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Introducing a great free font with ‘natural’ curves

Introducing a great free font with ‘natural’ curves

Digital design software has enhanced our lives beyond imagination, however, some detailing has gotten lost in the process. In typography, for example, this is the case with the curves you see in most letters. The digital curve is calculated based on the perfect circle, but it fails to bring the elegance that a natural curve from the wrist entails. In order to rectify this, the DesignBro creative team designed a completely new free font (for both commercial and personal use), based on this natural ‘Bronova’ curve, as we have called it.

As this way of drawing has clearly gotten lost over time, we at DesignBro, wanted to create a free font for everyone to use, and rectify this great loss.

 

The smooth difference between the ‘Bronova curve’ and the ‘machine-made curve’

The image below shows the difference between the ending of the curve (going into a straight line) that was used in the Bronova font and a ‘machine-made’ curve. Take a close look and see that the transition from the curve into a straight line is much smoother on our ‘Bronova curve’.

More details about the font

The Bronova is a free (for commercial use), sans serif, DesignBro Originals font and is based on the natural line that occurs when drawing a curve from the wrist.

The free Bronova font includes 130 glyphs in 2 weights: regular and bold. The project has been licensed under a SIL Open Font License, making it open source and available to all.

How to create the ‘bronova curve’ in Adobe Illustrator

The curve can be simulated in Adobe Illustrator by creating a wire mesh using the blend tool following the following steps:

  1.  Draw a vertical line in Adobe Illustrator
  2.  • Copy the line
  3. • Rotate the line 90° CCW
  4. • Place the left anchor point on the bottom anchor point of the vertical line
  5.  Connect the lines using the ‘blend tool’ (w)
  6. • Double click the ‘blend tool’ icon in the toolbar
  7. •Select ‘Specified steps’ in the ‘Spacing:’ dropdown menu and add lines until the curve appears.

How we created a font and submitted it to Google Fonts?

Research

Our team researched the mythical hand-drawn curve through the stories that had been shared through time by the most senior letter artists.

Based on this research we learned a method to replicate this curve in Adobe Illustrator.

Creative drawing & designing of individual letters & characters

Once the method had been developed, our team spent most time on crafting each individual letter & balancing them to make sure they would work well together. This was partially done by hand-sketches which were then taken to Adobe Illustrator.

Refining

Ensuring all curves worked perfectly together involved quite a number of refinements and detailings on specific letters. For instance, the lower-case ‘g’ specifically took a long period of time, but it has become a real work of art, with a truly unique appearance.

Bringing all the individual characters into a font maker

Once we finished making a refined version of all the glyphs, we brought all of them into a font maker. A good example of a font maker that will allow you a free trial is FontLab, which works well. Once you import all the letters, you will need to work on the spacing, and ensure (as you will be exporting as ttf) that all curves are integers, this will require some correction on each glyph, just to make sure the balance is not lost due to minor changes. We noticed quite a few issues here, especially as our ‘Bronova curve’ didn’t seem to play nice automatically.

Export to TTF

Once you are ready making all changes, you can export your font to the TTF, to have a test around with it. It’s likely that you will notice quite few minor issues, which will lead to more refinement, but this is well worth it for the perfect font!

Make a bold variant

We believe strongly (pun intended), that a font should at least have 2 weights, a regular and a bold. This will give most people exactly what they need for daily use, and will help designers greatly too.

Make sure you have all required glyphs

Google outlines exactly which special characters they expect you to create. Use this as a checklist & make sure you’ve created all of them. You don’t want to waste their & your time.

Name your font

Check if your name is available.

License your font

Make sure that you make your font free for personal & commercial use, by licensing it under the SIL Open Font License.

Upload to Github

Start a free account on GitHub & upload your (font) files to it as well as the license. Not sure if you’ve included everything? Just use our GitHub layout.

Submit your font to Google

Looks like all of your hard work is about to be shared with the world! You can submit your font to Google by filling out a form.

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Christiaan

Written by Christiaan

Besides having grown up in the design Industry, Christiaan has advised some of the world's largest companies on their branding & packaging designs. Has been the resident judge for design awards, and has spoken at numerous global design & marketing events. Christiaan founded the London office of the award-winning Cartils agency, and has founded the DesignBro.com platform.

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