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Project 3: Fictional Letterforms

Part1 sketches:




Part 2 sketches

The Modern type font I choose to work on is Didot


4 6 5


some extra design of using letter to create a pattern composition

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Part3: Digitize/Design


Design Option 1:

sketch look:未命名

first try in Illustrator:

I typed in lower case “y” and “z” which I wanted to insert my new letter between, so I have double space between these two letters.  I also typed in “t”, which my new letter would included some of it elements, the concave top of “t”. And the reason I typed in “v” is because my new letter would have a stroke slant to the right, and I wanted to keep the consistency of the inclination so it would fit better into the entire alphabet.

After typed in those letters, dragged the x-height and base line of this font. I insert my sketch letter into a new layer of the same file and I locked all layers I’ve get so far before I created a new layer for my pen tool new letter, so I would be able to move my new layer without shift the other layer. Then I actually used pen tool to draw the outline of the bottom of “z” on the new layer, and I moved the anchor points horizantally to “t” to continual draw the concave of top of “t” and combine the two parts together by extending the thick vertical stroke to the horizantal stroke of the “z”‘s element. The same way I added the oblique line by pen tool over “v”.未命名

Although I used exist letters to draw the anchor points of my new letter, I was not trying to use the part of the particular letter to build a new letter. What I was trying to do was to make sure my new letter maintain the same stroke size, concave degree and slope angle as the other alphabet of the font.



second try:

However, my new letter is too looked like a overlapping of capital letter “L” and lower-case “v”. Although they do not actually have the exact elements of the particular letter; for example, the top of capital letter “L” would not have the concave, the general form of “L” is still too dominate.

I copied the layer and flipped the new letter horizantally. Because one of the important element of this typeface is stroke inclined toward right is as thin as the horizantal line, but the stroke inclined towrd left would have the thickness as stem. So I edited the oblique line thicker. Since there were two thick strokes which would make to letter form too heavy in one side , I widen the the letter as the width of lower case “x” to allow more space between the two thick strokes. So here is what I got:




Option 2:



first try

I was planning to put this letter between l and m because the right part of the letter form had a similiar shape as m and n, and left part was a vertical shape as i.


however, when I typed in n after m, the n shape became an over repeation when we see four similar counters appeared next to each other.

Then I changed the two letters to s and t.


Because the bottom terminal of t and my new letter’s right terminal are similar. The problem now was the new letter form looked too similar to the existed leter n; and it could be easily figured where were the parts come from( j and a).

So instead of changing the entire letter form, I went back to my first part thumnail, tried to substitute some too reconizable elementfor other characteristics of this font.


At the same time, noticed that m and w were the only two letters had wider forms of the entire alphabet(m’s width was larger than w). So when I substituted the descender of j for the bottom part of s, I kept the width of the letter no larger than m’s.

The counter was connect to a vertical main stem on the left, I extended the stem of letter “a” thinner as close to the main stroke, so it would keep a similar counter as “n”. Althought the right stroke of “n” and “a” looked the same, they were actually having different thickness. To make sure the shape of the counter as smooth as it’s not combined by two separete parts, I started the “arch” of “n” from the stem of “a”. Because their stems are the same width, the transition was fluently connected.

Now another problem poped out. Although the width of my new letter was not greater than the width of m, it had a large open area on the left side of the new letter.

However, I like my new letter now; so I decided to change the letters before and after it.

My final decision were “g” and “h”.



Because “g” was a complicated letter from, which included two bowls and a ear, it would balance the empty space of my new letter form.

To make sure the space between the three letters, I made the space between my letter and g as the space between “g” and “s”; the space between new letter and “h” as the space between “a” and “h”.

One thing we need to also think about is the way of writting the letter. All the existed alphabets can be finished by one or two strokes. That is one of the reason I keep my letter simple. When we are writting letters, the letters should be able to connect fluently as the image below:(please ignore the rough “mouse written”, keep focus on how the letters can connect to each other as writting.)


Posted by Yan Wen Pan on February 13, 2013

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