Hemlock (née Alpine)

brianskywalker's picture

This is something I've been working on and off—mostly off. This is what I will be using as my main example for experiment on the thread about Multiple "cuts" of one typeface. The initial idea for this came from some vague Xavier Dupré inspiration, although that's not very evident here, and sketching. In fact, I'd like to get a somewhat organic and "drawn" feeling.

I vaguely had in my head something of "classic" printing types also, likes ones in books I own printed 1970 and earlier. Like Baskerville, Kis, Dante, Caledonia, Sabon, Fournier, Electra, and Times. Although the digital versions of these just don't look like they do in old books; they are much lighter and crisper. Alpine likely does not very much resemble any of those, as I haven't looked at them much during my process. (Except to read my old books!)

Larger image

Go ahead and tear apart the design! :)


I've decided, at least for now, the name will be Hemlock. Hemlock is the state tree of Pennsylvania, where I was born.

There is also now finally a PDF.

2012-4-13.pdf89.26 KB
brianskywalker's picture

Note: I'm thinking I want beefier serifs.

brianskywalker's picture

Here's an update! Mostly added more glyphs, but also refined some of them a little. I'm trying to decide if I like the direction everything is going in or not. The 'g' especially may need a little help. I was also thinking I may want to use a different tail on the 'u' and 'd', rather than the same as the 'a'.

Larger image

riccard0's picture

I like it, as I do like the idea of the “multiple cuts”.
A couple of random annotations:
s looks a bit top-heavy/left leaning.
The stroke between g’s bowls could be a bit less vertical.
Alpine is already taken (http://www.myfonts.com/search/name%3Aalpine/).

brianskywalker's picture

Thanks Pablo!

Here's an updated 'g':

brianskywalker's picture

@riccardo double post! I hadn't seen it until now. Anyway, I'll be doing corrections later. Thanks for the input. For now, here's a slightly different 'g' than the one above:

On the name: it's a working title, and probably will change later. I know there is already a font with the name.

1996type's picture

/a/ needs work. /s/ is falling backwards. Not sure if a /v/ like that works...

brianskywalker's picture

Larger image

Here's another update. I've tried to fix most of the things you guys have mentioned. I'm also experimenting with wedge baseline serifs for the 'd' and 'u', is it working? I hope I'm not being to radical with some of the uppercase. I'm going to have to work on the 'R' for sure.

I decided to remove most inside serifs in an attempt to improve notan aspects. I was originally thinking removing the bottom left serifs would improve it. It does make an interesting interlocking pattern, but it doesn't help the word image at all, in my opinion.

Of course, it really looks unusual. I think it would probably trip me up in running text. Also, the counters don't really look like anything. In a way it's visually messy. I had thought about this, and as I said, I decided that I should remove the inside facing serifs.

I realized it would be excellent for two reasons: 1) this helps reinforce the relation ship between letters, which is what word image is all about. 2) the counter form actually looks like a simplified 'n'. Other similar letters will do the same. So except in the case where the serif is needed for color or helps make it "work" better, I'll be removing inner serifs. The serifs also seem to create a fairly even, rhythmic line, except where the counters are opened up. I think this also helps recognition of letterforms.

I had been thinking of this before the thread came up, about emphasizing the most important parts in the recognition of glyphs. http://typophile.com/node/91645 The research of Frederic Gosselin is fascinating, although I think it's fairly obvious to most of us here. For one thing, from the outset I made a large hood on the 'f'. I'm thinking I may try reworking the 'a' based on that research as well.

On the Hebrew: Trying and get a handle on the relative proportions for everything as early as possible. If able, I want to make the Hebrew and Latin share any vertical metrics they can, however not much works there. Maybe I can relate the flag of the lamed to the Latin accents. This current Hebrew might be too playful to really work in text, as well, but I'm working on it. I'll be doing print tests as soon as I get enough glyphs finished for it to really mean something. Text at medium-to-small sizes is what I'm going for.

Not sure if a /v/ like that works...

I'm not either! Actually, that's the first time I've ever made one like that. Sometimes you just get peculiar ideas about how letters can be built when you've spent too much time playing with them. Thanks for the input btw Jasper.

/a/ needs work.

What exactly do you think the problem is? :)

Also, thanks to Martin Silvertant who gave me some much needed input on dA.

Martin Silvertant's picture

Not sure if the 'z' fits the othjer letters but I love the design. It's a bit awkward but I like that; its quirkiness reminds me of Gill Sans. The symmetrical baseline serifs in h/m/n is pushing it too far in my opinion though and the contrast in these letters is higher than in other letters.

hrant's picture

Brian, thanks for inviting me to comment on this design.

I think you're doing a number of things right. I like the
narrowness, the vertical proportions, the color and most
of all your lack of fear in terms of not clinging to a tired
black-marking method - you're thinking of what this
needs to be doing, as opposed to where it's supposed to
be coming from.

It is however probably a bit too tight.

I love seeing the black pushed around to allow the white
to sing in unison. As you're seeing it's tricky though. But
don't worry too much about breaking any of the cliché
rules - especially in immesive reading they become really
pointless. Also don't be afraid of being a little Po-Mo; it's
entirely human to be unsure, and type is for humans.

BTW, that large "n" in your most recent post make me
think you should look at FF Avance. Keep in my though
that Evert was a Modernist.

For the Hebrew, I can only offer tentative observations,
but it does seem to me that it can't fully inherit the Latin's
narrowness. Your vertical proportions seem to make good
sense though.


Frode Bo Helland's picture

Very interesting way to push more white into the letters, and perhaps also a technique where economy of space is called for: With more white, the n can be narrower.

brianskywalker's picture

Alright, I've finally uplaoded a PDF. I have now drawn a full set of caps. The PDF has some pangrams as well as actual text setting. No numerals yet. The name has also now been changed to Hemlock. I like that name better, more about that is at the end of the first post.

Some notes:
z: it is a bit quirky. I haven't printed my test pages yet so I don't really know how well it will work.
n,m,h: Martin had said on dA that it looks a bit like a man standing with his legs far apart and feet to the sides. I've found that I think the size of the gap is distracting, so I've condensed these letters a bit.
caps: I'm having a bit of trouble with the proportions right now, so bear with me.

I don't want to make this too old-fashioned, but make a contemporary design with the warmth of old metal book faces. So bear that in mind. Hopefully the spacing is better than before, although I'm not at a point where I can start kerning yet.

One last thing: I need to set Hemlock aside so I can focus on Neuton. So I may be neglecting this thread for a while.

eliason's picture

/w/ looks pinched esp. on the bottom. /x/ looks too wide. /g/ structure is much improved. /X/ looks weak at bottom left and top right. /S/ may be too fat-bottomed and/or flimsy for this face. Maybe raise the tittles a hair?

Catharsis's picture

Very pretty. Is this going to be a free font...?

I assume the kerning is not yet finalized? The |a| keeps too much space to its right.

Syndicate content Syndicate content