In the fall of 2017, I took an intensive program called The Principles of Typeface Design at Cooper Type. It was an incredibly enlightening and exciting experience on what really goes into designing a typeface.
Extreme care, detail, and technical skill are required to create a single weight—something I will never take for granted now that I've experienced it.
Below are some snapshots of the different phases we completed during the program. While there is much work left to do on my typeface, I am very proud of what I was able to learn and achieve.
The sketching process involved shading outwards with a sharpie and cutting back with a whiteout pen. After sketching several completely different styles, I decided to go with an extended, high contrast serif typeface intended for display use. I envision this typeface would be used mainly on alcohol and wine labels at 40pt.
Learning to use Robofont was one of my favorite parts of the course. As an avid pen tool user, it was easy to translate the skills to Robofont. I was also able to use my left brain a bit more as you rely heavily on the x,y coordinates to determine relationships between letters (weight, height, spacing, etc.).
I had no idea what a spacing string was before this course. At first, I couldn't see the minute differences in the spacing between the letters, but as the course went on I was able to spot things that needed to be nudged ever so slightly.
We spent the most time on our control characters (nop HOD). It was so important to get those right as they helped inform the structure of all the other letters. Feedback from our professor and teaching assistants was critical to help learn how to spot inconsistencies in our glyphs.
The most fun part of the program was showing off our type specimens to each other at the final class. Of course, I had to make some wine labels (and therefore, bring wine!) to show off the intended use of my typeface.
The name of my typeface, Gelso, comes from the name of my cat, Gelsomina. She is a Scottish fold with a quite large belly, so it felt fitting for the extended nature of my typeface.