For a while now, although I’ve sort of been denying it, but with each chunk of time invested it’s become increasingly harder to do so, I’ve been designing a typeface. It’s called Everyday and it’s based off the “D” glyph in my logo in the upper left on this site. See a sample below.
I started with the “D” and then I needed to spell out EVERYDAY for the graphic on my About page and I thought it would be neat to draw the letters custom for that. I worked on the “E” and “R” next. Then the “V”, “Y” & “A”. Then I knocked out a few easy ones, like the “H”.
I let it sit for months; but then I got the urge to draw more letters and I came back to it and drew a few more, and then some more. Now I’ve drawn most of the letters and the dashes. It’s far from being finished, but I’m at a point now where I want to publicly say I’m designing a typeface so that I can keep myself motivated!
Drawing letters is a rigorous exercise in micro design. Experienced designers are well aware of the visual corrections you must make to objects and layouts, but designing letters brings this out in full force. The optical corrections must be near perfect because a single letter could be used thousands of times in a project. One small error when magnified that many times will ruin a design.
It’s an absurd affair. In order for the letters to be uniform in appearance they must be stuffed full of irregularities. What is more real — the perception or the geometry? No matter the answer in theory, in the world they must look right to the eye. The geometry must serve the perception.
The end goal of course is a harmony of micro forms to make, yes, something greater than the sum. Jean Anthem Brillat-Savarin calls harmony a “celestial science” and I do believe that it’s one of the high arts of humanity, setting us apart from the animals, fully embracing our being made in God’s image.
And on this note of harmony, I do believe a bane of great design, and the fastest way to mediocrity, is a blind adherence to consistency over harmony.