Arhaic Cali - please critique

Florinf's picture

Hello everybody,

I have found a typeface used in a book title that I liked. The book was printed around 1930. I thought I would create a font for those Archaic Romanian letters. Below is the source.

For the letters tat were missing I had to create them myself. I would like to know your oppinion.

The red letters are my creation.

Please tell me what you think.

I also have another font preview and requesting critique here:

Queneau's picture

That's one hell of a font :) Looks like a folk dance!

I think it looks really interesting, and pretty weird too. Good job! Some characters that still need a little work imo are the M, N and H: I think they might still be a bit too stiff and straight to fit with the others. The curve on the N is nice, but I the heavy vertical lines and the slab serifs may be a bit too ordinary. You might want to experiment a little more with that.

A problem of a different order are the U and V. They look really nice, but it's hard to recognise them, especially the U. Maybe there is another solution to distinguish these characters be keep them readable.

Do you want to use this font for anything in particular? It would be interesting to see this font in use!

cheerio Queneau

Bendy's picture

Hm, very interesting. I haven't seen anything like this before and I wonder where the caligraphy evolved from?

I especially like the A and L. I think your K and S work really well. I'm not sure the tight curves on N fit with the rather lemon-shaped curves of the other glyphs and I think it could be wider. Z seems to need more weight. I wonder if Y could have a tail like on the L? Would O and Q work with a dot in the middle (like your full-stop)? I'm not sure about the tail on Q. U looks like a non-Latin glyph.

Florinf's picture

Hello Queneau,

Thank you for your comments.
I forgot to mention this is work in progress and only a first draft so I agree there are thinks to improve. That's why I need your oppinion.
I will adjust them and get back with the results.

If you like these kind of Archaic Romanian typefaces you can see more on my blog at: Those were already created as fonts and are available for free on some free fonts sites.

These fonts are hard to use because of their connection to a specific time in Romanian history but still they are currently used on books related to Orthodox church, Romanian history and tradition, Romanian greeting cards and so on. They are all just a narrow niche. I don't know if they could be useful for something else.

Thank you very much for your comment.

Florinf's picture

Hello Bendy,

You are right. These was a time in romanian history when all the books were written in slavonic language with chyrilic letters. Later only the letters were used although romanian language normally uses Latin letters. So they became a sort of decorative typefaces that have a certain historic and traditional feel.

I will try your suggestions and come back with the corrections.

Thank you very much for your comment.

Please check and critique my other font, not inspired by the Old Romanian typefaces.
It's called Friends and is entirely my creation

Florinf's picture

I also have a more geometric approach to the Arhcaic Romanian typeaces here: it's called Arhaic Geo.

Please check it and comment/critique.

Thank you.

Florinf's picture

OK. I have tried to correct them, also adjust them so that they have not so geometric serifs. I still left the original (black) letter untounched.

I have also tested the Y with the L tail.

And the O and Q with a dot (full stop) in them.

I'm curious to know what do you think.
Thank you.

Queneau's picture


I think the N, M & H are certainly better. I like the quirky serifs! The new open U is also better, though it still is a difficult character to recognise. The O with dot looks nice too, but I would try to differentiate a bit more between the O and the Q. Maybe you could try to remove the bottom serif of the Q, or build the foot (or whatever you call the little thingy on the Q) from the serif. It's a bit too subtle now, IMO. The new Y with tail is also very nice, it's a keeper!

The one thing I would now try is to implement the new serifs in all letters (also in the black originals), I think it's okay if you deviate a bit from your example, if it makes a better font.

Good luck!

cheerio Queneau

Bendy's picture

Wow, MNO look great! I'm especially pleased with M. Looks like it a lowercase m in disguise.
I think CEGOQ need to be taller: even though you have based them on the existing ones, they seem to be much shorter because of the shapes.
U is still a difficult shape. On your blog, the second picture has an interesting U shape but it's still recognisable; perhaps you could do something similar? (But I really like the point on the bottom of your existing one)
I think the dots work well in O and Q. But I think the Q needs a much fancier tail. Q doesn't appear in any of the alphabets on your blog, I assume there was no need for Q in those days. So you have a lot of freedom to invent something new.
X troubles me slightly. The curved crossbar seems quite heavy but then narrows into the terminals when normally the opposite would be true. I think it's worth playing with the contrast of both strokes and even perhaps making both of them curves instead of one straight?
I wonder what a lowercase would feel like for this. It would be very exciting to invent one I think :)

There are some lovely images on your blog btw. I really like the photoshop-calligraphy images.

Jongseong's picture

This is really interesting and something I haven't seen before, and I find your blog fascinating as well.

I actually would recognize your first U better than your second U, familiar as I am with the form as the Greek ou ligature, also used in early Cyrillic. Consider your audience; if this design is intended for those who are already familiar with early Romanian letterforms, then don't be afraid to use shapes that they would expect. You can offer more familiar forms as alternates for the sake of outsiders, but I hope you don't abandon traditional shapes entirely because those not versed in the tradition have trouble recognizing them.

Florinf's picture

First of all I want to thank you all.
Very usefull comments.

I think I will post the Slavonic alphabet that was used in Romania so you can see the letter shapes. They used to write in slavonic and used these letters and later wrote in romanian with some adapted letters (like the latin alphabet, romanian language is using latin letters). After 1860 only latin letters were used. These old letter shapes were scarcely used, mostly in orthodox / religious books.

This is a sample of a manuscript.
The printed books have similar lettershapes.

Then I will show you the adjustments I did in a separate post.

Florinf's picture

Here are the adjustments I did.

The variants for Q. Indeed it was not needed for romanian language.
Even now, the only use is for neologisms.

Next, the letter Y had a too narrow space between the tail and the left arm so I have adjusted it a bit.

All the letters will have the similar serifs now.

For the letter A I thought it was a bit too geometric and also adjusted it a bit to be more round and similar to the others.

What do you think so far?

Great comment. Thank you very much.
I am trying to adjust the shapes so that they stay as traditional as possible.
I am not planning to have latin letters too far away from these Slavonic shapes.
Very good observation on the letter U as these are the early Cyrillic letter forms adopted in XVI century and used until XIX.

Thank you.

mr's picture

I like the third A. The last Q looks like a cyclops smoking a pipe :).

This is very interesting work, and I'll be following as you work on it.

Florinf's picture

Hello Max,

Thank you for your comments.
I was also thinking the last A is more similar to the other letters.
Interesting observation of the cyclop smoking a pipe. :)
Thanks again.

Florinf's picture


I think CEGOQ need to be taller...

It is true and I have enlarged them. This is so far the whole alphabet.

X troubles me slightly. The curved crossbar seems quite heavy but then narrows into the terminals when normally the opposite would be true. I think it’s worth playing with the contrast of both strokes and even perhaps making both of them curves instead of one straight?

In this typeface the strokes are narrowing toward their ends. On others (like those on my blog they are indeed getting wider. Still, I have done some tests for the X.

I wonder what a lowercase would feel like for this. It would be very exciting to invent one I think :)

Yes, i would like to do them. There will be the lowercase archaic too. I will post them as soon as they will be ready.

There are some lovely images on your blog btw. I really like the photoshop-calligraphy images.

Thank you. I'm glad you like them.

Thank you for your comments.


I had some more feed-back and here are the adjustments I did.

Please tell me what you think of the new updates.

Thank you.

Bendy's picture

Y looks really nice now; the last one suits me best. I like your black M best, with the low middle. Perhaps the middle stem could be concave?

Your experiment with X is certainly interesting. Which one do you think fits with the font best, and looks most like it's from the same era? I personally like the first and third new ones. The original one seemed to have a problem with stress.

Does S need to be taller too?

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