Throughout the history of the Fontfabric font foundry, we’ve always tried to enrich the typographic history and lineage by developing original concepts and experimenting with them in search of refined design and better functionality. This is how the trademark ‘Rust’ series began in 2014, with the aim to transform some of our most successful fonts by adding an authentic vintage quality combined with a distinct handcrafted look and an assortment of extra features to boot.
After giving Nexa Rust, Intro Rust, and Zing Rust their makeovers, earlier this year we set our sights on Panton, intent on expanding its scope by adding a smooth and stylish Script version to the package.
Read on for an inside look at the development process of custom font design, the challenges our team faced, and what solutions they came up with while working on the Rust Bundle!
Panton to Rust
The original Panton’s soft and circular forms meant that for Panton Rust, our team had to redo each individual character by working on particular details, such as the shape of the counter on the letter ‘A’ below. A period of significant testing and optimization followed this process, after which we selected the final texture to apply onto the symbols.
Flavor & Grunge
Next up it was time to add some flavor by trying out different levels of ‘grunge’ in digital and print examples, which allowed us to come up with variations including scrapes, inlines and shadows, while avoiding any glitches.
The result is a wide range of options for you to tinker with while trying to nail that flawless look!
The latest addition to the character family, Script was designed from scratch to work in close relation to older brother Panton, while expanding its potential field of application. Contrary to serif fonts, sans serif fonts lack contrast, rounded edges, and delicate features have crossed over to the script version, distinguishing it with individuality while also providing a sense of belonging to the Panton system. Figuring out a novel way of applying the rust texture to fonts was a challenge we readily accepted and dealt with by following the general spelling logic – more on that below!
A monoline script drawn from SemiBold to Heavy has a very specific character and weight, which presented us with a series of hurdles to overcome.
To begin with, how do you strike a balance between the separate shapes and the right amount of white space between them? How can we apply texture to script, given it has a different flow and behavior pattern as compared to its sans brother?
The key to solving this puzzle lay in the development of alternative variants, which could be modified depending on the context.
The letters ‘n’ and ‘r’, for example, are bound by a solid connection which fits well with the monoline nature of Panton Script. But when you put two symbols with no ‘connector’ on the left side, such as ‘n’ and ‘n’, the outcome makes it hard to distinguish between either one – it’s too strong, and we immediately knew a better option was out there. In this case, it meant creating a slimmer tail to ensure that the transition would be recognizable, yet remain faithful to the font’s overall direction.
We further developed the idea by setting all these alternates into different classes, and programmed those using the ‘calt’ function. The team assembled contextual alternatives to thin out connections and avoid large, filled-in areas between the symbols.
For letters such as ‘r’, ‘s’, ‘x’ and ‘z’, which can ‘merge’ on both their left and right sides, this ensures that no contrast is gained and the monoline character remains center and front.
Positional Alternatives and Uppercase
Panton Script also features positional alternatives, which manifest in a shortening or complete removal of a connector when a letter is at the beginning or the end of a word. Even though decorative elements are among our favorites, in some cases a design is more legible and looks more elegant without them.
Naturally, the same enhancements are present in the Cyrillic version of Panton Script as well – we can’t just ignore our roots now, can we? The example below features different start and end versions of ‘m’ and ‘o’, meant to simplify and balance their form. It also showcases the regular connector for the letter ‘p’, which doubles in Cyrillic as ‘r’ in ‘мерло’ (merlot).
Some elements from the uppercase variations were also tweaked for the purpose of spelling out titles, brands, corporate typography, and the occasional OMG with better kerning and spatial spacing between capitals and minus the extra details.
So far, so good… and then we added shadows to our script! Two obstacles immediately became evident – the shadows themselves went out of bounds here and there, showing up as parts of different letters, while the lack of visual spacing around the baseline distorted the general effect.
Alternative forms were the answer here as well, but we had to be smart about it because of the sheer number of possible combinations. All letters were separated into four main classes (including a default one), and based on those we defined different shadow lengths for each one.
Besides the default glyph, there are 3 additional classes:
1. The @lowercase_latin_shadow class contains regular Latin letters.
2. The @n_form_latin class includes all the ones with a stem to the left, like ‘n’ or ‘m’.
3. Finally, the @lowercase_latin_shadow_alt class contains alternate versions of the regular letters with a shortened shadow.
In essence, when #1 interacts with #2, they are transformed into #3.
The decisive step for Script, just as with Panton Rust, was applying grunge textures to really draw out the family’s mature signature. After seeing the initial results, we quickly realized that the method used with sans won’t really fly here.
And so we had to work a bit of Fontfabric magic, using Illustrator to manually apply a custom texture brush on certain spots, so that nothing falls into the overlap area where the connection is.
And that wraps it up!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the process of fine-tuning Panton Rust, and feel free to bookmark our font blog for more leaks from the kitchen!
The Rust Bundle features two free weights, and is available at -80% off for a limited time – take a closer look and buy your copy here!