Spacing and kerning on non serif font - How?

Gorgoyle's picture

I'm in process of designing and redesigning glyphs but need some advices how to do spacing and kerning properly on non-serif font? Where in a font are a lot of letters "same width".

What are test words, texts of you experienced technical fonts designers for spacing and kerning?
How to do easiest spacing and kerning on my font in Font Lab Studio?
Using classes? But what classes and letters actually in my font(look picture)?

I tried auto kerning and I don't like results. I tried Optical metrics feature in Adobe programs and also not liked result. I want to do kerning properly and won't hesitate to do it manually, pair by pair. But how? From where to start? I tried by myself to do it but I see that moving some values in one part may make problem "in other part" of the font. So I can circle in that forever.

Briem guide is for serif fonts I think, so Briem not helping here in my case.

Help me to make it right...

I wanna make display, technical, geometrical and cargo font so I would like to see advices of font designers of that kind of fonts. I wanna make Latin 1 and Central European font for the start. Will add Cyrillic code pages later.

http://i44.tinypic.com/2co1ncg.png

EDIT: save linked picture on your computer and look better in some image viewer. Image is Hi-res.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Start with ooooooooooo and nnnnnnnnnn. Then nnnnoooonnnnonnnnoooonnnnoooonoooo. Once those are a balanced you can use these (or appx) values for all straights and rounds. For letterforms that deviate, try oooxoooxxxoooxnnnxxxnnn (where x = your letter).

Do the same with caps, and small caps: starting with HHHHHHH and OOOOOO, but consider how they should relate to each other and the lowercase.

Punctuation adds some other factors, but that’s a huge topic -- too big for a single thread.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

A display face needs less air then a text face. Print at intended size and adjust/repeat until you are satisfied. Compare text setting with another similar typeface. (Squint and compare evenness of grey.)

And another thing: Don’t touch the kerning until the spacing is perfect! If the spacing isn’t solid, you’ll end up going in circles as you already observed.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

For spacing italics, here’s a very good hint: http://www.typophile.com/node/19788

Gorgoyle's picture

Ok good. thank you... but I wont design Italics (not now for sure), neither SmallCAPS. What you think... how would be going if I design Capitals, lowercases, special characters, in Regular size and later maybe I decide to add more font weights or Small CAPS or to design Italics for example... How would spacing and kerning been then? Would I suffer from some... for me as a beginner in font design, some "invisible" problem or not? Will spacing and kerning would be needed to be redone or I can do spacing and kerning for those "new fonts" with their design based on Regular weight of font?

In short, I wanna ask is it better to do my font with "All" (capitals, lowercases, SmallCAPS, Italics, Specials) or can do it separately in phases?

For now of this my font, I want to make:

1 font weight as Regular,
font with all special characters and
Latin 1 and CE code pages and Later maybe will do Cyrillic code pages
no italics,
no smallCAPS.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Don’t worry about later additions to the family now. I think at your stage in the learning process—if you continue to nurture your interest in type—you’ll probably do the spacing and kerning all over again a bunch of times anyway. You learn so much as you go in this trade. In any case, a good fundament (=even spacing) is much better to build on then a bad one.

Gorgoyle's picture

OK I've done some quick auto spacing in FontLab with 35-35 values for each character I have:

http://i42.tinypic.com/xeloaq.png

Idk ..I think it's good so far.

hrant's picture

It looks too tight.
But really, the alphabet is not a good spacing test.
One good test is to set the 100 most common English
words, which you can copy-paste from the rightmost
paragraph here: http://www.themicrofoundry.com/s_quality.html

hhp

Gorgoyle's picture

Ok I've done my font:
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/labdot/astor/
http://origin.myfonts.com/s/aw/original/153/0/78758.pdf

and it have Latin1 and Latin2 glyphs with kerning and metrics but now I wanna design Cyrillic glyphs and do metrics and kerning for that.

Have someone document with ALL! ...all Cyrillic letters and signs kerning pairs to help me?

Frode Bo Helland's picture

It's so bizzare that someone can just raise their hand and yell "done" when others spend years. No wonder the market is saturated.

octopi's picture

I don't think you listened to hrant.

Hrant (and others) have given me pointers that added 8 months to my font experiments on top of what I was already doing. These pointers from outstanding and experienced type designers is gold dust.

Gorgoyle's picture

Sorry man but I had easier task with this font. I worked my font from 2004 till now. 3 times I had my data crash and 4th time I started from "zero" I had just 1 saved image of my typefaces and using that I recreated my font and did it for few months in Adobe Illustrator CS. Then I posted here with questions "how to do it?" and I did Latin1 & 2 sets. My font geometry was easy so I spent less time on that, that's true. You can see my forum posts from year or two ago abt my font so idk why you upset then.

Font Lab make metrics and kerning now easier to complete and that's really time saving. Already to sell fonts is hard and give small profit but I like fonts creating.

So how I see contemporary trend going on side of easier font creating process. Which is awesome in my opinion.

Give me please, metrics and kerning sets to do Cyrillic letters right. This going offtopic.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I’m not upset, I just think it is bizarre that what means so much to type designers -- so much that they can invest years and years to perfect every last detail -- is taken so lightly by others.

riccard0's picture

This happens in several creative fields.

hrant's picture

Paul, I'm glad this place is useful to some people. It sure is useful to me.

hhp

Gorgoyle's picture

I got idea! I'll ask Paratype.

hrant's picture

I'll warn them.

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

I see contemporary trend going on side of easier font creating process.

On the other hand, fonts have expanded in size and complexity.

Certain automations, especially as interpolation, have fed this.

The expectation amongst font purchasers today is that a typeface family will have many many members, and each font will have many OpenType features and huge language support.

MyFonts contributes by using price as the yardstick for its best seller chart, which favors families over singles, with a feedback effect (success breeding success).

Gorgoyle's picture

"I'll warn them."

Why warn them? Man... chill a bit.

dberlow's picture

Congratulations!

Gorgoyle's picture

Congratz to who and why?

I see some ppl talking here about more professional approach in fonts creating. I'm ready to talk, nothing to hide so try to be open like I am. If you think that I needed to invest more time in my font, I don't know what to say. I think that choice is personal for each font designer. If I'm invested too little time what about this guy then: http://www.myfonts.com/newsletters/cc/201009.html which worked 250 fonts in 90 days for Bitstream's font library.

I'm asking again... someone post me a word document with kerning pairs for Cyrillic letters (Cyrillic code pages).

hrant's picture

Man, chill.

hhp

oldnick's picture

Gorgoyle,

Asking for help around this joint can be frustrating, if you're not in with the in crowd…which I apparently am not. However, I can suggest that you do what I did when I needed some test material for languages unknown to me: find some web pages with your target language, then copy and paste them into a Word document.

If Cyrillic-based languages follow the same basic rules as letter distribution in English, this approach should cover a number of the more common kerning pairs.

P.S. "this guy" is, IMHO, not unlike a hack...but a well-respected one, it would appear. I reworked over 300 of my own fonts in less than half the time, but he rules, dude.

hrant's picture

Nick, the only way somebody can't be in the "in crowd" here is if he doesn't want to be in the "in crowd" here. It's usually quite easy to identify such people, even if they don't admit it.

Personally I don't think your fonts and/or methods are worse than Stuart's, it's just that he's a very nice guy (something many of us have experienced in person) and that naturally generates goodwill. That said, I know it's hard to be nice when things haven't been going one's way.

Now, Branislav actually does seem like a nice guy, but if some people are wary of giving him much help it might very well be due to a concern that it will go to waste, based on precedent (a powerful thing).

hhp

oldnick's picture

Hrant,

He's a very nice guy, except when he isn't. I have seen the belly-aching, go-behind-your-back isn't side, so I am naturally quite unimpressed with his inimitable wit and allure. As you may know, sociopaths can be quite charming when it suits them. Which is not to say that such is the case…unlike others, I rarely jump to conclusions.

Gorgoyle's picture

I'm getting bad impression here. I think I'll leave this forum and ask help from type publishers and follow their guidelines and help.

Joshua Langman's picture

And this is why Typophile can't attract any new members!

hrant's picture

We get new people all the time* and they often get great help** but it's just a rule of life that not everybody can be happy everywhere, and even if one believes in "turn the other cheek", one only has so many cheeks.

* http://typophile.com/node/95963

** http://typophile.com/node/95973#comment-520724

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Gargoyle, you got some good advice.
But Typophile is a forum where opinions are discussed.
The issue of how much automation or finishing is required to produce a font is much discussed here, and I for one don't find Frode's comment damning of your font, certainly not while I have never even seen it!

Who is the fool, he who spends too little time on a font, or he who spends too much?

If I was a really sharp businessman, I would never bother providing italic fonts for any of my designs, as sales wise they are not cost effective. For any of my types, roman always outsells italic hugely. Bold italic serif...aargh, so much work!

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