Kompilat + italic


this is new or fixed:

the bowl of a is a bit bigger.
the curves in h, m, n are more flat now.
i changed the diagonal strokes of K, k, R so they match Q in both roman and italic style. i like this new sharp feeling more, but maybe it needs some more optical fixes.
the italic style is more wild than i planned, so it is not possible for me to see all optical problems.

i would really appreciate your help. thank you.

| Attachment | Size | | --- | --- | | kompilat_070521.pdf | 101.5 KB | | IMG_3238.jpg | 30.58 KB |

21 May 2007 — 6:41am

I love it. But you already knew that. The italic is also very nice, maybe a bit wild indeed, but I think it's working for the most part.
Some characters might need some work, like the italic 'f' for example, which has a bit of a lump on the lower part. But I would have to laserprint it first to really comment on that. Besides, I'm not much of a serif 'connaisseur', so someone else can probably give more constructive critiques on that.
But the roman is absolutely gorgeous in my opinion.

It's gorgeous! The "wildness" of the italic is just right, IMO. My only critique is that i feel that the exiting down-stroke on some italic lowercase letters is a bit too expressive, almost making some letters feel like they're weak or broken in that spot. this is particularly noticeable in the h,m,n and somewhat in the a,d,u. The lowercase z could be even more wild.

Great effort! Especially the roman. I've often experimented with the curve & corner concept you have working so nicely here. BTW, the 8/10 - 10/12 settings looks right for this.

s,S: The apperature is too tight for me here. I think the spine might benefit from more hoizontal movement (see Palatino). They feel pinched at the moment. The s serifs may be a bit long.

I think Paul's comments about the exit strokes are right on. To me they cause it to feel wavey gravey. It has a nauseating effect on me when reading blocks of text set in it. In short spells it's not so noticeable, nor when it's smaller. Also, the italic seems dark.

I guess to me it feels like the roman is taught and muscular, where as the italic is sporting a beer belly. Consider bringing more of the flavor of your j,k,y,E,F into the italic. You might look at Chapparal italic mixed with Kompliat.

Nice work! -- Randy

Oops forgot to mention the roman w,W combo... consider taking the middle all the way up to the x-height/cap-height and rejiggering the angles (probably a little wider too). They are a little distracting to me right now.

I love the italic. Distinguished but unapologetic.


I agree with Paul about the exit strokes. I'm not sure I agree with Randy about the W-w. I'm very sensitive to cap W as my last name starts with it. So many typefaces have the W and w too wide. I do wonder if you can make it work in the cap-W, raising the center apex, but I like the lowercase-w as it is. But, hmmm ... but again maybe at text sizes it might seem like a mistake.

The 4 seem bent to me. Isn't in keeping with the other figs.

I read the lowercase f the same as Jelmar. But, but ... on the other hand it seems like a nice detail. I see how it mimics the q and p ... I wonder if the "bubble" couldn't be lengthened a bit to appear as smooth and subtle as the q and the p.

Overall this is beautiful!!

Wonderful. Reminds me in a way of Kinesis, which I love.

Although the M is okay at text sizes, to me it looks kind of broken in the middle at sizes between approx. 36pt and 48pt. Perhaps the joint where the diagonal strokes meet could be strengthened a bit. This could be a limitation of the Acrobat zoom feature, though; I haven't actually printed anything out at high res to check.

The other thing that bothers me is the leg of roman R. It looks a little too short and not adequately attached to the bowl. Also, the leg doesn't have its foot on the ground -- it actually looks like it's missing a foot, if you know what I mean by this weird visual metaphor. Maybe it's my fairly inexperienced eyes, but then you don't want a typeface to look right only to type design experts.

All in all, my most sincere congratulations.

Kinesis is the single best typeface in the entire Adobe library.
Although Warnock comes close.


Re. roman R, John Hudson wrote something interesting in a March 12 post to the ATypI list. I've learned not to quote from private lists, so if you're a member...

Here the way you have handled the thick/thin assymetrical serifs is the opposite of the way this was traditionally done. See for example, Trinité at teff.nl, and Fedra serif at typotheque.com. For me this way looks backwards and awkward.

Interesting William. I like it in the italic as is (reverse assymetry), but agree with you on the roman.

The problem with your Ss is in the italic Ss too. I also noticed that the italic 8 suffers the same issue. Also on the 8, the top and bottom counters should be opened up more by adjusting where the ends cross the spine. There should be at least some overlap as there is in your roman 8. Hope that made some sense.

Hrant, I'm surprised you like something with such chiro-tastic structures. The italic especially is equal parts broad nibbed pen and brush script . (but lets not derail)

Full of promising energy. Could the bottom of italic f match j maybe, instead of p and q? Or how about moving the bulge upwards, to harmonise with h m n? (The middle looks a bit weak and stiff in comparison as it is.) But then that might make it look like Bâtarde/Fraktur...

I think the point of the bulge is mimicking the pen/brush movement as it transitions from the bottom of the stem and into the next stroke. This is why I mention the brush script influence. I don't think it makes sense on the f (or any of the decenders) because there is no second stroke. Also MHSmith, if that's the case it wouldn't make sense at the baseline of the f either.

Ondrej, please come back and set us straight :-)

hello. thank you all for fantastic feedback.

Randy, you are right. the "brush script influence" is actually allmost exact following my sketches made with yellow highlight marker :) that's also where those broken inner curves came from.

you were also right about the f. there's no reason to keep the bulge, this is pure aesthetical thing. but maybe it is all wrong. i haven't experimented with that very much.

about the serifs: i haven't done any deep research, so i actually don't know, how they are traditionally done. well, the overall idea of kompilat is to follow my calligraphy (i'm left-hander, and i don't follow the "don't-push-the-nib" rule, which could possibly explain some discussed issues). anyways, i know, where serifs came from, but i tried to draw them, so the actual shape of serif is derived from a short right-to-left and slightly rotated stroke with broad-nibbed marker.

i agree with Erik, the legs of R, K, k in both roman and italic need some adjustment. the drawing was as quick as the desicion to make them like this.

Randy, i can see the italic 8 is wrong and i'm going to fix it, but i still somehow don't understand, what you said about the S and s. maybe it is because english is not my native language, but i have an english speaking friend here so i'll ask for help :)

thank you all very much, i really appreciate your help.

>the overall idea of kompilat is to follow my calligraphy

This may be a mistake. I don't think there is any problem in being inspired by calligraphy--Kinesis is an outstanding example. However, following it too closely can mess you up, because type and calligraphy have different demands.

In the case of the serifs, there is assymetry in Jenson's serifs--influenced by calligraphy--and in those influenced by him. The Jenson style assymetry works not just because of calligraphy, IMHO, but because it gives a sense of motion to the right. Our latin script is left-to-right, and that is reflected in the letter shapes, which generally have a feeling of opening to the right, moving to the right. Even though our eyes fixate to read, this sense of movement is still a plus, I think.

Hi Ondrej,

Thank you for posting your drawing. The brush script influence gives this font it's interest, so I think it's important to try and keep it as much as possible. I really like your sketch. I actually like it much better than your italic font. I compared the two in an image so that i can tell you more about the differences I see:

Generally, I think the sketch is much more strong and unified.

RED: Shows the diagonal stress in the sketch. It is confused in the font. You can see it most on the last leg of the m, but it's everywhere (even in the p).

BLUE: Where the stroke leaves the stem should be more consistent. Also in the p, it should be lower so it flows with the turn at the bottom of the stem.

PURPLE: I think the exit stroke on the m (n, i, l etc) is too long. Consider shortening. Also, the beginning stroke and ending stroke will be more united if they follow the same angle. In the font they are flat (entering) and angled (exiting). In the sketch they are the same.


Your english is GREAT. I will try to explain with a picture (I hope I don't confuse!).

RED: I'm showing the counter spaces. For most of your font they are open spaces like a square. You can see this in the R, q,and r. But the S is a very tight space like a triangle. It feels even more like a triangle because of the corner point.

BLUE: I think the corner point is ok, but the spine (middle curve) of the S, s could bend more make the counter more open (like a square).

PURPLE: The big dark finish on the lower case s makes the triangle even smaller and makes less room for white space to get in. Consider making it more open, and maybe try to match the style to the uppercase S serif (beak serif) or the r (no serif).

GREEN: I think the italic s is one of the hardest letters to draw. Usually it is the last italic letter I do. Your italic s feels a little rotated to me. I think giving the spine more of the shape below, will help.

Last thing: This is all my opinion. You are obviously talented, and have made many good choices without us ... so don't forget your design ideas because of our suggestions.


wow! great stuff randy! i'm gonna start sending all my stuff to you for professional critiques... if i can afford your services. >^p

Not so fast Paul, I was about to resume my vow of silence for another 12 months :-)


I like this. Its proportions look ideal for pairing with any of the plethora of semi-condensed info sans designs that have appeared lately. Contrast, weight, proportions, relationship between Roman and Italic and variety of shape are all working nicely here.

I agree with Randy about the terminals and angles in s and S. Run through all your alphabetic characters and assess whether the serifs are the right length. This design seems right with long serifs, but some of them are sticking out, in a visual sense.

I also agree about the angle of the entry strokes on the italic. with such flat intro serifs, the italic seems a little like it's tipping, and there's nothing else about the italic shapes that gives that effect.

I also agree about the tail of R. It looks a little pasted on. This is the one thing I think is weak about Maiola as well. Given the variety of serif and terminal shapes you've used, it should be easy to find the right shape for this tail. This is also a feature that lends itself to a lot more experimentation and variety than even the terminals on S. Try a lot of different things; a knife point, flat feet, a tiny spur on the left, curved serif, taper going the other way, bent leg, bent leg the other way..... This is the fun part, don't miss out!

Consider tapering the vertical thin stems of N as well. There is a lot of very effective tapering elsewhere, and the N looks a little bland by contrast.

Yes, also to strengthening middle joints of MWw. I also think you should consider reversing the taper on one or both stems of u.

I don't agree with William about the asymmetrical serifs. In text they behave nicely.

One thing I think you should reconsider: The extreme ink traps in the italic adqu. They are actually weakening the visual weight of the main stems. Please go to a bookstore and look at various types as printed in magazines and books. Modern printing (even newspapers to some degree) is very very faithful to the original art and type, and ink traps of this size will still be apparent down to about 10 point. Given a choice between a little potential clotting at joints (of very few letters) and stems that seem to be breaking off, I'd go with the former. In text, this design is very lively and will not be muddied by the lack of ink traps; the sinuous stems, pronounced serifs, distinctive angled counters, and the rich color mean this design will stand up to photocopying, projection, printing in reverse, and all kinds of other harsh conditions. Don't make it fit just one, increasingly rare printing scenario, when the typeface will be so generally useful otherwise.

You must have made arrangements to release this by now. It's very nice.

very nice ... i would buy it

randy and carl,

thank you so much for your massive feedback.

the sketch i've posted was drawn about a month after the sketches for actual italic font and i was really surprised, when i realized the difference after reading your comment. but, to be honest, the current stems are much more curved as they are on those sketches!
i'm trying to find out, why and where did i get to those shapes... anyways, i like the waviness of italics a lot, so i'm not sure, if i want to change it. how about two different italics? :)
i agree with the angle and lenght of italic serifs, also with the consistency of the upward stroke in p. thanks lot for the great graphic explanation of the "S-problem". i agree with the serifs, but i am still quite ok with the curve. but i'll try to play with it though, because i'm unexperienced and have to trust you :)

this is how tails of R, K, k looked like in previous version: pdf
i decided to change and unify them with the tail of Q and also j, y. i think this style could work fine after i adjust them a bit.
the tappering of the thin stems in N and maybe in other characters too seems to be a good idea. that could add more life to the design.
now i can see that the ink traps are a bit exaggerated. i tried to make the stems lighter, but on the other hand i really like the aesthetical thing about the ink traps, so i couldn't see what is too much and what is ok.

well. it seems there's a lot of work to do. i will keep posting my pdfs. thank you all.

Have you tried what happens if you change the tail of the Q the other way around, as in, change it so it fits with the earlier tails of the K and R? Instead of changing the K and R to fit with the Q.
Because I think I like the earlier ones better. But that is just my opinion, it might work the way it is now, but it does need a bit of tweaking.

Hi Ondrej,

I don't have any problem with the R, K, k. I think your solution is valid, unified and a matter of preference.

well. it seems there’s a lot of work to do
Set a realisic goal for yourself and call it finished. Forget two italics :-) If you don't, you will get bored this font, start another very nice font, and we'll never have the benefit of this one! I speak from experience (my hardrive is full of half kerned romans with half finished italics).

i like the waviness of italics a lot, so i’m not sure, if i want to change it. how about two different italics?

honestly, the 'weak' italic would probably prevent me from licensing this and keep looking for something with a similar feel. i'm one that always likes to explore alternate solutions, so if you have the time and energy to try a second italic, i'd say go for it! but if this typeface is just for your own personal pleasure, make it however it you like to.

Finally I've made time to rejoin this exceptional thread!
It's rare to see such helpful sketches.

Randy, I don't know if there's one answer to your wondering as to why I like the Italic... I think a lot of it has to do with it being an Italic and not a Roman, and the fact that ideally I'm seeing it used by itself. But another reason is that (as I've stated before on occasion) I actually like chirographic forms just as much as the next human being... as long as they don't intrude. Meaning that as long as they don't pretend to promote readability.

> I don’t think it makes sense on the f

You see, this is the type of logic which I think is too literal. In type, the bulge works, this way or that, because it does, not because of where it comes from. Same thing with stroke contrast, serifs, and everything else.

> i’m left-hander

Porbably quite telling (and positive) here.

> Forget two italics

I would agree that at this point just stick to releasing the typeface with one, but being a big fan of multiple italics I would advise you to at least plan ahead: as you're making the first release one, make it in a way as to leave room (in various dimensions, mostly inclination and cursiveness) for the second one. Also, I would release the "pushy" one first and the more docile one later - that way you generate more interest and you'll get a better feel for how desirable a second Italic might be; even if most people say "I hate it" at least they'd be paying attention and would notice and value the second one. If you release the docile one first people will just go "Ho-hum" and forget about follow-ups.

BTW Ondrej, Carl has a thing against ink traps... while I have
a thing for them! :-) I think you should keep them, mostly
because they help "under the radar" of the reader. A lot of very
good type designers rely on them (although usually gently).


Correction: I do not have a thing against ink traps. I have a thing against mimicking things without understanding their function. Of course Ondrej may understand the function of these perfectly well, but I should have made this more clear: reconsider the size of the ink traps; they're so long and deep they're cleaving the letters apart. They won't be "under the radar" at the current size. They only help if they make the letters more clear. If they make the letters weak, they backfire. You could turn them towards the bowl so that they take weight from the bowl, not from the stem. You could also make them less deep. In any case it's not something I'd make into a major feature, given the [pleasantly] dark texture of this design. It's something to add if it clarifies the intended appearance, but they were invented to compensate for ink filling in, and that is rarely a concern any more. If they are decorative, then add a bunch more, there aren't enough.

The best measure for the right size ink traps is, unfortunately, a press test. Maybe you can find a project to use this on, even at the early stage. It's a good opportunity to get a fresh look at the design. Get makeready sheets from the printer, too, so you can see the type under-inked as well.

> reconsider the size of the ink traps

Awww shucks, you're OK after all. ;-)

> a press test.

Coupled to an eye test - traps aren't just for bleed, but for optics too.


Any news on this nice typeface?

Relly original, i like it a lot! XD

Im also doing a roman serif typeface

keep up the good work!


Ferch :)

I'm in love.

reminds me of Greta or visa versa

Mikey :-)


congrats, i relly like this type

the italics are great, they have a lot of character, althoug they still need work
keep up the good work!



A revival (or something around that area code) ? reminds me of Freundschaft. An old calligraphic font

View original article