Typophile font

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Hi-

This is an idea I've been mulling over for a day or two: could we as a web community design a font for Typophile?

This font/font family would be owned by Typophile, and all royalties would go directly to the same place donations would, and rights would be managed by the same people handling the funds for the site, and all designers would agree that this is all done for sole purpose of funding the community, and the administrators would agree to use the profits of the font to be used only for Typophile.

We could all participate in the design; swap font files weekly or monthly with willing designers, and have ongoing critique online.

To kickstart this, I already have a .vfb-file done with just about most neutral glyphs I can draw, to get things going:

This is just to test the ice; I do not know if this is legally/contractually possible to do, or even if people are interested in this.

What do you think?

joeclark's picture

Rewritten for accuracy: Could the Typophile community, most of whose designers can barely make a living at type, come together to design a typeface for the benefit of an ill-defined for-profit enterprise? All royalties would go to the same ill-defined private owners donations do, all rights would be managed not by designers but by these ill-defined third parties, and all designers would agree that this is all done for the sole purpose of enriching the ill-defined private owners, and those owners would agree to keep all the money for themselves.

hrant's picture

Joe, are you ill?

hhp

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Wow - I did not see this coming…

riccard0's picture

Well, if it need to be a Thypophile typeface, it should be troll-spiced too, for authenticity! ;-)

blank's picture

Joe, I think that you need to find a new dealer. The regular guy seems to be spicing your crack with asshole dust.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Well said, Riccardo-

And very carefully non-committally as well…

I don't know if this is really stupid idea, but I am not suggesting that we give the font away, like Joe Clark seems to suggest, but to make a font to help this community. I believe there are people in this community who can handle the pressure of getting the hunderds of dollars this font can make, and still keep their integrity, and use that money for Typophile. Or beer :·)

von's picture

I think this is a great concept that we could get some steam going about typophile and the process of creating a face. So for those who consider the public to be uneducated on the industry and process. Lets use this to educate and facilitate the importance of designers/architects of typography.

I guess the first thing to do would be to make a list of goals/aims... Would this be the new face for the website...

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Hi, Jess-

Indeed. This could in fact teach us as well. This is just a start of an idea, so it would be good to figure out some things to start with; character set should be as wide as possible, but can we include katakana, and full Chinese?. And a simpler question: serif or script or sans?

Jos Buivenga's picture

Let's call it Clark Sans.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Oh yes; that should make things ever so much easier. Thank you for your input.

riccard0's picture

a simpler question: serif or script or sans?

Why, of course a superfamily! ;-)

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Well, that's what I was thinking of. How on earth could Typophile be a single family?

typerror's picture

It is what I have always dreamed of Jos :-)

But it cannot have any chirographic elements!

Michael

Jos Buivenga's picture

Agreed. That's why the working title should contain sans ;)

1985's picture

Let's call it Clark Sans. Genius!

1985's picture

Toni, I think this is a very complex project but why not, I'm sure there are lots of people who will participate. People can't help but give their two cents.

hrant's picture

Michael, you could try what Tomi has been
trying: making half of the outlines chiro!

hhp

andrijtype's picture

nice idea, Tomi.
and i can draw some cyrillics

1985's picture

Tomi. Not Toni. Sincere apologies. I give up today. Signing off.
(Hrant knows what I mean)

Chris Dean's picture

It might be cute do something like Ransome note.

thetophus's picture

I like the idea of a Frankenstein typeface. It would have to be a pretty simple display face with limited options, but it would still be have fun to have.

funk_king's picture

we did this on Fontstruct with FS Collaboration 1: http://fontstruct.fontshop.com/fontstructions/show/fs_collaboration_1. also posted here: http://www.1001fonts.com/font_details.html?font_id=3531.

i think it was easier to do there because we were able to use Fontstruct to create the font in one place. i think doing a project like this here would be more difficult, but probably not impossible.

i think deciding the theme is the first step and defining the process would be the next. we learned a lot along the way, but there will definitely be a need to define rules of the game as the process proceeds.

i think probably somebody just needs to start the ball rolling, pass the baton, and see what develops. those who are interested will participate and others will enjoy watching from the sidelines. beyond any desire to make money, you probably should focus on having a finished product; then cross that next bridge when necessary :)

why not a bunch of typophile veterans doing some cross-pollination at Fontstruct? just a suggestion.

joeclark's picture

Answer some questions, if you would, instead of avoiding them:

  • Who would be the undisputed owner of the typeface?
  • What exact “help” for which exact “community” would be provided?
  • How much money would the for-profit owners of this site reap as the result of the deal?
bstrom's picture

joeclark: No one has avoided any questions yet, because you have not yet asked any. You have merely, rather off-puttingly, disparaged an idea that could contribute to the value and richness of this type community. Let's try and keep things positive.

scottsullivan's picture

@joeclark

Who would be the undisputed owner of the typeface? -

What exact “help” for which exact “community” would be provided?

-Paying for bandwith and maintenance for this 'community' that you are technically a part of.

How much money would the for-profit owners of this site reap as the result of the deal?

-At least one more wheelbarrow's worth to add to the small mountain of money that they're 'reaping' from all of us.

*AND the 'ill defined' reaping third parties are defined just below the post here at the bottom.

Sye's picture

as a nobody normal graphic designer who probably could not contribute to this project in any way other than by buying the font - i say yay! do it! just make it something people want to buy.

nina's picture

Just a thought – how about not making something to sell, but rather a custom font exclusively for web use at typophile.com?

thetophus's picture

The beauty of a project like this is that anyone can contribute. You don't have to be a typographic expert. It can be something as simple as critique and feedback.

chrisherron's picture

I'll design the bullet glyph. Here's a preliminary rendering:

What's my cut?

Sulekha Rajkumar's picture

I'm interested...but how does one go about this? When you say contribute how would we do it?

I have a suggestion...(But mainly for display fonts)

If it is a Display font: A master grid for the typeface can be designed (by someone from Punchcut?), and we design characters based on that grid and post them. So each character would be different, designed from a different designer, but yet have synergy to it. Obviously, people would compare it to the other characters and modify their own.

Either way, I'd like to be part of this. But let us know HOW!

neverblink's picture

Please, don't do a FrankenFont, it'll end up just like the QBN Typeface I participated in (was good fun though).

riccard0's picture

Please, don't do a FrankenFont

Ditto.

scottsullivan's picture

Please, don't do a FrankenFont

Ditto.

thirded

hrant's picture

Yes, no walking corpses, but forget about doing a text font.

For mass-collaboration to yield something other people would pay money for, there will have to be as much talking as drawing. For example, even something basic like arriving at good vertical proportions will require a good amount of iteration and an eventual general consensus. Assuming there will be a large number of people working on this, I can imagine the necessity of: having some sort of polling mechanism; people dropping off over time. We have to plan for such things before we smack this thing with the Moet, otherwise the iceberg will get us.

hhp

Rob O. Font's picture

Tomi from Suomi > Wow - I did not see this coming…

It's... like a quiet country lane, butterflies and buttercups, a hedge with overhanging roses clinging to a sunny outcrop of rock, which is suddenly jumped by a roaring spike and stud infested off-road biker with a barf gun. Pay no attention, the gun's not loaded.

>To kickstart this, I already have a .vfb-file done with just about most neutral glyphs I can draw

For years I have offered the opinion that the time was not right, that the specification cannot be completed for such a font. Of course it never can be with the moving target we have, but a full enough specification, I think is possible, and this design fits the spec from what I can see, (and assuming it's being tracked for display use).

Cheers!

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Hello, everybody-

From your posts I gathered that we should make a large family with no Frankensteining, and no chiropractic back-bending, and it should not be a text face, and it could be a font used in typophile.com. (Nina, I think we can do both). And that we should forget the whole thing because those greedy motherwhatevers will just do whatever they do to us from behind.

I suggest that we start with a single weight (I've started that already), and start critique with that (it has enough glyphs to start with), and move on from that point:

I think, looking those glyphs, that x-height compared to ascender and weight is not too bad, but I would like the dot to be heavier. I'm Finnish, so for me it is too wide, but others should address that from their perspective.

I think this is a long process, so just keep posting. We should be done in a year or two. Or, we'll see.

hrant's picture

I don't think we should start with a basis done by one person.

hhp

Jongseong's picture

Oh, that is just going to be one of a neverending series of compromises we'll have to make if this is actually going to get off the ground. A non-Frankenstein and successful collaborative font where everyone puts in an equal share... Riiight. Like how every discussion on Typophile ends up converging into a grand consensus and everybody agrees perfectly with each other.

I don't want to sound discouraging and I would love to be proved wrong, but until there's a powerful font creation software residing in the 'cloud' (like Fontstruct) to simplify the collaboration process, and some sort of decision-making structure is put in place to resolve the inevitable disagreements, I don't really see this gaining any traction.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Hrant, I started this, and nobody has come up with another base design. I want this to get going, and that's why I posted an image with this thread: to get feedback, and start some Darwin-like evolving. It's his year after all.

But my apologies, if I try to hog the start. The goal is to make a font family for Typophile. So, ideas are indeed welcome.

hrant's picture

OK.

Do you have a "g" yet? :-)

hhp

nina's picture

I'd love to prove myself wrong now because I was thinking the same thing Jongseong said. But I'm out – I barely have enough time to work on my own stuff. :-\

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Not yet; I've been waiting for the different responses from you guys, and see where to from there.

But you'll have your own Q. I still remember your presentation in Boston, and I think that if youd'd told us that it was upper case, we could have had a chance. This is not what you showed us, but I think it's close:


It was some ten years ago, but I still remember that presentation. It was good. Gave me something to think about, when I was really starting serious type design.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Nina, critique from you would be plenty. You have a very good eye.

hrant's picture

Tomi, you were at my Boston talk? Cool. And thanks for the compliment.

You can see the "Q" here:
http://themicrofoundry.com/ss_trajic.html

--

So wait, we're getting assigned the characters?

hhp

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Bugger; I remembered the font but not the actual form. Got the idea, though…

And no, not assigning characters; that would quickly send us to Frankenfonts, or an neverending argument of the right way to start this endeavor. But there might be a place for your "Q".

hrant's picture

Maybe as an alt.

OK, I'm going to make a "g" and a "Q" (with no expectations).

hhp

Quincunx's picture

It could be interesting, although it sounds a bit like design by committee... ;)

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Well, It's up to you.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

I just start the font, and after a week or so we shall have our firs critique. After that we'll see.

hrant's picture

Well, if you object let me know.
If not, please give me "Ohor" in EPS.

hhp

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