Thursday, May 13, 2021

DinoTracks

 Over the years I have designed a number of letterbat fonts, fonts in which the letters are made up of objects such as feet, hands, safety pins, pipes, and bugs. In 2012 I tried to make one from dinosaur tracks but abandoned it because it just did not work.

Recently I published a maze book with a maze that had walls made of dinosaur footprints. To make this maze, I elongated the footprints from the unsuccessful font. I then realized that the narrower footprints would make much better letters than my attempt in 2012. The end result was DinoTracks.

DinoTracks is readable at small point sizes, though at small sizes seeing that the letters are made of footprints is difficult. It is available on FontSpring.

Existing font families that have been expanded in the past month or two include Rundigsburg (5), FiveOh (2), Porker (1), and Sergury (3).

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Increasing color options in OakPark

I originally constructed the OakPark family in 1994 with seven family members. The fat stems invited decoration and four of the members had decorations on the stems, with one set on the upper-case keys and another on the lower-case keys. Only one member of the seven had true lower-case characters and two, one a shadowed style, had small caps on the lower-case keys. In 2018 I added an eighth style by separating out the inside of the shadowed style so it could be used in layers to provide color.

In March this year I revisited the family and did a major overhaul. I added an italics to the to go with the style that had true lower-case keys, and I added a plain or solid style to use in layers with the four decorated styles. However, the family had alternative shapes for over half of the letter forms, and the easiest way to make it all work was to take the four decorated styles and split them so each font had only one style of decoration in it. In the second row the first "A" shows the solid style, and the next eight show the decorated styles. I also added a hollow style because it could also be used in layers.

The picture below illustrates what can be done by using these fonts in layers. In the top line the solid style is red and forms the bottom layer. Above it in black is the decorated style. In the work "FUN" the hollow style is a top layer, also in red.

The word "WITH" has three layers, with the black solid font on the bottom, two decorated styles in the middle, and the hollow style on top. In the word "LAYERS" the last two letters have the solid style in red on the bottom and the hollow style in blue above it. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Something new for 2021

 IngrimayneType's first new font for 2021 is now available on myfonts.com and fontspring.com. It is called BearAnark because it began with a blending of two old fonts, BearButteT and Anarckhie. It has five weights, each with an italic style. Like the two fonts that gave birth to it, it is slab serif and is best characterized as a display font, though it can be used for some text purposes. However, it has a lower x-height and is less compact than fonts commonly used as book or text fonts.

Below is a comparison of a few letters of BearButteT, Anarckhie, and BearAnark. You should be able to see influences of the first two on the third. The first two are considerably different and I was curious to see what a blending of the two would yield.

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Recent font families expanded by adding italic or oblique styles are PeterPierre (5) and Xaltid (2). Those expanded by adding new weights are KnewFont (3) and Handana (2). Families expanded by adding both new weights and italic/oblique styles are Quidic (3), Xahosch (4) LeakerorLeach (4), GrechenHello (4), Asterx (3), BetterEuroika (2), WalcomeOne (6), Argenta, (4), and RosarGrad (2). 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Thirteen more

I spent much of January on the computer improving typeface families that I created twenty to thirty years ago. Some of what I am doing is partially inspired by America's most prolific type designer, who recently reached 1700 typeface families. Most of his families have two styles, one an oblique. The oblique style makes the family more attractive and is very easy to add.

Getting oblique or italic styles in late January were the DavidFarewell, RundigPencil, and ArgentaBobbed families. 



Early in January SusiScript got oblique styles, but as I was working on posters for the family, I noticed that a bolder style, an extrabold, would be useful. 
Qwatick, a decorative serifed family, had two weights with a large gap between them. An intermediate weight seemed in order. With the addition of an italics for each weight, the family now has six members.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

More obliques and italics

 While adding characters to fonts so that they will meet the Monotype minimum-character requirement, I decided to add some oblique styles because they are easy to do and they can make the family more useful. Recently added are obliques and italics to GalexicaMono, SusiScript, FebDrei, and Yahosch.


An oblique style simply slants the upright style with no changes in letter forms. The new styles of FebDrei and Yahosch qualify as italics rather than obliques. The new FedDrei styles alter the letters f and k  and the new Yahosch styles alter the letters a and f. 

The characters that are most commonly missing in the fonts I am updating include the copyright and registered symbols, the section symbol, and the multiplication sign. When I designed fonts more than twenty years ago, I did not think those characters and some others were important, so I often omitted them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Additions and revivals

I initially intended only at add characters to the four fonts of WhichIt and WhichItTwo, which are quirky, geometric faces that have letter shapes based on a hexagon that has four sides of one length and the other two of a much longer length. They were not created with any purpose in mind but only to see what a set of letters based on this shape would look like. As I added characters, I noticed that there was a large gap between the regular and bold weights, so I constructed an intermediate weight that may be more usable than the two existing weights. Adding italics styles did not require much effort so I added them for all the weights. What started as a fairly minor expansion of characters ended up tripling the size of the family. In the picture below the new members of the family are shown in yellow.

One of the first typefaces I designed was a sans-serif face that briefly sold on a disk produced by a company called Educorp. It was a beginner's effort that was quickly retired. However, in the late 1990s, I ran it through a font-distortion program that "grunged" it up, hiding its many imperfections. As 2021 began I decided to revive it, adding many accented and other characters. TRGrunge is available from fontspring.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A spiky start to 2021

 For about ten years, from the early 1990s until 2002, I sold typefaces mostly on CDs. I designed typefaces for three CDs sold by the short-lived company Wayzata Technologies. After it folded, I published my own CD that include what had been on those three CDs plus a bit more. When the technology to cheaply burn CDs from a personal computer arrived, I added a CD of novelty fonts. This method of selling gave me an incentive to produce lots of typefaces and that incentive attracted me to a couple of font distortion programs that were published in the 1990s. I used one to produce about a dozen fonts with spikes or spines on the letters that were included on my novelty-font CD. 

In 2002 I learned of a better way of selling typefaces, through an on-line font vendor. I happily abandoned CDs, upgraded my typefaces where needed, and submitted most of them to myfonts.com and fonts.com. To start off 2021 I have resurrected seven spiked typefaces that I did not move to myfonts.com, renamed them, expanded them to include more accented characters, corrected problems I found, and generated the font files with FontLab 7 so they include some common OpenType features. I added four spiked fonts that I had moved to myfonts, renaming and expanding them as well. The resulting eleven typefaces make up the Kaktis collection on fontspring.com. Like all novelty fonts, they have limited uses but there can be situations in which one is just what is needed. 

It is remarkable how much digital type has changed since I started playing with it in the late 1980s. When I started the only PostScript I could make was Type 3, which did not have some features that Adobe kept for itself. In addition to the PostScript file, one needed a bitmap file so the type would be visible on the screen. Apple developed TrueType to do an end-run around Adobe, but Microsoft was the primary promoter of this new format. Then the OpenType format was introduced and almost entirely replaced old PostScript format. I suspect all the formats available now will be obsolete in 20 years.