Letter Fab-ulous

Had some fun at the Tulsa Fab Lab this last week, making items to use for a fundraiser. I’m heading back to grad school to work on an MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading in the UK. Eeek, it’s expensive!

I made nearly 500 coasters (would have been more, but the laser had a temporary malfunction) out of clear acrylic and white acrylic.
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They look pretty cool when stacked! There isn’t any paint on these, unlike the HitchHiker’s Guide, because if the etched image is wide enough, it stands out just fine. Though I might still add paint to a few to change the color.
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Then while lasering another project onto wood, there was extra space so I shrank the coaster design down to an earring size. Waste not, want not! Can’t wait to wear them! I have eight pairs. I’m thinking about having a giveaway on this blog with a pair as the prize…
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I wish I had had time to design my own ampersand, but I really like this one from Charlemagne Standard. Laser-cut out of mirrored acrylic.
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Also on the mirrored acrylic, a lettered design of one of my favorite words by the amazingly talented PetitSerif. Positive and negative etches.
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This was my first time to seriously use the 3D printer. These below are cookie ‘stamps’. You press them into an unbaked sugar cookie to create the design. Printed with PLA filament on a Makerbot printer.
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The laser cutter and the 3D printer both can take a while to run a project. So in the meantime…I experimented with the vinyl cutter. It was my first experience ever ‘weeding’, or removing the background of one sticker before applying it to a base sticker. Super tricky and tedious, if your design is really detailed! But a really neat effect if you get it right.
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So many stickers! There is much weeding in my future…
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glyphs: “shovel face” font

Most of the font work I do is with FontLab, but lately I’ve been taking time to experiment with both Glyphs and FontForge. I have test fonts going for both, because there isn’t any better way of learning font design software than creating the letters from scratch (merely opening an existing font and fiddling with points doesn’t get you anywhere).

While at TypeCon 2013: Portl&, I took a workshop that allowed me to experiment with many different types of pens and nibs: brush pens, calligraphy nibs, spencerian nibs and sharpies. One of the calligraphy nibs was 3/4″ (19.05mm) wide. It was literally like drawing with a shovel. So fun!! I drew the whole alphabet with it, and decided to use those drawings as the basis for my Glyphs test font “shovel face.”

I don’t have all 26 lowercase letters digitized yet…this is just a side project (and oh, there are many…ha!). But the results are kind of fun, I think! Pardon my poor spacing. It’s all a work in progress…
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Coalescence, revisited

A couple of years ago, I finally completed my thesis project for grad school. It started with a font I created. I really liked the design, and the meaning I had ascribed to it. But all I had time for were the lowercase letters – and being so new to type design, I had not the slightest idea how to create complementing capitals. Even months later I was still at a loss. But I knew that one day I hoped to finish the design and release it.

This is where I left the design two years ago, with a half-hearted attempt at some uppercase letters.
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Since leaving grad school I’ve learned a good deal about designing type, especially text faces (vs display faces). I’ve learned how to harmonize a regular face with an italic face, and that capitals don’t have to mimic the lowercase exactly, as they began life as two entirely different alphabets anyway.

So with all that in mind, a couple of months ago inspiration struck and I spent a weekend re-sketching the Coalescence design, smoothing out the rough places and bringing a little more consistency.
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Coalescence is far from finished…but I like the direction it’s going so much more now. And once the design for the capitals, numbers, and punctuation is decided, I intend to work on the two more complex versions of it as well.
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So stick around for a completed version of Coalescence! Oh, and if you’re curious about my full thesis, you can find the published version here. If you want to pay basically $1 per page…

Amaliah Italic

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. I don’t think I ever posted an update to Amaliah regular…or even had a name for it in the first post. Part of the reason for my slacking is because I think font screenshots are boring and I couldn’t remember to take pictures of my printouts. Oops! Here is the work in progress. I’m still making changes to the italic, but the regular is static for now. The goal for this project was to design a legible text face, good for long documents. Creating a matching legit italic (and not just a slanted roman) is more difficult than one might think!
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A new font exercise

As part of my training at my new job with SIL International, I’ve been practicing drawing and digitizing Roman fonts. One day I will move on to non-Roman scripts, which I’m very excited about. But for now it’s been fun to mess about with this design.

My parameters were to design a Roman lowercase, with medium ascenders and descenders. The goal was to make it compact but not compressed, readable in longer articles and text. It should have pointed-nib contrast, but some transitional elements with straight stems and slab/angled serifs. Medium weight. The digital version hasn’t been critiqued yet, so changes are coming!

My working font name is ‘fluffybunny’ (don’t ask…). If anyone has a more clever idea, please leave a comment!

Initial sketches:

First shot at digitization (the ‘j’, ‘f’, and ‘s’ for sure need work):