Garvis Serif

JamesT's picture

I've decided I'm not going to be able to get what I wanted out of my typeface in its semi-serif form so I've decided to go ahead and make a true serif text face.

Specimen 5-14-12

Spec Sheet 9.15

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Specsheet_9_15.pdf84.92 KB
Specsheet_9_20.pdf113.84 KB
Specsheet_9_25.pdf117.81 KB
Specsheet_9_28.pdf122.44 KB
Specsheet_5-2-2012.pdf214.32 KB
Specsheet_5-10-12.pdf205.82 KB
hrant's picture

Remember: Greece is (still :-) part of the European Union,
which means that any piece of typography for the EU must
be set in Greek as well! That's what puts it on a par with
Cyrillic. Fingers crossed for the day Armenia might join! :->

hhp

JamesT's picture

hrant, if that happens, you'll be hearing from me (since my knowledge of Armenian lettering is next to nothing).

I guess I should start working on Cyrillic and Greek...

hrant's picture

BTW even if you don't have a client lined up there's one very
good reason to design Armenian type... For the full story get
yourself a copy of the upcoming Codex #2.

hhp

Martin Silvertant's picture

> Remember: Greece is (still :-) part of the European Union,
> which means that any piece of typography for the EU must
> be set in Greek as well!
What are the chances of specifically your Greek typeface being used in the context of the EU compared to a whole nation of Cyrillic users? I'm sorry, but I still think Greek is left behind no matter how you look at it.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not saying Greek isn't worth it. I just think if you were to choose, I would go for Cyrillic. And again I would ask myself why I would even add Greek. For me personally it would be for the experience; not because I find Greek so relevant.

Hrant, could you tell us in short why there is a good reason for designing Armenian? I know little about it.

hrant's picture

From your perspective I guess it would be in the way
you see Greek: the experience. But maybe even more so.

In a way designing an Armenian font brings you back to
the basics: the number of characters is not many since
not much beyond the alphabetics is required, but we have
around 10 letters of the complexity of the binocular lc "g".
And since a person is unlikely to be able to read Armenian
text, it becomes a powerful and rewarding abstract exercise.
There are "rules", but a lack of nativity means one has to
learn to figure them out, and the lessons then apply nicely
to other non-Latin attempts. Armenian basically becomes
a superb introduction to non-native design, after which a
person might move on to things like Arabic and Devanagari.

hhp

JamesT's picture

Martin,

I suppose my rationale for including Greek was based on the fact that with most typefaces, it seems that Greek and Cyrillic are usually either both present or both absent; it's rare to see one without the other.

JamesT's picture

It has been a while since I last updated this. I've since been fairly busy and haven't had the time to really work on Garvis as much as I would have liked. There is a new PDF in the first post which shows my attempt at creating a display version and the updates (several) to the text version.

JamesT's picture

Redrawing the /S/s.sc/s characters as I was never happy with the earlier ones. The new ones seem to be heading in the right direction.

riccard0's picture

Isn’t s’ top a bit too close?

JamesT's picture

A new, more comprehensive pdf has been added to the first post.

I've made a lot of little changes recently (slimmed down the serifs in the book weight, redrew the /s/S/s.sc/g and made a lot of little changes throughout. I'd like to think I'm making progress.

JamesT's picture

Here's the text weight now. I'm happier with it – it seems more cohesive.

I think my issue before was that I was looking at this as "making a text typeface" and not "making a typeface which I would be excited about." This led to me overlooking little issues and thinking I would take care of them later.

Now that I've had some time off of this face and I'm able to come back to it, I realize that if I'm not making something I would be excited about using, I may as well not make anything.

1996type's picture

It's getting better and better!

Nice inktrapping! It does look a bit exagerated in /m/ next to /p/, though.
/f/ is a little light on the top left.
/c/ is a little light right above the terminal
/r/ and /g/ look a bit unhappy with their terminal
/t/ has gotten very wide, not sure about that
outward curve on the bottom of /b/ needs some finetuning.
/j/ is a bit wide in my view
I'd get rid of the straightening of the curve at the bottom of /e/, /a/ and /c/. It only makes sense at joints. I quite like it in /t/ though.
Perhaps it's just my humanized eyes, but I always feel like an /o/ should have a bit of diagonal stress for it to look perfectly vertical.
Diagonals in /v w x y/, might be a bit thin.

Keep it up! Cheers, jasper

hrant's picture

Although in some ways it's becoming more mainstream, it's also starting to click - good job. There's a nice Fleischmann flavor, but it's not at all a revival.

The main thing to me is that you have a tricky decision to make: how far out on a limb do you want to go? Look at that /j. Fabulous. Dangerous. I think it's exactly the sort of thing a real text face needs; neutering it would constitute giving in to display setting, to superficial type design. If you're worried whether you've gone too far with it, remember how things that seem garish at large sizes blend in to the overall texture at text sizes - just look at Schwartz's Houston Chronicle* face, to me a pinnacle of functionalist bravado. But that does mean things like that /j have to make sense in that overall texture, and some other glyphs are not pulling their weight in that respect, so the whole is unlikely to be cohesive. The /y for example completely clashes with the /j; I would either give it a ball (quite possibly with a the Fleischmann "flipped" structure) or a big rightward serif** (or maybe double serifs, like in Bembo's italic). Similarly /k/x could benefit from having much more character, and /f could take the attitude of /j and -thanks to its bar- push it even further. And /g is also too conservative, too polished.

* http://www.christianschwartz.com/houston.shtml

** What famous font is it that has that?

Another thing I noticed is that some key glyphs are unusually wide - the /a/e/t. That does amplify the design's overall butch character, but know that it also reduces readability (at least I strongly believe so).

The /f/r should have longer rightward footserifs.

BTW, it's always good to figure out what point size a given font likes most. For this I myself am seeing 11 pt. Just know that -at that size- the color is going to be somewhat darkish (something I personally value).

hhp

JamesT's picture

Jasper,

Thank you! I'm glad you like the progress. I think I agree with all of your comments, except I might keep playing with the lower terminal on the /c/e as I like the idea in theory. I've yet to really draw an /r or a /g I've really been completely happy with, although I think I'm getting closer.

Hrant,

I'm glad you understand what I'm attempting to do (Fleischmann-inspired but not strictly adhering to his work), I suppose that means I got something right!

I ended up toning down the /j a little. I have another project I started a while ago (and then forgot about until now) – I think you would like it – it's essentially my attempt at trying to push characters like that /j further than it is here while still making it work at small sizes.

You're right about the /y. At the moment, I'm playing with the standard ball terminal (since this is for extended language support, I need to leave the right open to fit some diacritics). Also, the /a/e/t where too wide.

My intention was something that works around 10-11 point.

JamesT's picture

There's a new PDF on the first post.

I've spent a lot more time fixing various issues and trying to develop a more cohesive italic. I think it's moving in the right direction now.

1996type's picture

This new italic lacks guts IMO. Just edit the old Italic a bit and you're there.

JamesT's picture

I think I need to find a balance between the two designs.

Also, there's a new specimen sheet linked to the first post. This one is far more extensive and contains actual text samples.

Catharsis's picture

I don't care much for Garvis, it looks rather old-fashioned to me (and not the "classical" kind of old-fashioned)... However, I love that |jabgf| sample up there. Looking forward to seeing more of that!

JamesT's picture

Cartharsis,

I'm curious what you mean by "not classical" old fashioned. The /jabgf/ sample will be a lot less traditional since I don't have to worry about the unusual stylistic choices becoming a problem as I don't plan on having the same extensive language support.

hrant's picture

I think the usual stylistic choices tend to cause more problems with extensive language support...

hhp

JamesT's picture

By unusual, I meant stylistic choices that could either be misread as a diacritic (a hook or a horn or something similar), or could interfere with the placement of diacritics (as was the case with my trying to have a rightward serif on the /y's descender).

It's also my first "real" typeface so I wanted to really understand the fundamentals of type design before I did anything too crazy.

Catharsis's picture

JamesT: That was just me trying to put words to my amateur's impression. I find it hard to put a finger on what gave me an impression of "old-fashioned"; the ball terminals perhaps? The slightly droopy-eyed |a|? The strong weight and shape contrast in the serifs/terminals between the |r| and |v| in "Garvis"? By "not classical" I meant to disambiguate from fonts that feel old but timeless (such as Garamond, to my eye).

Actually, looking at your PDF sample and at larger blocks of text, I'm starting to like the feel of it. Some letters are also quite elegant up close; such as |b q n s t|. I like club-shaped tails on |y|, but perhaps yours could use some more weight? The |k| is somewhat club-footed.

And yeah, I guess in the end, I just don't like ball terminals much...

ulu_ria's picture

This would be of great use in typography logos

Catharsis's picture

You know, I have no idea why I didn't like Garvis that much at first. I can't find any fault with it now. :P

I'm still more excited about the |jabgf| font above, though. I reminds me a bit of Satyr.

hrant's picture

For the full story get yourself a copy of the upcoming Codex #2.

FYI, it's now slated for #3.

hhp

hrant's picture

James, congrats on making the cut (pardon the pun):
http://typographica.org/typeface-reviews/garvis/

hhp

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