Design my own typeface

beccabob's picture

Hi, I'm new around here so please be gentle ;)

I am currently writing my own brief for a college project and I've decided to design my own typeface in a minimalist style. As I'm a complete novice I only have limited knowledge of type but I love typograpghy and so I've set myself this task. I'm not asking for my work to be done but any nippets of advice would be greatly appreciated, like things to avoid or whats a good programme to develop my font in. Any help would be fantastic.

Bec

aquatoad's picture

I'd recommend fontlab, or it's paired down little brother, typetool available at http://www.fontlab.com. There really isn't another good option. I would also recommend Leslie Cabarga's book Learn Fontlab Fast. Available at the fontlab website.

Randy

dan_reynolds's picture

Leslie Carbarga's other book, The Logo, Font, and Lettering Bible, (http://www.logofontandlettering.com/) is a great intro about how to begin to draw and design letters and typefaces, and is less technically specific that Learn FontLab Fast, yet still offers some good tips. It is a fantastic book!

In terms of advice, the only pieces that I can think of without hearing more about what you would like to do are these:
1. Design (draw) entire words first, not single letters. Letters in a typeface don't exist in a vacuum, but rather in context with one another.

2. Remember the negative spaces! The spaces inside the letters, and the spacing in between the letters is just as important as the letterforms themselves. Erik Spiekermann wrote that type designers don't design marks on a page, but rather the spaces around those marks (or something like that

beccabob's picture

thanks for the advice.

I'm looking at stripping down the individual letters to their most minimal form, I want to play around with how far I can take them before they become unrecognisable. I'm still in the proposal part of my idea so I'm still working out what I'd like to do.

Bec

hrant's picture

Rebecca, it probably won't surprise you that experimetal minimalism in type has been attempted by a number of people in the past. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try your own hand it. In fact I would recommend that you specifically avoid looking at other past attempts at this! This is such an extreme thing that it's necessarily personal, and outside influences can stunt the critical early stage of the process.

We could give more advice about specific "tricks of the trade" shall we say but it seems to me that's tangential right now. You're not planning on producing a mainstream text face, and trying to absorb too much of the craft too early might actually distract you from the whole point of your effort. I guess the one general thing I myself would recommend though is this: observe the alphabet, in all its incarnations, to try to get at its essence, and thereby the essence of its elements - remembering that the letters are only really themselves in the context of the whole system.

So maybe do your own thing, in private, but then do please show us what you got!

hhp

jayyy's picture

On an unrelated note - I just cast my vote!

I voted for you twice Hrant. I think Typophiles vision of meritocracy may be flawed.

On a related note - you now have 5 stars (twice).

Jay

hrant's picture

Voting = venting anyway.
But thanks for the memories.

hhp

negativespace's picture

I dont mean to hi-jack this thread:

I have yet to start designing my own face as I am also new to type design, but I am starting to analyze letterforms as much as I can to get a good idea and figuring out how the strokes and such are designed and what style of letters I like most (like double bowl g and two story a') but soon enough I will eventually start my own. However one thing I know I need to work on and I know good type design execution relies on it, being able to master beziars curves.

I have heard of some people taking existing typefaces and re drawing them, for instance I think I read on here somewhere that someone started out as a way to get practice was re drawing Gill Sans. Is something liek this a good way to get started in terms of execution?

emilie's picture

I have heard of some people taking existing typefaces and re drawing them, for instance I think I read on here somewhere that someone started out as a way to get practice was re drawing Gill Sans. Is something liek this a good way to get started in terms of execution?

I am asking myself this same question. Though I'm thinking of redrawing a script font. Any thoughts? I'll start a new thread on this topic...

Em

beccabob's picture

My idea moved away from designing my own type face to looking at how to communicate in a minimal way using typography. Though the initial idea is there, I bought the book that recommended by Dan and its fantastic!

I'm not sure how you master bezier curves, though I have redrawn several fonts for previous projects, that is a good place to start.

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