit heavy
• The "B" and the "R" need some refinement in the curves
• the lowercase "a" looks a little weird. This was my first attempt at a two story "a" and something just doesn't seem right, but I'm not sure what.
• this was also my first attempt a lowercase "g" and it looks pretty good, except I'm thinking that maybe the stroke in the bottom half is a little thick

thanks!

Jonathan

AttachmentSize
serif9sample.pdf872.01 KB
serif_example10.pdf638.87 KB
Quincunx's picture

While some of the individual lettereshapes can use some work (but only here and there)... it has a surprisingly nice evenly balanced look in the sample texts.

When I have some more time, I'll make a longer post. :)

jonathanhughes's picture

Thanks!

I've made some changes to a bunch of the characters (see attached). I'd love to hear what you (and anyone else) thinks needs work.

Jonathan

jonathanhughes's picture

Ugh! Why can't I add an attachment??? Something is amiss!

jonathanhughes's picture

I put the latest version in the top post.

Nicole Dotin's picture

Just a quick thought... try decreasing the width of the space glyph. The text will set better with less space between each word!

jonathanhughes's picture

It looks like there were some double spaces in my Lorem Ipsum text, but I'll check the space glyph to make sure it's not too wide.

thanks!

eliason's picture

This is working well. Suggestions:

I'd raise your t's crossbar.
Maybe widen the h (and perhaps u/n)?
Looks like X wound up a touch short.
The g is attractive but might be a little too bouncy in character for this crisp font.
The S looks almost monoline - I would make its thins thinner. R gets too thick in the middle, too.
r seems a little heavy, and s seems a little light.
The top terminal of c and r need some work.
Consider losing, or changing, the bottom serif of the b.

Hope that helps.

Quincunx's picture

I feel like doing a long post. ;)

Lowercase:

a: Left side of top terminal has a strange bulge on it. Could use smoothening. I also don't like the bowl. Consider making the top part of the bowl more like how the bowl on the b joins the stem (i.e. bending slightly downwards and slimming down). The a is currently the only character that has such a bowl. Also the only top terminal that is diagonal.
b: I would lose the bottom serif on the b aswell.
c: The top terminal of the c is also bothering me a bit. Consider changing it so that it doesnt bend down as much as it does now (so make the top more like the bottom, but with a serif). Terminal serif maybe a bit short?
d: The bottom join of the bowl to the stem needs some more space, exactly like you did on the u.
e: It looks like the e is slightly rolling to the left. It probably only needs a tiny bit of tweaking here and there to counter this. I'm also not sure about the vertical cut-off on the bottom terminal, although it doesn't really break style or anything like that.
f: Try to bring the crossbar to the x-height. I understand why you placed it lower (I've done it too), but I don't think it's necessary in this case. Could it also have a similar top terminal as a and c?
g: Interesting shape, I do like it, but it needs some polishing. Eliason is probably right; it might be a bit too interesting for this typeface.
h: Might be slightly too narrow.
i: See 'u'
j: See 'u'
k: Top stroke is too heavy. Bottom one should be heavier than top one. I also think the k is too wide.
m: Might be slightly too narrow.
n: Might be slightly too narrow.
p: Bottom serif on the side of the bowl could be longer (to the right) This makes the letter stand stronger on it's 'feet' (your r has exactly what I mean).
q: Use it as reference for the b.
r: The ear is way too long. It needs to be at least 50% shorter.
s: The spine (the middle, diagonal part) needs to be heavier. It has to have the same optical (not mathematical) weight as your heaviest available stroke.
t: Crossbar, see f. Also the vertical cut-off again on lower right, looks kind of harsh.
u: The pointed tops of the u extend above the x-hight (overshoot). Yet, you don't do this on the i, j, m, n, p and r. Probably better to make that consistently the same. It can probably use some overshoot, judge by eye.
v: I can't really decide, but it looks like it might be slightly too wide. Also a bit of balance, i.e. it leans to the right.
w: Can't judge it well, can't seem to find any in the lipsum texts. Middle apex might be leaning to the right.
x: Looks pretty good, although the lines crossing each other needs to be optically corrected. See this thead for what I mean.
y: Also pretty good, although the tail is quite fragile.
z: Is a bit heavy, because of the horizontals.

Uppercase:

A: The left stroke is heavier on the top than on the bottom (it flares). Also the crossbar may be a bit too high. It does not need to be the same as the e etc., make it optically right. I feel it should be a bit lower. Look at weight of crossbar.**
C: Compared to the O and Q, the D might be narrow.*
D: Compared to the O and Q, the D might be narrow.*
E: Look at weight of crossbar.**
F: Look at weight of crossbar.**
G: Compared to the O and Q, the D might be narrow.*
H: Can't judge it in context, but it looks a bit narrow. Look at weight of crossbar.**
K: Same critiques as with the lowercase k. Top arm a bit too heavy. Character width needs looking at.
P: Maybe it looks better if the bottom part of the stroke - where it joins the stem - slightly thins down. Also the heavy part of the bowl seems to be on the bottom right, while for the rest the weight is mostly vertical.
R: I would probably attach the leg/tail directly to the 5-o-clock position on the bowl, instead of making it come from the stem (so bascially an edited P with a leg/tail).
S: Too much weight on te shoulders (the two parts that look like hooks :p ), the weight should be on the spine. See lowercase s comments.
V: See lowercase v comments.
W: Much too narrow. Proportion the V and W to each other like you did with the lowercase.
X: See lowercase x comments.
Z: See lowercase z comments. Look at horizontals.**

* If you want classic proportions.
** Should probably be optically the same weight.

jonathanhughes's picture

Wow, thanks for the critiques. I'll work on an update and post it soon.

thanks!

Jonathan

Quincunx's picture

No problem.

With the uppercase I want to add something: 'Compared to the O and Q, the D, G and C might be narrow'. You have to judge this by eye. :)

jonathanhughes's picture

I've finally gotten around to making some updates (I updated the attached file in the first post). I've attempted to make most (if not all -- I need to ind my notes) of the suggested changes. I've also made numerous other adjustments (including making the serifs a bit longer -- they seemed too stubby). I've also added numbers.

thanks!

Jonathan

buddhaboy's picture

Jonathan, I'd be really interested to see a copy of the early PDF before you made all the amendments detailed in this thread - as I'm studying hard, and also trying to create my first typeface, I'd find it very interesting to see the transformation. If you don't want to post it here, please PM :) many thanks.

p.s. I'll be happy if my attempt turns out half as good as yours!

Steve

jonathanhughes's picture

Hi Steve.

Let me look around to see if I can find the old PDF. If I can't, i can always generate a new one using an old version of the font. PM me your e-mail address so i can send it.

Thanks for the compliment!

Jonathan

eliason's picture

It'd be useful, if you're willing, to repost it to the first message so anyone can see.

jonathanhughes's picture

I've made more adjustments and posted it in the original post. So the previous PDF (example 9) incorporates many (of not all) of the suggestions in this thread. The most recent PDF (example 10) incorporates many other refinements. I've been fine tuning many of the characters and also changed the shape of all the serifs (they're a little thicker now and don't have vertical ends).

I haven't had a chance to redo the PDF with the original version, but I'll post that as soon as I can get to it.

Jonathan

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