Archive through August 25, 2003

Miguel Hernandez's picture

>Hello Typophile members and curious people,

This is my first attempt on a serious Serif Typeface for print and i decided to design the complete characters on paper scketches first. Drawing by hand let me redesing any detail with more natural control, and i supose that is the better way of begin any font.

The idea is to break the monotony of the curves with a straight internal edges, all trying to keep an organic feeling of many structure constants of the Azteca & Maya geomerical art forms.

Btw i want to publish the entire process since this firt sketch, so i need your suggestions on the estetic feeling that i want to keep, and the tecnical legibility changes that i have to add with your comments.

Many of the characters are under construction so i will apreciate a lot if you can help me to decide why some characters works better on tecnical and estetic ways.

Feel free to add any suggestion, critique or comment,



hrant's picture

Wow, this is nice! Those abrupt curves seem really promising. And your plan to show the development is great. And what a "g"! But in fact the one thing I would suggest at this point is making its ear go higher/stronger. Also, I think the color is slightly light for text.

BTW, it's only audible for chocolate.


cheshiredave's picture

I really like it. I have only minor quibbles with it at this point, because it would help me more to see it set in text. But here are a couple of my comments:

1. Though I appreciate the uniqueness of the lc x, the top-left and bottom-right ends aren't really picked up anywhere else in the set. I think making those two ends look like the ends of the z would make an elegant solution.

2. Something about the lc p seems off to me. If you were to use the same approach to the bowl that the lc q uses, but keep the tail serif as it is now, they would be complementary but not mirrors.

Those are really minor comments, though. The more I look at it, the more I like it. It makes me wish I were European, just so I'd have a reason to use the euro mark.

I can't wait to see more!

degregorio's picture


de nuevo me pongo de pie para decir que tu trabajo es incre

sean's picture

A very nice set of letters. There are some things here I really like. I think it could look really good.

I'll ask one thing. Please, keep us updated on a regular basis. I would love to see how this progresses.


Miguel Hernandez's picture


>>it would be necessary to lower a little the point of the i and of the j, thing of which it does not bother to him so much to the f... is necessary to think that 98% of the designers do not know the ligatures, and they are only dedicated to use the programs<<

That is a very good point Juan Pablo, but the f touch many other letters here; there is the b, f, h, i, j, k, l.. this designed problem will be solved.

>>1. Though I appreciate the uniqueness of the lc x, the top-left and bottom-right ends aren't really picked up anywhere else in the set. I think making those two ends look like the ends of the z would make an elegant solution.<<

The same, i am on it now Cheshire.

Thanks :-)


kentlew's picture

Miguel --

A promising start. Very nice letters. The abrupt curves are reminiscent of the explorations of W.A. Dwiggins with his Experimental No. 233 and his theory of the M-formula. Tiffany may chime in with more on this.

I think this kind of treatment can be effective at very small sizes and at display sizes, but there's a middle range of text sizes where it can be tricky. You may find when your letters go from being outlines to being actual text that you need to move the corner further around the curve to prevent the x-height line from being spotty.

I think the arch of your 'f' may be difficult to fit. I also think the top of the arch should be thinned a little. And I feel that the top of your 't' should be a little more pronounced.

-- K.

fonthausen's picture

this is a very good start. I'm impressed, not only with the design, but also with the quality of drawing. Chapeau!!

The only thing I want to remark at this stage, are that I am not sure if the roundings on the upper serif of the LC i, j and u will work that well. I think you'll have to reduce it, or find another solution.

This design makes me think of Fred smeijers. (dont forget to have a look at the italic, a beauty)

I am curious. What technique will you use for digitalization?

hrant's picture

> there's a middle range of text sizes where it can be tricky.

Yes, in fact any irregularity -like in this case the abruptness in the curves- needs to increase in inverse proportion to point size.


defrancisco's picture

Great work, Miguel!!

And thanks a lot for showing the development process, it is very encouraging for those of us with wery little typeface design experience.

Keep us posted...

- JdF

On a side note, Kent, you made me curious with your comment about Dwiggins. Where can I find more info on that? please?

degregorio's picture

miguel, aqu

kentlew's picture


Miguel Hernandez's picture

I need to know about the M-formula, maybe i am using it on this designs without knowing it but it will be great if Tiffany Wardle or Gerard Unger can let us know more about here.

>>Ok, let

kris's picture

it is loverly! two typefaces come to mind, 'journal'
and 'eureka'. i think it is the angles and subtle curves.
actually, more eureka than journal.
I am not too sure about the gap in the lc 'k'.

kentlew's picture

Miguel, I don't have the time to present a complete summary of Dwiggins's theory. If Tiffany doesn't jump in at some point, after I meet my current deadlines, perhaps I can provide more information.

Just briefly, the 'M' in M formula stands for Marionette. While carving marionettes, Dwiggins discovered that exaggerating smooth, rounded surfaces into sharp, angled planes allowed the figures to more powerfully communicate their character all the way to the back row. He theorized that the same kind of exaggeration and sharp modeling could be made to work in text types to give them additional "action" and "vitality."

This kind of exaggeration is well known in theater and underlies the practices of stage makeup. If you've ever seen a stage actor in full makeup up close, you'll realize that it is always hideously overdone, but looks completely natural on stage under the lights.

-- Kent.

cgonzalez's picture


look what i fornd in the internet:
is an essay of a reading student called Victor Gaultney called "Balancing typeface legibility and economy:
Practical techniques for the type designer
December 2000", in the page 10 it has a very usefull explanation of the M formula.

i hope it will be usefull, there are another pdfs very beautifull.


rcapeto's picture

Nice typeface study and nice thread, but people could
try to break up the lines of comments (like I'm doing
here). The huge images (especially when they make the
page wider than one's window) makes reading the long
unbroken lines of comments a bear.

hrant's picture

> natural kerning ligature

It's certainly a good idea to make your "f" & "i"/"l" glyphs in such a way that they join together nicely without anybody doing anything special, but of course because of possible tracking/justification adjustments you can't count on that entirely.

BTW, when I was designing Patria I came to the realization that too often the "fi" and especially the "fl" are forced to join up unnaturally, when sometimes they shouldn't. Although I'm actually ambivalent about the current state of Patria's "fi", I'm happy with my unorthodox solution with the "fl", and I feel that the conventional approach (like you have up there) can ruin the texture of a setting. Consider ligatures with modified individual letterforms but no joining.

Another serious issue with ligatures is that tracking can ruin things* - just look at Gulliver's "fi"/"fl" in USA Today.

* Although I think OpenType allows the choice of ligature substitution based on tracking?

> hideously overdone

Yes! And this is exactly why a good -I mean a really good- text face must look ugly in large sizes... strange but true. You simply cannot have both.

> anal linebreaking

We compared dumbness on Typographica, now let's compare anality here... Question: Do you re-write [parts of] your posts to get a nice right rag?


rcapeto's picture

tease me about my anal linebreaking practices at Typophile

Yes, Stephen. I always do it, too. Type is our business,
after all, isn't it? I think of this as a basic form of respect
for the reader. Hrant, with all his blah-blah-blah of caring
for the reader, doesn't do it. Like the others, he really
cares only for the smug satisfaction of self-expression.


hrant's picture

> Hrant, with all his blah-blah-blah ....

Very funny... :-)

If you compare my text on Typo-L for example versus here, you'll see that in the former I craft my paragraph-boumas :-) very meticulously, but in the latter I let the chips fall where they may (except to prevent orphans, usually). There's a very good reason for this: on Typophile you type in a monospaced font, but the viewing is done in a proportional one! This means that any attempt at getting a nice right rag would require an exhaustive iteration of correction/previewing. And sorry, I already spend enough time around here!

Question: do you think it's better if I just chopped the lines up (while I'm typing) at a certain limit? Ths would result in nice short lines, but a (usually) horrid right rag.


rcapeto's picture

Hrant, better an ugly rag than no rag at all. This
isn't an aesthetic question, it's a functional one.


Good night.

aluminum's picture

<em>Do you re-write [parts of] your posts to get a nice right rag? </em>

No, you request that the forum designer(s) not nest the entire thread in one table so that each individual reply is self contained and wraps to the browser window on its own. ;o)

ricardo's picture


Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hola Ricardo, i think that the idea of contrast that i try to put in the characters is already done by the model of construction of punchcutting but i never read any about it, i know that the book Counterpunch by Fred Smeijers explain something about it. If any here can link any info about the punchcutting i will apreciate a lot, thanks!!


ricardo's picture

The model of contruction of the punchcutting problably are not the better way to ask the question. Are some teories about the fact the l/c (m) must be more condensed that the l/c (n). I talk about the punchcutting because in that periode the tools condicionate the way of cutting the letters (weight, counters...). I asked about this point but I like the way that you have on your drawn. Mas una vez lo dise

piccic's picture

The modulation treatment is great, Miguel.
It embraces both calligraphic and geometric approaches, which is a thing many people have done, but you've managed to keep it very distinct and original.
I don't know if the fi fl examples are your first attempt in drawing text type in bezier, but to preserve the strenght o your original drawings I would suggest to create loose grid background (I mean even single circles or segments where it's appropriate) as a basis to draw the letters.
Many letters have an excellent and unique treatment. The g shines, the Q is great, and the s is very distinct, too.
At this point (after the pencil detailed "sketches" I would not look too much at existing faces for their form. You may look at them for points and handles positioning/relationship, anyway.

I say all this because the fi fl samples seem to lack the strenght of the pencil version.

I also share Ricardo Santo's observations on the width of the m, and I would give a more distinct feeling to the tail of the y. Don't ask me how.

Your alphabet is very promising and could turn out in something extremely beautiful and functional at the same time. Congratulations!

Aaron Sittig's picture

I'm curious about why you changed the direction of the
slant on the baseline serifs. Slanting the serifs backwards
like this feels uncomfortable to me. Rather than saying
"onward! onward!" like I believe a good text face should,
it seems to suggest that I slow down.

I agree with Claudio that the bezier samples (fl & fi) lose
the charm of the sketches. The corner on the underside
of the f has disappeared and the alert angular right side
of the arm now has a droopy curve on the underside

Your sketches are beautiful and deserve care in digitization.

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hello Guys!
Thanks for your suggestions,

I know that the digitalization deserves care, study and practice, i am just starting on beziers this year. Now i am gonna take a lil break about pixels, and printing the fontographer manual pdf who i found here, who is really great. Now i read the Counterpuch book, and everything is more clear to me, special about the serifs, and the color. Now please forget about the fi-fl horrible beziers :-) !

This new image shows the first two characters traces on freehand mx, please let me know what do you think about :

2.-Color & Contrast
3.-Serif new details.


cgonzalez's picture

Hi, miguel

my excuses to the others but i am making my comments in spanish, i am not an expertise in english-bezier language, i will try to translate them in english

miguel, encuentro muy bien el trabajo, en cuanto a las beziers, tengo 3 puntos:

en el 1, creo que ese punto es mejor omitirlo puede resultar conflictivo y esa curva se puede solucionar perfectamente con los 2 que te quedan
(in No 1 i think that you can get rid of that point, i may generate a future problem and i think that you can solve that curve with the other 2 points)

2, esos puntos debieran tener el icono del triangulo, osea de una recta sale la curva, a menos que le quieras dar una curvatura a ambos lados, cosa que no veo por la resolucion de tu gif.
(2, those points should be mark as a triangle, that mean a straight line that continuous with a curve, unleast that you want it to give a curvature that i don't see because the resolution of your gif)

3, creo que ese manjador esta dem

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Here are more off the new stuff

eomine's picture

Really nice, Miguel.

I just think it has too much stroke contrast (thin-thick).
But that could be just me.

And I'd try something else (I'm not sure what) instead of that
straight juction in "g" tail.

Good luck!

(off-topic question: Miguel, can I ask what software do you use
for your bitmap presentations?)

eomine's picture


Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hello friends, and wellcome back to Typophile!

Many changes and ideas comes to this font on this days to increase the modulation, contrast and functional potential. I want to keep the direction of the modulation in the descenders semi serifs like p, q & y, thinking about jump the eye to the right everytime that i can, with the serifs and forms.

pragmatica test.pdf (19.8 k)

eomine's picture

Miguel, I just gave your pdf a quick glance. I'd say it is a
little too wide, and/or loose. Take "u", for example. And it
seems that the shape of "s" doesn't fit with the other
characters. That's it for now.

Btw, it's great to have the forums back. I hope I'll be able
to give my contribution by next weeks. ;-)

hrant's picture

I agree with Eduardo about the "s" (and the spacing: it's way too loose), and I think the diagonal forms are too curvy. Also, I would give the "G" an ear.

Very nice!


seg's picture

its going beautiful so far. there's spice and character all over the shapes.
in intuition i agree with what hrant & omline suggested about the "s","g" and the diagonal forms. but i question my intuition- these things make the font alittle more original and rich. i guess each desicion has a downside. the core of the typeface is great, either way.

union's picture

love it!


Ramiro Espinoza's picture

Sensei Hernandez,

You rules!

ideagent's picture

Miguel: Very, very well done! I think the body set has a nice consistent color to it. My only thought would be to tighten the <space>. It seems a bit wide and is creating rivers in the text. Overall a very beautiful font.

willem's picture


willem's picture


Miguel Hernandez's picture

how you can say that with just one pee clone?


Miguel Hernandez's picture

how you can say that with just one pee clone?


willem's picture


hrant's picture

Willem, if you started working on it directly as a result of seeing Miguel's work, then: you should credit him (and not just here); you should figure out a way to make it different in an important way. You might do the latter even if you had the idea independently, assuming your face was less developed than Miguel's at the point you saw his stuff. While if yours was "earlier", see if he's willing to diverge himself instead.

Plus in any case, you should put it in is own thread (if you're looking for critique).


willem's picture

After starting to design a few letters I saw Miguel's font here, to be accurate this happened yesterday. I didn't want to copy Miguel's work, I just want to show another result of a specific constructing method, nothing else. I won't complete this typeface, it's just for my personal study.
If you missunderstood me, I'm sorry.
I hope you understand my point of view.

hrant's picture

Don't give it up that easily! :-)


rs_donsata's picture

Miguel, sorry to give bad news but i guess quetzal name is already used.

any way i guess you deserve the name

kakaze's picture

If you can't call it Quetzal, why not call it Quetzalcoatlus?

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