Seriatim Gestalt

gulliver's picture

SeriatimGestalt.jpg
SeriatimGestaltKernSample.jpg

This is Seriatim Gestalt, an experimental typeface inspired by and similar to Jonathan Hoefler's HTF Gestalt. I wanted to see if I could add a workable lower case, and try my hand at my own version of the upper case and symbols in a style that would make for a reductivist addition to my Seriatim family (now showing in the Sans Serif Critique Forum).

The question behind the experiment is this: How much of each character can be removed while still allowing the human mind's phenomenon of "gestalt recognition" (recognizing the whole) to still resolve each individual character?

The result seems to be very similar to a stencil font, but then it occurred to me that stencil fonts are another extension of this same question. In order to allow counters, etc., to remain in place in a stencil font, what parts of each character can be safely removed without compromising character recognition? Seriatim Gestalt simply takes it beyond the counters.

As always, comments are appreciated and encouraged.

David

gulliver's picture

The second paragraph should read:

"The question behind the experiment is this: How much of each character can be removed while still allowing the human mind's phenomenon of "gestalt recognition" (recognizing the whole) to still resolve the glyphs into words and sentences?"

David

hrant's picture

> How much of each character can be removed ....

A central issue, where even the questions (much less the answers) have yet to be properly formulated.

Seriatim Gestalt: Some of your "solutions", like the lc "a", are really nice!

Next step: Get yourself an audience, and do some real-world (although fundamentally informal) tests.

hhp

plainclothes's picture

I love this concept -- I'm a big fan of J Hoefler's variant. you're goal, to include the lc is a truely valient one. you've done a wonderfully modest job on the ligatures! also, the uc M is really standing out to my eye here, the diagonals assist in completing the shape quite well.

my overall impression is that you still have some research ahead of you. I'm not certain the components you are emphasizing are the essential ones (I'm thinking of the lc k & a at the moment). some of the characters seem less reductivist than decoratively geometric (the lc p & d, perhaps)

hrant's picture

> some of the characters seem less reductivist than decoratively geometric

Which leads directly to a central conundrum:
A font consisting of "gestalt-minimal" shapes isn't necessarily something anybody would actually want to use... Which doesn't make it a bad effort, not at all. But a *usable* font (as opposed to a truly experimental one, in the scientific/analytical sense) has to strike a compromise between theory and aesthetics.

I can't read David's mind (for which I should probably be thankful ;-) but I wonder if he's worried about where this treacherous road leads, or if he's just enjoying the strange scenery (and there's nothing wrong with that, quite the contrary).

hhp

gulliver's picture

Sometimes even *I* don't want to read my own mind... :D

Actually, you've hit on something, though, Hrant -- this has been one of the more strange (yet fun) typographic forays I've taken.

The lower-case "a" was a startling accident, as I played with forming an "a" out of a reversed "s". What you see above is what resulted. The upper-case "M" had a similar genesis, as I tinkered with the angles and strokes of the glyph.

PlainClothes:
I agree that this experiemnt is far from complete. I'll probably go ahead and release this typeface soon, after a few adjustments, but I'll continue the experimentation toward perhaps creating an even more reductivist version sometime in the future.

David

hrant's picture

> I played with forming an "a" out of a reversed "s"

Which reminds me of an experiment I've been considering: making a font (probably out of Times) that substitutes other letters for the real ones, with some minimal manipulation. Like taking an "e", rotating it 180, and adding a small curling stroke to the bottom-right: one messed-up "a"!

The main point would be to illustrate first-hand the difference between legibility (which would be totally devastated) versus readability (which would be affected much less, as long as the silhouette of each character is mostly maintained).

hhp

Joe Pemberton's picture

Nice David. The human mind is pretty
amazing. (Um, not that your font isn't.)

Hrant, the guys at Eyesaw had a face for a
while that was similar to what you describe...
(The site has now moved on, so I won't try to
find it.) If I were forced to guess I'd say it was
based on Andale Mono or the like. The E was
a flopped 3, the S a 5, the cap A an upside
down V, and so on. It was quite nice.

T Y P O P H I L E

7 4 P 0 P H 1 L 3

sevenfingers's picture

the h4><012 way..
Wasn't it on a David Carson (if I remeber correctly) book cover...
"print is dead" (bah) or something like that.

hrant's picture

Yeah, bunches of pomo boys have done that stuff. I think the first was this Scandinavian guy by the [last] name of Inklaas or something.

Buy that's all cutesy dezinery stuff. Beverly Hills poodles. I'm talking Amazon anaconda.

hhp

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