angular slabby font

daverowland's picture

Please critique my latest font in the works. As yet unnamed, I started working on it in December 2010 and it's been left to fester for quite some time. Just started on it again recently. So far it's a very basic character set, light and bold (other weights will be interpolated). I'm not too happy with the spacing yet and there's no kerning.
Anyway, what do you think so far?

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Angular.pdf272.21 KB
Sample2.pdf320.33 KB
daverowland's picture

Thinking about numerals. Top is original, just slanted version of roman, bottom more italic feeling. I can't decide if one version is better than the other, or just different.

daverowland's picture

Here's how the light and black look with the more cursive numerals. Made a few changes to light too while working on black.

eliason's picture

I can see it working to keep the first line as lining figs and convert the second to osf's.

daverowland's picture

I was thinking the same thing! Well, hybrid osf's anyway. I think zero, 6 , 8 and 9 are better in the more cursive row than the sloped roman row. I might swap them in. The black zero is slightly too slanted isn't it?

daverowland's picture

Here's old style figures in text


I've added a bit more breathing space to all figures. These are tabular - should the one serifs be extended to plug the gaps a bit more?

hrant's picture

They're a bit hefty in running text. I think narrowing is the first step to take.

hhp

LexLuengas's picture

Yeah, and that 1-height looks too big.

hrant's picture

That's a feature, not a bug: numerals like that (most often called "hybrid") strike a great balance between size and distinctiveness in running text.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Yeah the x-height of osf's (there should be some proper terminology for that!) is meant to be higher than standard x-height. I was thinking this would also be the small caps height if I make any. It could probably stand to be (very) slightly lower, and I agree that they are too wide. I'll probably only have proportional osf's instead of proportional and tabular. They are already looking too wide at the same width as the tabular lining figures (which work fine IMO with the caps).
Anyway, update coming soon...

daverowland's picture


Here's the updated osf's. I think this strikes a nice balance between standing out too much and getting lost too much in running text. There are spacing issues which need sorting as I've decided to only have proportional old style figures.

Bendy's picture

Would you post another pdf soon? I'd like to see the changes you've made, preferably with some paragraph settings. I love the more cursive numerals with the more interesting modulation, and the italic is certainly going in a good direction. The regular, as Craig mentioned, feels a little undecided.

Spacing needs some work, and it looks a bit tight I think.

Counter of bold 4 (upright) could be bigger. Link of the /g/ isn't quite working for me, but I like the square tail loop a lot.

hrant's picture

Proportions: solid.

In the Roman-Bold the "2" is cramped at the bottom and the "4" is too dark; in the Italic-Bold the "4" is too small.

hhp

daverowland's picture


Any better? Crossbar of 2 and 4 has been thinned a touch. I've also brought middle of 3 down slightly to avoid it looking too cramped at top. Widened the italic 4 slightly.

I will sort out new pdf soon-ish. In the meantime, here's another idea for the link in the g, so the middle counter echoes the bottom counter a bit more. I think I prefer it already.
old g:


new g:

Bendy's picture

Hmm, it's getting a bit more normalised like that. I think I'd try a sharp corner on the outside of the link, as you have quite angular outsides on the /a/ and the /n/ for example.

hrant's picture

The nums are better, but to me at least the new "g" isn't.

hhp

eliason's picture

Threes and fives may be a little too wide at the bottom.
I think I like the new /g/ better but it's not there yet.

daverowland's picture

trying to get the g working... Top is original, next two more angular versions.

daverowland's picture

I've added another pdf to the initial post

hrant's picture

It might seem -relatively- boring, but I like the middle one.

hhp

daverowland's picture

I was coming round to that way of thinking myself. I liked the idea of the g being one stroke rather than a bowl and a tail, but in practice it just looks too awkward. I think the link as it is in the middle one works best as it corresponds more to the pointed arches of n etc.

Ben, you're right about the spacing. I like to get rough spacing down to dictate the design of the glyphs, but fine tuning and kerning I prefer to get help with. I know there are differing opinions about using services like iKern, but I was very happy with the results on Vulpa, so I figure why spend ages doing it (badly) when I can get someone else to do it quickly (and well).

daverowland's picture

Here's some accented characters. Also loosened the spacing a touch.

daverowland's picture

Second thoughts on the cedilla:

hrant's picture

The terminals of the Regular's "a" and "y" are slightly too heavy.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Funny you should say that, I've just been working on them. The a has changed quite a bit.

eliason's picture

Bowl counter of thorn looks too big.
Thins of bold /x/ are too skinny.
I wonder if /c/ and /e/ are a tiny bit too wide.
Lighter question mark might be too narrow. I like the bold one quite a bit.
The "shouldered" letters /n/m/h/r/ remain, to my eye, not entirely satisfactory. Maybe they head down after the kink a bit too quickly?

eliason's picture

And I do like the newer cedilla, which is what you were asking about! :-)

daverowland's picture


A few updates...
I've moved the apex of the sharp arches more to the centres of the glyphs and raised the points where the curve meets the stem (right side of n) and lowered the points where the straight bit meets stem (left side of n). I've adjusted black x and light question mark, but I think c and e are ok. I've noticed since posting this image that the bowl of d (and p) in the black weight is too small compared to b and q, so I've changed that but not in the image above.

eliason's picture

I think that's a nice improvement Dave.

hrant's picture

Agreed.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Thanks! I've been battling with the |a| a bit more. Especially in the light weight I've not been happy with it. Here's as it stands now in text, along with shrunk eth. Ignore the acute positions, I've not sorted them out yet!

hrant's picture

The Bold "a" is decent, but I can't say I like the Regular one.

BTW in the Bold "g" the middle join is too close to the head.

hhp

daverowland's picture

How about this |a|?

I don't understand which part of the g you mean, but I think this one is a little better:

eliason's picture

On the /a/, would it make any sense to have the kink at the left rather than at the bottom of the bowl, and the straight section be the top of the bowl rather than the bottom?

hrant's picture

I can't see the "a" difference. The "g" is better.

hhp

daverowland's picture

The bowl is shorter and slightly more angular. I have tried the a with a straight top and corner on the left, but it's too much I think, and doesn't relate as well to the other letters.

LexLuengas's picture

It's definitely an improvement to the prior (regular weighted) /a/. The construction seems fine to me as you have it now. The proposition of Craig is worth considering, though. ITC Galliard has a beautiful /a/ ;-)

What has to be corrected is, in my opinion, the shape of the white space of /a/'s bowl.† Now it doesn't suit the other white spaces very well. Look for example at Albertus.

A second observation would be that the top of the bowl (still in the regular weight) gets thicker in the middle, while in the bold weight it thins gradually towards the joint.

I also agree with hrant about the /g/.

† Naturally, reshaping its white space implies reshaping it itself.

daverowland's picture

I think I might be getting somewhere with the 'a'. With a completely sharp point on the left of the bowl, it looks bad. This is an attempt to reflect the treatment on the eye of 'e'. Top is new, bottom old.

Bendy's picture

I prefer the lower version, it's more unusual. Hoping to have time to come back to the pdf for a fuller critique, sorry dissertation is taking over my life for the next couple of weeks!

daverowland's picture

Really? I prefer the top one for black and the bottom one for light! The more I tinker with it the more it feels like I'm going round in circles.

daverowland's picture

Hey Ben, any idea when the Reading MA work will be put on the internet? Really interested to see it.

Bendy's picture

Should be in the next couple of weeks, I think. In case you haven't already seen, you can get a sneak preview on the Mota Italic gallery website, where we're currently exhibiting, along with the KABK students.

daverowland's picture

Wow, some really nice stuff there. Looks to have a bit more varied personality than previous years (both schools) in my opinion anyway!

hrant's picture

I like the top "a"s!

A good number of this year's MATD designs are very interesting (most of all Ben's). At the KABK only Minima* does anything for me.

* http://www.flickr.com/photos/ninastoessinger/7482436752

hhp

eliason's picture

I prefer the top one for black and the bottom one for light!

That's my thought too.

daverowland's picture

Well, I'm nothing if not willing to compromise. I've made a light 'a' roughly half way between top and bottom, and I'm using the top 'a' for black.

At the KABK only Minima* does anything for me.

A bit harsh, Hrant! There's one grotesque that I'm not feeling and a fairly boring Devanagari, but I think there's something to like about most of the stuff there.

hrant's picture

I shouldn't get into my issue(s) with KABK here.

hhp

daverowland's picture

Ok, I'm thinking about f-ligatures. At the moment I've not made any but I have made an alternate f which would be substituted via calt feature in front of letters with ascenders on left-hand-side and 'i's (bottom row in image). My problem with this is A LOT of end users don't have calts on as default (nomatter how hideous the results!) whereas most do have ligatures on by default. I'm forced to make fi and fl ligatures, but should I make all the others with the alternative f, leave combinations like fh to be kerned if calt is not turned on, or make 'proper' (ie. joining) ligatures for the usual (ff, fi, fl, ffl, fh, ffb etc.etc.)?


A quick go at joining ligatures kind of persuades me not to go down that route:

What do you think?

daverowland's picture

Whereas in the italic joining ligatures seems to be the way forward, and maybe the 'stuffiest' image above only suffers from the ligature being badly made (too spread out).


I think I'll probably go with joining ligatures and an alternate f for situations like f-idieresis, but which could also be employed when ligatures aren't engaged for the standard fi, fl, fh etc.

eliason's picture

A LOT of end users don't have calts on as default

Is this true? Of the font-license-buying public?

My eye says narrowed for the roman and joined for the italic works well. No reason the solutions can't be different in the two cases.

daverowland's picture

Is this true? Of the font-license-buying public?

You'd be surprised. It's very noticeable to me because the calts in my fonts so far have mainly been for endforms and more seamless connections in script fonts, so when the end user doesn't have them turned on, you can tell very easily. Why they can't tell is another matter; don't even get me started on tracking script fonts!

Anyway... I'm working on connected ligatures for the Roman now to see if they can look ok.

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