'elegant' typeface in Myfonts' Hot New Fonts

1996type's picture

Hello everybody,

http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/northernblock/knul/

Am I the only one who thinks this doesn't belong in the Hot New Fonts? I think it has very poor spacing and it doesn't take optical illusions in account. For example the strokes don't get thinner where they meet the stem, which creates a very ugly dark spot. If you're wondering why I post this: Well, I'm just very frustated crappy fonts like this actually sell. It seems as if the people who are supposed to be selecting the typefaces, do so without enough knowledge, which makes typedesign based on fashion, instead of lasting beauty. This mkes me seriously reconsider Myfonts as a platform to sell my expletus.

paulow's picture

My friend, are the people who buy the fonts which make the fonts up or down in the HotFonts. We, type designers, masters or not (my case) have no all the true with us. So, if this font, and others, are in the Hot fonts is because someone like them and buy them. Artists works to the Kings, and to the people too. Vox Populi Vox Dei.

Steven Acres's picture

...it has very poor spacing and it doesn't take optical illusions in account. For example the strokes don't get thinner where they meet the stem, which creates a very ugly dark spot.

Who says every typeface has to be designed the same way? A lot of these nuances don't make a huge difference (sometimes) in large display sizes. Maybe the designer wanted it to look blocky/have "ugly dark spots." I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a poorly designed typeface... it may have a proper application somewhere, perhaps.

Bendy's picture

It's a strange description to say "a subtle monoline appearance", and you're right the thing doesn't have any optical correction (overshoot, thinning or traps), and the spacing is bumpy, but perhaps (?) that's what the designer wanted. I wouldn't buy it.

blank's picture

Jasper, you’re far too young to have such a big stick up your ass. At least get a degree from an art school before you get so snotty.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

I would refrain from making an art school’s degree the entrance ticket for expressing one’s opinion here. James, calm yourself.

Jasper: MyFonts-com is a shop. Not a design award panel.

1996type's picture

"Jasper, you’re far too young to have such a big stick up your ass. At least get a degree from an art school before you get so snotty." Ok let's be honest. Whether it's arrogant or not, I think it simply doesn't look good at all. I might not have a degree from an art school, but I do believe I can reasonably judge the quality of typeface. Maybe I was exaggerating in this post, but I'm still very surprised that this typeface is so popular. I think if the designer deliberately made it look 'weird' (I can't make any more of it.), he should have made this clear in the description. From his description it seems he justed wanted to create simple, elegant, somewhat geometrical typeface. Arrogant or not, with or without art school degree, I think he failed.

Nick Cooke's picture

Jasper, once you have a few years type design experience you will look back on this post and laugh with embarrassment. OK, so you've had some positive feedback on the Critique forum - it doesn't mean Expletus is the best thing since sliced bread.

Pomposity is not an admirable trait in the young, (nor the old for that matter).

The strange thing about type design is that when we first start down that path we all think we've just created the most brilliant, wonderfully original font ever, and praise and admiration must surely immediately follow. With a few typefaces under your belt you may revise your original opinion and think "Hmmm, it's OK I suppose". A few more years down the line you may think to yourself "I'm not too bad at this now, I might even be pretty good eventually".

This post reminds me of that Mark Twain quote about experience and the passage of time:
“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years.”

Nick Shinn's picture

Before you point the finger...

1996type's picture

@Nick: I know that expletus is far from what I consider a good typeface, but judging your own typeface is much harder than someone else's. "The strange thing about type design is that when we first start down that path we all think we've just created the most brilliant, wonderfully original font ever, and praise and admiration must surely immediately follow." Yes, I've had that to, but I believe I'm over it now. You didn't know this yet, but I've already released two VERY ugly fonts. http://new.myfonts.com/foundry/Designtown/
I realise, that I won't be able to release a succesful typeface untill I have a degree from an art school. Now let me ask you a question. Not becease I think I already know the answer, but because I want to know the truth. Do you think this (knul) is a good typeface? How is it compared to expletus?

I never said that I consider expletus worthy to be in the Hot New Fonts, nor do I think so. I just think that this (knul) typeface isn't either.

"This makes me seriously reconsider Myfonts as a platform to sell my expletus." This does sound very arrogant at a second look, but all I meant was that Myfonts atracts the kind of customers that I might not want to be associated with. If I do have an art school degree and a good font in the future, maybe I don't want to be 'that guy from myfonts'.

The rest is just my opinion about the font with, what i thought, are good arguments. I posted it on typophile, because i wanted to know what you thought about it, hence the question above in this comment.

1996type's picture

If i seemed arrogant or unclear, i apologise for that. It was by no means my intention to claim to be better.

Nick Shinn's picture

...you should know that I'm the man, and if I'm the man, then you're the man, and he's the man as well...

That, surely, is the premise of MyFonts, and has nothing to do with the quality of any particular font.
The only bad fonts are those which have encoding that doesn't work properly, or that are too obviously knock-offs.
Otherwise, it's the typographer's responsibility to make "good" typography (however that is defined), and contrary to the old saying that "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", "if you are given lemons, make lemonade".

1996type's picture

Ooh, haha. Nick cooke and Nick Shinn. That's not very clear of me. I'm currently typing with one hand, since my left wrist is injured, so I try to keep things short. My comment was mainly towards nick cooke, because I didn't understand your comment. Now I do. I totally agree, though your language use took me some time to understand. Never mind that, it's good for my english. Thanks for your comment.

blank's picture

On a related note, my comment about art schools was a sarcastic snipe at art schools and not at Jasper. As someone with an art degree who is teaching in two design programs and studying in yet another, I feel qualified to say that one can design type without an art degree. But a BFA from a typographically-aware design school sure does help.

Bert Vanderveen's picture

Art degrees are vastly overrated… My diploma has been gathering dust for 30 years now; not worth the paper!

David Waschbüsch's picture

@bert_vanderveen: Well, I think you can't gerneralize this just like that. I think studing communications design (here in Germany) is from immense help for me. To be more precise, I think I already went a long way, yet I think there is still plenty to go for. Without attending university it would have taken maybe like 5-10 years getting where I am now. Maybe I would not have reached it ever.

Of course it depends on how you study. Sitting around like in school, waiting for the wisdom to be put into your head by professors you get obviously nowhere. But if you get into action and understand studies as a base for your initiative it is a great catalyst.

As for the degree itself - a paper prooving you sit your ass flat for 4 years - yes. Completely useless. What counts is what you did with your time in university.

The Don Killuminati's picture

You really can guess a person's age by whether or not they believe in a causal relationship between quality and recognition.

Sye's picture

all fonts are ugly.

Queneau's picture

"This does sound very arrogant at a second look, but all I meant was that Myfonts atracts the kind of customers that I might not want to be associated with"

I'm sorry, but this does sound arrogant, making your first proper typeface, but already sure you want to exclude certain customers from buying it just because they have bad taste (in your opinion)... It doesn't show much respect for them, as you don't even know them. And by the way: Hot new fonts are defined purely by the amount of items sold, it doesn't judge the quality of them. And sales don't define a good typeface perse, otherwise Helvetica would not be such a big seller even after all those years.

And about art school, it schould perhaps not be overrated, but it does help, it thaught me a lot, maybe not the things I should have been thaught, but still a lot ;-)

Nick Cooke's picture

Well I don't think 'elegant' is the most suitable word to describe Knul, but I don't think the typeface is that bad either. It is a strict monoline with no optical correction, but maybe that is the designer's intention like the very popular ITC Conduit. Knul is nothing like Expletus so there is no point comparing the two.

What one person thinks beautiful another will think ugly and vice versa. You can't say your sensibilities are more refined than anyone else's, again that suggests a certain arrogance on your part.

BTW, having an art school degree is absolutely no guarantee of having a popular font.

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