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Spring 2022  ︎ SUNY Purchase ︎ (DES3440) Typographic Investigations

Type Tutorials

(Glyphs Mini)


Here’s a bunch of videos that show the process of using specifically Glyphs Mini for drawing, spacing, kerning and exporting an uppercase font based on some of the calligraphy that we did in class. I’ve tried to make the videos relatively concise, excuse the aggressive compressing of the audio.

To be honest the LinkedIn Learning videos I’ve linked previously are probably quite a bit better, but placing these here in case you don’t have access. Additionally, I’ve placed som linkes to videos that walk through other edge cases that you might encounter.

Hopefully, it is clear that these steps may not be the same as the ones that you encounter as you make your way through your font.

Here’s a playlist for all 8 “steps”︎

Step 0: Having an idea

This is the first video where I basically say that you probably should (carefully) have some kind of incidental type design you experience in your life. Additionally, check out TypeCooker if I haven’t mentioned it already for generating type-related ideas. I’m basing the font I create for these tutorials on the monoline Roman uppercase forms we went through in the intitial calligraphy lesson.

Step 1: Straight letterforms

Here we go through basic drawing, transformations and spacing for straight (purely vertical and horizontal stroked) letterforms.

Step 2: Angular letterforms

Next, we create angular letterforms like A, V, W, etc.

Step 3: Curvilinear letterforms

Here’s where we go through curved forms. This gets deeper into the idiosyncracies of Glyphs (vs Illustrator for example).

Step 4: Circular letterforms

In the monoline Roman forms, based in proportion to the Trajan Column, the O, C, G, and Q are based on a circle. I’ve separated these out a separate category as they are a bit more unique of a challenge.

Step 5: Spacing

The spacing of your font will be unique to the forms you create. Throughout the other videos, I set some basic spacing as I went that was not super great. In this video I purposely reset the spacing to get a basic “fit” for the font before going into the individual pairs through kerning.

Here’s Glyphs’ own video on spacing:

Step 6: Kerning

Here we go through the basics of kerning, and how the individual pairs appear as you go through your font. As with spacing, the problematic pairs will be unique, but I’ve chosen the calligraphic forms I have because they present some conventional problems you may encounter (also I like the forms look). I based some of the pairs on this post on TypeDrawer, and others I encountered incidentally as I designed. It’s worthwhile to make sure that you kern in the context of a word or series of words in order to get a better sense of the kerning in proximity to your existing spacing.

Here’s Glyphs’ own video on kerning

Step 7: Ligatures

I’ve included this video to show other things you may want to include in your font. Your choices are your own obviously, but adding ligatures is a relatively simple affair, and a great way to add value. You might choose to create more characters, numerals, punctuation, etc.

Step 8: Exporting

This is relatively straightforward, but I also wanted to make sure I showed how the actual file receives its name and that the discretionary ligatures work.

Some other sources for information not covered here

(please note that these videos may use older versions of Glyphs or the full version of Glyphs that may look and function ever-so-slightly differently)

Here’s a couple of other videos that show some versions of the process that cover things we didn’t get to. I wanted to draw without calligraphic references/drawings underneath as an exercise, here’s a good video that shows Joey Grable drawing more complex Copperplate script style forms from historical references.︎

There may be reasons why you would want to start in Adobe Illustrator, or there may be some specific component of drawing in Illustrator that may have influenced your design, or perhaps you just started sketching there and kept going. Here’s a video showing importing from Illustrator and some of the little idiosyncracies there.

Lastly, we did not add serifs to our font, here’s a link to an article for adding corner components to your font which are useful for adding serifs and preserving the geometry of your font.

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