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英文字体设计基础

2012-04-22  南烟舍

字体设计基础(1)视觉均衡

100% practical. Sketches have been made to explain some basic issues in type design during the workshops. They get used to point out some problems which raise while creating a new typeface. Only some foundations are shown, no deep sophisticated details.

(写在前面)
100%实用。这一系列关于字体设计的讨论文章来自typeworkshop.com,每篇文章都配有手绘的插图,以阐明字体设计的一些基本事项,指出设计新字体时可能会遇到的一些问题。这里只讲述一些最基础的东西,未涉及复杂的技术细节。

Same size for all! To optically align all characters on a line, they cannot not have exactly the same mathematical height. For example the triangle on this drawing has to be higher than the rectangle. If this is not the case, the triangle will for sure look smaller than the rectangle. While creating a typeface, you want all the letters to have the same height.

为了让所有字符在视觉上对齐,它们就不能采用同样的物理尺寸。比如说,下图中的三角形的高度就必须大于矩形。否则,三角形看起来就要比矩形小很多。 而我们在设计字体的时候,往往想给它们定义同样的高度。

Also round forms have to exceed the baseline to be optically the same. If the circle would have exactly the same mathematical height as the rectangle, it would look smaller than the square. This doesn't only count for basic forms like triangles, circles and squares. It's essential in type design, because they apply to every single character in a typeface. Then it even doesn't matter if you're designing a latin, cyrillic or greek font. It's a basic principle for any kind of shape.

同样的 ,为了使圆形看起来和矩形同样大小,圆形就必须超出基线。如果圆形和矩形物理尺寸一样,圆形看上去就会比矩形小。这一规则不仅仅适用于三角形、圆形、方形这样的基本形状,这是字体设计的基本原则,整个字体中的所有字符都适用这一原则。不管你设计的是拉丁字体、还是斯拉夫或者希腊文字体,这是所有形体都必须遵循的基本准则。

(2)术语

Type terminology. Communication during the design process is much easier when using basic terminology of type. Here are a couple important ones, which will help to bring the conversation a bit further than 'yeah, that there, that little black thing.' The counter of the 'e' can also be called an 'eye', but there are many more terms. If you want to know them all, go to the library or browse-the-web.

使用字体的基本术语,会让设计过程中的交流变得非常容易。这里是一些基本的术语,让你的交流能够更深入,而不是“嗯,那里,那个,那个黑色的小玩意……”小写e的"字怀"(“字谷”)有时候也被称为是字“眼”,如果你还想更全面的了解其他术语,可以去图书馆,或者是参考下面的网络资源。(译注:很遗憾,原文中链接的一些资源已经无法访问了。但我们可以用google找到其他的资源。这些术语很重要,如果你希望阅读西方的第一手的字体设计研究资料,这是必须跨越的一关。但目前在国内的设计界似乎还没有一个统一的翻译,不少书籍的翻译都是各行其是,让读者也无所适从。有时间我会找一篇比较完整的来翻译。)

http://www.adobe.com/type/topics/glossary.html
http://gmunch.home.pipeline.com/typo-L/faq/anat.htm

http://www.google.cn/search?client=aff-cs-maxthon&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=zh-CN&q=typography%20anatomy&um=1&sa=N&tab=iw

(3)流线型

Fluent shapes. Designing type is like driving a car. If you drive a car, you always take the curve in a natural way. If you draw a curve (of a character) on paper, this is exactly the same. The curve starts smoothly, never out of a sudden. While driving a car, you don't start turning the wheel when you are already in the beginning of the curve. A while before you arrive in the curve you anticipate by leading your car gently in the right direction. Think about driving a car when you are sketching type on a paper. 

流线型。设计字体就象开车。你在开车的时候,总是会以自然的曲线过弯。当你在纸面上绘制一条曲线(或是字符)的时候,也是同样的道理。曲线平滑的开始,而不是陡然出现。开车时,你不会在已经到达了弯道口之后才开始打方向盘,而是在你预计即将进入弯道的时候,就开始慢慢的将你的车引入正确的方向。当你在纸上画草图的时候,多想想你是怎样开车的。
(下面有图片。)

图片上的文字:
标题:动态的曲线
左:怎样才能最快的驶过这条弯道?
右1:几何曲线
右2:自然曲线
右下:平滑的开始转向,更自然,更快速!

 

(4)书法原型

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Calligraphic origin. The characters on the top line have a different construction than the characters on the bottom line. They have a different calligraphic origin. It doesn't matter if a typeface has serifs (like Times New Roman) or not (like Arial). It's about the original way they where constructed.

图中上下两行字母有着不同的结构,它们来源于不同的书法原型。不管这种字体是衬线字体(如Times New Roman)还是无衬线字体(如Arial),它们的架构都源于它们的书法原型。

The characters in the top line are constructed with a pointed pen (calligraphic tool). The contrast is caused by changing the pressure on the pen, not because of the form of the pen. Bodoni is one example of this, but also sans serif faces like Helvetica have this origin. The thickest part will be (mostly) totally vertical. From this perspective there is no difference between Bodoni and Helvetica. They both have the same construction. Only the contrast varies.

上面一行的字体的书法原型是一种尖头的书法钢笔。其笔画的粗细对比是通过改变笔压来实现的,而与笔尖本身的形状无关。Bodoni字体就是一个例子,但是象Helvetica这样的无衬线体也是来源于此。笔画最粗的部分几乎都是垂直的。从这个角度来看, Bodoni和Helvetica是同出一辙的。它们的架构是一致的,只是笔画的粗细对比有区别。

The characters in the bottom line have a origin which is derived from the broad nip. The calligraphic pen itself has a thick and a thin part. The contrast in the type is made because of the form of the pen, not because of the pressure. You slant the pen with an angle of 30 degrees on the paper. In that way your thickest part of a character will not be on a vertical direction, but will be on an angle. Also the thinnest part will not be on the most horizontal parts. Typefaces like Garamond and Minion have this kind of construction. But also sans serif faces like Gill Sans have a construction which is originally derived from the broad nip.

下面一行字体来源于一种笔尖扁平的钢笔。这种书法钢笔正面宽而侧面窄。字体的笔画粗细是由于钢笔本身形状的差异造成的,而不是笔压。你书写的时候笔身是倾斜的,和纸张形成30度的倾角。因此笔画最粗的部分就不是垂直方向的,而是有一定角度的倾斜。同样的,笔画最细的部分也不是位于水平方向上。Garamond 和 Minion 字体就是这种结构。但象Gill Sans 这样的无衬线字体也同样是起源于这种笔尖扁平的钢笔

(5)字符间距


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图片文字说明

文字间距基础
上:太紧
下:a和e的内部空间应该是相等的
平衡字符的内空间和外空间

Spacing. Some words about spacing type. Much more important than the shapes of the characters, is the rhythm of the type. A typeface with beautiful characters which are badly spaced is extremely hard to read. However, if the shapes of the letters are not that good, but when they are all perfectly spaced, the type will be fairly easy to read. Defining the rhythm is more important than defining the shapes.

字符间距

这里要说一下字符间距。字符的间距要比它的外形重要得多,这关系到字体的节奏。一种间距很糟糕的字体,不管外形如何优美,一样难于阅读。相反的,一款外形稍欠的字体,如果有完美的间距调节,这种字体一样可以易于阅读。因此,定义字体的节奏,要比定义字体的外形更加重要。

The white spaces inside and in between letters are defining the rhythm, much more than the black shapes of the letters. When you manage to create a good rhythm in your line of text, your type gets more readable and gives a balanced end result. While creating the black shapes, you have to take the white spaces into consideration. Because the white spaces are more important than the black shapes. However, white cannot exist without black. Changing a white shape, inevitable will have an influence on the black shape. From that perspective, one colour cannot be more important than the other.

字体的节奏取决于字符内部和字符之间的白空间,而非字符的黑色形体。如果你能够为你的文本建立一种很好的节奏,你的字体就更易于阅读,并获得均衡的整体效果。从开始创建黑色形体的时候起,你就应该同时把白空间的设置考虑在内。当然,白空间和黑空间是相互依存的。白空间的改变也必然的会影响黑空间的形态。从这个角度来看,我们不能说黑与白哪个更重要。

For example, there has to be a relation between the space inside an 'n' and the space between the 'i' and the 'n' (see drawing). In the top row you can see the space inside the 'n' is much much bigger than the space in between the 'n' and the 'i'. In the bottom row they are much more equal, and in this way you'll get a much better rhythm and more harmony in your line of text.

例如,字母n内部的白空间,以及i与n之间的白空间,两者之间必然会存在着某种关联(见图示)。在上面一行中,字母n内部的白空间要远大于i与n之间的白空间。在下面一行中,两者则要均衡得多,你也因而获得了更好的节奏,整个文本也更和谐。

The same goes for the inner form of the 'a' and the 'e' for example. There is a big relation between these two forms. If they have (optically) the same amount of white inside the character (=counter), your type will have a better rhythm as well. 

同样的,小写a和e之间的内部空间也存在着这种关联。两个形状之间的关系非常紧密。这两个字符的内部白空间(counter,中文术语翻译为字怀/字谷/字币)在视觉上应当是等量大小的,这样你的字体才会有更好的节奏。

 

(6)黑与白


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图片上的文字
注意字符内部和外部的白空间

Black vs. white. Designing type is nothing more and nothing less than harmonizing black and white shapes. Black can't exist without white, and white can't exist without black. Black, the shape of a letter. White, the space in or in between letters. The amount of white inside a character defines the amount of white in between two characters.

黑与白

字体的设计,莫过于调整黑白空间的和谐。黑不能离开白而独立存在,白也是一样。黑,是字符的形体。白,是字符内部和字符之间的白色空间。两个字符之间白空间的大小,取决于字符内部白空间的大小。

As it is impossible to create a very black character with a big (white) counter form, a black typeface will always have smaller counters than a light typeface. Hence it follows that there is less space in between the characters (see drawing). A light typeface has much bigger counters. The space in between two letters has to be in proportion. As a consequence there is more white space in between light letters than in between black letters.

你永远不可能设计出一种笔画极其粗重而同时字怀(counter,字符内部包围的白空间)又很大的的粗黑体。一个粗黑体,其字怀永远要小于一个细线体,因而粗黑体的字符间距也一定要小于细线体(如图)。细线体的字怀很大,其字符间距也必须相应的大,所以细线体的字符之间就需要比粗黑体更大的白空间。

 

(7)意大利体与草写体


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Italic vs. cursive. A roman font can be slanted (having an angle) and a cursive font can be upright (totally vertical like a roman). Urgh!

一个罗马体(roman,通常也被译作”正体“)可以是倾斜的(有一定的倾角),而一个草写体可以是竖直的(就好像是一个正体一样)。呃?!

The angle doesn't decide if a character is a 'roman' character or an 'cursive' character. This depends on the construction. To make it a bit more clear, take a look at the four big n's. As you would expect, the first letter is a roman character. But the second one as well. Although it's not totally vertical, it still has the same construction as the first 'n'. This is called a slanted roman. The third 'n' looks like an cursive, but also this one is not a real cursive. Basicly there is no difference between the second and third 'n', only some parts of the serifs have been cut off.

倾角并不能决定一个字母是一个“罗马体”还是一个“草写体”。关键在于其结构。要理解这一点,看看下面四个大n。你想的没错,第一个是一个罗马体。但第二个同样也是,虽然它并不是完全的竖直,它和第一个n拥有同样的结构。这种情形我们叫做倾斜的罗马体。第三个n看起来很象草写体了。但它实际上还不是一个真正的草写体。总的来说第三个n和第二个并没有多大区别,只是衬线的个别部分被切掉了而已。

Compare the first three letters with the last 'n'. That's a real cursive. The big difference with the previous three is the construction. The first three are constructed from separate pen strokes. The last 'n' is constructed out of one pen stroke. This is the basic difference between roman and cursive fonts. Not the angle, but the construction.

与前面三个n相比,最后一个n才是真正的草写体。它们之间最大的区别在于结构。前三个n的各个笔画之间都是独立的。最后一个n完全是一笔写成的。这就是罗马体和草写体之间最根本的区别:不在于倾角,而在于结构。

Many different explanations can be given for the difference between a 'cursive' and 'italic' from a historical point of view. However we consider this as the big difference: 'italic' is concerning the function, 'cursive' is concerning the construction. Almost anything can work as an 'italic', it doesn't even necessarily needs an angle. When making a font family with a roman and an italic font, the italic font can be constructed in many different ways. The third 'n' in the example could probably function perfectly as an italic inside your family. But don't forget, it's not always a real cursive when it's called 'italic'.

如果要从历史的视角来探讨草写体和“意大利体”之间的区别,那就说来话长了。但我们可以从这个角度来考虑:“意大利体”关乎功能,而“草写体”关乎结构。几乎任何字体都可以当成一个“意大利体”来使用,甚至根本不需要有什么倾角。当你制作一个包含“罗马体”和“意大利体”的字体家族时,这个“意大利体”可以用各种不同的方式来构建。图例中的第三个n也许就是你字体家族中一个完美的“意大利体”。但不要忘了,一个叫做“意大利体”的字体不一定是一个草写体。

译注:这篇翻的比较别扭。roman一般译作“正体”,italic译作“斜体”,严格来讲都不是准确的翻译,但却已经是约定俗成的翻译了。正确的翻译应该是“罗马体”和“意大利体”。在Windows上,对99%的用户来说,italic就是斜体的意思,word里面甚至为所有字体都提供了一个“斜体”的功能。但实际上“意大利体”指的是一类字体的统称,并且也并非所有的“意大利体”都是倾斜的。西方拉丁文字系统最早在古罗马帝国形成完整的体系,代表作品就是古罗马的石刻文字,非常庄严而典雅。而后来意大利人从手写体中发展出了意大利体。随着印刷术的发展,意大利体一般用来作为正文字体的一种特殊强调样式,用于注释、引文之类的场合,与正文字体相区别。因此许多比较完备的字体家族都提供了一个叫做“意大利体”的变体,和其正体(罗马体)相比,有些字体中的“意大利体”的字形完全是经过重新设计的,而不仅仅是倾斜那么简单。)

要了解更多有关意大利体的信息,可以参看下面这篇文章。
http://www.logosky.net/webpage/artreview/italic_font_20060916.htm

 

(8)风格的统一


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图上文字:
衬线还是无衬线?看上图,你自己决定。

One for all What defines if one character can fit to another character? Once you made a decision, how to apply this to all the other characters in a font?

是什么决定一个字符能否匹配另一个字符?当你确定了一种风格,如何将之推广应用于字库中的全部字符?

Starting point: 'e' (in the center of the drawing). Imagine you sketched this 'e', you like it a lot, and now you want to design more characters fitting to this 'e'. Where to start? Should it be a serif or a sans serif for example?

先从这里开始:图中有一个“e”。想象你刚画好这个“e”的草图,你很喜欢它,然后你想要设计更多的其他字符来匹配这个“e”。该如何开始呢?比如说,它应该是一个衬线字体还是一个无衬线字体呢?

First try: 'i' on the left. Sans serif. The black part is as thick as the black parts of the 'e'. Same x-height. So this should work you think.

第一个尝试:左边的“i”,无衬线体。它最粗的部分和“e”最粗部分的笔画宽度相同,同样的x-高度。它应该能表达你的想法了。

Second try: 'i' on the right. Same thickness, the character has the same x-height, but now it has serifs.

第二个尝试:右边的“i”。同样的宽度,同样的x-高度,但这次它有了衬线。

The bowl of the 'e' is not only having a certain thickness, but the 'e' also has contrast. The 'i' on the left has no contrast at all. Therefore these two characters don't belong to each other. The 'i' on the right however has the same kind of contrast as the 'e', just because it has serifs. Just those tiny serifs make sure there are thick and thin parts, like the 'e' has. This means that the starting point, the 'e', already defined that the rest of the font cannot be a sans serif typeface.

“e”的字碗不仅仅有着一定的宽度,同时还有着粗细的对比。左边的“i”完全没有笔画粗细的对比。因此这两个字符不是完美的一对。而右边的“i”有着和“e”同样的粗细对比,是因为它有了衬线。这细细的衬线让它象“e”那样拥有了粗细的区别。这就是起点。这个“e”,已经决定了这个字体中的其余字符不应该是一个无衬线字体。

Of course, every so called rule is there to be broken. Mentioning this, doesn't mean you can't make a font which has an 'e' combined with an 'i' like the one on the left. Everything is possible of course. But now you realize better what you are doing, also when you don't do it. Still get it?

当然了,每一条所谓的规则到最后都会有例外。从这个意义来说,你完全可以把中间的“e”和左边的“i”配一对做一个字体。没有什么是不可能的。但现在你已经能够更深刻的意识到你为什么这样做,抑或是你为什么不那样做。还能理解吗?

(9)可读性


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Readability.  The only important aspect of a text typeface is the readability. Many decisions can influence the readability. Which contrast you create, the length of the ascenders and descenders, the rhythm, the blackness of a type, the strength of the curves and the bowls, etc.

可读性是正文字体的唯一考量指标。你对字体所做的许多决定都会影响可读性。例如采用怎样的粗细对比,上伸部和下伸部的长度,字体的节奏,黑度,曲线和字碗的力度,等等。

Most of those decision apply to all the characters inside a font. These have to be defined first. For example the contrast. The characters on the top line (see drawing) have a much bigger contrast than the characters on the bottom line. The type on the top line will be more suitable for display use, the type the bottom the bottom line more for text use. Not only because of the difference in contrast, but also because the characters on the top line are much more condensed. This makes them less legible in small sizes, but more eye-catching and flexible for headlines. Defining the contrast and the width are decisions which count for every single character in a font.

大部分的决定会影响到字体中的全部字符。下面这些是应该首先考虑的。比如说粗细对比。图例中上面一行的字符笔画粗细对比明显要比下面一行的要大得多。上一行的字体更适合做特排字体,而下一行更适合做正文字体。不仅仅是因为它们粗细对比的差异,还由于上一行的字符的字宽更小,因而在小尺寸下更难以识别——但是却更能吸引眼球,在制作标题的时候也更具灵活性。所以在定义字体的粗细对比和宽度的时候,要考虑到字体中的全部字符。

But also while designing every single glyph, you can create details which improve the readability of a font. For example, the ear of a 'g' can make sure the reader's eye will follow the horizontal reading direction more fluently. The 'g' on the bottom line will work much better in a text typeface for small sizes (see drawing).

不过,在设计每一个具体字符的时候,你可以通过增加一些细节来提升该字体的可读性。举例来说,小写字母g右上角的字耳会有助于阅读者的视线更平滑的水平移动。如果用作正文字体,图中下面一行中的"g"在小尺寸下的表现会相当不错。

 

(10)比例


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Proportions. Which x-height to define? Which descender depth? Defining these proportions are essential, and very strongly connected to the purpose of the type. The proportions within a certain typeface are influencing the way your type will work & look. For example, it's impossible to create a space saving newspaper typeface with an extremely wide body width.

x高度应该定多高?下伸部应该多长?确定这些比例至关重要,并且与字体的用途紧密相关。字体的比例将影响其外观及应用。比如说,如果你想设计一种节约版面的字体,那就不能给它设置极大的字宽。

Extremely short descenders will give a strange look to a text typeface. Even worse, they might not be visible at all anymore. But extremely short descenders can also be a smart decision, while creating a display or headline type. For a text typeface the ascender height should be as big or, even better, bigger than then cap height to give a optical pleasurable result (see drawing).

如果下伸部很短,字体看上去会很怪。或者更糟,阅读者可能根本无法发现它。但很短的下伸部也可能是一个聪明的决定,当它用于特排字体或者标题字体的时候。 对一个正文字体来说,上伸部最好是和大写高度一样(或者更高一些更棒),以获得良好的视觉效果。如图。

 

 

(11)小型大写


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Small caps. You could guess it already from the name, small caps are small capitals. Capitals which have the same height as lowercase characters.

你可能看名字就猜出来了,小型大写就是小号的大写字母。和小写字母一样高度的大写字母。

Why are small caps needed? Because of several typographical reasons. First of all a whole word set in caps will look awful, it will drown out the rest of the text. Second, in lots of typefaces the capitals are not designed and spaced to work together, but to be followed by a lowercase character. Small caps however are designed to purely work together. They will give a more pleasurable, harmonized result.

为什么会需要小型大写?基于几个排印上的原因。首先,全部设置大写的单词看起来一塌糊涂,会让所有文本湮没其中,难以辨识。其次,大部分字体中的大写,根本就不是为大写连排而设计的,它们的大写字母间距是为后面跟随小写字母而设计的。小型大写才是专为大写连排而设计的。它们会得到更舒服和谐的效果。

Having said that small capitals are capitals on x-height, it's mostly not 100% true. To optically give them the same height, the small caps will have to be slightly bigger than lowercase characters of the same font (see drawing).

前面说小型大写是和小写字母一样x-高度的大写字母,其实是不太准确的。要得到和小写字母同样的视觉高度,同字体的小型大写就必须比小写字母稍微的更大一些。

 

(12)花式大写?


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Swash caps? Admitting that it's not the most urgent issue to learn in typography, it's interesting to quickly pay attention to this topic. Not every font family has a Swash variant. Most common are swash capitals, but also swash lowercase characters and swash-beginnings and -endings exist.

我承认,这不是学习字体设计最迫切需要了解的一节,但是这个话题很有趣,我们稍稍关注一下就好了。不是所有的字体家族都包含有花式的变体。最常见的一般是花式大写,但同样也有花式的小写以及花式的首字和尾字。

Sometimes you want to set a whole line in capitals. It's possible to do this with roman capitals, although sometimes it's better to choose small capitals which are designed for this purpose. Roman capitals are not, but mostly they don't cause problems. Swash capitals however do. Swash capitals are mostly designed to give some extra visual pleasure to your designs. The caps are meant to be followed by lowercase characters (number 1), or used as an initial (number 2), but not to be combined with eachother. Only with some fonts it's possible to combine swash capitals with normal roman caps (number 3).

有时候你想要设置整行的大写。可以用大写正体来完成这一任务,虽然小型大写可能是更好的选择——那才是为此而设计的。大写正体不是为了大写连排而设计的,但多数情况下它们也不会造成麻烦。而花式大写就不一样。花式大写的设计目的通常是用来为设计增添一些额外的视觉愉悦。其大写是为后面跟随小写字母而设计的(图1),或是用于首字下沉排版(图2),但绝非用于大写连排。只有某些特定的字体才有可能出现花式大写与普通正体大写的连排(图3)。

(13)x高度


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图中文字
上右:正文字体拥有一致的视觉高度。(而物理尺寸是不一样的)
下右:特排字体的x高度更偏向于物理尺寸上的一致。

x-heights. If you make a light weight and the black weight of one typeface, you'll have to make sure that the black weight has a bigger x-height than the light weight (top line drawing). If this is not the case, the black weight will look optically too small when it's combined with the light weight in a line of text.

如果你制作一个包含轻磅(细线体)和重磅(粗黑体)的字体,你应该确保粗黑体的x高度应当比细线体的略大(见图中上一行)。否则,当粗黑体和细线体在同一行中连排时,粗黑体看上去就要比细线体要小得多。

In display sizes this is not exactly the same. If the type is printed in big sizes there can be a much smaller difference between the x-height of the light and the black weight (bottom line drawing).

但在特排使用中,情况就不太一样。当字体大字号印刷时,两者的x高度之间的差异就微乎其微了(参见图中下一行)。

 

(14)粗体


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Bold-faced. Since the introduction of the computer, type design has become available to a wide audience like never shown before in history. Of course the digitalization makes many acts easier and particularly faster. This doesn't mean it automatically gets better, but that's another story. For example, many font software programs have included an option to 'bolden up' your regular weight. The outlines of the perfectly designed font get expanded, but the program is trying to fool you. That's not a bold. It's a limousine which got quickly extended by a local blacksmith. The contrast will probably be destroyed (see the second 'a' in the drawing). Doing this by hand will give a much more pleasurable result. No matter how well font software programs will improve in the future, there is only one thing that really counts in the end: your critical eye.

计算机的普及,使得广大的用户得以接触到字体设计,这在以前是从未有过的。数字化让许多操作变得更简单和快捷,但不意味着它会自动的获得更好的结果,那完全是两码事。举个例子,许多字体软件都包含一个字体“加粗”选项,能将原先完美设计的字体轮廓加以扩展。但实际上软件只是在欺骗你。那并非真正的粗体,那只是一辆由村里的铁匠临时改长的“加长型”豪华轿车。笔画的粗细比率可能全被破坏了(见图例中第二个a)。手工操作的结果会更令人满意。不管将来的软件如何进步,最终起决定作用的东西只有一个:你锐利的眼光。

 

 

(15)线稿的数字化


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图片上的文字
右:为初学者热身
下1:将控制点限制在水平或者垂直方向上
下2:只在必要的地方使用节点(能用一个点完成的,就不要用两个点)

Digitizing sketches. When the handmade sketches on paper are ready to be scanned, take care of digitizing them in a proper way. More specifically, take care while converting your scanned image manually with a Bezier based pen tool. Too many points on a character, or points at the wrong position can have a negative influence at your font.

线稿的数字化。在纸上画好线稿之后就可以扫描了,这时候要开始要注意,要用正确的方法将其数字化。说的更明确一点,在你用贝赛线钢笔工具手工描摹你的线稿的时候,要留神。一个字符如果有太多的节点,或者是节点放置在不正确的位置上,都会给你的字体带来负面的影响。

Too many points (=nodes) can not only cause technical problems -e.g. the printer can't print the font anymore- but it is also much harder to control the shapes of a character. Controlling a curve between two nodes is much easier than changing a curve with twelve nodes. Of course it's possible, but it will not end up in a fluent form.

过多的节点不仅仅会导致技术上的麻烦,例如打印机无法打印输出,还会使得字符的外形更加难于控制。在两个节点之间控制一条曲线,要远远容易过操纵一条有12个节点的曲线。当然这并非不可以,但多余的节点必然会导致外形的不平滑。

Having the nodes at the wrong position can cause technical problems -e.g. it's impossible to hint the font perfectly- but also practically it is recommendable to put nodes at extreme positions at your glyph. For example, digitizing an 'o' would only need 8 nodes. Four at the outer form, four at the counter form. Putting nodes at extreme positions (most top & down, most left & right) means the BCP (Bezier Control Point) will always be totally horizontal or vertical. In that case they are much easier to control. In most software programs you can use shift key to keep the BCP totally horizontal or vertical.

节点放置在错误的地方也会导致技术问题,例如无法实现字符在屏幕小字号下的完美显示(hinting-在计算机屏幕上显示小字号时的优化显示技术,是设计者嵌入字体内部的提示信息)。建议是,把节点放置在字符的"顶点"位置。举例说明,用贝赛线绘制一个“O”要用到8个节点。外面4个,内部的字怀4个。将节点放置在顶点(最上点、最下点、最左点和最右点),意味着BCP(贝赛线控制点)将全部是水平或者垂直的。这样它们就非常易于控制。在大多数的软件中,你可以用shift键来将BCP(贝赛线控制点)的移动限制在水平或垂直方向上。

 

(16)复制粘贴?


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Copy-paste? When you have created a few basic characters, you also want to create the rest of the alphabet. But how? Copy and paste? Euhm, not really. Although, this can help you on the way.

当你设计了几个基本的字符,你还想继续完成整个字母表。该怎样做?复制粘贴?嗯,不完全对,但,也会有助于你的开始。

There are some things which you can do, and some which you cannot do while copy-pasting. Some forms can be just the same. The ascender of the 'l' and 'h' for example. But maybe the bowl of the 'd' and 'q' as well. Once you created a 'd', this could work fine as a starting point for a 'b' and a 'p', by rotating the 'd' 180 degrees.

有些东西是复制粘贴可以完成的,有些则不是。有些形状是完全一样的。比如“l”和“h”的上伸部。“d”和“q”的字碗也有可能是一样的。当你完成了一个“d”,你就可以把这个“d”旋转180度,以此为基础完成“b”和“p”的制作。

Copy-paste should not change the contrast in your typeface. When you make a typeface based on the broad nip, horizontal and vertical flipping will disturb the angle of your contrast, and will destroy your shape. However, by rotating a (part of a) character 180 degrees, the contrast remains perfect and untouched.

复制粘贴不会改变你字体的粗细比率。但如果你设计的是基于平头钢笔书法原型的字体(参见第四节-书法原型),那么水平或垂直镜像的造字方法,就会影响字体粗细对比所形成的角度(译注:对于这个角度,有一个更准确的术语:stress,应力),从而破坏字体的形状。不过,通过把一个字符(或其部件)旋转180度的方法来造字,则不会有损于粗细比率的完美。

But copy-paste doesn't bring you all the way there. It can work as a starting point, but manual adjustments will be mostly necessary. For example, if you have a 'n', you can quite quickly make a 'm' and a 'h', but also a 'u' (see drawing). Copy, paste and rotate the 'n'. Then cut some serifs, and... not ready yet! If you cut away the serifs, also on the inner side of the 'u', the white space inside the 'u' will get bigger then the white space inside the 'n'. This has to be optically corrected.

复制粘贴大法并不是万能的,它只能作为一个起始点,大部分的时候都需要手工的调校。比如说,你已经有了一个“n”,你不但可以用来快速生成一个“m”和“h”,还可以用它来制作一个“u”(如图)。复制,粘贴,然后旋转这个“n”。切除不要的衬线,然后就…等等,还没完!当你切除了内部的衬线之后,内部的白空间就会比“n”的要大,所以必须进行视觉上的微调。

One solution for this could be to make the 'u' a bit more narrow, or maybe another solution could be to make the serif on the top a bit longer (which also makes the innerform smaller of course). Whatever way you do it, make sure the inner forms have (optically) the same amount of white space. Only in that way you'll get a harmonious rhythm in your type.

一个解决方法是把“u”稍微挤压一点,或者还有另外一个方法,加大内部右上角的衬线,这样也能把内部的白空间减少一些。不管哪种方法,都必须确保字体的内部形状在视觉上拥有同等的白空间。只有这样,你的字体才能够获得和谐的节奏。

(17)形态的平衡


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Balance shapes. If you make both of the inner forms (counters) of the 'B' exactly the same, the top counter will optically look bigger. Your character will look plumby, like it's falling down. If you make the top counter smaller than the bottom one, your character looks much more balanced.

如果你把字母“B”上下两个内部形状(字怀)弄得完全一样,上面的字怀在视觉上就会更大。你的字母看上去就好像站立不稳,摇摇欲坠。如果你把上面的字怀弄得小一些,整个字符看起来会更平衡。

The counter of the 'B' doesn't have to be exactly the same as the counter of the 'P' for example. If you would make them exactly the same, the right sidebearing of the P would be much too big. So you have to balance the black and white spaces in every character separately. However, there must be a relationship between the amount of white space inside a 'B' and inside a 'P'.

同样的,字母“B”字母“P”的字怀也不需要完全一样。如果两者完全一样,“P”的右部空间就显得太大了。所以对每个字符的黑白空间你都要进行单独的平衡。但是,“B”和“P”两者内部白空间的大小一定存在着某种关联。

About making a lowercase 'r': it's not an 'n' with an amputated leg. Your 'r' can get very weak and soft in that way. You can make it much stronger if you let the ending of the 'r' follow the horizontal reading direction. In that way, the space on the right side of the 'r' will be more open, and more balanced. It will not disturb the rhythm of your type because the right sidebearing can be much smaller. The whole letter can be made more narrow as well. As a consequence the white space in the top of the 'r' could be has to be changed. In case you change that form, optically you'll not confuse the 'r' so quickly with the 'n' as well.

说到怎样做一个小写的“r”:它绝对不是一个把一边腿锯断的“n”。如果那样做,你的“r”会被弄得非常的虚弱。如果你让“r”的末笔顺着水平的阅读方向,就可以让它看上去更健壮。同时“r”的右部空间会更开放,更平衡。这不会有损于字体的节奏,因为“r”右部的安全空间可以设置得非常小。整个字母可以做的更窄。这样一来,“r”顶部的白空间就不得不改变。形状改变之后还有一个好处,你就不会在匆匆一瞥之下把“r”错看成“n”。

译注

sidebearing 字符前后预留的安全空间(或者叫缓冲区),以避免前后字符笔画发生碰撞。分为左部空间和右部空间。
参考链接:http://www.myfirstfont.com/glossary.html

 

(18)字距调整


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Kerning. Knowledge about kerning will give a deeper understanding of type. However, forget about kerning for now, spend your time on other things. It's much more important to properly space your characters.

字距调整的知识会让你对字体的理解更进一步。但我们现在先暂时把它忘记,先花点时间看看另外的东西。如果你想正确的设置字符间距,这个要重要得多。

A kerning pair is a technical issue for optical reasons. Simply said: when one certain character is followed by another character you can define a different space in between these two characters. This space can vary from the the normal spacing (right sidebearing of the first character + left sidebearing of the second character). The difference can be positive or negative; you can add more space for a certain combination or you can reduce the space. A kerning pair can technically be implemented in a digital font file.

字距配对(kerning pair)是一种因视觉需要而做的技术处理。简单说,在两个特定的字符连排的时候,你可以为它们单独指定与众不同的字符间距。这个间距可以不同于标准间距(前一个字符的右部安全空间+后一个字符的左部安全空间)。这个间距可以是正的也可以是负的,你可以为某个字符对设置更多或更少的空间。数字化的字库文件中可以实现这种字距配对。

In some cases kerning is inevitable and necessary. When a capital 'A' is followed by a lowercase 'v', a big white space will appear which cannot be solved by adapting the spacing of the characters. Changing the spacing would mess it up when they would be combined with other characters again. For this occasion a kerning pair is needed (see drawing). In the sketch you only see some examples where the kerning pair is negative; reducing space. But you can also imagine a positive kerning pair when a 'f' is followed by a bracket for example; "f)". More space has to be added to avoid those characters overlapping eachother.

有些场合这种字距调整是必不可少的。当一个大写A后面跟随一个小写v的时候,两个字符间就会出现巨大的白空间,这是普通的字符间距所无法解决的。如果改变它们的间距,它们和其他字母连排的时候就会挤成一团。这时候就需要字距配对来处理了(如图)。图中只出现了字距配对为负的例子——缩减空间。但你可以想象一个字距配对为正的例子:一个小写f后跟随一个括号,例如:“f)”。这时候就需要加入更多的间距以避免两个字符重叠在一起。

 

(19)连字


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Ligatures. In a very few cases they are essential. Some well known ligatures are 'fi' and 'fl'. The inevitable need for a ligature is depending on the design of a font. Not every typeface will need a ligature for a 'fi' combination. But in some cases the dot of the 'i' is interfering with the 'f'. Get rid of all that annoying row but making a ligature, one glyph which represents two (or more) characters. Next to a functional aspect, there is an aesthetic aspect of ligatures. You could create a ligature for a 'st' combination, or maybe for 'nky' or 'ism'. Anything is possible. Admitting that also this is not the most urgent issue in type design, it's another obstacle on the road to perfection!

只有极少数的场合才需要用到连字。比较常见的连字有“fi”和“fl”。连字是否必不可少,取决于字体的设计。不是每种字体都需要"fi"的连字组合。但有些时候字母“i”上面的圆点会和前面的“f”相撞。一劳永逸的解决方案是做一个连字,用一个字符代替两个(或更多的)字符。连字的出现的原因,除去功能上的需要,还有审美意义上的。你可以做一个“st”的连字组合,或是一个“nky”或“ism”。任何字符都是有可能的。这个章节同样也不是学习字体设计最迫切需要的知识,但这是通向完美之路上另一道必须逾越的障碍。

(译注:到今天为止,整个《字体设计基础》系列文章就全部翻译完了。了却一桩心事。感谢大家一直以来的支持。)

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