Ernestine, a wide slab

nina's picture

Dear Typophiles,

Here is the first version of the lowercase alphabet of my first typeface*, Ernestine**. Backstory is here.

* I have made a little family of bitmap fonts before, but I'm not counting this here because Curves Are Hard.
** See below.

The intended use for this is twofold, my main focus being small text (thanks to Hrant, as well as Hans Jörg Hunziker in class, for bringing this idea to mind); the other, possibly, display: The plan is to first finish this "base" cut shown above, and then deduce two additional optical sizes from it, which will likely be of more practical use than the base itself. First, an optically corrected small size cut with more weight & looser spacing; intended point size is 3 to 8*. And second, if time permits, a display cut with less weight & more detail.

* Some quick experiments with ink traps, opened counters, and the like revealed that this can be surprisingly legible at 3pt, and rather comfortable at 4.

I'd be very grateful for crits, and any opinions really. I've been *very* immersed in this over the past couple of weeks or so, so I presume I don't really see most of the issues myself. (I must say a monoline typeface really seems to be quite a beast to try to tackle, too.) Spacing btw is still quite preliminary.

** Oh, and the name. Ernestine is the working title that I kind of got stuck on. I think it matches the feel of this rather nicely, but the word looks uh, suboptimal (very long, and somewhat boring) when set in the typeface, so I'm open for different naming ideas that would also look good. :-)

So, I'm throwing her out there. Please don't hold back, and don't be gentle for the sake of it: I'm trying to learn, and I'm wanting to actually make this usable.


nina's picture

Craig, I don't really want to put that full specimen online, especially now that it's out of date. But I'll gladly mail you one if you give me a ground address to use. And I'll likely post a new, updated PDF soon. But some things (like that "j") are just too early to seriously put up for crits.
(Oh, there's also going to be a new print specimen, as the Very Final Extra-Late Additional Presentation for my type design class will be on in three weeks. If you want one let me know. I'll probably get a few extra printed.)

I'll look at that "G" again Ben. You think "Tr" still has room? I had to kern "Tu" recently and that was No Fun. But maybe I'm being too cautious with my baby font. BTW that specimen doesn't have any kerning at all, as far as I remember, or maybe only "Ve" and "Vo" and a couple of obvious things like that.

The curly braces have bevels, but I guess they're still too sharp.
Thanks for the pointer on the pound sign!

"What’s your current feeling on the original Q? (I mean don’t just change it on my account!)"
You weren't the only one; it's now a small crowd that doesn't seem very convinced about the "Q". I can see where the criticism comes from, although frankly now I'm just not sure what I think.
Bookman? That looks a bit like what I have now. But yeah, like the tail of the "g" mirrored perhaps? A bit curvier than now, and possibly with a ball. I'll need to play around with it, it was just a thought really, not much node-pushing done yet.

nina's picture

Returning here to finally announce that FF Ernestine has just been released by the awesome FSI:

Some surprises in there for those who don't know yet. The glyph set has grown a lot, including an Armenian companion that Hrant has drawn. There's an Italic, a ton of other stuff, go have a look :-)

I've made a micro site with some showings and background info:

Bendy's picture

Fantastically good work. Love it. Congratulations again!

Andreas Stötzner's picture


dezcom's picture


eliason's picture

Wonderful to see! You should put a thread in the Releases forum too.

Sindre's picture

Congratulations! And congratulations to Hrant too, he must not be forgotten. May Ernestine make you both rich and famous.

hrant's picture

Thanks guys! And thanks most of all to Nina for trusting in me.


nina's picture

Thank you all. I'm pretty overwhelmed right now. Thanks especially to Hrant who has been a super designer and person to work with.

Craig: Good point! Trying to make a Release thread but getting server errors all the time. I'm working on it, I guess.

dezcom's picture


I think Release notification threads need approval by one of the moderators. They are all on West Coast time so their day is just beginning :-)

dezcom's picture

Bravo to you. too, Hrant!!! That is super looking Armenian!

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