Typeface for books ('Swami')

Rob Mientjes's picture

Hey people. I've been working on this book face and am finally ready for some feedback. Any and all, really.

Things I'm mostly pondering right now and could use a little ideas on: stylistic diversity is a bit messy; stylistic "oddities" are lacking a bit too much perhaps; italic is on the drawing board, but still rather formative — know of things that make sense here? Thanks!

(The name is a working title. I prefer having utterly irrelevant working titles, for some reason.)

Sample 2010-03-2721.12 KB
Sample_2010-05-19.pdf73.01 KB
Reed Reibstein's picture

File doesn't seem to have attached, Rob.

Rob Mientjes's picture

Whoops, Preview showed it but then it seems to have disappeared. Back now. Thanks.

riccard0's picture

Handsome typeface overall.
Some random thoughts:
a > maybe a little narrow?
e > the top half seems to bend downward under its own weight.
y > the descender could extend a little less to the left.
1 > a little short.
9 > seems rough and unbalanced.
0 > not a fan of this traditional no-contrast design. Maybe make it a bit darker?
punctuation > it seems kerned a bit too tight.

Igor Freiberger's picture

A very good overall design, but I don't like the combination between some very traditional, rounded terminals (/a/f/r/s/) with the unusual, contemporary cut of other elements (for example, upper right serif of /k/v/w/x/y). As you used a sharp cut in other parts (/b/d/u/) and uneven serifs (/m/n/) it may be more harmonic to use not-so-rounded terminals.

Diacritics (acute/grave/circumflex) are misplaced. You can take a look on Slimbach's serif fonts to verify an optimal placement of these diacritics. Observe that this taller style of acute/grave will demand a different shape in uppercases.

I like your /k/p/m/n/h/K/R, but /g/ seems distorted and /e/ is falling to the right.

Comma seems identical to Greta's.

Rob Mientjes's picture

Thanks, guys.

@riccard0: Working on them. Seems right on all points.
@Freiberger: I understand why the terminals could bother you. I'm going for a transition-kind of letter, a seventies' Baskerville perhaps, which suits itself to rounded terminals. In the /C/G/S/ I do use different terminals. Maybe that's a starting point. Not sure about the diacritics yet (angle especially), but willing to see specific examples if you can find them. /g/ has been under constant revision ever since the start, which might be a sign. /e/ gets two counts here, which says a lot. Thanks.

Re: Greta: hadn't seen that at all. That might very well be the only thing it has in common then. Thanks again. Keep 'em coming. I know I will.

Igor Freiberger's picture

I'm myself developing a serif family and /g/ is by far the most difficult character to me. It took me dozens of revisions until I got a decent design.

The comma got my attention because I like very much the shape you used.

About diacritics, the main problem is not with angle but with position. Acute and grave are not centered or aligned to character limits. They must be slight dislocated from the center to te direction the accent points to. You can use a rule like this: acute have one third of its length to the left of middle and two thirds to the right. The opposite with grave.

Of course this is a very general rule. You can adopt different positions and, except for extremes, it would not be incorrect. But some positions works better than others. Take Minion, Times and Meta Serif: each one has a different criteria, but I think Minion works much better (as I'm a native Portuguese speaking, I use acute, grave, tilde, circumflex, cedilla and dieresis regularly).

You may also consider acute and grave to be shorter if you plan an extensive language support. Letters with two diacritics above will need very much room over uppercase limit.

Rob Mientjes's picture

Ah, yes. Yes, positions are terrible. You're right. They're not high-priority at the moment as I'm mainly trying to get the shapes and metrics right. Thanks for the pointers.

Re: language support. That's the part that's vexing me. I want to use this face for my own print things (10pt text and the works), but supporting many different languages is more than logical as a selling point. I don't know where I got the idea for the highly slanted acute (well, it's in my handwriting), but I was happy to discover it in Trinité and Lexicon. Dutch typefaces. Go figure.

Here are some updates. A pointy, pointed-pen-inspired terminal that has some of the sharpness other shapes have as well (/&/g/k/) and some more.

Igor Freiberger's picture

An example:

Igor Freiberger's picture

The update shows a visible improvement on /g/ and /e/, but /e/ still seems a bit inclinate to the right. I prefer your new /s/. /f/ and /y/ are very good.

Rob Mientjes's picture

Thanks again, Igor. I've updated some glyphs, tweaked some things. Highlighted are some characteristics that are new since the first PDF or are actually leading the rest of the set. I will update here with the italic soon.

And vanilla, easier on the eye.

ncaleffi's picture

It's a very nice design. What I noticed is that there is very little spacing between words, in the "What is entropy?" and "Abstract objects and mathematics" sample texts. Maybe that is due to the fact that the typeface hasn't been kerned? The single words doens't look "isolated" enough in the line of text. I guess you should work on that issue - the relationship of space between glyphs pairs and between words. Besides that, it looks like a nice typeface.

Rob Mientjes's picture

I've uploaded a new sample file to the original post.

Updates include, but are not limited to
· All-new metrics
· Redrawn ligatures
· Some troublesome glyphs cleaned up

Let me know what you think.

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