New to font designing and need some help in the technical aspects

Hi everyone,

I'm new to the website and I've found all the information here very helpful. For my senior project I chose to design a typeface from scratch, and there are some technical issues that I am having. I am making an italic serif typeface in the old style/ transitional style. I've taken some inspiration from Giambattista Bodoni's Bodoni typeface, and it will be used for displays, pull quotes, and headers.

Just like Bodoni's italic font in the lowercase the serif curves (e.g. lowercase 'h') up to the right and the width of this serif determines the width of the thin areas in the rest of the family. My questions is; In illustrator I'm having difficulty making sure the widths of the thin areas are consistent? because of the angle and different shapes of the bowls, cross bars, and descenders are all so different.

I apologize in advance if this isn't the right section to be posting this topic, but any help would be much appreciated since I am new to this process.

thank you

oldnick's picture

Object > Path > Outline Stroke works wonders...

poonpoon's picture

I'm not sure how that is relevant? At the moment the typeface is filled with no stroke and I can see some discrepancies in some areas and want to be a bit more accurate at the widths. note; I haven't made an OTF yet and it is sitting at the stage just before importing into fontlab. I wanted to cleanup to make fontlab a little easier on myself.

I just wanted to know if there is any techniques to stay consistent in the strokes widths when they are always switching between thick and thin?

oldnick's picture

A path with a normal stroke, when converted to an outline, will have a uniform width. A path with a calligraphic stroke, when converted to an outline, will have a width consistent with the dimensions of the calligraphy tool chosen. Such outlines can replace elements in the glyph designs, or you can put them on a lower layer and adjust your glyph outlines to match the results.

eliason's picture

Leslie Caberga advises drawing a "gauge ball" - a perfect circle of the chosen diameter, which can then be moved around to check widths.

That said, mathematically equivalent widths and optically equivalent widths are two different things; and really, the only tool to achieve the latter is your eye.

poonpoon's picture

Thanks eliason, the gauge ball trick is exactly what I was looking for.
Oldnick I think your one step ahead of where I am and now I know what you are talking about.

thanks a bunch.

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