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Briem’s notes on type design: Keep a log

Everything in its place

While you work, keep open a text editor with your log document. Type in notes of what you do, no matter how trivial. It doesn’t take long.

There will be a time when you want to go back and look. You can’t remember everything. How did you solve that interpolation problem? Why on heaven’s name did you treat the ellipsis like three periods?

Profit from your mistakes. Your log will say where everything is, what is most recent and, with luck, what you were thinking.

What should be in there?

Ascender height, descender length, underline thickness. A list of your kerning pairs. Suicide notes. Love poems. And add a date and time to everything.

As you work, you’ll dump outline fonts into your Progress folder. At four in the morning, you may decide that your previous approach to the integral symbol was a sight better than what you’ve been struggling with all week. Where is it? Your log will show that the outline fonts you made on the fourteenth is a good place to start.


06 December 1997 07:51 pm.
Digitation effort (Sep 1994). Has it been THAT long? Into Background folder.
Scan "lower case1.tiff" 08:14 pm.

07 December 1997 09:19
New source document, "December".

Lay down Bézier curves.
a 09:38
b 09:54
c 10:08
g 10:26

Generate fonts. Rename "97/12/07 09-32 DecemScaIta". Into Progress folder. I need a vacation. What do they eat this time of year in Bulgaria?

The ascender is 574
The descender is -301
This makes an em-square of 875, which should be 1000.

Enlarge by 114.285%.
Ascender 655
Descender 345

Lower case shifted to rest onto baseline. 10:06
Curve compensation is 10.

Generate fonts. "97/12/07 10:12 DecemScaIta".

Heaven rest us. This will take all week. My coffee is cold. And it tastes like curry powder. Time to walk the dog. 10:14.

Notes on type design. Copyright © 1998, 2001, 2022 Gunnlaugur SE Briem. All rights reserved. Republished with permission in 2022 by Fontlab Ltd.