Novel: Serif Text Face

Cherry's picture

Hello! This is my first post, and my first attempt at type design. I am trying to create a text face that could be used in paperback novels or other papers of lesser quality, and is a little different from the usual Garalde faces we see so often in novels nowadays (thus the name). I realise that the "v" is awkward, so just ignore that one for now. All comments are appreciated.


Type03a2.pdf (16.8 k)

eomine's picture

It looks nice!

A few observations:
- 'a' is a bit too wide;
- serifs are too heavy (they're heavier than the thin parts of the letters);
- descender is too long;
- the dot on 'i' is too low.

hrant's picture

This looks pretty promising!
I agree with Eduardo about the descenders (way too long for a paperback face - since economy is critical there) and the "i" (the dot is also too small), but I think the "a" is fabulous as it is, and the serifs being strong might be a good thing - in fact I would make the ones on the ascenders longer.

- Considering this is for smaller point sizes: your x-height is too small; the overshoots (like in the "o") need to be more; don't forget the trapping*.
- I'm not sure what problem you're seeing with the "v". Maybe just shorten the inside-right serif.
- The spacing (besides being uneven - although I'm sure you haven't gone there yet) might be a bit loose, but maybe not - depending on your target point size.
- Color might be right on, considering press gain.



Cherry's picture

Thanks for all of your valuable comments. I see what you two are saying about the descender and the "i" dot. The trapping instructions will be really useful too - I haven't considered it much before.

The "v"? Well for one thing, the bottom bit looks like it could poke someone's eye out! It has also been pointed out to me that the angles of the left and right strokes aren't balanced. And I am sooo not at the spacing stage yet...

About space economy considerations, actually I was basing the x-height on what I saw being used in recent fiction novels. I looked at 16 books that were published within the last 15 years. Four were set in Sabon, four in Bembo, two in Adobe Garamond, then one each of Stempel Garamond, Minion, Centaur, Monotype Garamond, Perpetua and Fairfield. I don't really have a method to determine what sizes to use yet, so I figured I probably wouldn't go wrong if I didn't stray too far from what was already out there.

I also read that a typeface which is too uniform will not be easy to read. But are there any particular letters or parts of letters that you pick to make them quirky?

pablohoney77's picture

/i{are there any particular letters or parts of letters that you pick to make them quirky?}

i think you can put a little personality in almost any letter you want to, but perhaps some letters that are more succeptible to showing a font's character (IMO): a, e, g, j, k, r, s and G, Q, R, X, Z

hrant's picture

> I was basing the x-height on what I
> saw being used in recent fiction novels.

Very smart of you to do that "legwork".

I should ask: what point size are we talking about?

> are there any particular letters or parts
> of letters that you pick to make them quirky?

Now that's a question!

Paul wrote about amplifying "personality", which is very cool, but that's different than divergence for the sake of readability. But it's very hard to say where divergences should go, and how far. One mainstream way to incorporate divergence is in widths: you'll notice that many good faces have what might seem to be an overly narrow "s", "t", etc. A less mainstream but still acceptable area of divergence can be the extenders, for example making the tails of the "j" and "y" very different. Another way is through color (weight), by making some glyphs slightly darker/lighter than the "norm" - although this generally imparts a crude feeling, so it has to be done with great subtlety. Beyond that you can start to get pretty deep, like varying serif sizes, the bowls of "b"/"d"/"p"/"q" and their relationship to the "el" and "o", etc. Tricky stuff. But highly magnetic to some of us.


Jordan Harper's picture

So, Hrant, are you going to finish that trapping tutorial? How are you calculating the ring radii?

Nice type BTW Cherry!


hrant's picture

Too many things to finish...
There can't be a strict way of choosing the radii, because it depends on how wide & deep you need the traps to be, and this depends on usage size, paper quality, etc. But there are good relationships between the various radii... I presume. :-/


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