Ambicase Modern

eliason's picture

Inspired by the funky Romanian 'A's of the images posted by Florinf (for example here), I have begun to develop a single-case font. Where uppercase and lowercase conventional forms of a given letter differ, I've tried to make hybrid letters that borrow from both forms.

The results are far from graceful, but interesting and more readable than I expected. Does this have any potential?

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ambicasespecimen.pdf425.73 KB
ambicasespecimen9july.pdf433.44 KB
ambicasespecimen18july.pdf437.84 KB
ambicasespecimen1september.pdf449.61 KB
ambicasespecimen3september.pdf453.36 KB
ambicasespecimen13september.pdf464.87 KB
ambicasespecimen12january.pdf89.68 KB
ambicasespecimen14january.pdf92.59 KB
ambicasespecimen23january.pdf106.69 KB
ambicasespecimen4february.pdf121.29 KB
ambicasethicknesstest.pdf31.19 KB
ambicasespecimen11april.pdf226.54 KB
esandts.pdf20.2 KB
ambicasespecimen20July.pdf253.61 KB
riccard0's picture

I find the upward stroke of the “I” a little too abrupt.
Of the two Ds, I like the first one better.
The O could be smoother.

Miss Tiffany's picture

These aren't working for me. Are they trying to be lowercase n ?

The bowl is too flat at the bottom

The loop seems a little flat on the top.

This is A LOT of fun!

This seems too heavy for the size. :^| In the spine maybe?

I wonder if having this open in two spots is too much?

eliason's picture

Thanks for the suggestions Tiffany


B: This was the other possibility for B.init.
N: This is what the standard N looks like now. Those tailed ones you called out were an experiment that was abandoned.
P in the middle: Does this bottom of the bowl look better? I made the transition from curve to straight smoother, but I wanted to keep the stroke entering the stem horizontally if I can get it to look okay, because that's the nod to the capital P form here.
S: You were definitely right about the weight of this swash S. I've lightened and readjusted it a bit - not sure if the balance is right.
P at the end: I rounded the top.

eliason's picture

Would something like this work for the Eth?

Miss Tiffany's picture

Those changes work for me.

I still think the top half of the S is too far to the left. Not by much, but still...

riccard0's picture

That’s a very pierced eth…

nina's picture

I wonder if the eth isn't too tall now, if the bowl is already the full "cap" height? Have you tried making it flatter?
And I agree with Tiffany about the "S" FWIW.

eliason's picture

By flatter, do you just mean scaling down to fill only the cap height, like this? Or something different...


It IS very pierced, I agree. To temper that, I could either
- remove one of the crossbars
- remove one side of one or both of the crossbars
- reduce one side of one of both of the crossbars to a nub (akin to the suggestive little bits of A or N)
I'm willing to try any or all of these but I just don't know the letter well enough to know which would be most logical or least disconcerting.

nina's picture

Yes, that's what I meant by flatter. It's a bit small now, maybe make the bowl wider? You know, so it'd have sort-of the proportions of the lowercase eth but with the flat left side that makes it cap-y.
I agree it's a bit cluttered with all the bars. Briem says you *can* leave out the left side of the crossbar in the lowercase eth if there's no room for it, and also the right side of the cap crossbar. So maybe removing both "inner" parts might be interesting. (But as you know, I'm not a regular reader of eths either.)

eliason's picture


(1 and 2 are as above.)

nina's picture

Wow, something in the direction of #4 could be really cool. I like how it plays with the "invisible diagonal", as in your "N" & such.
You'd probably need an Icelandic or Faeroese person to test this though. I can't judge how recognizable it is…

riccard0's picture

I second #4, a little bit taller maybe (not as tall as #1, though).
But, of course, mine are only aesthetic considerations, given my utter ignorance of nordic orthography.

Bendy's picture

Craig, sorry I haven't given a crit of your latest revisions. I'm loving what you've done with all the swashes: excellent work, nicely drawn and very effective. In fact I'm finding it very hard to spot anything to crit! So my observations are about the non-swash shapes.

With your Eth, I think I find the uppercase section of it too small. Is it the same scale as the G?

There's something catching my eye about the spine of S. The curves seem to not quite be unified between upper and lower counters. Especially in the bottom right section.

I'm really liking some of the glyphs. ADEKNQ and Y are fantastic. B and R are not quite working for me. The top counter of B is such a strange shape it makes me worry about legibility. With R, the teardrop terminal gives the overall shape quite a high optical centre and I'd like to see what happens if that is brought down a bit.

Did you try a teardrop terminal on the top of Z?

Your braces and square brackets might look better more standard shapes.

Again, the swashes are *really* cool. Something a bit Art Nouveau, very classy.

eliason's picture

Thanks for the compliments and help, Ben.
The Eth uppercase section was smaller than G's (460units vs. 500). Lower line below shows it matched more closely.
Lower R shows dropped center (maybe a touch too far?).
Lower Z shows teardrop terminal - is that what you had in mind? Hmm.
You may be right about the brackets. I thought you liked my cho chaang B! ;-)
Can you clarify what you were saying about the S? I didn't follow that.

Bendy's picture

Hey, glad you found my comments useful :)
I think the Eth is definitely better proportioned like this. Could the ascender afford to be taller and steeper? Also I'm slightly fearful of its scythiness with such a sharp point. Could its left side bar curl up around to join into the arch of the uppercase bowl? (Just throwing ideas around again!)
R, yeah, maybe a touch too low but I think more R-like. What do you think?
Z. What about the teardrop on the bottom? Looks a bit far out from the spine at present.
S. Looking at the lower bowl, tt looks like the outer extremum needs to move down a notch, or the curve might need tightening. Do you have an inflection point in the centre of the spine? I'm not really quite sure what pokes my eye but there is something either too square or too hexagonal about it. Perhaps I'm just looking at it too long and my eyes have turned to nonsense. Don't put too much stock in what I say. Others might think it's perfect already.
:)

eliason's picture

Played with the loop idea for Eth. Fun but it's getting more complicated when it actually needs simplifying, I suppose.
And yeah, that top terminal has been horrible all along.

riccard0's picture

I like the R better, but now there is some sort of small cap quality about it.

Gary Lonergan's picture

I think this reads straight of as an A and adds to the quirky flavour

eliason's picture

@Gary: are you commenting on the last post of the first page? (We're on page 3 now!)

eliason's picture

Blowing the dust of Ambicase in the last week.

One problem I had was that the Y tail that came up into the x-height space prevented it from getting close to an A that it followed. So I'm trying out a contextual alternate: whenever Y follows A or L, it gets a shorter tail that allows it to sit closer.

It's uglier but fits better.

riccard0's picture

Have you tried to accomodate the tail under the preceding letter?

eliason's picture

I've created such a relatively small space for descenders - since the face mostly resides in the "cap height" zone, shorter extenders seemed appropriate - that I think there may not be room for a tail to go under the preceding letter and still curl back up. Perhaps I could rethink the terminal on the tail... hmm...

eliason's picture

Here's a couple of straighter, lachrymal y-tails. Thoughts?

Whoops, looks like image upload isn't working. I've attached it as picture.gif to the top post of the thread in the meantime.

riccard0's picture

I like these new ones. Maybe with the "dot" a little wee rounder?

eliason's picture

New attachment shows some full-fledged ball terminals. (4 & 5 are new)

Bendy's picture

I'm afraid to me these look inelegant. The Y is trying hard to maintain its character but in a too-squashed space. I think I'd recommend creating the alternate with a straight vertical stem for this situation. Or what about something a little more unexpected like flipping the tail to face the other way completely?

eliason's picture

New attachment shows straight, descending stem; Ambroise-like thin balled stroke; flipped tail. (I note that we tossed around some of these ideas back in early August on this thread.)
The last of these is fun. I had feared it wouldn't solve the spacing issue with A but rather merely move it to the other side (AY better but YA worse), but because my A design doesn't reach that lower left corner, perhaps it does fit better.

Bendy's picture

I think 8 is wonderful. I've never seen that tail treatment.

riccard0's picture

I love the playfulness of #8! :-)

eliason's picture

Since image upload is back to working, here are those recent y gifs for convenience's sake.



Glad you like the flipped /y/. Ben, I'm laughing at your "never seen that" response, since I based it on a sketch you did back in August - see the first page of this thread!
With all this enthusiasm for my new /y/ I considered making it the standard glyph, but I think it might be too much flavor for that. So my present thinking is to have it as the contextual alternate appearing after not only /A/ and /L/, but also /K/ and /R/ which also have relatively weak upper right corners.

I've also updated the pdf specimen at the top post.

eliason's picture

(And I forgot to add that the reversed Y made a better base form for the final swash Y.)

eliason's picture

A candidate (below) for a more normalized B.

eliason's picture

And stretching out the lachrymalization of the /r/ "terminal" to normalize the R.

Bendy's picture

Interesting the way this is developing. I like the way you're using alternates to balance the dynamics and colour between glyphs rather than just fit the arms and legs together neatly.

Funny I'd forgotten about my sketches for the /Y/! I think you've done something really clever with the transition from thin to thick on the curly tail, the shape is nicely balanced.

>With all this enthusiasm for my new /y/ I considered making it the standard glyph, but I think it might be too much flavor for that.

Aah, but this font is pretty tasty generally. I think the right-facing tail really brings everything together nicely. But let me see it neighbouring other glyphs.

With /B/, how about: truncate the left stem before it reaches the cap line. take the new top counter and develop the top left curve into a ball terminal that overshoots the stem? Your new B is definitely nice.

With /R/ I can't quite put my finger on something that looks uncomfortable. If you're going to pull the teardrop more into the bowl I think you should do the same with /B/. What about taking the first /R/ and adding colour on the top of the bowl instead of on the right? That way it would echo the lowercase perhaps.

/N/ looks a little wide. I think C needs more colour on the right.

eliason's picture


Right of C darkened; N narrowed.

Bs:
1 - Present B
2 - Closed version I just posted
3 - Present version with thickened teardrop
4 - Is this what you meant, Ben? (similar to and based on present B.init swash form)
5 - Now that I'm being more generous with the teardrop swelling, thought I'd update my old funky idea for B.init.

Rs:
1 - Present R
2 - Thickened version I just posted
3 - Following Ben's idea. I'm onto something here, no?

Below you'll see some word settings of the present Y compared to the flipped Y.calt.

riccard0's picture

I find the last R pretty good (even with the inevitable K factor).
The new Y should stay in calt.

Bendy's picture

I was thinking to keep the teardrop on the right of the bowl:

riccard0's picture

A little too black, maybe?

eliason's picture

Yeah, I think the thickening at the top conceptually can serve as the arm of the /r/ on its own, without the thick-thin-thick that starts to look like weird reversed contrast.
I think I'll pattern that blobby end of the inward angle on mine to be a beveled rectangle, akin to the end of the leg.

Bendy's picture

>weird reversed contrast.

Oh, I'm quite a fan of weird contrast!

eliason's picture


Some new or revised glyphs:
dagger and daggerdbl; F.init, F.medi, and F.fina (newly slanted)
at; florin; germandbls.fina

I'll update the pdf at the top.

riccard0's picture

I like the swashy ß! :-)

eliason's picture

Thanks Riccardo.

My better half has issues with the /M/, so I better try out some options. :-) Any reactions to this (top line of each pair has present /M/, bottom has the new one)?

eliason's picture

That didn't pass muster, and neither did this, but I'll keep trying.

Bendy's picture

Glad to hear you're being pushed on this M. I quite like the first alternate with the diamond terminal. I wondered if it would look fitting for that middle stem to descend?

riccard0's picture

What about a (very, very subtle) arrow terminal?

eliason's picture

First two lines are the previous pointy-legged version descending a little more, as Ben suggested. (Descending still further, as you might have intended, didn't look good at all.)

Next two are an arrow terminal as Riccardo suggested, and the two after that a variation that removes the sharp angles on the sides of the arrow.

Then, what I think may be the breakthrough I have been searching for! I figured out that by crossing the strokes, I could retain both the humped lowercase profile on the top of the glyph and the angular uppercase middle vertex at the bottom. Granted this makes for a complicated glyph, but I hope I can get it to work. There are three versions (two lines of each), which differ in contrast pattern. I think the middle two (the first lines in the last of the three images) may be the happiest shape.



riccard0's picture

Daring and ornamental! :-)

eliason's picture

Here's the /M/ I just called happiest, along with a new version of it with a more restrained, narrower loop (and cleaned up a bit).


Palatable as a default /M/ yet?

Bendy's picture

Too narrow, that last one. This is in incredible idea though, so I hope you can get it to work. I'd personally like to see the middle v more pronounced, making a diamond in the middle. I'll try and draw what I mean.

Otherwise, I like the last version in the third image previously very much.

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