Gerard Unger is here for the first of his weekly visits and we put our designs on the back-burner to work on a mini-project he initiated for us. Based on a black lowercase /g/, we each drew two other lowercase characters.
After a day’s work, a couple of things became clear during feedback. Starting with the same /g/, we had all taken different directions—designs with serifs, semi-serifs and those without serifs at all. Since the /g/ doesn’t share a lot with other letters, it can be the wild child in a typeface. There were not many clues it gave us about the over-arching design choices made in the typeface. Every one had picked up a detail and interpreted it in a way that seemed fit to them. More importantly, no one had drawn a black. The heaviest was a bold. Because it is a complex shape, the /g/ is lighter than the other characters to give the impression of matching them in weight; that is something the class had failed to take into account.
I started again with the /b/ I had drawn, trying to make it bolder and bolder till it felt like a black. The last /b/, Gerard and I agreed had hit the correct weight. After making the /b/ and the /u/, the original /g/ looked too light and so I ended up redrawing a new /g/ to match them.