Crimson Text

SebastianK's picture

Good evening Typophiles,

I have attached my first attempt at a text face. I'm particularly concerned about inconsistencies in stroke contrast and overshoots. Screen legibility is definitely an issue as well.

I am aiming for a very traditional, garalde-ish book font; something in between Hoefler, Arno, Gentium, Sabon etc. … but it's drawn from scratch. (Why the effort? I'm hoping to one day arrive at a free webfont and maybe even at a math family for font-deprived TeX users.)

I'd be extremely thankful for your input!


P.S.: I am afraid only few dare to publicly offer their opinions here. I appreciate your thoughts even if you've never designed a font yourself!

v0.01.pdf16.45 KB
v0.02.pdf140.83 KB
dhannah1000's picture

It has some 'Verona Roman' flavor to it. How did you find that idea? It looks good!

SebastianK's picture

Thanks for your comment! I didn't even know Verona! It's true, the serifs and terminals are similar … but the overall feel is different enough. Any ideas on how to make the whole face more "even-looking," especially on screen?

riccard0's picture

Pleasant :-)
Some pretty random thoughs:
- some letters appear definitely taller than others (a, e, c, for example).
- spacing is too tight, and you'll need some kerning too.
Evenness on screen is a matter of hinting (you could start here:

eliason's picture

Perhaps the spine of /s/ could be raised a touch.

SebastianK's picture

Thanks guys, very helpful advice! I've redone a couple of letters, particularly horizontal strokes, and added your suggestions. Here's a new attempt (same document): PDF File.

I should've mentioned that spacing will be taken care of.
Again, thanks for your input!

SebastianK's picture

Sorry for the bump — I've uploaded a new version. Spacing/kerning is still absolutely wonky, but that will be taken care of soon enough (it has to of course; as some of you have noted, Crimson will be part of Google's font directory).

I really hope to get some more advice from you, what I've read so far has been extremely helpful!


Bendy's picture

Wow, this is really your first try at making a font?! Amazing!

Well here are some comments from me. Take with a bit of salt because I'm not at all an expert.

Proportions are very good; this does remind me of Arno.
Terminals on C could be heavier.
I'm worried the curves of D and O may need to be heavier.
Foot serifs on F and P could be wider on the right to balance the top-heavy forms.
M may be slightly too narrow; N too wide?
Upper counter of R seems too high; I think I'd make the top of the bowl a bit darker than the bottom where the leg joins.
S may be falling backwards but it's hard to judge.
Crossover at centre of W may need some offset.

The contrast on e seems a bit too vertical. Particularly the nw segment looks too dark for classical contrast.
o seems to need some optical correction; is it symmetrical?
s may need some more weight in the serifs and perhaps a hair less in the spine.
Left arm of y seems to get rather fat at the baseling.

1 could have a larger flag.
6 needs a larger bowl I think.

Great stuff.

SebastianK's picture

Fixed. They're a lot better now.

Thank you so much!

SebastianK's picture

Sorry for bumping again ... any new comments on the overall feel of the text? Printouts just don't look right, but I don't know how to fix it up. (Maybe the spacing isn't perfect. Or printing at 300dpi just kills it.)

And please take a look at my numerals. I'm not really happy with them, either.

Thank you! The italics shall follow soon :)

SebastianK's picture

Any comments on the italics (disregard spacing please)? I'm especially unsure about f, g, s, v, w

Thank you! (and while you're at it, ideas how to improve the Roman?)

jcrippen's picture

The italic lowercase s is optically tilted more, I think it’s the upper terminal doing this.

The italic lowercase w looks spindly on the left side, with the middle being very prominently dark. Shift weight from one to the other.

I think that italic r, n, m are slightly closer to vertical than the letters with straight ascenders. This makes them seem out of place. You don’t seem to be aiming at a very baroque italic, judging by the consistent pen angle, so the differences between them and the others should be minimized.

Your italic p bulges out too much on the top right.

The italic a looks weak at the top, but I’m not sure this is a bad thing yet.

I like the f, and the y is nice as well. I haven’t made up my mind about the k or the g yet.

Great work! Keep at it!

SebastianK's picture

Thank you so much for the kind and helpful words, James!

Could it be that the variations in slant are due to my scaling down the image to a Typophile-phile size? Because really, there aren't any. Or then again, maybe that's precisely the problem :-)

Here's a new attempt:


By the way, whoever wants to try out today's development release, it's on But beware, it's not usable really.

Thanks again!

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