Besides the g

Marcelo Soler's picture

Hi, TPh's! This is a glyph I've been working for a while and need some help in deciding which trend to follow, if there's one:
---excuse me by relating the image---

  • #1 is the most 'normal', being the loop dominates the width
  • #2 is a variation I like: the link is wider than the loop (which is narrower) by its left side
  • #3 is similar to #1, except for the inflection in the link
  • #4 –quirky– is similar to #2 (narrower loop), but the sharp link

Forgive the noticeable imbalances: it is the shape as a whole what I'm trying to choose among these.
I guess the upper counter and the ear work fine for a text font, even though I need to refine the contrasts and the overweight in junctions, but there'll be time to.
Here I post a PDF for better inspection.

MarS

AttachmentSize
my_g.pdf2.52 KB
my_g-evolution.pdf1.61 KB
Typophile.pdf38.71 KB
KindaTest.pdf41.71 KB
SpringKindaTest.pdf42.05 KB
Marcelo Soler's picture

And a new turn on the stupid "g":

MarS

speter's picture

One thing about the g, seeing it in the latest pdf (which I've now printed), is that the right side of the tail should come up more. En masse on the page, it looks a little droopy now.

And congratulations on the new ampersand. Very nice!

eliason's picture

I agree on both points.

nina's picture

Hrant, I realize now my post was probably ambiguous, and I apologize.
Indeed what you said on the "g" does not need clarification (at least not right now, though of course everything is always intensifiable, and you know I'm always wanting food for thought); but in this case I was wondering about the ampersand, whose closed structure I believe you referred to as an "unintelligent anachronism".

hrant's picture

The ampersand's case is pretty close to that of the "g" actually. Having the top closed, and then making the "stroke" continue into the bottom is just noise; it makes the glyph alien (without the benefit of pulling it away from anything else). That structure comes from ease of writing, which is pointless in type. Having a beak on top is more salient, and allows the top counter to participate more. In fact, I have previously tried getting rid of the arm coming up from the bottom as well! There is one font that does this*, and quite well, but I haven't managed to do it properly myself yet.

* http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/agfa/script-mt/

All that said, this does not mean that every font must have an open-top ampersand - because functionality is only one factor (although perhaps the primary one, in my book). Patria for example has features that intentionally lower its readability, but contribute to its atmosphere.

hhp

Marcelo Soler's picture

[...] the right side of the tail should come up more [...]
I thought of it. I was avoiding that unconsciously, perhpas afraid of matching the ordinary horizontal stroke. As you say, it looks (and behaves) droppy.
I have a previous unpublished alternative, here on the right side:


I realize the gap is narrow (Muzz you'll adore it, mate!!! Ain't it????? Ah???), but think it may work anyway, since it's not smaller than those in the "BPR". The old new "g" seems to be sharper, as well. I'll post a PDF for inspecting.

MarS

nina's picture

"Having the top closed, and then making the “stroke” continue into the bottom is just noise; it makes the glyph alien"

Alien? To what? To the structure of the Latin alphabet?
I'm assuming you're not using the word as opposed to familiarity. I'm not subscribing to Emigre's maxim either (you know I like Patria). But while the closed loop is indeed not "pulling [the ampersand] away from anything else", does it not matter at all that it's probably closest (I'm surmising), for the reader, to some abstract notion of "what an ampersand looks like" – and I'd think, a bit more crucially so than the issue of the "g"'s tail being closed or not?* So this open ampersand needs to overcome a (small) initial threshold of "newness" for the reader, no?

* I agree that the design of type should be largely independent from ideas (ideals) of strokes and writing. But I'm not quite convinced that people (as in, normal end-users/readers) don't think of lettershapes, even when they're printed, in terms of "how they'd write it" – which would make a difference as to how they will perceive a non-chirographic shape. And in the open ampersand, you actually break the stroke ("the thing they may think of as a stroke") in half. Whereas in the "g" you basically only change the ending, which is less brutal to a chirographic "reading" of type, and therefore maybe less noticeable?

Though of course the ampersand is probably the prime example of a glyph that's open to interpretation. And I'm not arguing against this open form, for the record. I see your points, and I actually quite like the shape. I'm just trying to see the pros and cons (in terms of functionality; of course there's always aesthetic considerations).
FWIW, that ampersand from Script MT does seem to get pretty close to the limits of being identifiable as what it is, at least for me.

Marcelo Soler's picture

FWIW, that ampersand from Script MT does seem to get pretty close to the limits of being identifiable as what it is, at least for me.


I agree with Nina. It's quite more similar to an Aleph than to an Ampersand (originally a ligature for the latin term "et", that is, "and" in English, "y" in Spanish, or more closely "et" in French or "e" in Portuguese, though time and usage had made their work...) :-|

MarS

Quincunx's picture

I agree, very close to the limits of being identifiable as what it is.

William Berkson's picture

I think the general shape of both your ampersands is fine. The problem I have with both is that the joins are treated differently--the top much more pinched, which to me looks unbalanced. You can get away with differences if they are at different angles, but these are more or less the same...

Marcelo Soler's picture

You can get away with differences if they are at different angles, but these are more or less the same...
Yeap, but the upper comes from an inflection, while the lower does not get into one.
Probably it's yet unbalanced, being it's just born. I'll work on joins closer.
In the meanwhile, I just can offer that:

MarS

speter's picture

Can we get a new pdf with the new g in text? I'm finding that to be the only way I can judge the refinements.

hrant's picture

Nina, you're reminding me of me!

> does it not matter at all that it’s probably closest (I’m surmising),
> for the reader, to some abstract notion of “what an ampersand looks like”

I think two things tugging at a glyph are: belonging in a visual dictionary; and being decipherable. And while the former seems pretty literal/formal, the latter is pretty nebulous (meaning that deciphering a glyph involves recognizing enough hazy bits). So maybe something like that ampersand structure that I favor "belongs" very well while still exhibiting all the necessary hazy bits. But honestly I'm not pretending this is a highly robust argument with solid evidence; my stance derives in a large part from instinct: the closed binocular "g" and the old-fashioned ampersand simply seem pointlessly complex, alien.

> I’m not quite convinced that people (as in, normal end-users/readers)
> don’t think of lettershapes, even when they’re printed, in terms of
> “how they’d write it”

I honestly have to think that during immersive reading there's absolutely no room for a reader to consider the ease of writing of individual glyphs. Our reading system cannot be bothered by such irrelevances - it is like a hungry wild animal.

And really, who ever writes like any font anyway! We don't reproduce serifs, stroke contrast, etc. Could we really be extracting and evaluating numerous "skeletons" in a fraction of a second at 10 point? Nevermind that 2/3-rds of the field of vision is in the blurry parafovea.

hhp

Bendy's picture

I'm finding the tail serif of the g is angled too tightly into the curve and could perhaps follow a shape more like the tail serif on s. Does anyone else think that?

I love the idea of the missing-armed ampersand, but wouldn't it look totally weird in a font like this?

I much prefer your new open one. Good work :)

nina's picture

Hrant :-) Thanks! That was a highly interesting elaboration.

I was probably stuck in the skeleton model to some degree as far as character recognition goes (that "abstract notion" of what a given character "looks like"). But you make some excellent points! The model of a "dictionary" of somewhat fuzzy shapes that a (more often than not, also "blurry") glyph is matched up against, does seem a lot more plausible than anything involving abstract skeletons.

But, what is in the dictionary? Isn't that where the factor of familiarity comes in?
I realize this might be splitting hairs, but with not a huge lot of open-topped ampersands around, I'd assume the reader might still have a tiny little threshold initially to "amend the dictionary", so to speak? (Though the ampersand is probably a bad example, since that particular dictionary entry is atypically broad and fuzzy anyway.)

Hope Marcelo doesn't mind this lil' tangent.

eliason's picture

I’m finding the tail serif of the g is angled too tightly into the curve and could perhaps follow a shape more like the tail serif on s. Does anyone else think that?

That would be more daring, certainly. As angled now (and especially as tightened closer with the most recent edits), that serif approximates an unseriffed, barely-open loop (like Baskerville's 'g'), which "normalizes" the open structure. An 's'-like serif will be truer to the rest of the font but I suspect might make the 'g' stand out too much. But I think it's worth a try.

(How many 'g's can we get Marcelo to draw!? :-)

hrant's picture

Making the serif come too close to the body is exactly the
sort of the Baskervillian apologism that we don't need.

> But, what is in the dictionary? Isn’t that
> where the factor of familiarity comes in?

The way I use "familiarity" doesn't mesh that way with the
idea of a dictionary. To me the former works at the level of
bouma* recognition (something formed over years of reading
a lot of different fonts) while the latter works at the level of
a given font.

* Noting that letters are special-case boumas.

hhp

Marcelo Soler's picture

I've found that beginning by the "g" is not a bad start, though I wonder if ending is reachable ;-S
MarS

Marcelo Soler's picture

After a short break, I'll post a PDF. Until that, I imagined another "g":


Though it sligthly drops some units down, I guess that fact won't be noticeable, but will gain in "fitness" and enlarge the gap in the tail.
Hope you agree.

MarS

Marcelo Soler's picture

New PDF for Typophiles. Hope it'd help.


(Oh, BTW, my "q" lost a serif...)

MarS

nina's picture

Hrant, old patterns of thinking sure take force to overcome even when the conscious mind learns and understands! :-/

BTW, you might like this cool (if top-heavy) bottom-arm-less ampersand:
http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/insigne/pauline/

***

Marcelo, for what it's worth, the sample looks good to me. Personally, I might make the tail a tiny bit more open (possibly just shortening the serif by a hair) – but, apart from the fact that you know I'm not exactly a pro in this, I think the important thing is: Does it look/feel right to you?

I'm not meaning to be unhelpful by any measure. But I'd humbly suggest this: Once you feel it is good to your eyes, and right for the font (and this might still take you a little bit of time to find out), I think you shouldn't obsess over getting everyone here to agree on the placement of every node. If you do, I suspect this might merrily go on until 2012 or so. ;-)
I know it can be hard. FWIW, I'm currently at this point with my "g": I was told it doesn't work. But I know the basic shape is right for me; so I won't question it right now. That helps. BTW, I think it also helps to know/argue why.

Oh, BTW, my “q” lost a serif...
I wonder where that comes from. ;-)

Marcelo Soler's picture

Thanks, Nina!
Actually, I'm stealing some ideas from Fontana's Andralis, where I'm digging in search of strange solutions to letterforms (BTW, look at his Ampersand), though my cuasi-models are italic.

MarS

Marcelo Soler's picture

Oops!
It seems that last maintenance tasks erased some pix.
Right above that, it should be seen this one:


Wait for critiques... ;-)

MarS

Quincunx's picture

Pics shouldn't be erased, they will reappear when they are cached again.

[edit] I see they already reappeared. :)

Marcelo Soler's picture

Pics shouldn’t be erased, they will reappear when they are cached again.
Actually, they don't appear in the server anymore.
Say, http://typophile.com/cms/files/quirky_6534.png (the picture I needed to replace), produces a 404 server error: "The content you are looking for is likely here, but no longer at the URL you specified".
So, it's not a caché problem, I guess.
Thanks, anyway,

MarS

Stefan Seifert's picture

I like your open ‘g’!
Go on with that!

Stefan

Stefan Seifert's picture

PS

Very good font, it seems to me!

Marcelo Soler's picture

Thank you, Stefan!
Here it goes an overview of its current UC/lc state:


MarS

eliason's picture

Looking good.
Should you spread the bottom of W wider? I'd look at that (maybe particularly moving that right lower vertex rightward). It will look more balanced and will probably fit better with the next letter, too.

hrant's picture

The bar of the "e" is too light.
And the bar of the "H" as well.

hhp

Marcelo Soler's picture

Should you spread the bottom of W wider?
Good point. I'll make some tries on that.

The bar of the “e” is too light. And the bar of the “H” as well.
Absolutely light. I was trying to make them curvy... started by punching on the original bars, and forgot to replace them by the alternate results. Actually, a bad mistake. Thanks, Hrant. Those are the results:

MarS

Marcelo Soler's picture

I've been working on the "W" in order to unify criteria.
That's what I've made by now:

About the acute encounters and inktraps, I've faced a transitional solution that will change into my "v"'s counter vertex:

Thanks for your help in advance.

MarS

Stefan Seifert's picture

Hey Marcelo,

what happened with this beautiful font?
Did you sell it?

Would like to hear about it.

Best wishes
Stefan

Martin Silvertant's picture

I want to know as well. I just Googled your name and I can't find any releases. Is this your first typeface which got to this stage? Why hasn't it been released yet? It's one of the most powerful serif designs I've ever seen so naturally I would love to see this released.

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