Creating a Harmonious Bold

bobdigi's picture

So, I spent weeks on end tidying up the normal weight to a font. Now I want to do bold. As a starting point, are there any general guidelines to stick by? I believe there's a technique of shifting the right-sides of the strokes. What should I watch for if I do this? Does this mean I should maintain the left sidebearings from my regular weight?

Of course I expect to be redrawing and taming the letters drastically in the refinement process. I'm asking about any prepatory, preliminary production work that would help me get started.

oldnick's picture

Where you end up depends on where you start. If your design has an overall even weight/balance to the strokes, then emboldening is a fairly straightforward matter. However, if your design is medium to high contrast, the process gets trickier. In either case, remember that the Undo command is your friend.

bobdigi's picture

For medium to high contrast fonts, is it alright or generally frowned upon to start with the Bold action in Fontlab?

.00's picture

Shouldn't this be moved to either Build or Design?

I think you can start a design process anyway you want. Bold action in Fontlab, or individually swabbing your letters in magic bold sauce. Where you wind up is all that matters.

JamesT's picture

To second what James said, try both and see which you prefer. Personally, I don't like the automation and do it manually so as to make sure I haven't overlooked anything.

Thomas Phinney's picture

Old Nick wrote: "If your design has an overall even weight/balance to the strokes, then emboldening is a fairly straightforward matter. However, if your design is medium to high contrast, the process gets trickier."

Funny, I would have said the exact opposite. Though it's a bigger problem in really heavy weights, like a black or an ultra.

What you do with the sidebearings depends on what you do with the distribution of the added weight on the x-axis. Generally speaking, the smaller the internal space, the smaller the sidebearings.

Bendy's picture

My method is to use FontLab's auto bold to get an idea of overall colour, width and contrast. I plop the result into the mask layer as a guide, but the curves are messy so I scale and stretch (and tweak) the curves from the regular to fit the proportions of the bold. That way the curves don't lose so much tension. Also you need to check the alignment zones (in my experience FontLab shortens caps and extenders when you select 'keep glyph dimensions'. And your x-height will need to be bumped up a bit, more so in a sans serif design.

hrant's picture

I do the same thing, but with Fontographer's auto-bold, which is far superior.

hhp

eliason's picture

I've done what Bendy describes.

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