Fat Sans in need of critique and Cyrillic advice

Type Minds's picture

Current progress:

Original post:

Here's a little project I've started recently. At present it's just uppercase: all the standard Latin (except S) plus a few Greek and Cyrillic caps I was able to start easily from Latin. There are a few alternates in there too. Any general observations are welcomed, and I'm particularly interested in the Cyrillic И. The current glyph (which is simply the alternate N reversed) doesn't feel right to me, but I can't really tell why.

Spacing is, as you can see, nowhere near complete. And no kerning is shown here.

AttachmentSize
PDF Sample 2012-06-30.pdf43.75 KB
daverowland's picture

That alternate M is really cool.
Might just be me, but the overshoots on C and G look too big. X, Y and Z feel a bit weedy in comparison to the others.

Type Minds's picture

Thanks!
For C and G, when you say "too big" do you mean too long or too thick?
And could you elaborate a little on X, Y, and Z for me?

daverowland's picture

I mean I think they are extending slightly too far above the cap height line and below the baseline. As for X Y and Z, I don't think they're bold enough and also not wide enough.

Type Minds's picture

Here I have pulled the C and G in a bit on the top and bottom. I kept thinking I might not have cut enough, but at this point I've stayed with just a little bit of trimming. Should I have taken more off?

X, Y, and Z are still on the drawing board.

cerulean's picture

И: In isolation it looks unstressed, but in context you can see that the verticals are lighter than most verticals and the diagonal is heavier than most horizontals, which indicates the normal stress of a Latin N. For И, start with an H. With regard to the weight of the verticals and how far apart they are, you want it to be as similar to H as is reasonable.

daverowland's picture

Yep, C and G better now

Type Minds's picture

Thanks to both of you!

Type Minds's picture

Here's the revised И:

I'll have fixed X, Y, Z plus new glyphs (Greek and Cyrillic) up next week.

daverowland's picture

I'd make the counters in B bigger. They don't have to match E, they just have to look right. Look at Antique Olive Nord.
I think the white space in A and V is poking slightly too far towards the top/bottom (respectively) of the glyphs (1). I would either (2) bring the stems further into the centre to push the top of the triangle in A down (and the bottom of the triangle in V up). Also might need to lower the crossbar in A slightly to accomodate, or (3) trim the counter with a kind of inverse ink-trap, but this might make them look a bit too 'techno'

Type Minds's picture

Sorry this took a bit--I've been away from my computer for a few days.

Your advice for the B worked wonders, and I've done some work on A, V, X, Y, and Z here.

Type Minds's picture

Okay, I have just updated with a PDF sample of my work thus far. (Please forgive the poor spacing and lack of kerning!) It includes all the uppercase Latin and Greek as well as all but three of the basic Cyrillic capitals. At this point, I am already aware of a couple of issues. I have difficulty giving Xi enough weight and maintaining balance between the top/bottom strokes and the middle one. (Any advice?) I'm also feeling as though Theta and Phi (also Cyrillic Ef) aren't quite right. I also think that the whole Cyrillic alphabet has some width inconsistencies to it, but I can't tell which particular glyphs are producing this problem.

Also, I've included a couple of alternates for Cyrillic (De and El) similar to the forms seen in, for example, Paratype's Quartal and Mellnik Text or 4th February's Neultica 4F. My concern, though, is that these alternates might clash with the (purely stylistic) alternate Latin A. Would it be sufficient to simply separate these alternates using OpenType language-specific features, or is it better to omit the alternate A entirely?

riccard0's picture

To me the stylistic alternate |A| seems superfluous not because of possible clashing with Cyrillic. Rather because it hasn’t any correspondence with other Latin alternates.

Type Minds's picture

Good point. I'll plan on leaving it out of the production version unless I decide to add more alternates to complement it.

Andreas Stötzner's picture

The X is still, I dare to say, plainly wrong. The two bars must appear as being crossed over.

Generally: promising!

daverowland's picture

The X is still, I dare to say, plainly wrong. The two bars must appear as being crossed over.

I don't think that's true. Most fonts have some optical compensation at least, and many (especially black and bold styles) don't even make a pretence at crossing. Impact and Antique Olive:

hrant's picture

I also don't believe it's Wrong.

hhp

Andreas Stötzner's picture

Optical compensation, yes of course. But measured.

Type Minds's picture

I'll see about trying an X the "traditional" way and go from there.

Type Minds's picture

Having experimented with some different shapes, I've come to agree (at least somewhat) with Mr. Stötzner: the join on the original was too wide. The new incarnation makes a fair compromise, I think, between width and optical "correctness". I'm considering adding a little more weight, though.

hrant's picture

But look at your "N"; the old "X" was a much better match, and that overall "chunkiness" is what makes this font special. And without something special it will get lost.

You might want to tone down the original "X", but to me you shouldn't shoot for "optical compensation", you should make it intentionally disjointed-looking.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Yeah, I think exactly in-between the original X and this one would be spot on

Type Minds's picture

Round 3:

If anything, I think it might still be a little too "optical".

litera's picture

Not too-optical but too-top wide or bottom too-narrow. Well the whole letter seems a bit too narrow comared to others anyways.
And please take it to your heart what @hrant said about /N/ and /X/. Have a disjoint /X/ is a much better choice in your font than crossing it. That just doesn't work in your case.

Type Minds's picture

@litera, thanks for your input. I spent so much time on this thing that I finally decided I needed to leave it alone for a few days, but I should get another little update out tomorrow (and I'll mess with the X again before I do). I'm definitely starting to see the top-heaviness.

Type Minds's picture

Here we go again: I've thickened it up a bit and shifted its weight downward a bit to relieve its top-heaviness. I also updated the picture at the top with 0-9 as well as minor adjustments to some other glyphs.

hrant's picture

Check out the "x" in the Medium and Bold of this puppy:
http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/berthold/osiris-bq/

hhp

Type Minds's picture

Compared with that one, I could almost call my X "mildly" disjointed ... and it makes me glad I don't have to deal with slab serifs here!

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

I would definitely not lose the top heaviness.

Type Minds's picture

Do you mean don't lose any more (i.e. latest version), or it was better in the previous (more top-heavy) version?

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

To me the top heaviness was better to begin with. I'd say currently there's barely any.

The top heaviness gave it character. One has to watch very closely when the tendency to average out and equalize goes from making your face better to making it worse. This is part of what I was trying to get to in my thread "what makes a typeface sing"

Type Minds's picture

I'm still undecided on that. I'm keeping it the way it is for now, but I have a copy of the old X too. My opinion may well change.

Ryan Maelhorn's picture

I meant the whole thing, not just the X.

Type Minds's picture

I'm approaching a difficult decision: all caps, small caps, lowercase, or unicase? I think that lowercase might prove difficult if not impossible (particularly e, s, z, and a if I do the "two-storey" kind). Small caps, depending on how small, could pose the same problem. Unicase appeals to me, although I have questions there as well. And going with all caps seems too easy. Recommendations?

riccard0's picture

You can always use lowercase for alternates.

daverowland's picture

I'd go for lowercase with massive x height. It'll be a challenge but not impossible, and typefaces with lowercase are so much more usable than those without. Even for display.

Type Minds's picture

@riccard0, thanks for the recommendation. I do like the idea, although @daverowland brings up a good point. I'll try some lowercase letters and see how it goes. I can always use OpenType for alternates.

Rene Verkaart's picture

I like the chunky-ness of this font. The disjoint style fits perfectly to this font.

I personally would open the /C/ and /G/ a bit. The top and bottom curves press down hard on the squarish forms, closing the inner space. Lifting those endings could bring the form closer to the /S/, which is very nicely done.

Type Minds's picture

Hello all,

I haven't abandoned this thread--I first switched to a new computer and then discovered that TypeTool 3.1 (Mac) is extremely different from 3.0 Windows. Much of the customization I used with TT3 previously was unavailable on 3.1/Mac, and a few serious inconveniences and bugs pushed me to switch to Glyphs today. I'll be learning it over the next few weeks.

That said, I hope to be working and posting again next week. And I'd like to thank everyone for their help so far, and Typophile at large for its willingness to help type-amateurs like me.

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