High contrast Didone

Nick Cooke's picture

I'm working on this new Didone style. It's characterful with high contrast and ink-traps as a feature, tapered stems and a 'bumpy' appearance. I'm not sure about the cap G, but I quite like its quirkiness.

Any comments welcome.

1996type's picture

That new K does look better to me, though I can't tell the difference. The overshoot at the bottom of K looks a bit exagerated. Probably due to the slightly squarish curve.

1996type's picture

Ahh I can tell the difference now. Larger terminal :-)

brianskywalker's picture

I think the inktrap on the /b/ is too broken looking. Just do the same as the /n/ and make the stem flow into it.

Nick Cooke's picture

Having a go at the Display Italic. The terminals on the s look a bit weak - I might try ball terminals instead.

riccard0's picture

Lovely.

eliason's picture

Looks good! I agree on the /s/. Tittles look too big to me too.

LexLuengas's picture

Great! /y/'s tail can be even larger (growing towards the top). And it's ball terminal looks a bit squashed, but it's nothing serious. /p/ and /t/ are very confident, good work!

William Berkson's picture

This is going to be wonderful. But I think the hairlines are disappearing. Shouldn't they be a little thicker, more like the roman?

Nick Cooke's picture


Thanks for the feedback. I've reduced the i tittle and I'd already done exactly what you suggested with the y Lex. I think the s looks better. William, I want the thins to be as thin as possible as I see its usage at mainly large sizes. The standard styles will have the thicker thins.

I think the top z looks better, any thoughts?

J Weltin's picture

I like ’em both (z), but the bottom one should be wider and also descend a bit below the baseline. For now it’s too cramped. You’d have a nice alternative then.

eliason's picture

Top z is definitely better.

William Berkson's picture

I think both z's could be improved on. The weight of the top one harmonizes better with the rest of the face, but I think it dips too far below the baseline, and is a bit distracting. Could you get the weight on both top and bottom, less descent, with no ball terminal? Or you could make it more of a showy swash character by having both ball terminals. Or alternatives, depending on the use?

Unlike Lex, I'm not a fan of the t. To me the left side curve is too extreme, and out of harmony with the face. In old style faces the rule is that the longer vertical strokes are more upright, and that has some visual logic to it. Here your vertical angle is rather more uniform, like a Didone. That makes the t look out of place. It can lean forward a hair, as the t often does, but here I think it goes too far, and is distracting.

On my screen your example is really pretty big, and the thins still look a little weak. It would be great for what some call a 'poster' size, but for regular display I don't know. Maybe just having the thick to thin be a little less extreme. You to want the roman and italic to play together, right? Have you mixed them together? If they work, then ok.

Nick Cooke's picture

I do like the general overall extreme thick/thin contrast, but OK William, I'll rename it as 'Poster' ;^)
I don't like the idea of having two ball terminals on the z at all, I like the top one and I don't find it distracting. I have backslanted the t by 1 degree.


I think they work together.

William Berkson's picture

Is it just me or are the roman and italic t fighting? Should they both have a concave connection or something? Both be straight? I feel like *you* can find a better solution for both. Again, wonderful work.

Nick Cooke's picture

Who says they have to be a similar style? I tried the Roman style italic and didn't like it - this looks better.

William Berkson's picture

They don't have to be a similar style, but they need to be happy together. The italic t is so pretty that the roman looks clunky by comparison. Would a concave connection between the cross bar and the top of the t, with a nice curve, work better?

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Would a concave connection between the cross bar and the top of the t, with a nice curve, work better?

I second that. Also a historical given (history is mostly right).

Nick Cooke's picture


Top one (1) is the original, 2nd has a flat top to the t and not leaning forward as much, 3rd is similar to 2 but with concave angle. I prefer the convex angle. 4th is fairly similar style to the italic. Out of all the versions the 2nd one is the only one I'd be happy with. I tried a concave connection from the far left of the crossbar to the apex of the t and didn't like it at all.

eliason's picture

I think #2 is best.
It relates nicely to the ascenders that follow. The convex curve keeps the kind of "pneumatic" character of the face going, but the horizontal terminal keeps it in check effectively.

Nick Cooke's picture

That's what I wanted to hear Craig. :^)

hrant's picture

I think either of the first two would be fine.

Something else though: I think the thins in the "s" are long enough that they need to be thicker. They seem to be sort of falling apart.

hhp

Nick Cooke's picture

Good point Hrant. It looks a little 'empty' compared to the rest – perhaps they need to be more like the bottom of the e.

Nick Cooke's picture


The altered s looks better. I'm altering other bits as I go along.

eliason's picture

Italic /s/ could use a thicker spine if possible, and a little more width

Nick Cooke's picture

Funny you should say that... Here's the complete lower case.

hrant's picture

Nice.

The "horizontal" of the "g" looks a little bit too hefty/chunky. Maybe some tapering on its left end would give it the requisite elegance.

hhp

eliason's picture

Would you consider a ball terminal on the top of the /c/? That would distinguish it better from an /e/, and would fit in fine with the other letters.
I really admire the /f/, which I think can be a challenging letter in descending, super-heavy form.
Hrant is right about the /g/.
/k/ also still needs work: there's a lot of white around the arm and the whole thing looks a bit wide.

Nick Cooke's picture

I quite like the new ball terminal on the c – I liked the previous iteration but maybe this is better , have altered the g, the leg on the k slants to the right , more space between the diagonal and top hump of bottom horizontal on the z.

William Berkson's picture

I liked the old c better. The foxtail thing to me gives a fresher, warmer look. I wonder if you could take the other ball terminals in this direction. This is a really exciting design. I think when you get it all resolved it could be a new classic.

By the way, on the t, I do think the slight rotation did help. What I had in mind was a concave left top, going up less high, ending in a vertical hairline. I don't know if it will work, but the idea was to go with the whole fat to very thin theme.

daverowland's picture

I think the sharp corner on the middle left hand side of the g in both roman and italic looks a bit strange. I can't see any other points in places you would expect to be round, so it looks almost like a mistake. Italic s looks a touch top heavy. z and y are stunning!

Nick Cooke's picture

I've been playing around with maybe adding a swash set. Here are some initial characters. The V is a bit more of a departure but I think it fits OK. Haven't done cap E yet. That Ki begs to be a ligature doesn't it?

hrant's picture

Super stuff!

hhp

William Berkson's picture

Not sure if going above the cap height so far works. I think that traditionally there is more restraint in this direction, maybe because of accents, or bumping into the line above. I don't remember exactly why, but I do remember trying to go more above the cap height in my Caslon swashes, and then seeing it didn't work. Check out some swashes on classic typefaces and see what you think about the handling of the cap height, if you haven't done that already.

I think the R is very good. I would try bringing down the height of the others, and see if you still get the exuberance, but more harmony with the rest. The V to me is better than the arm of the K, but even it I would try bringing a little lower. As I've said, overall I love this design!

eliason's picture

Certainly great additions.
The /r/ looks uncomfortably attenuated to me. Arm of /K/ maybe too, though less so. When the thins are this thin, you run up against limits to how far they can stretch. I'm actually not sure Ki should be a lig, but worth a look. /V/ I love--let's see the /W/.

hrant's picture

The preference for descending cap swashes over ascending ones probably comes from the fact that in metal the latter -which unlike the former would be floating kerns- were much more likely to break off. But that stopped happening in digital. :-) Although I guess even in digital there's more room to play below the baseline than above the capline.

hhp

StefanR's picture

Any way you could send me an email or message here when this is completed? I'd love to purchase it

Nick Cooke's picture

It's been a while, but I thought I really ought to get Saltaire finished this year. Spurred on by a tweet from Stephen Coles, I have been back working on it again for the past few weeks; concentrating on swashes for the most part. Trying to decide which characters should be swashed and which left alone is proving very time consuming. Some just don't look right and kind of ruin the overall flow, while others are just obviously swashable. It also occurred to me that some are obvious candidates for swash ligatures. So here is a taster of recent progression.

William Berkson's picture

To me swashes on the upright letters look kind of goofy in an 80s way. I like the swashes with the italic though, very nice! People can turn on and off the swashes, depending on the word, so I wouldn't worry so much about how they look when everything is on. I mean, this is a display thing, so designers play with it, no?

William Berkson's picture

duplicate.

Nick Cooke's picture

Good point William. There's something I'm not too fond of in the upright swashes too. I always detested Bookman, and I agree that the italics look better. I think italics lend themselves better to swashing–it looks a bit forced on uprights. I'll try to improve the look.

William Berkson's picture

Oh, and I don't know why, but the swash italic s seems step better than the others. More dynamic and at the same time balanced somehow.

piccic's picture

I don’t know… I would not make a swash version of the lowercase [h]…

Nick Cooke's picture


This is the complete U/lc of the Poster Italic style. I'm working on Light Italics at the moment.

eliason's picture

Looks really great! In the lc I think you could thin the strokes that ascend and descend a touch at this weight. They look a little too dark. (Doesn't apply to /b/f/j/ since they get relief from tapering, but those rectangular ones /d/h/k/l/p/q/ jump out to my eye.)

Nick Cooke's picture

Thanks Craig. You could be right, I'll try it. What about the legs of the K and k? — need to be a bit thicker? I just noticed that at iPad size.

Martin Silvertant's picture

Really impressive typeface and wonderful to see how it developed. I've never done a typeface like this but working with these extremes often make it more obvious where you will compensate for what, like the consideration you made with the angles of 5 and 7.

I think the legs of K and k are indeed a tad too light. Perhaps the top should be a bit heavier to make the shape more constant so it flows better with most letters. The bottom seems thick enough.

The G bothers me a bit as I feel the spur should be sharper to be more consistent with the other capital letters but I'm not even sure if that's a valid consideration as it may work optimally in combination with lowercase letters as it is.

Nick Cooke's picture

I have thinned the stems of /d/h/k/l/p/q/, made the ball of the k bigger, and thickened the legs of the K and k. I think it looks better.

J Weltin's picture

Lowercase k’s leg could still be a tad thicker maybe. Compare with the lowercase r …

eliason's picture

Those weights are improved. Loving it.
There's a little lumpiness in the curve at the top of the bowl of /d/( and /q/?).
The ball of /k/ should maybe grow out of that thin like the /K/ rather than being so abrupt.

Nick Cooke's picture

I know. There are a few lumps here and there. Yes., maybe the ball terminals on the Kk's should match.

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