Tldr; Help me identify elements/qualities in "I" that makes it seem belonged to this set


I am a design enthusiast, and to understand typefaces, I started 36 days of type.


The theme/objective is to create a bulky font, (heavy shapes with consistent thin flourishes.)

Current type set

Process / Problem

While early explorations in illustrator, I liked the results with blend tool the most.

  1. I started with a cell of size 9x9px and created a grid
  2. For each letter I set the max dimensions to be 16 cells by 16 cells enter image description here
  3. I wanted the shapes to be closed and have balance (I achieved this by introducing negative space in the shape by tweaking the outline, the stroke weights and blend options). enter image description here
  4. "E" was the letter where the problem started, I couldn't contain it in a single shape while keeping the non-destructive nature of the blend, I started exploring halves and then later mirrored them to achieve the shape, but they seemed very boxy and sharp and not to forget the irregular blend lines. E explorations

but this broke the earlier constraint that I started with (to have closed shapes). After a lot of trials, I settled for enter image description here

  1. After a few days, I dismiss these letters because they had elements that did not seem fit for this set.

  2. I tightened the constraints and made sure that all the letters had the same stem width, the same stroke caps, similar curves and similar blend lines, result was Reaslisation (exceptions C and G, I like them wider than the rest)

As a result, I have managed to follow the constraint, but the design suffers, I don't like the current H, M and N (they all are dependent on "I", help me find a suitable "I" for this set., please)


  • (left) When I squint my eyes/ look from a distance/ look at the mirror images/ blur the shapes, i notice the shapes aren't balanced, here the M, N and H looks very similar and are not legible
  • (middle) When I invert the stroke color to black and give a bg of white, it just looks hideous. I felt like puking :(
  • (right) filling the shapes create a good look imo.


Next steps

  • I am thinking of exploring ribbon like overlapping qualities

looks shady I know but it just looks awful to me

1 Answer 1


I think you've done a great job! The alphabet is a real mixture of shapes and not everything will fit into a specific geometric style.

It's not directly related but Jonathan Hoefler did a neat explanation here about how reusing the same forms for every letter becomes a straitjacket.

  • 1
    Thank you for replying. I found this on your profile, printmag.com/featured/flawed-typefaces such a fun read. About the answer, I follow what you mean by "becoming a straitjacket", I am realizing it, my notion was "structure sets you free" and I just knew that whatever happens I need to keep the traits same for all the characters. If you were designing this type-set, what would you change? I was designing this on a dark background, and when I viewed it on a light bg it looked awful, how does one resolve this problem? What is the correct way to think about it? Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 15:41

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