Dutch baroque book font, Cyrillic and Greek scripts, italic

JanekZ's picture

Hi Typophiles,
In july I bought the book printed by Elzeviers in 1661. (here you can find some details). After a short research I realised there is no any fonts based strictly on types used by Elzeviers[8 pt] available now. [edit: except DTL Elzevir, but based on 14 pt /Augustijn Romeyn/ not text]
So... I decided to make a font (first in my life :D
Font under working name VanDyckBoek is intented as typeface for books. The shapes look up to printed letters set at about 8 pt.


I have attached my first attempt here. I'm particularly concerned about inconsistencies in stroke widths/contrast, overshoots etc and overall look of these letters. At this moment there is no numerals; italic and titling version are in future plans.

Every your opinion is highly appreciated.

Jan Żurawski

Update: Greek script. See this file: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/19437300/kor13.png

[10.09] Very rough version in text:
[Dec 25, 2010] Four fonts: Zero, One, Two and Three in new png files:
[Dec 27, 2010] Sidebearings set the same in all fonts, so now it almost fits
[Dec 31, 2010] Cyrillic added - see hercowicz3.png. As a bonus this beautiful song by Ewa Demarczyk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzV9Fa9v8Bc&feature=related text Osip Mandelsztam, translated by Wiktor Woroszylski
[JAN 21, 2011] Some amendments, 6th line: old...new. file 21_01.png
[MAR 26, 2011] 36.png italic, Polish text
[APR 15, 2011] curiosity - VanDyck on screen 09.png and 42.png (Nightly 6.0a1, Win XP)
[JUL 22, 2011] Biblia Sacra
[DEC 07, 2011] Mongolian

AttachmentSize
roboczy_deklar.pdf36.76 KB
roboczy_deklar1.pdf232.9 KB
osf.png42.81 KB
text.png60.75 KB
markaurelius11.png437.98 KB
markaurelius12.png439.28 KB
markaurelius13.png438.25 KB
markaurelius14.png441.18 KB
hercowicz3.png121.74 KB
21_01.png63.93 KB
2.png28.76 KB
28.png237.07 KB
36.png24.23 KB
09.png11.35 KB
forum.png6.19 KB
BibliaSacra.png178.09 KB
poczatek20.jpg111.34 KB
Max Phillips's picture

Late to the party. This has really evolved with stunning speed into a very elegant and readable face. Well done!

Eye of the g looks a little light to me. And while a matching bold in a face of this vintage will always look just a little anachronistic (at least to me), I think your bold would seem less algorithm-y if it had more thick/thin contrast.

JanekZ's picture

Thanks for your encouragement!
"Late to the party" - then you can see it from very first clumsy drawings :) Slowly all that mess becoming a face - not a set of letters.
"g" now looks that way:


I will think abut it.
BTW I needed bold as my browser uses this font and artificial bold looks terribly, so better this one than nothing. Of course it is not a way to make a finished font...
And thanks all again.

Gary Lonergan's picture

HI Jan What I meant was did the computer alone make your bold whichI now know is not the the case. Have you tried making a mm font and generating instances to see which bold is strong enough to stand out, but can also be used as an independent face.

JanekZ's picture

"did the computer alone make your bold" No, particularly the result in one cycle is not good, much better in three smaller.
"Have you tried making a mm font" No, I tried the function "Merge fonts". MM seems very complicated and don't work for me in FontForge :(
My trial run:


The third is extrapolation between Medium and Bold > Thin (a bit fishy)

Gary Lonergan's picture

Middle weight is best. The top looks like it's an unedited computer generated bold. Would you say you have kept the original feeling of your type? I'm not sure. I'm running into the same problems myself.

JanekZ's picture

"The top looks like it's an unedited computer generated bold" because it is.
It is a reference when I want to make slight variations of my basic font, and as such works quite well. I'm planning to edit/polish the Bold to the real thing and then I will be able to generate any weight between Book and Bold plus even extrapolated Light(not as extreme as this one above).

brianskywalker's picture

I was also unable to get MM to work in Fontforge... Can't anyone get it to work!

froo's picture

I am not sure if the Light is a good idea, at least now. It is better to observe how the Regular behaves in real print, on various papers in different sizes. Your typeface has some contrast, and finding the minimal stroke width in the Light will be crucial, if the font has to be used in the real world.
It is great to have many weights, but I would see (as a designer, not a type designer) rather an UltraBlack, than Light in your font, if you want to go further than just making a revival.

JanekZ's picture

Thanks a million :)
First sketch of Greek script attached at the opening post.

JanekZ's picture

I made a CALT feature to resolve ugly f-space-T combination:

lookup caltlookup {
  lookupflag 0;
    sub [\f ]' [\space ] [\T ]  by [f.altnarrow ];
} caltlookup;

see: http://typophile.com/node/90561

hrant's picture

To me the neutered "f" is uglier (both functionally
and aesthetically) than the previous not-so-bad space.

hhp

eliason's picture

I agree.

JanekZ's picture

OK. John Hudson made it right (and simple): small negative kerning space/T,W,V,X,Y and positive f/space.
BTW positive kerning is an oxymoron, I suppose.

Birdseeding's picture

I'm slightly concerned by the apparent optical unevenness of the baseline, some of those overhangs might be too small or too large. Otherwise it's looking nice!

JanekZ's picture

Thanks, Johan!
It is shabby rendering. A bit spooked I checked it out:


Hope the baseline IS even... BTW the overshot is 12 for UC and 10 for lc. [1/1,000]

hrant's picture

Those overshoots at a bit modest for text sizes.

hhp

JanekZ's picture

I made quick research: 8 fonts designed for text, 5 fonts are in 8 to 11 band and 3 fonts in 14-23. So my font is in the mainstream; should be well. I belive, at least.

hrant's picture

Yeah, could be, especially since you're x-height is small.
Could you name the fonts? I'm curious.

hhp

JanekZ's picture

Not details at hand as it didn't interest me then. The newest one - Brill 14/14, x-height 406, while mine 12/10 x-height 441.
BTW no such data somewhere? I'm curious too.

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