Ambicase Fatface

eliason's picture

As a follow-up to Ambicase Modern (the development of which was greatly assisted by its Typophile critique thread), I have created Ambicase Fatface. It is considerably bolder version of that single-case font which strove to combine upper- and lowercase forms for each letter.

Character set and OpenType features are much the same as Ambicase Modern, though I have added discretionary ligatures for FT, CT, and ST.

PDF specimen below. I welcome any constructive feedback you have!

AttachmentSize
AmbicaseFatface01.pdf268.04 KB
AmbicaseFatface02.pdf273.17 KB
AmbicaseFatface03.pdf279.24 KB
AmbicaseFatface04.pdf334.14 KB
ambicasefatfaceletters.pdf80.24 KB
1996type's picture

Awesome! Almost as good as Ambicase Modern ;-d. The first and second o in 'options' seem have a dent in it where you made space for the swash. perhaps make the swash a little smaller? The ()/ look a little bit as though there from a different typeface to me. Why not give them a little contrast?

You're a much better typedesigner than I am, so take it with a grain of salt.

Cheers, Jasper

eliason's picture

Thanks Jasper. You zoomed right in on an area that really is unresolved - the overlap on those swash /O/s - so thanks for prodding me to think more about it. Here are a few options for different approaches (each line has different treatment of the /O/ top; ROBOT is as before).


Of these I think COCOA works best.

Those monoline, thin parentheses etc. were a design decision with Ambicase Modern that I've kept here. Perhaps oddly, I kind of like the mismatch. Maybe it reminds me of old-school typesetting where those types of characters were furnished by generic sorts rather than designed and cast for each different font design. If there's a clamor for some with more weight and contrast, I suppose I'd consider furnishing some, at least as an alternate.

Bendy's picture

Delicious.

Agree, Cocoa is best for the Os. Is there some s.alt you can include to deal with the space between the O and the A? (Swash the top of A??)

I also like the thin parentheses, but can see some benefit in including alts.

Middle of M looks heavy (esp left diagonal) but it's such a weird shape I'm not sure how to balance that. Weird in a good way of course.

Like the new ligs, and wow, the new rupee sign!

I'd love to see how a monoline thin might look...

riccard0's picture

Wonderful as always! :-)
I like the MOTOR O, because it keeps the curves symmetrical and because it resembles both a baby’s forelock and a taiji symbol.
I also think the monoline sorts are an essential part of the charme of this face.
And yes, while they would require a rethinking of many solutions, a thin and an ultrablack weights would be definitely interesting to see.

1996type's picture

Yes definitely COCOA.

eliason's picture

Is there some s.alt you can include to deal with the space between the O and the A? (Swash the top of A??)

Well, that pic doesn't show kerning for the tryout characters - the class kerning for OA would be 5 units closer, which might help a little.

eliason's picture

Here's how that O treatment looks in all the swash forms.
Also tried a little rebalancing of the M. It's a bear of a glyph to adjust!


Maybe a thin someday, and riccard0 you're not the first to suggest an even blacker weight, but I haven't yet convinced myself it could work.
Here's what my most playful swash diacritics look like in fatface:

That's Scedilla.medi and Aogonek.fina

glyphobet's picture

This, and Ambicase Modern, are both really nice looking. I love the A and the Q and the alternate F. It's a nice touch that the P and the Þ descend even though they are more capital than lowercase.

The Y feels backwards. I'm not so sure I would be able to tell what letter the swash/alternate Q was in running text.

Try as I might, I can't see the IJ ligature as anything by Ÿ... maybe give the tail of the J a ball terminal like the normal J? Or connect the pips to the main verticals with a flourish, like the alternate I and J?

Again, really great!

eliason's picture

Thanks for the compliments!
There are two /Y/s - which feels backwards? (The second is a contextual alternate that subs in after /A/ or /L/ to help letter fit.)


On the IJ ligature - it's not a general ligature but rather a Dutch-specific digraph, so I'm not too concerned about confusion with /Ÿ/ (context should make clear which is intended, I would think). But here are some alternate designs to consider which grant the J a ball terminal. (BIJNA is as before.)

riccard0's picture

I think there’s no escape for ij resembling ÿ. By the way, I like the RIJN version.

Unrelated: do you plan a display version of fat face?

eliason's picture

I think I like RIJN too.

do you plan a display version of fat face?

You mean a poster cut? Not for sure. I thought the thick thicks would be contrast enough, but with those IJ samples above, perhaps I can see how thinner thins could be useful. I haven't set up multiple masters or anything, so it'd be a considerable amount of work.

riccard0's picture

it'd be a considerable amount of work.

But think of the possible fashion magazine market! ;-)

1996type's picture

To be honest the tittles are starting to anoy me. I guess you already included them in Ambicase Modern, so there's no way back then. I second Riccardo about Rijn. The first Y feels backwards, but I don't think that's a problem. I prefer it over the second Y.
Cheers!

eliason's picture

Minor corrections and changes to a large number of glyphs are reflected in the updated pdf specimen (ambicasefatface02.pdf) attached to the first post.

eliason's picture

Considering a spurlike structure for the lower left of all the /B/s.

Bendy's picture

Mmm, looks very accomplished, I like the way it breaks up the rhythm. Just when I thought it couldn't get any more crazy weird :)

eliason's picture

Ambicase Fatface Poster test:

riccard0's picture

The contrast in the poster seems a little timid ;-)

BeauW's picture

Amazing to see the difference in colour. The poster face is so much sharper.

eliason's picture

Yeah, it's amazing how habituated one's eyes get -- after working for hours on the Poster cut, when I open the Regular I'm taken aback at how thick the thins are!

Miss Tiffany's picture

Fun. And I do agree. I can see this fatter and ultra thin too.

I wonder if the top shouldn't extend more and the bottom be less wide?

Both of the top bowls seem to flat on the underside to me. In fact, you could use them both on a K.

eliason's picture

One of my recent changes was to cut that second thickening on T.fina's hook. That brings the center of gravity of the letter leftward. Does that fix the issue you are seeing? Or shall I still try bringing top out and/or bottom in?


The angle from which the upper /B/ bowls set out from the stem was largely determined by the roundness of the lower bowl which I wanted to retain for the suggestion of the lowercase form. But I'll toy with it and see if a more horizontal departure could work.
Thanks for the feedback!

Miss Tiffany's picture

Your answers are logical. My responses are just first impulses.

The T.fina feels more like a backwards J to me. And it could be fun/interesing to have a T.fina with the top extending. But then again you could create it and I could see I was wrong.

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Wow. This is just beautiful. (I hadn't seen Ambicase Modern before, so my awe applies to that as well). The ffi ligature and section mark especially are elegant details. (And kudos for including the Rupee mark).

Those monoline, thin parentheses etc. were a design decision with Ambicase Modern that I've kept here. Perhaps oddly, I kind of like the mismatch. | I was going to suggest that you do include the alternates, but after seeing them in context in the pdf, I'm sold 100%.

I think there’s no escape for ij resembling ÿ. By the way, I like the RIJN version. | I agree that that version is the best of the four, but what could you do if you gave both i and j a ball, facing each other? Is there some way they could interact that felt like a ligature without joining them? Or what if you had /i/'s swash connect with the ball on /j/ rather than its stem? I'm just spitballing here...

Considering a spurlike structure for the lower left of all the /B/s. | It seems to me to be more gothic that way (how the serifs all point down, you know?) Then again, I guess it's only in that "Beelzebub" sample that that feeling becomes dominant. In the poster test it looks natural.

One of my recent changes was to cut that second thickening on T.fina's hook. That brings the center of gravity of the letter leftward. Does that fix the issue you are seeing? Or shall I still try bringing top out and/or bottom in? | That does help a lot, but it still seems like the top should come out a bit too. I have a small problem with the other /t/s, too. The curve on the bottom starts a bit too low and in small sizes makes the transition look a bit angular.

I have some beef with a few other glyphs as well...

The Copyright, Registered Trademark and @ don't quite work, IMO. It looks like the circles around the first two have an uneven stroke, and are not geometric. To my eye, an even, circular line would look better. For the /@/, I would rather see Ambicase's take on the more common, single-story a inside. I think the problem might be that without the apex, it doesn't read as unicase, so it's just a two story /a/ with a sloped straight edge on the side, which seems like a completely different font.

The initial swash versions of /M/ and /N/ have a strange negative space on the left side. I'm not sure what should be changed (if anything) because the swash makes sense, it's just its proximity to the straight edge of the, uh, what is that slanted line called in /M/ & /N/?

The alt /N/ (stylistic set 5, I guess) is a bit jarring for me (those points are so violent). It is nice to have a lowercase-style /N/, but I'm not sure it quite fits. I'd like to see more examples of it in context. I'd also like to see a swash coming from that up-turned serif on the inside, but going to the left (and possibly not with that scary xacto blade coming down)

Lastly, I have to say I'm not sold on the standard, upside-down-question-mark /Q/. I think it's the line inside that is the main problem. It's just weird that it's the a thin, vertical line that ends without a ball or curve or anything. I guess the closest thing to it would be the terminal of the /T/, but I don't think they really come across as fraternal. The more I look at it, I'm not sure if that's the only problem with it, but it's probably the same in the Modern version, so...

That's all I saw on my first glance through. Let me reiterate that this is an utterly fantastic typeface. I hope my comments help.

eliason's picture

Great, great feedback! Thanks for taking the time. I'll go to work considering the suggestions.

On N: I'd also like to see a swash coming from that up-turned serif on the inside, but going to the left

Do you mean a different initial swash form? Would the swash cross over the middle of the left stem you mean?

William Berkson's picture

I think your fat face and poster versions really suit your design idea with this. As it's very showy to start with, it's more "itself" being very bold and high contrast.

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Would the swash cross over the middle of the left stem you mean? | Yep. It just seems like that serif wants to jump on over there :P

eliason's picture

Reconsideration of the at-sign.


Conceptually and visually a better fit, I think.

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Ah! That looks much nicer. And the vortex design is in keeping with the face's eccentricity.

riccard0's picture

To me, the new @ seems out of character...

eliason's picture

Do these tweaks get it more in character? (1 is as before)

riccard0's picture

I know @ is inherently lowercase, but these new designs have nothing ambicase about them.
Also, the vortex design, while beautiful (#1 still the best, by the way), draw too much attention unto itself, making a bad service to the other letters.

eliason's picture

Hmm. I was trying to get at a little "ambi-ness" between a one- and two-story /a/ form. My tweaked 2 & 3 bring out the two-story form more, but maybe they get too "wound up"?

Tristan Bowersox's picture

Some fonts put the /a/ of the @ on the baseline and dip into the descender area with the ring. Seems like it's always kind of an attention whore. Can we see some tests at smaller sizes?

eliason's picture

1, 2, and 3 from above, smaller.

riccard0's picture

What about something along these lines (sorry for the crude rendering)?

eliason's picture

That's the beginnings of a cool logo for something! but way too geometric for this, methinks.
I'm thinking an @ that distinguishes itself from letters is not a bad thing at all.

Bendy's picture

FWIW I like the vortex design.

Tristan Bowersox's picture

I think #1 is still the best one, though it's a closer race at the smaller size.

1996type's picture

Although I agree with eliason that riccardo's @ doesn't really work, I think it would be better to use the Capital A as already designed and make an @ out of that. I think that's the only way to keep that 'ambicase' feeling. There are still many more options for the @ (when using the capital A) than the one displayed at january 27th. Perhaps you should try to make the tail (is it called a tail?) start somewhere else. Hope this helps.

Bendy's picture

That's a very interesting idea. What about taking the normal A and starting the ring/tail from the junction of the two legs then going round anticlockwise?

Tristan Bowersox's picture

@Bendy: So the small, left leg would be almost like a swash then? That could be interesting...

eliason's picture

I've sketched along those lines but I'm not finding anything visually persuasive enough for me to think it could displace the "vortex" version, with which I'm pretty satisfied.

On another topic, here's my first go at an octothorp/numero meld.

riccard0's picture

my first go at an octothorp/numero meld

Wonderful, I see it shining in chrome on a flying car right out of the cover of Everyday Science and Mechanics! :-)

Bendy's picture

Tristan, well, I was thinking of the ring coming out of the junction, crossing the spine then circling...but in fact I think the current vortex version is a pretty cool solution already.

Craig, I like the numero idea...does the 'o' need to be further away from the N element?

Tristan Bowersox's picture

does the 'o' need to be further away from the N element?

It does look a tiny bit too tight.

I was thinking of the ring coming out of the junction, crossing the spine then circling...

?

It's worth exploring, I think.

[EDIT]

I've sketched along those lines but I'm not finding anything visually persuasive enough for me to think it could displace the "vortex" version, with which I'm pretty satisfied

Oops. Didn't see this before I posted. I think the vortex is great too.

riccard0's picture

About the octothorp/numero meld, what about a non slanted no-contrast º? (to keep the "generic sorts" feeling of brackets et al.)

eliason's picture

I tried that among my sketches but I think it made it harder to read -- it made the heavy diagonal a weird outlier. It also looked a bit like a tic-tac-toe board! But I might return to it and reconsider.

I'll try moving the O out a bit more, though I'm struggling with keeping the weight on the strokes but not letting the glyph get too wide. (I think this would be a much easier glyph to do in the non-fatface versions of Ambicase.)

eliason's picture

Some # variants.


Leaning towards #3?

riccard0's picture

№ 4 or #1

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