Type Design: Build a Simple Display Font | Kyle Wayne Benson | Skillshare

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Type Design: Build a Simple Display Font

teacher avatar Kyle Wayne Benson

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

11 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Project

    • 3. Tools

    • 4. Inspiration

    • 5. Sketching

    • 6. H&O

    • 7. Hamburgedfontsiv

    • 8. Adjustments

    • 9. Lowercase Set

    • 10. Kerning

    • 11. Peace Out

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About This Class

Utah designer Kyle Wayne Benson is here to help you discover your inner type designer. Join him as he builds a custom display font in this 30-minute, project-based class. By watching and joining along you'll learn the process of designing type through reference, lettering, vectorizing, and layout. Through this experience you’ll appreciate current digital type, see why you need to be designing the stuff for yourself, and establish legitimacy in the eyes of your father.

Meet Your Teacher

I'm an illustrator and type designer in Oakland, CA. I love clicking the computer mouse and doing graphic designs, and showing others how they too can work the technology.

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1. Introduction: So let's do it. It was subdued. Skill share. I'm Connolly in Benson. I'm a designer has worked at the alphabet to the last few years, and I'm always surprised by how many designers and illustrators haven't done their own custom display. Everybody's got a personal style away. They like to do things. And I found creating helped me express that personal style better than anything else. So we're gonna get off our asses, become bad acid and build a fun. No, not in this video. 2. Project: your project is gonna be an exploration and type. You're gonna learn how to research and how to use a type design program. Chances are you've got a few funds that you use over and over again because they're good funds. But that means you're likely using them in the wrong places and at the wrong times. In order to create a tight visual aesthetic, the type and the design need to work hand in hand. Graphic design is big picture, it zoomed out. But before you make a lot of those big picture decisions, you need to know the intimate details as well. And that's what type design is. Understanding. The intricacies is going to help with that big picture vision that you have for your project. This is a three part project you're going to need to upload your research in your inspiration. Your proofing files and a title card demonstrating the name of the font. Can't just come into this expecting that you can jump to the videos of the things that you want to learn. You have to be invested for the whole course 3. Tools: in the resource is below, you can download a 30 day trial for glitz or cliffs. Many. You can also buy cliffs, many for like 50 bucks and glitz for about $300. I recommend this type designed program to anyone who comes to me and asks what they should use. The reason is it's pretty intuitive. It's pretty simple, and it's really affordable for being a totally full feature type design program. If you plan on building out more advanced features like multiple weights, you'll definitely want to go with Cliffs full. That's what I'll be using. But the interface is pretty similar with cliffs. Many as well. We're really only out to build. It is Blake Font, but I've put some links below. That includes some more complicated information tutorials, stuff you can do after the class. In addition to your computer, you're gonna need that downloaded trial of cliffs, a sketch pad and a pencil 4. Inspiration: this section is about changing your lifestyle. And if you're not already looking at design, everywhere you go with type, you need to even more, and you need to know the places to look. So I'm gonna go to a local antique store as well as a local bookstore and show you my process for looking at things were not going to go to your grandma's antique store. We can get done what we need to in a single trip. So I'm gonna show you my habits for going to a local antique store and a local bookstore. The things that I look for and then you are going to go to your bookstores and do that as well. And so let's go. We'll better check out some books. We're already at the window front, and you can see from these spines some really interesting lettering right here. When you find a really old book, take off the dust jacket because you're gonna find so much interesting iconography. Um, really interesting, delicate ways of setting type so that it could fit onto such a small amount of real estate . Often times there will be little intricate ways of of having the word and even that can inspire are completely. This is a really interesting example. Kate Secret walkie. This is a reverse contrast. Kind of a Tuscan cut in Look. I mean, you've got some, like, around colored corners, but mostly just like a byproduct of the printing process. Really interesting. Good thing to do when you find something like that, take a picture of it, but also go through. And it's quite possible that same letter might have done some titles throughout this. So a lot of these concepts are coming back and you're starting to see fonts like this again because someone was able to take something old and make it look fresh. Look at me here. I think you've got so much important stuff to say. But December rise. Look at how crazy it was. This designer thought it was a good idea to use Bookman's wash for every single character in this title, it's important to get away from the computer and current modern trends and get into a space where you're surrounded by old styles and trends and get to see how crazy they were. Okay, we've moved from the bookstore to rest evidence, antique store hand painted a hand lettered things. But the thing that comes out is imperfections, or even the way that the paint brush, as they were lifting, might give it a little bit of a syrup on the S or the C in conventional sand syrups. Something like this. Like this tradition, they're a bunch of ways that you can organize these. I find that it takes a little too long dependent. So I just throw the good ones into a folder and come back to them when I don't have any projects to work tied. Sands, Millie and Red Benny came from this process of just throwing them in a folder and coming back to them later. 5. Sketching: pull up your inspiration, study it, memorize it, printed out, show it to grandma, and then throw it away. If you leave it out while you're sketching, you're gonna let it hinder the process of injecting your own personal style into the style of something that you just happen to like. You don't want to copy it. You want to express yourself and that's the sketching is all about. Keep in mind, this is an instagram. This isn't gonna be on Pinterest. This is just for you. This is your personal journal. The most important advice I can give you is be ugly. Let yourself make mistakes. Make the same mistakes over and over again. That's what sketching is about. Save the perfected stuff for the digital space, which is more of your forte anyway, so go wild. 6. H&O: and action! Hey! Hey, you sketcher! You all right? So we just got done sketching and same with the inspiration. We're not actually gonna take a picture of this or scan it and because it's ugly garbage. And that's kind of the point. If you need to pull it out to reference it, that's OK, but for the most part, I just kind of keep it tucked away. So let's open up cliffs and get started. Okay, so we're gonna open up a new file, and the first thing that I like to do is hit information here. I'm gonna name my not the next input box is units per M. It automatically gives you 1000 which is a good starting place. But if you know that it's gonna be a simple fund, this measurement is kind of like DP I. So in my case, which I'm doing the cut and fund, I can set it to something more like 800. I wouldn't go any lower than 600 or any higher than 2000. The rest of this garbage you can fill in later. So, generally speaking, with a font, you start with a straight character and around character. A lot of type designers pick an H, and I know because that gives you a good sense of the weight and the width of the font. If there's an interesting character that you want to start with, like a Q and in our I guess you could do that, too. But know that it's a bad idea, and your father and I will be very disappointed in you. So let's start on page up here. Glitz gives you access to primitives. You can drag out your first M for your age, had Apple C and V and bump that over and then draw another primitive for your crossbar. So far, it looks just like an H. Um, while you're in this mode, you can click appear to the kind of text looking tool, and from here, you can actually type out characters that you want to edit. This gives you a space where you can see how the characters look together and preview them and still edit them. So let's go over and get started on our own. Just gonna give some basic tips for working with Busy is with rounds, even though my father is not going to be around. I'll work on my front later and we'll come back to it. But for now, I'm going to guess that you're not doing your cutting like I am. So we're gonna drag out this So most vector applications are gonna give you a know where the node arms aren't actually pushed. Asst Faras They need to be optically the shape is collapsing a little bit on itself. So even if you drew a perfect circle, I would still take these nodes, select them and push them down a few units. That gives you a more full shape. Optically, I usually try and get my proportions right with just a single stroke. Um, I get it feeling about how I want. Sometimes I'll go over here to the panel and you could just increase it by small proportions until you get something that feels pretty good. And then I'll go up here, select it and go to offset paths. Find something that feels comfortable. Really Know what that is for this? This is a good place to start with this because something you should know about type design the horizontal even on a font that looks completely mono width are going to be a little less thick. Then you're verticals. And that's just a non optical thing. Your eyes just want to see things that go this way as being thicker than they actually are . So plug in something, something smaller for our verticals than for horizontal. To give it a better distribution of weight. That looks like the letter O um And then if I hit s and select everything, I could manually scale this down to about what feels comfortable or again. I can go over here and do it by percentages with your rounds throughout. The fun you're going to go above the cap height or above the excite. Whatever the normal line is a little bit. I can't give you an exact percentage. You just kind of go with what feels right. Let's go back over to her age and measure stems Here. We set these 2178 but on our rounds because of the way that things taper, we don't actually want to goto 1 78 So there won 63. Right now, I'm gonna go all the way to 1 83 It needs to be a little bit thicker and a little bit bigger is a character in orderto optically look like it matches up with its square counterpart. So that's a pretty ugly Oh, NH and I would spend a lot of time fine tuning this own age before I moved forward. Thies to kind of give you the base that you extrapolated all the rest of the characters off of. So make sure that you get the contrast right. Make sure that you get the width exactly the way that you want it, so that you don't waste any time on any other characters. Another thing to do is to get your spacing correct. Early on, spacing and drying goes hand in hand, and the reason for that is you space according to the weight of the letter. So this particular H has a lot of space on the inside. It's got about as much face on the inside as it doesn't it stems, So I'm going to set it to something kind of similar toe, half of whatever that stem with this. Let's go with 90 and then to set your right space. You can go over here and plug it in on that side spacing, unlike turning, is how you want the overall vibe of the font to feel when the ages universally next to any letter it needs to have about this much space turning is gonna be more specific to say on a when it's next toe on Leovy. So we want to solve all of our spacing problems before we even touch Kerney rounds, generally speaking, are gonna have a lot less space on their sides than straights do. So in this one, I'm going to set it to probably close toe 50 or 75% of what my straits are. So let's set it to 70 for now. At this point, I usually type out a few ho ho hos, zoom out and see how I feel about the spacing. If it's gonna be for headlines, then you can tighten up your spacing a little bit. If it's gonna be for text, then you're gonna want it to be a little more loose. Since we're doing it despite font, we're gonna assume that it's gonna be pretty big. So in this one, I find it a little too loose, so I'm going to go in and let's change this down to 80 and then shift. Ah, Rose. Maybe something closer to 50. If I was actually happy with these letters, I'd say, Let's move on to Hamburg. Responsive. So I'm gonna go on, do my age and my Oh, for my font, You do yours and then we'll meet back and discuss. 7. Hamburgedfontsiv: Okay, So you've got your 18 year old from here. We're gonna build out the letters. Hamburg Responsive. This is the minimal amount of letters to establish a really good vibe for your fun. This is an easy ones to jump to From here are, say, the letter e in the letter D because these are just constructs of the O. In the age that we have in front of us, we've established a pretty good space with their H and R Oh, we've got a good vibe for bullet straight and around. So let's jump to any I'm going to go over and copy this stem pasted in to do the same with this crossbar. So my sketches I gave these a little bit of a taper, so I'm gonna pull out this bottom in this top kind of bringing this in a little bit feels interesting, and it keeps with the vibe of the cut in style. Each letter needs to really stand on its own. It used to feel balanced like it's standing on the baseline instead of hanging from the cap height And so even a letter like E where it seems like all of these would be lined up. You're gonna keep this bottom in this top, shape out a little bit because optically then it will look like they're lined up. If you actually lined up, it looks like that crossbars protruding a little too far. That rule is gonna ply across the alphabet. We've already got 40 here, which is, we know is the left space for the age. But in case we go on, we change that age space. We don't want to go and change it across every single stem. That looks like the age. And so I could just go in and plug in the letter h here. And every time I update that age, I can then go select all of the letters hit option command and M, and it will update all of the metrics for letters that call upon this basing for the age the right side of the E. Because it's got these open counters is gonna actually need to bring it in a little bit tight. Let's put an H over here so we can see what feels right. I'm going to start out with something just short of 40 and see how that feels It seems like there's still a little too much space there so experimental little bit with your letters. Until you get something that feels good, that feels a little bit better. We could do it formula with that. If we want it. Say we could put equals the letter age times 0.6. And that gives us something close to 22. That way is we scale out the spacing on kind of a base letter like age. The rest of it can adapt with it. Next, let's design a D. I'm gonna go over copy my oh, paste it in. And this time, rather than pulling from a stem from age, we're going to use a component. It's let me divide that. Oh, is this kind of a side to a D? Let's do an I. I was pretty easy. You just take this stem from age, give it the same spacing is the H on both sides, and then when we go back to our d weaken right click, add component and add eyes kind of a universal stem. So it's put in the spacing for the D left side is gonna be H on the right side is gonna look similar to the O some letters. That won't always be the case, but in this case they're pretty much identical. So go wild. With the rest of Hamburg responsive, you've seen how I've built out the first few easy letters on. I'm pretty confident you can do the rest of them. At this point, it's a good idea to upload your research, upload a screenshot of what you've got so far so that we concert discussing how you could make improvements. 8. Adjustments: go back, type out all your letters. Hopefully, this point you've gotten pretty comfortable with when you need your spacing to look like a now plugging it in like on your G here. When you need a component, make sure that those air plugged in a swell. So let's start with the most problematic of the group diagonals. You're gonna need a tape or more than you think that you dio so my A If I take the measuring tool is much thicker at a 1 69 down here than it is at a 1 50 here to make sure your taper feels pretty good. In addition to that, if you have a really narrow apex, which I don't with my A, you might want to go a little bit above your cap. I or with a V a little bit below your baseline and that will optically make it seem more lined up. Sometimes on letters like em. You just can't fit all that into such a small space, so you have to mess with the weight a little bit in order to get the color. To feel good sees a ridiculously thin but in the context of all the letters. It feels pretty good. And that's an important thing with fonts. You're not designing a drop cap you were designing, uh, type set that needs to work together. No matter what words someone types out, those letters need to feel good together, always in context, even though that be alone is beautiful. It maybe doesn't look good in the context of the whole set. Another tricky one is to be in the are right here in the middle. You're gonna tapeworm or on the top is you'll notice there than you are on the bottom shape . Your F is a construct of your e m guessing. You probably just copy and paste it. But in order to fill out this newly gained space on the bottom, usually you bump this down a tiny bit. You'll notice those aren't exactly lined up s is the most tricky. And it's a lot easier for the style of font that I'm doing. If you've got some mad curves, the most important thing that you need to know is your spine needs to hold up your letter. That part that kind of comes through the middle is going to behave is your stem and so spending a lot of time perfecting that, making sure that it feels really good is important. Another thing is with the letter like s even though it seems totally symmetrical, top and bottom, it really isn't. And you need to dry your letters so that the top half is just a little bit smaller than the bottom half. And that's just going back to what I said before needs to stand on that baseline. The way that you're gonna achieve that is not only making that space smaller, if I select these two, that is an eight unit difference. So I've got the back coming out a little bit on that side. And over here, we've got a seven unit distance. So the bottom coming out a little bit on that side as well. You can tell when you're looking at it. All you feel is that that letter is standing on its own. Really? Well, so now is a good point to export it. And I've provided a link for tutorial on how and where to export to avoid cashing issues. So go ahead and do that. Now I'm going to show you the directory when I hit export its under library application support adobe and fonts. The reason this is so good is because as soon as I export, it's gonna update those funds in everything that I'm doing in in design and an illustrator instantly. So I don't have to install it or anything like that. And this goes back to that tight visual aesthetic thing you need to keep exporting so that you can see those is making the right changes. If you have to expert into illustrator and then go and hand Kern, you're doing it wrong. You need to then go back and the cliffs, make the adjustments there, export it and then see how it looks. An illustrator. Let's go over to in design for first proofing. Swap out all of the instances of future for your font printed out like I've got it here. Show it to Grandma. Grandma loves funds. She's gonna want to see that. Then bring it back to your desk, lay it all out. And what you're looking for here is context we're not designing single letters were designing a whole type face. You're gonna look at this and you're gonna say in this word trimming. I can see my EMS are a little too black. I'm gonna need thin. Those add a little bit. Spacing is feeling a little tighter than I thought. Write notes. Really get everything fine tuned so that when we move onto the next phase, which is the entire set, you'll be prepared with a good sense of how this should be spaced, how the width and the weight of the characters should be. 9. Lowercase Set: a lot of the decisions that you make with fonts will come as you use them. This will help you make decisions. Like, does this fun even need a lower case set? Does this font need, uh, small caps? Does this font need fractions and then be able to go back and plug them in as they need them? This will create a really again custom suited tool, which is exactly what we're hoping for. I don't feel like my father actually needs a lower case set. I'm gonna create kind of a small cap set. So I've pulled up one that I'm working on right now That does have a lower case. Said it has a lot of weights so that I can demonstrate some important things to keep in mind. As you build out your lower case set again, you're going to start with an H, you know, because you can build off of these Lower case letters are a lot more complicated than upper case letters, and you have less face to design. And so a letter like you're a is going to have a really extreme taper here in a black way. And that's okay. You're gonna make custom changes according to how it needs to feel. You'll notice the same with a B. It's not just anel with the no attached to it. You got some interesting things going on here in order for it to feel good, not rule about it. Being able to stand up on its own really applies with lower case with the E. I didn't just take a no and chop out a portion. I had to bring this bottom lip out quite a bit in order for it to feel like it was standing up like it wasn't like an egg. It was precariously rolling around. Your lower case s like your uppercase s is going to take a lot of time to get it to feel like it's not toppling over one direction or another. I'm not totally convinced that I haven't done with this set, so I'm showing you a work in progress. But with the hairline feels okay feels like it's standing again. You have to make some pretty custom suited decisions in order to get the weight correctly on the weight of your s is not gonna be the same. Measured all around is maybe the weight of euro letters like your lower case H your be your l are going to extend a little bit above your cap. I This helps in differentiating in words like illustrator the difference between an upper case I and at lower case L. In addition to extending above the cap hype, your lower case needs to be a little bit less bold than your upper case. If I type out on a chair and measure it, we'll see that the stems aired about 2 30 Where is the stems? On my lower case heard about 2 20 and again, that kind of decision isn't universal. You kind of have to make a case by case at this point. Hopefully you've gotten some good feedback from your classmates and for me, about the state of your fund. Go ahead and upload those proofs and get started on the title card. 10. Kerning: the title card should go hand in hand with the rest of the alphabet. I trust you to figure out the rest of the alphabet because it's pretty simple. I'm gonna pull up my title card. You'll notice the type is live because I still think that there's some things to change here. So let's go back to glitz and talk a little bit about turning. A good rule of thumb for turning is that you should have solved most of your problems in the spacing. You still have to spend a lot of time and turning. But you shouldn't be proud of having 1000 turning pairs. So some obvious things are maybe V and A. You can't solve that problem with spacing. I'm gonna type out the word that I'm working on. Something that stands out immediately. Is the V in the A? So the way that you Kern is you can go over here to your K, and you could type in a specific metric that you want it to current at like, say, negative 20. But that's only going to Kern for that specific V in that specific A. If you go in later and added Dia critics, it won't affect those letters that look essentially identical. So rather than doing that, let's plug in some Kernan groups. You'll see these G spaces will name this current group V because it's a V and this one a and then go back so that when you plug it in, that will apply for anything that's in that turning group. That way, if I have A W, which in this case looks quite a bit like the V, I could give it this V. Kernan Group, and it will work for that. A swell. So if I save that and export it when I go back to the Illustrator, it's gonna feel a lot better automatically take some good time and through all of your letters into Kernan groups, and then go back to in design and open up your next proof. This one is staged to the alphabet. When I open up, I can already see some problems that I'm gonna need to go back into Kern. You'll see this. Oh, next to this X definitely need some attention. This Why next to this? A. So again, print this out. I spent some time with it. I'm not gonna cover the stage three proofing because it's pretty complicated. I mostly just giving it to you as a resource. It includes letters that need diet critics for more Latin language support, and it will be a great resource if you get more heavily in defense. The rest of this is a back and forth process between in design and cliffs, and this is where most of the time goes in, just making sure that everything feels good. 11. Peace Out: would be funny to say, Just finished making a fun. And let me tell you, it's gonna be a wild ride. Can I be wearing like Okay, you made your first fun. You've got the basics down, creating the rest the alphabet shouldn't be that much of a problem. You know what the outcome it looks like now what to do other than making sure you upload your project skill share. I created my first spot on a five hour plane ride, and by the time I got back, I put it on dribble. I put on my website for a couple of bucks and I had 50 sales into a day. It wasn't very good, and it really showed me. Maybe I could make money at this. And this is something that I've done now for 2.5 years of my primary source of income. I also a lot of fun with it, and I've met some great people through making bonds. The only advice I would have it creates a great specimen. Put it on your portfolio, give it away for free, give it away for cheap. Uh, really Use it as a resource, Teoh. How about the banking? So the