Apollonia - a serif

stw's picture

Hi everybody,

Here´s a new serif I´m working on. I would appreciate it very much if you could take a look at it and tell me what you think. Any feedback is welcome.

AttachmentSize
_001.pdf65.53 KB
_002.pdf60.83 KB
_003.pdf46.71 KB
_numerals_001.pdf210.19 KB
daniele capo's picture

Ok, I say what I think:

- The serifs of the lowercase have a peculiar shape, I would like to see the same kind of logic applied to the capitals too.
- I would also try to make the foot serifs of n,m, etc. more asymmetric.
- I think you can also try different alternatives for Q, maintaining the same concept of a single movement.

nina's picture

This is looking good! What's it for? I'm assuming text (and looking at the vertical metrics, I'm guessing books rather than newspapers)? It'd be great to have a bit more info.

Here are a few comments, be sure to have salt ready.

It's great to see bdpq executed like this. If you don't mind telling, where do these come from (read, what other fonts were you looking at while making them)?

I really like the "a" too – it's beautiful.

I wonder about the terminals on the "c", "f" and "r" (the latter seems a bit too soft/bulbous/stubby in context). Have you tried using it on the "s" as well? Because with its rather long straight serifs, the "s" looks surprisingly hard/determined/closed in comparison. Then again, comparing with the caps (see below) maybe the "s" is cool, and it's that c/f/r terminal that is too soft?

I'm not sure about the "k"; it looks beautiful by itself, but seeing it in text* I'm wondering if the leg might need more air.
* Assuming this is meant for text.

Looking at the caps: Is it intentional that they're notably spikier/"harder" than the lowercase? The "C" looks especially Dracula-esque ;-). (It might also be leaning left a bit.)

There seems to be something slightly lopsided about the weight/contrast on the "M". Also, the heavy diagonal of the "A" might be a hair heavier than say the one on the "N"?

The "Q" is an interesting experiment! Something slightly Non-Latin-looking about it. But it doesn't quite work for my eyes yet. It has a slightly uncomfortable lean/twist, and looks kind of large; the tail may also be looping up a bit too much, almost clashing with say a following "u".

"T" might be a bit wide? Also, I think your "To" is overkerned.

"W" might be a bit heavy (though it might just look like that on my printout), and slightly unbalanced.

By the way, please switch off automatic ligatures in InDesign when making your samples as long as you don't have any. ;-)

I'm beginning to note some interesting stylistic confluences in the Serif board. Must be something in the air. :-)
I'll be curious to see this progress.

Bendy's picture

Hi Steven
This is looking pretty polished already. It definitely looks friendly and useable. I love the proportions and design. There's a nice amount of space overall (because I'm currently struggling with spacing in my font!). Your a reminds me a bit of Chaparral.
The two things that jump out at me are your Q and the vertical serifs. The Q I think could try a straighter southwest curve and tail. The vertical serifs on CEFGSTZs and z seem too straight to me, especially against the curves serifs of adhijklmnpqr and u. I'm not sure what the solution is, but perhaps they need to be wider and/or shorter?
Could W be a touch wider or Z narrower? Could the knee of k be a bit lower? I love the shape.
The capitals with curves look like their sidebearings might be a bit wide.
The two heavy strokes of M are not balanced, I think. L looks narrow.
Well done with this, it'll be really nice :)

clauses's picture

Hi Steven. Not looking too shabby. I would increase the contrast and slim the letterforms, it's fine that they are on the dark side, but this is too much. That done I would redo the metrics, it's a mess!

hrant's picture

Is this intended as the regular weight or the demi?

FYI, there's already a font named Apollonia, although it's Greek (actually it's my favorite Greek font) and might not have a Latin component.

hhp

stw's picture

Thank you so far for your comments. I have uploaded a new PDF (_002.pdf) and changed some points you mentioned. The major changings are at the k and Q shown at the picture. Also I tried to correct the diagonal contrast a bit and the sidebearings of the round capitals.

I designed the font for small sizes from about 7 to 9 points. This is the regular weight but maybe I should make a little lighter version and make the semibold versionout of this!?

I wanted to achieve a calligraphic, fresh and smooth look but on the other hand it should have a classic and not too clean apperance. Fonts I looked at were mostly Rialto, Maiola, Palatino and Dolly.

"cfr" have pen shaped terminals and the "s" have a single sided serif like in venetian faces. If I would change the serif of the "s" and make it pen shaped like "cfr" the "z" would be the only letter that matches the spured serifs of the capitals.

And thanx Hrant for warning me about the name Apollonia. Maybe someone has a better name for it. I am grateful for every suggestion.

hrant's picture

> I designed the font for small sizes from about 7 to 9 points.

Then the color might just be nicely darkish for a Regular.
But the x-height has to be much bigger.

> Maybe someone has a better name for it.

Maybe something to do with smallness.

hhp

stw's picture

I checked a few fonts that have optical sizes intended to be used for setting captions. Most of them have a x-height from about 63 to 66% of the cap-height. Mine has got 64%. Do you really think it is too small? I think it looks quit readable printed on an inkjet-printer. I couldn't test it on a laserprinter yet.

hrant's picture

> I checked a few fonts that have optical sizes
> intended to be used for setting captions.

Were they Adobe fonts? Because many people think they're watered down in terms of optical scaling. Or perhaps they were wide fonts? That reduces the x-height necessity; but your design is a bit on the narrow side. In my view 60-something percent is for normal text sizes (for a narrowish design).

hhp

stw's picture

I have taken a look at them again and I think they are really a bit wider than my design. I guess that means that this design is only usable for sizes about 10 to 12 points, but that means that it is too dark for this sizes. So I have to make this design the semibold and make a lighter regular version!?!

hrant's picture

> So I have to make this design the semibold
> and make a lighter regular version!?!

That, or one of these two:
1) Just make the x-height larger.
2) Make a statement (à la Smeijers) that text fonts should be much darker than they are. But of course you'd have to believe that first. I actually do myself, but maybe not that dark. Or maybe yes indeed.

BTW, you really have to end up making at least two weights
anyway, so that interrobang-and-a-half is uncalled for. :-)

hhp

stw's picture

So I made 2 test and couldn't decide now. Which one do you think works better? Or are they okay or do I have to make them much bigger/wider?

The "Ihx" on the left is the old one.
In the "Ihx" in the middle, the x-height is the same but it is wider.
The right one has a larger x-height but the same width as the original.

I also made the ascenders a bit higher.

Marcelo Soler's picture

To my eyes, your last try works the best (even without regarding previous comments).
It'd be good to see a PDF if you decide to follow that way.
Just to see how it looks, I'd cut off inner serif (as you did in th "Y") in the "x", or at least those of the wide stroke.

MarS

Quincunx's picture

I like it. At first glance the s seems to be a bit narrow, but especially a bit too light compared to the other characters. I'll have to take a better look at he PDF later.

hrant's picture

Well, both* can work, but first you should decide the intended point size of the design; although the process of designing will always reveal unexpected useful directions, eventually you to have make willful decisions on them. So the necessary darkness, proportions and spacing will come out only once you make the intended size decision.

* And there's a third option: lightening. Although I'm starting to think that maybe it's not impractically dark after all.

hhp

nina's picture

Wow, you've gone from a *very* gutsy (if slightly uncomfortable) "Q" to a *very* classical one. The new one works (though the tail feels maybe too soft and "lyrical" in context?), but it does feel like a very "safe" way to go.

stw's picture

So, I decided to let her grow. You can see the bigger "Apollonia" in _003.pdf

Hope you like it!?

stw's picture

And I changed the "x"

Thank you for your suggestion Marcelo. I think it looks much better now.

Marcelo Soler's picture

Great!
I like the steps you walked on with your font.
Now it addresses a better weight and character.
When it is time, you'll need to face some hinting 'cause at smaller sizes it looks very weird (IMO). In the meanwhile, nevermind.
Your "x" looks beautiful.

MarS

stw's picture

I've made some numerals.

For a better look on them, I uploaded a pdf (_numerals_001.pdf) too.

And: Yes, the face looks really weird in smaller sizes. I tried autohinting but it doesnt't look better. I have to do it manually later. Even if I don't know how to do it!? Is there a how to hint anywhere!? I searched the web but could't find anything.

Bendy's picture

What happens if you take off the foot serif from the 4? It looks a bit dark to me. Otherwise the numerals are really attractive, reminding me of Dolly.

stw's picture

I also tried it without a serif. I doesn't like it that much. I think the 4 with the serif fits better to the alphabet and to the old fashioned 01.

Marcelo Soler's picture

I agree with you that the serif is appropriate, though your "4" need some weight-loss as Ben points.
MarS

stw's picture

Made a new 4...

I think it works a bit better now?! Or do you think it still needs some weight loss!?

The bottom is the new one.

And the red outline is the new one.

Bendy's picture

I prefer the original proportions, though the new one has better weight. I think the vertical stroke may need to be slightly narrower.

stw's picture

After some sleep, I added the umlauts, the esszett, ligatures and the exclamation- and questionmark. The 4 comes back later...

hrant's picture

That bar on the eszet is so 20th century.

hhp

stw's picture

Mmmhh. Think it looks better without bar... Thank you hrant :)

Bendy's picture

Beautiful! Question mark looks light, but a lovely shape.

Marcelo Soler's picture

Your question mark needs more stress to look perfect.
The "fi" ligature is too wonky to my eyes.
Th "fl" ligature is finer, but it needs to be much softer in the end.
Your last "ß" is better (I'd try by quitting the right serif, at the risk of appearing "seriphobic", though I'm not).

MarS

stw's picture

I changed the ligatures and the ? and I think they look nice now. But I'm really not sure about the ß?! I think the the old one looked better!?!

stw's picture

... doublepost ... sorry

nina's picture

I think I agree your old "ß" seemed to read better; the new one also looks kind of wide. (I'm actually rather fond of the crossbar in general, but agree that it works better in somewhat old-fashioned fonts, so it's probably a good thing you dropped it.)
I dig the "ö" – nice balance! I'm wondering if the dots could be a tiny bit bigger, but they do match the "i" tittle nicely (which is also on the smallish side).

stw's picture

The Umlauts are actually a little bit smaller than the i tittle.

nina's picture

Of course. I think they should be, too. But they're nicely balanced against the tittle.

Bendy's picture

This is all looking Wonderful! fi is especially elegant.

I would like the first eszett with the bar and inside serif, but I can't comment on letters I don't use. :)

Richard Shields's picture

Howdy. I like your work.

I wondered about the ligature, fi, and whether you will work on that?

Marcelo Soler's picture

It seems your progress improved as much the whole thing as the parts individually.
Except for the fact that it looks wide a bit, I'm unsure about the "ß": I think you'll find the best help in Nina; as Ben's told, I can't speak about a letter that is not usual for me (when I was a child I thought it was some kind of "B").
Your question mark and your "fi" look great.

MarS

stw's picture

I think I will go for the second ß without the bar and with right serif. In my opinon it looks better and fits to the concept (classical uppercase and modern lowercase).

And now, the lining figures and the old style figures to compare...

stw's picture

mhhh. After another look on them I think the lining figures look crappy. They seem to be too bold!? Don't know what happend there... Just ignore them. I have to fix them. But what do you think of the new 4, better now?

Bendy's picture

Sorry! :S I still find the 4's stem a bit dark. I really like the 3 and 6. The lining ones are a bit darker, I've never wondered about having different weights before but it makes sense for them to be slightly darker I think.

Bendy's picture

Definitely not crappy! :)

Quincunx's picture

The figures definitely aren't crappy. But they aren't very balanced either. There are optical black 'spots' all over the place. Pinch your eyes and you'll see them.

For the lining figures: The lower horizontal of the 2 is too heavy, The 4 is too heavy overall, but the stem especially. The right part of the bowl of the 5 is a bit too dark. The left side of the 6 seems to be a bit dark as well. The 8 is too heavy overall. For 9 the same as 6.

For the oldstyle figures: Lower horizontal stroke of the 2 is too heavy here as well. 4 is too heavy overall. Thinnest parts of the 5 might be slightly too thin. 8 slightly too heavy.

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