Brag - Black Display Serif

daverowland's picture

Hi everyone. Please critique my latest work in progress, Brag, a black serif display font. Lower case and a few upper case characters at the moment. No kerning and very limited spacing (I'm concentrating on drawing the glyphs first). What do you think? I'm not sure about the top part of uppercase B, D and R (not pictured) how the thin comes out of the stem. Thinking of going for a more normal look but maybe keeping that as an alternate form, but then maybe it might get too samey. I put the characters into what the font to see if there's anything really similar out there, as it feels quite familiar to me, but nothing really came up as being anything like it. Anybody know of any similar fonts that I can look at for inspiration / problem solving. I'm already dreading spacing this one. I want it to track quite tight so I think there's going to have to be a lot of kerning. Anyway, any thoughts and criticism much appreciated.
Cheers
Dave

hrant's picture

Interesting harmonization of the two cases!

You might try making the descenders shorter.

hhp

cerulean's picture

The element works, and the touch of Tuscan flavor it gives to the uppercase is fun and not out of place. I think there are a few glyphs in which it would help to pull the notch closer to the center of the stem, notably b and q.

eliason's picture

To my eye the straight stems seem heavier than the thicks of the bowls. So letters like /l/ seem much heavier than letters like /e/, and letters like /b/ seem unbalanced. To be optically the same, curved thicks have to be mathematically thicker.

I like the concept and think it's working well. (I agree with cerulean about moving the notches.) I'll be interested to see how you treat /U/.

riccard0's picture

I'll be interested to see how you treat /U/

Maybe like Perpetua’s.

daverowland's picture

Hi,

Thanks for the input. I think I'll leave the descenders where they are, any lower and there's not much room for the ball terminals on j and y.

Notches on b and p - I've noticed many fonts have a downward facing serif on b and upward on q. Any reason for this other than that's just the way it's done? I've brought it in a bit, how far should it come in?

I have increased the width of curved thicks on lowercase. Not quite sure how I'd managed to neglect to do this first off. I thought I had but when I checked they were almost exactly the same width as straights.
Also fixed the leaning forward C, and added a few more uppercase. I'm thinking if I go with the tuscan flavour, maybe the alternate N is better than the normal?

Regarding U, I'm going to try both standard thick on the left, thin on the right, so spurs, and the Perpetua style more like lowercase u. I'll post image soon


b and q aren't changed in the image above. serifs brought in slightly in this one:

hrant's picture

More charming by the minute!

I'd make the gap between the top and bottom of the "g" a bit larger.
There's room to raise the tittles a bit.
The "k" rules, but it might give you spacing trouble. Drop the leg below the baseline?
The "v" of the "y" might benefit by being larger (taller).
Maybe lower the bar of the "A".
That white circle in the "Q" is dangerously small.
The "S" seems out of character. Funk up the serifs?

Also:
1) You might want to hold off on the trapping until the very end.
2) In order to make this stand out more from the crowd (especially in the lc) have you considered making all the head serifs (like on the ascenders) that signature shape that's at the top of the caps? Maybe at least as alts?

hhp

daverowland's picture

Here's my U options so far (no spacing or kerning yet!)

daverowland's picture

Regarding U, I'm going to try both standard thick on the left, thin on the right, so spurs, and the Perpetua style more like lowercase u. I'll post image soon

should say no spurs, not so spurs.

daverowland's picture

@hrant
Thanks for all the pointers. I tried the same kind of serif shape as on the uc with the lc. I didn't like it. I think without the thin stemming from it, that shape looks weird. I hope that it is echoed in the lc enough by a, b, u and q. I might try it on m n p and r too.
I've pulled the leg of the k in slightly, but I think I like the shape too much to drop it below the baseline. I'm thinking spacing/kerning problems - kl, kf, kb etc. I might just deal with by making nice ligatures, something along these lines:


You're right about the Q. I wasn't keen on it anyway and was looking at a way to get the tail more underneath it and less sticking out at the right (mainly to help spacing). I've tried that number 2 style Q (don't know if it has a special name!) and I like it a lot more - just trying to decide whether to go with open or connected version:

I'll post more images soon. I too was thinking the serifs on s,S and C (and maybe E and F) need something. I'll probably put a bit of a curve in them as in z, maybe angle them slightly too.
Here's the alphabet so far:

daverowland's picture

New sample above with complete (for now) upper and lower case, and alternates of lower case letters with the upper case flavour spurs. I'm quite happy with how it's progressing, at least in that I like the shapes of the individual letters. Spacing is very hard, and I'm beginning to think it will need a lot of kerning and ligatures to look how I want it too, but... I would like to get spacing as good as possible first (at the moment it's just very rushed spacing and no kerning) so if anyone knows of a similar font in terms of weight and serif size (ie not thin enough that serifs can overlap all that easily without looking bad) then I'd like to know so I can see how they deal with spacing.

Any other points and criticism gladly accepted. What do you think of uppercase options: which Q is better? I like alternate N but trying to copy that style to the M doesn't look great and the W looks horrible. I'm thinking the middle U but with shorter serifs on top. I prefer the normal shape without spur in its own right, but with other letters the lack of weight is very distracting.

So that's it for now. Numbers next...

hrant's picture

> I'm beginning to think it will need a lot of kerning and ligatures

Only if you want it very tight, and that will backfire when setting strings of letters that simply cannot be too tight without colliding*. Look at it this way: you only need very tight spacing for display setting - for text** you can/should go looser; and if it's really for display you can/should expect the discerning type user to manually tighten & tweak the spacing based on the string at hand anyway.

* And if you don't mind collisions then spacing is very easy. :-)

** I don't mean a book of course - this font isn't for that.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Good idea. Would you recommend making a group of alternate ligatures (fi, fl especially) for tighter spacing?

Anyone got any thoughts on which Q and U are best, and whether new m,n,p and r should be regular characters or stylistic alternates?

daverowland's picture

numbers so far

hrant's picture

The diagonals are more of an impediment to very tight spacing.

hhp

eliason's picture

I quite like the open /Q/.
I know you envision this tight, but I think there are some glyphs where the white space gets crowded out too much, I think. For example top counter of /a/, between ball and stem of /r/, top counter of /5/.
I think the idea of putting in that characteristic terminal in the lowercase is good. But I wonder if, everywhere it appears, that shape might benefit from moving the notch sideways closer to the middle of the stem (as was discussed a bit upthread).
Counters on /W/ and especially /w/ look out of whack--relatively small above and large below--so those glyphs look "like they're wearing their pants too high" (as somebody once said about one of my letters).
(By contrast, the /g/ could stand to pull its pants up a little.)

daverowland's picture

Thank you for the tips. I'm definitely moving away from the idea of making this tight set. As Hrant says, the likelihood is that any end user wanting it tight set will adjust it themselves on just one or two words.

I like the open Q too but was a little concerned it doesn't fit as well as the closed one due to the lack of any other open glyphs. Would /2/ be better with that tilda shape from the /Q/ for the horizontal?

below is image of new /a/r/r.alt/5 and 8. I think the /8/ lacks weight, so I've tried one with the thins slightly thickened at the sides. Is this working or just looking wrong?

W and w. I will get round to soon. They are my absolute least favourite glyphs to draw in any font. Trying to balance the counters while still relating to the V and v I find incredibly laborious.

daverowland's picture

Would /2/ be better with that tilda shape from the /Q/ for the horizontal?

Maybe as an alternate

eliason's picture

Looking pretty good!
I would try a much less subtle thickening of the eight's sides.
Seven's bottom seems quite a bit too far left to me--looks unbalanced and will open up a problematic white spot on the right.
It's allowed--maybe even a venerated type-design tradition--to allow the /Q/ a little exuberance. I don't think you need to worry about it getting out of character. I wouldn't change the bottom of two.

daverowland's picture

Agreed on the 7, and I think I might leave the above 2 in as an alternate, just in case a little extra exuberance is called for. How's the 8 looking now?

eliason's picture

How's the 8 looking now?

Lots better!

daverowland's picture

Thanks!

Now I'm stuck. The only way I can close the bottom counter of /w/ is to bring the two v's closer together, which makes the serifs clash. I have the option of no middle serif as per the original alternate /w/ but I think it looks a bit puny:


(note new /g/ on bottom line)

Or... there's this option - move the v's closer together but let the first thin 'cut into' the second thick, and leave the middle serif in place. Does this look strange to you, or are there plenty of fonts that deal with /w/ in this way?

eliason's picture

To my eyes that third /w/ works best. I think the minor "misalignment" is a fair price to pay for improved balance and weight.

daverowland's picture

Now released

please feel free to add relevant keywords. Feel even freer to buy it!

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