Questions about type design
January 31, 2004 12:33 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn the art of type design. I have fontlab, I have a basic understanding of typography and an even more basic understanding of what makes a glyph. What I mostly lack is a methodology. Inside is a list of questions, if anyone here has experience with typeface design, please answer them, or tell me why they're the wrong questions.

  1. What are the basic considerations I should keep in mind?
  2. Is it best to start with any particular character, and derive the basics from it, things like stem width and height, bar width, type of serif (if present) etc.?
  3. Why are some fonts inherently attractive (real Garamond, not the computer version, Jenson, Univers, Warnock Book etc.)?
  4. Widths, heights, angles, etc. Are there any accepted rules I should be aware of?
  5. Hinting and links: what's the difference and when should I use each?
  6. Color: what makes even color?
  7. Variation in strokes, how much is to much? Do thick verticals and thin horizontals enhance legibility?
  8. is there anything else I should be aware of
posted by Grod to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
U&lc (upper and lowercase) magazine is a great resource to learn all about type and fonts...i think all of your answers may be there and more...they used to give free subscriptions to the print version out, but now i think it's only online.
posted by amberglow at 1:15 PM on January 31, 2004

Very cool, I'm looking more for a tutorial or even a good book that walks a person through the process of designing a font and answers my above questions. U&lc is now in my bookmarks though, thanks!
posted by Grod at 2:22 PM on January 31, 2004

The Elements of Typographic Style

Buy it. If it doesn't bore you to death, then you'll be a good typographer.

Typophile's Forums.

Study the evolution and critiques of Typefaces in progress from well-practiced type designers. The rest of Typophile is a good resource too.

I've designed typefaces, and honestly all of your questions I can answer with pages of essays, but it's not going to do any better than those two resources. It just takes time and practice.
posted by Stan Chin at 2:22 PM on January 31, 2004

Here's another good beginning source, Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out How Type Works .Designed by the type fiends at Adobe Press.
posted by jeremias at 3:56 PM on January 31, 2004

Great stuff. I suppose it was a little much to expect anyone to write an essay on the art of type design for me. Those books have been added to my wishlist.
posted by Grod at 6:17 PM on January 31, 2004

I second the Typophile recommendation. You should definitely check out this thread and this lesson for starters.

And while the Bringhurst book is a must-own keep in mind it's more about type usage than type creation.
posted by O9scar at 4:26 PM on February 1, 2004

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