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Briem’s notes on type design: Bowls, stems and curves

You don’t need to add a lot to the thinnest lines. Look at the bold letter on the left. It has a thin hairline, just as thin as the hairline in the regular weight. It will suit our purposes.

The bold letter in the middle has a robust hairline. If the design were intended for use in small size, say eight points or less, a hairline like that would be useful. The letter on the right has not only gained a swollen hairline but lost the crispness of the regular weight.

More of the same

If you’ve got the letter u, you’ve got the letter n as well. Turn the letter u upside-down and give it baseline serifs.

You can make the letter h from the letters n and l. And from the letter n, usually with narrower counters, you can make the letter m.

You can fatten the letters b d p q the same the way as you did the letter o. The join of the curve and the stem needs adjustment. Here’s how you make a bold letter b.

  1. Start with the letter b in a regular weight, and the bold letter l.
  2. Make a bold stem.
  3. Reduce the countershape horizontally to about the same size as the counter in the letter o.
  4. Reduce the counter vertically until the hairlines are about the same as in the letter u.
  5. Reduce the outer path of the bowl until the curve is the same thickness as in the letter o.

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