The project is done. My jury is over too. Although a lot can be done still. I am sharing the final project documentation of the Chukki. Hope it helps any of you creating Indic typefaces. 🙂
With the base letterforms that I had created, I used the Form Categorization Chart and created all other letterforms. This time, I used the software SimpleFont to create all the letterforms.
Here it is. (See the letters inside the red outline? Yes, that is the seed. Working on it, still.)
The first rough draft of Chukki:
At this stage, the keyline guide is well defined. It becomes a line of control. It commands the way one letterform interacts with the other. There has to be harmony at every stage. When two different base forms are placed together, there has to be some common elements that drive the eye through a webpage full of text.
Every letterform will find a home inside this keyline guide and they co-exist even though they look diverse in terms of their origin.
The ‘keyline guide’ will be finetuned and detailed after the study is done on the existing Kannada typefaces on the web and the categorization of forms.
Working version of the ‘keyline guide’ will be defined just before the defining the design criteria. Keeping the keyline guide open to changes, in a way, brings flexibility in the process.
Here is the first version of the ‘keyline guide’:
It is still vague right. Yes, it is intentional.
At this stage, a type designer has to resist manipulation. It is tempting to actually start deriving the final forms at this stage. But that again will hamper the output. It is essential that a type designer works merely as a copy artist.
In the above image, you can notice:
(i) How the hand drawn letter, now vectorized, is placed on the pixel grid. The thrust keylines (in pink) are clearly defined.
(ii) How the pixel form is derived behind the vectorized form
(iii) How the pixel form behaves with just the support of grid
(iv) How the pixel form behaves without the support of grid or the vectorized form
(v) How the pipel form behaves in the acutal size
At this stage, as a type designer, you need to go back and see if the form is balanced. At this stage, one can vaguely touch upon aesthetics too. It is also important to see how it renders in actual size because at the end of the day user interacts with the actual size.
At this stage, when the outlines are drawn on computer, there is scope of manipulating the common characters in all letterforms so that it becomes easier when constructing the type.
When you actually see the letterforms placed in a line, a sensitive type designer can definitely see the stress or thrust keylines. Such keylines enhance redability. Every letterform will adhere to at least two keylines, out of which, one will be explicit, and the other implicit.
Here is a sample:
The image below illustrates how the keylines can be defined.
Selecting a letterform from the explorations is a crucial stage again. This stage is where a type is made. To select a letterform one needs to be aware of these factors:
Intution is essential. But intution alone is not enough to select a perfect from out from the rest. Intution will only act as a pointer. A type designer has to analyze those pointers. Intution may point to more than one letterforms. As a type designer, one has to measure the qualities of the forms. Here the artist exits.
A mathematician enters. The letterform can be analyzed based on these factors: size, simplicity, motion, strokes, angles, endings, flourishes, links, lines, loops, circles, fly-wheels, pegs, breaks, and dots. And a type designer has to see all this in every letterform before selecting the one that best suits the need. The mathematician exits.
A surgeon enters. With utmost care, every letterform has to be disected and categorized under a family. Again when a type designer is categorizing, he or she may use self-defined criteria. Here the scope of work just moves beyond letterforms. The surgeon exits.
A critic enters. This is the stage where a type designer will embrace a letterform and maybe take it further than expected. At this stage, every letterform becomes an insight.
Here is a scan of a few base letterforms:
Quoting what my guide, Suresh, says, “It is important to work on the freehand letterforms and then define a grid, rather than forcing the letterforms in a specific grid. This way one can be innovative.”
I completely agree. Once I this finished this exercise I understood the importance.
(i) With explorations one realizes how much a letterform can be stretched with respect to its skelton
(ii) Legibility is also a key issue
The constraints here are the height and the weight. This way, it is possible to find the natural form. And the amazing part is that during this exercised one notices peculiarities of the script. Such peculiarities should be recorded since they provide valuable insight into making the face interesting.
Too much of standardization can also kill a script. When drawing every letter, it has to be drawn devoid of how the forms of the other letters. This way one will be able to retain the purity of every letterform.
Here are some scans of the explorations: