Painter's Grotesque

Painter's Grotesque - student project

I'm a real lover of painted signs. Especially Dad's Paper Signs style one stroke lettering. I love the simplicity of color, and composotion, but the subtle complexity of each letter. So, lately, I've tried to replicate the feeling of a lot of those super simple alphabets into a type system. I'm half interested in it looking authentic, and half interested in it looking like a modern system—meaning: I don't think contextual alts that have many slightly different /S/ or various textures is appropriate, but I do want it to have a bit of hand made charm. 

Painter's Grotesque is an attempt at a lettering and painting style that is similar to your average Sans/Egyptian, but doesn't follow every convention. Erik Marinovich's lettering here demonstrates the style in the lettering "Eight Hour" and "Washington Ave N" very well:


The letters are a little condensed, and feel a bit like Avenir Condensed, or Mission Gothic, but with a little bit more charm. Each letter holds its space very well (as apposed to traditional diagonals on /A/ or /W/). Letters like /K/, /R/, /P/, and /Y/ are a little top heavy.

Fonts like Blanch are close, but lean too much on the side of looking machined, and geometric. As well, the charm of the rounded /A/ and /W/ gets a little overwhelming when applied to letters /N/ and /M/.

So this is a few of the letters in my first draft. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated, but these are the two big things I've been wrestling with:

  1. The height of terminals like C and S. "a" is my inclination, because it fills the space well (which sign painters seem inclined to do), but at times it feels a little overboard.
  2. Because it's so condended, the rounds on /CDO/ get pretty squashed looking. Right now the uppercase is like "a", and the lowercase is like "b". The more "b" they get, the more machined it feels. Any thoughts there would be awesome.