And, we’re back. This year I’ve resumed a project that got started back in 2011, during a workshop I attended in Italy: the design of my first typeface. During those five days in Urbino, I managed to build the alphabet (both upper and lowercase) in a bold weight. Later that year I added numerals, punctuation, accented characters… almost the complete set. Except for some difficult glyphs full of curves, such as the ampersand or the pound sterling. And so I moved on to other things.
I recently resumed work on the project, saying hello to Fontlab after so long (Fontlab is the program I’ve been using to design this typeface). With renewed energy I’ve been making steady progress. The first thing I did was I finishing those difficult glyphs, thus completing the full character set for the bold weight.
My intention then was to figure out metrics and kerning pairs, and call it the day. But I’ve been getting some helpful guidance from Rod and the other nice people at PsyOps. During one of the informal meetings we’ve been having (they offer great workshops too) I learned that FontLab has some useful transformation tools. This meant that doing other weights would not mean starting from scratch each time.
And so I began experimenting with creating a lighter weight to complement the bold. It has been an interesting learn-as-I-go-along process. I didn’t have a strong idea of how the light weight should look until this experimentation. In a way, I’m still not sure, but I’m letting the process dictate the result.
The transformation tools were helpful with some uppercase characters, and got me started. But after those, the rest had to be constructed manually. Once I got upper and lowercase characters sorted out, the next thing was to deal with numerals (always a difficult proposition) and the rest of the set (punctuation, accented characters, etc.)
And so the design is moving along. Many of the forms in these screen grabs have already changed in my latest version, but they give an idea of where the typeface is heading. Next, I’m hoping FontLab’s interpolation tools will make it easy to create an in-between semibold weight.
Not sure when I’ll ever finish, but I’m enjoying the journey. However, considering now I’ll have to do metrics and kerning pairs for all these weights, when people ask me “what about italics?,” I roll my eyes (at a 13˚ angle of course).