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Cantilever update 16 Sep

I’ve finished the initial drafts for all the lowercase characters in Cantilever and I’ve started working on the uppercase:

Many characters are still missing — /B/, /H/, etc., as you can see — but it’s nice finally being able to use actual text (this is from George MacDonald’s The Princess and the Goblin).

What’s next: fixing the glyphs I’m still not happy with and fleshing out the rest of the uppercase. And then spacing and kerning! Then I can stop being bothered by the lack thereof.

Notes, in no particular order:

  • I’ve decided that I’m designing for retina devices. Sure, it’s going to be several years before all desktops/laptops have retina screens, but man, it’s painful designing for lower PPIs. (So I’m doing most of my previewing on my iPhone.)
  • My current process for each glyph is to draw an initial lame draft in FontForge, export and preview, contemplate giving up type design forevermore, and then tweak the glyph and preview and tweak and preview until I’m happy with it. It’s working out okay, even for evil glyphs like /s/ (my first draft was absolutely pathetic) and /g/ (which is still somewhat pathetic but not as bad as it used to be). And /a/ was also a beast for several drafts.
  • I’m struggling with the uppercase. I’m going to look at some other fonts to see where I’m going wrong.
  • I finally got FontForge to compile on OS X with Python, so I’m writing some scripts to automate things (such as an export script that removes overlap and copies output files where I want them).
  • FontForge isn’t quite as bad as I originally thought it was. And the recent versions have user-customizable hotkeys.

Cantilever WIP

A couple weeks ago I started on a new typeface I’m calling Cantilever. Originally I thought I would sketch out the characters on paper and trace them, like I did with Pigna, but I’ve ended up just drawing everything so far directly in FontForge. The initial few characters:

Funny how characters can look semi-okay at large sizes but then not at all at text sizes. I went through several iterations to get something I actually liked:

Since I’m intending this for use as a web font, I ended up writing a small JavaScript/HTML app to let me preview my work in-browser, both on desktop and on mobile. It lets me switch between different versions (so I can see if I’m making progress) and also different text blocks. (And of course I can tweak the size and line-height.)

And here’s where Cantilever is right now (version 008):

There’s still a lot to do (fleshing out the rest of the characters, spacing and kerning, etc.), but overall I’m happy with the direction it’s going.