Army Pool Tiles

ebensorkin's picture

I'd love a crit

Proposed Styles 2 - Officer & Enlisted

I am not sure that weights are relevant here because this
font is based on the depth markings made with tiles on the side
of the pool I use here at at the local Army base.

The Officer Style & proposed Enlisted style is not based on strict
observation per se. There is no officer or enlisted pool here in AK. Instead the 'Officer' is what I imagined you might do with tile if you had the time/money/inclination. The 'Enlisted' will use fewer fancy cuts and will be more blocky & maybe shorter.

I have also been thinking of adding the missing tiles for an overlay 2 tile color look & maybe doing a reverse version so the completed set would be 4 or 6 fonts total.

I have hinted & kerned this font too.

cerulean's picture

A more traditionally-formed @ would probably fit this font better.

ebensorkin's picture

hmmm yes. I see that! I think the 4 may need a new shape too. Any ideas?

sim's picture

Is this 4 could be good for your typeface?

34 test

ebensorkin's picture

It could. The pool I swim in uses a form like I have ( the angled line not the straight) but the height of the characters is 2 tiles less. Maybe I'll make a font of altrenate characters too. In the meantime I think I'd like to stay true to the basic shape of the number but improve it in some way. Maybe it needs to be wider to allow a bigger counter - I'll post what i work out in the next few days.

ric's picture

Hi, Eben.

Maybe I am missing something, but I am wondering: what is the idea behind your font? It seems as if some of your characters are part of a modular idea, in which you use a minimum of modules (i.e., a square and a triangle derived from that square) to create a set of characters, all of this with an underlying grid to enforce some consistency. Examples of this are your lower case o and n. But with other characters it seems as if you are adapting your modules to the shape of the letter, instead of the other way around. Your upper case V is an example of this: lots of differently-shaped triangle modules.

I know you hint at a stricter enforcement of a modular structure in your proposed

ebensorkin's picture

I do have an awareness that it seems like some letters are really worked & others not. I do feel that tension. I should explain that what I found when I was observing the letters at the pool was that when they made the letters from tiles they looked for a solution that didn't require extra cuts. Just whole tiles. Like the T . When no solution was apparent with whole tiles they made anged cuts in the tiles. The V is a copy of what they did with the tiles at the pool. So I could say it's the tension of tiles.

There isn't a whole alphabet to refer to, incomplete numbers & no lowercase at all so I am extrapolating...

Both the officer & enlisted are speculation but based on observation. I actually built the font around squares & trangles initially & then when I was swimming I noticed the half cuts used on the 3 & the angled cuts used on the 'V'. So I thought: With these new rules avaialble - what can I improve using the new diagonal? The half tile?

At some point I may have to change the font because being true to my concept may not give me the results I am looking for.

I want the font to be resonable for a longish title & not just 1,2 or 3 words at at time. Actually the lowercase n has a special cut I invented to make it read better. It isn't a trangle. The lower case a too.

I changed a few characters too.

Have a look, there is a new 4, G, & @.

Better or worse? Why?

BTW - AndrZ's '4' is thoretically fine & looks fine in many ways but it isn't what they have at the pool. The new one is closer to what is there than my old one.

It may be that when the other background tiles can be seen it will make more sense too. I'm working on that 2nd font, the other tiles, now.

Isaac's picture

The new @ reads as an o, at least more so than the old one. Outside the context of an actual word it may work better than it does in.

cerulean's picture

I was thinking more of something that wraps all the way around the bottom, with a small loop in the center.

I see nothing wrong with your original 4, but for an open-topped alternate I would go with something like your newest with the four roof triangles knocked out.

ebensorkin's picture

Here is a new "@' Also the full tile effect.

I like the idea of alternates ...

cerulean's picture

Yeah. That's a winner.

ebensorkin's picture

This set of examples wwas inspired in part by Ricardo Cordoba's comments.

The red charcters are the new ones. Better worse? Not done?

I would like for it to be possible to set a paragraph in the font if you were so inclined so I checked the spacing between & found it too loose. Here is the correction.

I might open the spaces between tiles a little too. What do you think?

ric's picture

Hey, it

ebensorkin's picture


Thanks for the feedback!

I will think about the M. It is sort of the odd one out now.

There is a new V. It has a spike at the bottom. The new V is how they have it at the pool. I still like the 2 old ones but they are not as good & the 1st one doesn't fit in this font.

For a while guess I thought I would try some trajan/myriad style in some of the caps to try to make the Officer style more roman & less boringly military - if that makes sense. If I had gone whole hog I would have needed a more circular O. :-)

But I don't think it worked & I don't think you did either so...

About modularity. I have been trying to avoid an overly modular look in the font. Alot of my interest in bitmapped & other particle based fonts has to do with the eccentric ways that characters are made when they are forced into limited circumstances. I think the *really* modular looking stuff just seems lazy/boring looking. It's when you try to make something that is more readable & break the regularity a bit that things get interesting. I was looking a really quirky 7 today on a parking ticket. It isn't that I think this stuff is really *fine* type either. I just like it. The vibe is interesting to me. Don't know why.

In the meantime I have been rounding the edges of the squares - like the tiles. Now I have to decide whether to leave all the parts rounded or to make the cuts as sharp as they are at the pool. Probably the later.

And there are 2-3 other things & then I think I will release this.

I'll post what I have in another day or two.

Regarding the A & the V - I don't think it is a good idea for them to mirror each other in this case. The counter of the A gets too small. Especially now that the V has the spike.

Now that I look at it I think I have a new idea for the Z to bring it into line. This soulution is inelegant but I hadn't seen another way.

The N is asymetical but I actually hate the one at the pool. Too bone headed even for this font. I think this one is okay.

Maybe I'll make a font of altrenates too. A set where the angled glyphs are boxy instead - I think the enlisted will be more like a bitmap & no cuts.

I'll post stuff Monday I think.

ric's picture

> It isn

hrant's picture

I'm not a huge fan of modular stuff, but I have to say that this design is showing great promise as applied in that "Let's get cool in the pool" image. Something about a cool, watery atmosphere really seems to click with it (even though most pool lettering is nothing like that).

I wish I had the time to get into a micro, glyph-level
analysis, but let me just make these two macro observations:
1) Let go of the actual pool lettering you first saw. It served as great inspiration, but clinging to it too literally (like some flotation device :-) will limit the functionality of your end result (it will impede learning to swim:-). So can obsessing over structural rules: make the letters what they need to be, not what the Rules want - we don't read rules, we read letters.
2) The most important element of this design is the gaps. And as with any delicate feature, they can get lost, aliased, blurry, etc. at smaller sizes. So I would recommend (at least) two cuts of the font, with different size gaps. You might even make a multiple-master axis for the gap size.


ebensorkin's picture

Thanks for the advice Ricardo & Hrant!

Most Pool lettering is all caps no?

Hrant, I agree with you about the the gaps both from the point of view of needing multiple gaps widths & also with reagrd to the design. The new design is more open & will probably blur more on screen. Maybe thats not *such* a big issue since I am interested in a display purpose.

I haven't been getting a pool/tile vibe enough & so I rounded the tiles & then got rid of the rounding again where the cuts are. It looks like this : ( with & without phtoshop enhancement ...)

Ricardo, thanks for checking out Bahn. I hope to sort out the last issues with that one this summer & get it out in the world. I hope to apply some of my own advice about quirkyness (& others) to that font before it goes out too. I think that for this font (& Bahn) the best way to create value in the font may be to create one or more fonts of variations in shapes since many letters/characters can be done differently.

ric's picture

That's all good advice, Hrant! :-)

ebensorkin's picture

This sample is meant to show the feeling of the face with the new rounded tiles & straight cuts. It finally has the tiled feeling I wanted. All words were rendered in photoshop using round 10 based sizes for crispness. Any further ctit is quite welcome!

ric's picture

Nice work, Eben! Even the smallest type size in your newest sample reads really well. The rounded corners truly give the feeling that these are tiles.

antiphrasis's picture

Eben, really nice work on your typeface! Great modular font that is modern yet could be found in some mosaic from 100 years ago. It's great at big sizes, and at small sizes it looks like a pixel font.

I was browsing some magazines at Barnes and Noble and I noticed that Web Designer magazine had a very similar tiled font as the headline font for one article. Check it out if you have the chance... it's issue 104. Unfortunately I can't remember the page number, and I don't have any scans since I didn't get the magazine. Good luck!

ebensorkin's picture

I haven't been to barnes & noble yet - but I plan to look at it. Thanks for the info! I appreciate all the feedback I have gotten.

Here is the complete character set. *I would love to know if anybody sees anything wonky/dubious here.* And a nice big 'a'.

As before, this is a photoshop cs rendering into gif. ( cs let's me have all the characters illustrator 10 does not )

ebensorkin's picture

There are 4 versions of the font now. Officer, Officer Short, Enlisted & Enlisted Short. I am ready to reconsider the name now & the style names too. Any ideas?

Here are some samples of the new versions:

[Officer Short]
[Enlisted Short]

Here is what I built when the nice folks at typographica linked Army Pool tiles but Typophile was down!


ebensorkin's picture

BTW Hrant, I haven't forgotten about your gap idea - would suggest a bigger gap or a smaller one ? I imagine a bigger one - no? By How much? What kind of use? Just smaller display? I don't think this font has much of a screen future because it looks good small at only specific sizes. It seems like making the gaps bigger for small size & screen use is only going to result in a great deal of blur.

sim's picture

Diving as a name of the font. Diving short, diving black and so on.

What do you think about that?

hrant's picture

> I haven’t forgotten about your gap idea

Well, I guess I had... (Thanks Andre.)

It's hard to give exact measures (especially since unforseeable printing fidelity would affect it greatly) but I'd say that what you have now is good for larger sizes, and you could make a cut for smaller sizes with let's say 50% more gap.

BTW, you're looking for a name? What about Chlorine.


ebensorkin's picture

I like both names - I am 99% sure chlorine is taken. I'll check though.

About the gap. It is easy to do a rough test of your idea Hrant. I'll give it a spin. It won't work for 12 pt - for sure - but it would make a difference at 18 or 24 etc.


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