Eternal Italic

Bendy's picture

Dear Typophiles,

Here's my first attempt at creating an italic companion for my Eternal font. I have decided to make it into a nice dark type for smallish sizes. The roman version will need to be rebalanced with sturdier serifs and thicker hairlines, plus maybe one or two structural changes to fit with this new italic.

I'm aware that certain letters are not quite working yet...and the spacing is a bit atrocious.
The text sample is 9 on 12pt, please ignore punctuation which was slanted from a very early version of the roman.

I gather there is some optical correction needed on the slant angle for some letters and have de-slanted the f by 2 degrees to see...looks like g and j need a similar treatment.

Looking forward to hearing your opinions :)

Eternal Italic.pdf426.46 KB
Eternal Regular and Italic.pdf494.08 KB
eliason's picture

Beautiful work.

Love the Q. Love the big top halves of K and R. Love the relationship of inside and outside contours of c. Love the i and z. Love the big eye of e.

Is the bottom of a's bowl more "broken" than similar letters? (Maybe just my eyes)

f looks too light as it goes down - like it's trailing off. This strikes me as the biggest element in need of further development.

y is a very tense shape; maybe too much, though it's exciting.

t is a very interesting shape. I like the thickening above the crossbar, but some minor twiddling might still be helpful - it presently looks a bit like it tapers in as you go down to the crossbar, but then is discontinuously thick below the crossbar. You might move the node at the SW corner of the intersection a notch right, and/or make the curve of the left contour above the crossbar suggest that it's coming back leftward at its bottom. Did that make sense?

Very interesting drawing in N. Does it get a little cloggy at the vertices?

Something's not quite right in G for me - Looks a big like the vertical is a nail securing the curve to the baseline!

Is there a little Mint in the g? :-)

Great work.

Would some autohinting passes help the pdf's?

Bendy's picture

Haa :D Thanks Craig. It's been fun working on it.
Yes, f could have a bit more weight but I really want to keep the taper. It was inspired by Stone Serif italic, a typeface I love to read.
I agree about y. It's quite a pointy scribbly shape, I may have to soften the corner or make the join less stringy. I want to keep it exciting! The first version was very angry looking. I think it needs to be thinned anyway.
N, also, started out in a worse way, much cloggier and far too dark. I hope I can get the shape to work properly because you're right it's still a bit inelegant. T is a big cloggy too. Can't get that one right.
I'll have a play with G and see if I can introduce a nice curve into the vertical section.
As for Mint, well, that wasn't intentional. I guess you're meaning the bottom curve? I'm not quite sure whether I'm sticking to those shapes for the g and j.
I'm not finding S and s very successful right now.
Hinting? Does that get embedded into a pdf?
Thanks for your kind encouragement :)

Sindre's picture

First of all: I've drawn but one italic (horrible!) in my life, and I generally don't know very much about italics. So my critique is based on what I see, not so much on what I know.

I've also deliberately not read Craig's critique (nor your answer), so I might repeat things.

AB: Good shapes. I would make the cutoff om the crossbars of more similar. Now they are cut off at very different angles. Perhaps they should be cut off the other way, matching the K? I'd try that.

C: Slightly to thick at NW? Compare to the G.

D: A little bottom heavy? Raise the curve a bit? SW corner a little boring?

EF: I can't help think that the crossbars looks amputated, but I understand why they have no serifs.

G: Does it upset the italic angle somewhat?

HIJ: All very nice. Especially the J.

K: Yes! This is perfect. Love it.

L: Slightly too wide?

M: I think the Vertex needs to go to the right, and be deeper. Too much white at the right side now.

N: A little heavy, and a little stiff, perhaps a little too upright?

OQ: Beautiful!

PR: I'd fiddle a little more with their cutoffs, and perhaps raise the R leg a bit, making the bowl slightly smaller.

S: A tiny bit too narrow? A little to timid?

T: Top part needs attention. A little clumsy now.

U: Needs more contrast.

VW: I'd move the vertices eastward.

X: A little stiff?

Y: Beautiful! Is the right arm a little bumpy on the inside? And a little thin?

Z: Make the diagonal slightly more diagonal, and strengthen the top stroke?

a: Stem a little to curved?

c: A little to narrow?

f: To thin stem and descender. Can take a lot more weight.

g: Beautiful in itself, but too oblique in context? Perhaps the bowl should go slightly deeper?

hmn: Right stem too upright? n too wide?

k: Slightly strange curve at top of leg, otherwise fab.

opqrstvz: All beauties. I love the t (though I'd look closely at the top of it a little confusion there now), and the q is really delicious, too.

u: se comments on hmn, but in reverse and upside down.

w: A little black in the middle?

x: A little stiff?

y: I think it looks too sharp and strange in context.

This is going to be a great typeface!

Sindre's picture

Er, and please take my advise with a medium sized salt mine. Perhaps I worded my critique a bit more firmly than I should have done. I'm really no expert.

Bendy's picture

No worries Sindre, not too firmly worded, really good observations :)

I'm working on the roman so can post them both together and see how they harmonise...and if the odd features work across both versions or need rethinking. Another couple of days I expect.

eliason's picture

I’ll have a play with G and see if I can introduce a nice curve into the vertical section.

The baseline-hugging curve coming down and over from the other side is actually what I would maybe rethink (in other words, the awkwardness my eye sees is with the nailed-down part, not the nail).

Yes, f could have a bit more weight but I really want to keep the taper. It was inspired by Stone Serif italic, a typeface I love to read.

I see Stone Serif's is straighter - it may be that the strength of that rigidity balances the delicacy of the taper. Maybe you can have tapering, or curve, but not both without looking wimpy. Or maybe just your taper starts too high.

Bendy's picture

Hey well I've got the roman companion up there in the new pdf.

I've left the original Eternal in there, as a display cut, so you can see the difference. Strokes are heavier, serifs more robust, traps more pronounced, wider spacing and some more calligraphic melodies. I think it still needs more of this and will play with it some more. Some glyphs need more darkness to go with the italic better.

Not sure how successful Eternal is as a text face...perhaps what I've got is a Subhead cut to go with the Display one? Oh, and I know the spacing is atrocious :)

nina's picture

Ben :-) I'm glad you took this up again! It's getting quite nice I think.
I don't have time to critique, but I never do, so what the hell. Another salt mine please!

First, I think the changes to make the "text" cut are quite beneficial, especially the darker color; it looks less fragile on the page.
That said, I'm not quite sure about the contrast in some glyphs; the arches ("n", "m", "h" and such) seem to have less contrast than the stick-and-bowls. Might the heaviest parts of "o", "p", "q" (maybe also "b" and "d") be a hint too dark? In text they seem to be a bit spotty; but that might also just be my printer.

There's something slightly strange about the vertical metrics. The ascenders seem shorter than the descenders (especially in the italics, but in the text weight as well), which makes me suspect they're the same mathematically? Dunno, I might make the ascenders a bit taller, depending on your target size.

Some notes on the (roman) text cut:

  • I like the "e" a lot!
  • Is "c" backslanting a little?
  • "k" has a nice and rather Dutch feel. In text, its lower counter feels small.
  • "r" looks wider than before? That's probably a good thing. I like the strong beak.
  • "s" seems a bit narrow.
  • I'm not sure about the slant of "t"'s crossbar. Why did you do that? – Oh, now I see the "f" has that too. Not sure. It looks a bit like it doesn't really want to be standing on the baseline.
  • "y" seems too wide in text.
  • "z" is a bit soft maybe.
  • "M": I agree that its second counter is too big, but I thought it's because of that "special" terminal on the right – maybe try pulling that in a little?
  • "Q" is delicious!
  • I like the low-waisted "R" too.
  • Crossbars of "E", "F", and "H" look thin compared to "L" / "T" / "Z" (and the "A" is somewhere in between?)

The italic is very nice. I think you've succeeded quite well in making an italic that keeps the basic characteristics of the roman but still differentiates enough.
I like the color of the italic a *lot* in the "italic-only" paragraph. It actually seems a bit darker still than the roman?

  • The eye of the "e" seems a bit huge. Very soft too.
  • There's something bugging me about the "g". I think its angle might still need some optical compensation for the fact that its decender is also pulling in that direction. Also maybe the bowl is too "deflated"? It doesn't seem to share the elegant springiness and flowiness that especially the "d", "p", and "q" have.
  • "b" also seems to depart from the other ball-and-stick letters. And something is uncomfortable about the top join. It looks like it wanted to be open and was reluctantly closed… ;-)
  • "j" looks more slanted than "i" to my eye. Probably a function of the pull of the descender.
  • The "k" still has a Dutch feel, and what you do with the white space in the top counter is wonderful – I love it! Actually maybe the top counter could be a hair wider, seeing how strongly the terminal pulls "back" (left)?
  • I love the "q"!
  • Is there some Mint in the bottom terminal of the "s"?
  • vwxyz are delicious. In text, the "y" seems almost surprisingly springy/tight. Maybe the "g" should follow suit – it seems a bit plump next to the "y" maybe.
  • I like the angular flick of "A"'s terminal a lot. Have you tried that on other glyphs too, like maybe the "R"?
  • "G" is pretty fat in the SW corner.
  • The apex of "W" seems dark. Actually "W" looks dark altogether, in text.
  • "Y" is delicious!
  • Maybe "Z" could be wilder / more determined / more special? It seems pretty, in a bit of a quaint way.

Very nice work Ben. I'm looking forward to seeing this grow even more.

Bendy's picture

Heh, yeah, I guess now both Craig and Nina have suggested a certain Mintiness, I can see what you mean. That wasn't really intentional, must be something of a hallmark for SW pointing terminals for me.

Re the R and K feet, I wasn't sure which was best. I quite like the more aggressive upward flick but maybe it's a bit distracting? Here's R with the K's foot and the A's foot.

Thanks for all your eagle eyes :)

Bendy's picture

So I started thinking that introducing the sharp tails might work in some other places, shown in green below. The X already has those terminals and I'd like to introduce them a bit more, at least in the uppercase.

The blue dots are bits I'm not sure work yet. The crossbar of A, R and K seems to have different angled ends and I'm not sure which one works best. I find the tail of J and the head of Z a bit too soft, like that g. I don't quite know what's going to work with the bottom of G. And what's happening with N? Do I keep that bit?

Bendy's picture

Nina, do you think the slanting crossbars aren't working? They were in the roman from the start, a flat rectangle looked really plain. I think the one on A is a bit too curved.

nina's picture

Ben, I'm not sure. I confess I didn't previously catch that they weren't just sheared on the bottom but also slanted altogether. I don't really mind them in the "E" and "F", but the "f" and "t" look a bit like they're about to lift off (up close; in text they just seem a bit shy maybe).
In the "A", to my eye there's just a bit much going on altogether… But I seem to have a much higher tolerance (even a penchant) for simple straightness than you do, so it might well just come down to preference. Or my Swiss genes ;-)

Bendy's picture

Aah, that would be your anti-cursive functionalism [or whatever]! :P

You're right though, I was beginning to think the head serif of A needed removing. We'll see how that looks.

nina's picture

Hey, I thought I left my anticursivism badge outside. :) I was mainly talking complexity. In the "A" there is the slant of the crossbar, its shear on the bottom, is it actually curved on top?, its angled shear on the right that makes an irregular/angled whitespace in the gap to the stem, plus there's the 2 different feet and the serif on the head, and various amounts of bracketing/curviness etc.
So there's a *lot* of interesting/special details, and altogether the glyph is reaching a level of complexity where I can't really tell if it all works together well; my eyes are just saying "it's a bit busy". But they are tired. Buy a saltmine :-)

eliason's picture

I'd vote for the gentler flick on R's leg. The more upward one shortens the leg in my eyes, threatening to make the big bowl (which I love) cartoonish.
I don't think there's any problem with differing angles in the middle of K and R. In both cases the shear is perpendicular to the stroke when it changes direction, which seems perfectly natural. A's crossbar does seem more arbitrary :-(
Generally, I think the green-spotted terminals look pretty good as-is; bottom of X and top of N might be the best candidates for reworking. I agree that top of Z is too soft.

I confess to being a little confused about what I was looking at in the pdf - are the text settings with the larger roman text in the "display" cut?
Your counters in the roman 'm' have uneven widths - second one is much narrower. I imagine the different serif treatment asked for not precisely congruent shapes, but I think the difference is here quite too large (and might be really problematic at low resolutions).
Roman 'w' could stand some attention, I think. That last serif is not harmonized with the rest of the glyph.
Italic ligs: black spot at the collision of the 'f' and 'l' in 'fl'; can you bring some of that weight over into the hood of 'f'? And 'Th' components may be too close to each other, though perhaps postpone that until you're more sure of your spacing settings generally.

's' may be too narrow in both roman and italic.

Bendy's picture

Have I widened too much the s here?

(left is the original one)

Bendy's picture

Craig, do you think the gentler flick of R would suit K as well? I think it probably would!

eliason's picture

Have I widened too much the s here?

No, looks good to my eyes.

Craig, do you think the gentler flick of R would suit K as well? I think it probably would!

I think it could probably work either way. On the K the upturned flick roughly parallels the arm, while the flatter flick on R matches the more horizontal beginning of the bowl at the top of the leg. But that's all theoretical justification - better to make alternatives, put them in settings, and have a look...

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