Sunday, December 21, 2008

Help is much appreciated

I'm keeping my focus on the northern part of The Netherlands for a while, getting inspiration from all the fascinating buildings over there. One that caught my eye was the Esserveld cemetery, of which I present this picture of the entrance building:

Notice the lettering that was used for the name. This just HAS to be transformed into a font. First impression: "Hey, piece of cake, I'll do that in a couple of hours..."
Yeah! But then the second impression: "Whoa! This is really complicated", followed after a short while by impression number three: "Gosh, what did I do? How do I get out of this trap?"
First thing I did was recreate the E, S, R, V, L and D, with a little tweaking, like the stem of the R. Then, the rest of the uppercase set was made, as can be seen here:

And this is where the public comes in (I hope). Please let me know which of the letters you find the 'odd ones out'. I have some ideas myself, but in order not to influence anyone I keep my mouth shut for the time being. Please put a comment underneath.


Dick Margulis said...

Another valiant effort on your part. Looking good for a first step. But you asked for picky comments, so here goes:

1. I think the A works. The counters are well-proportioned with respect to the sample letters.

2. B. Counters need to be opened up. Look at the B next to the A and the D. Go wider if you have to, to keep the stem widths, and perhaps bring the waist down a touch, to help with the upper counter.

3. C. Try bringing the apex down a little more on the left side and making the bowl rounder at the lower left, so the C doesn't look like it's toe-dancing.

4. The F doesn't work as just an E with the lower arm cut off. There needs to be a little more length on the straight part of the stem at the bottom, so the middle arm has to be just a tad narrower at its base than it is on the E.

5. The G and H don't work at all for me, but I'm not sure what to suggest--except that the H should be significantly wider.

6. J, K, M look good. N sucks. Whatever you do to the H, do the same thing to the N.

7. I think the counter in the O needs to have a more interesting shape and maybe a different axis. Do the same thing with the Q, but do something a little more interesting with the tail on the Q, too. Not sure what.

8. P is good as is. T seems like a good start, but maybe open up the armpits a little more.

9. U needs to be a little rounder to keep it from being misread as a V (when there's no V present for comparison).

10. W is interesting. You might want to try the M the same way, or (contrary-wise) you might want to try the W like the M. I don't know that they have to match, and you may end up right where you are. Just saying it's worth investigating.

11. X, Y, and Z are terrible. X and Y need to be wider. Z looks like a 2.

In all of this, note that I am NOT saying that I could do better! These are just one guy's opinions, and others may think I'm all wet.

I look forward to seeing your next version.


Armadillo said...

few random ideas and comments.

It seems that you have tried to recreate all the characters using the shapes in characters ESRVLD. I think you have to create a few of your own since some of the characters look a bit 'forced'.

All include 'I would'

A - The horizontal bar up since all the characters are top-heavy.
B - Lower part like D
C - Flat top and slightly more curved, sharp lower part like R
F - Middle 'bar' more like quarter circle, do not have to match E.
G - Flat top, no 'serif'
H - Straight outsides, left stem thin right stem thick, thin horizontal bar with maybe slightly curved inner space (roght side).
J - little too wide more corved and with sharper end. (slightlu below baseline?)
K - Upper part like R but open and with similar foot.
M - has to wider, middle stem shorter, don't have to go to baseline.
N - Thin outer stems with thick slighly upwards curved diagonal stem
O - maybe little more rounded rectangle, right & left with straight section in the middle, also left side thin right side thick.
Q - see O, with tail like R (below baseline?)
U - bottom more like 'O'
W - sharp point in the middle may be enough, see M.
X - Curved thick stem (like N) with straight thin stem through (with optical correction)
Y - a bit wider,
Z - upward curve, flip upside down > heavy top,

cdave said...

The original "R" was a "D" with a leg attached.

Anonymous said...

You might be re-inventing the wheel. If you can find out the history of the building, and who is responsible for the building, you will likely find out who designed the sign, and that they used a font.

Richard Keijzer said...

@Anonymous: Nope, no reinvention here. The building was designed bij Siebe Jan Bouma, the lettering was created 'in situ', meaning it was praktically hand drawn to fit the facade. A fairly common practice back then. Kurving used the same technique designing the text GEMEENTE GIRO for the letter boxes of the Municipal Giro Service in Amsterdam. See:

Armadillo said...

It amazes me that some people, like Anonymous often think that a font is always used. Way back when designers (more like craftsmen) could make text as necessary.

My typography teacher told me once that he asked a class where do the letters come from. The most common answer was 'The typesetter!" (No personal computers then) Who put the letters into the typesetter was even tricker and no one could answer.

However, people who think they know all about type design and in fact don't know squat are of course the architects. They usually make just hideous creations - if they don't use Futura Light instad.

This typeface, or more like a set of characters, look like another architect's brainchild. However, over time monsters like this begin to look kinda interesting, usable even.

Armadillo said...

Here goes the errata

> M - has to wider, middle stem shorter, don't have to go to baseline.

Not wider than it is, meaning M has to be wider than other caharacters. The same apply to W.

> O - maybe little more rounded rectangle, right & left with straight section in the middle, also left side thin right side thick.

Meaning O can be more angular and it does not have to be symmetrical.

Anonymous said...

I think the X & Y are odd men out. They need to be wider.