fs Stencil 2.0

by thalamic

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Another stencil font...with obvious influences from Glaser Stencil (because I love it so!). But to be fair, Glaser Stencil was not referenced even once in the making of this fontstruction.

Allow me to wax technical about FontStruct 2.0 for a bit. A lot of my fontstructions have been even thickness all around. However, the evenness have been approximated thus far—not so anymore. First there were the 45° bricks; then came the 26.57°/63.43° bricks. With the 2.0 Make Composite feature, 14.04°/75.96° angles became possible. These two additional angles provide a finer tune of thickness of stems. The preview does not do justice to the font, but I tested the thicknesses of stems in Illustrator—horizontals/verticals/diagonals. Each stem now is as close in thickness to other as possible. This really is an even stroke font[struction]. Other 2.0 features are also used (but may not be obvious at a glance). See that 'o'? That's just one quarter curve created and then rotated three additional times. Very handy. The horizontal and vertical flips were used extensively throughout the creation process. Quarter-ing of angled bricks became necessary when it became evident that the only even thickness of a stroke is possible at x.5 thickness when combined with a curve. This meant that each vertical/horizontal stem is 5.5 bricks thick, which in turn made it necessary to use angled bricks at a quarter scale, which, of course, was made possible with the Make Composite feature. The only place I couldn't get the brick I wanted was in 4 (zoom in to see the slight misshape). It was a joy to work on this fontstruction to get what I really wanted almost every time. Great update, Rob. Cheers!

As long as I am on the soap box: What's up with diaeresis? I understand the reason for their existence, but are they the best possible way to handle various additional sounds? Also, are they even necessary? For example, café in French means a particular thing. But does cafe (without the e with the grave on it) mean something else? If not, wouldn't the French automatically know how to properly pronounce café (with or without acute on the e) the correct way whichever 'e' is used? It helps in the pronunciation for the uninitiated but are languages really designed for the novice? There are 26 letters in the English alphabet but they cover the gamut of up to 44 different sounds (according to some). Improbable as it may seem, it does not stop people to choose the correct pronunciation of letters. Hop has one sound for the 'o' and adding an 'e' at the end does not add the 'e' sound at the end of 'hop' but changes the sound of the middle 'o'. Convention. Sure. What I am trying to get at is that written script functions much better with distinct shapes without the flow-interrupting addition of the diaeresis. So unless there are two words spelled the same with the only difference being the kind of diacritic on the letters, the diacritic are redundant, no? If there is a real need for certain letter+diacritic combo, wouldn't a new shape be better? There are no shortage of additional shapes in the scripts of other languages. Can't do without an 'é'? Replace it with, say, 'ө' from the Greek script...or whatever. It bears repetition: What's up with diaeresis?
Info: Created on 29th May 2010 . Last edited on 1st June 2010.
License Creative Commons
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Comment by thalamic 31st May 2010
You raise good points about diacritics. I'm a member of the Saundspel Yahoo! Group, and some of us are constantly debating the best way to write English: diacritics, letter groups or new letters? I favor adding new letters to our alphabet, but not all email systems fully support Unicode.

The German language has not only vowels with umlauts, but also the sharp s (ß). Icelandic has edh and thorn, both of which used to be English letters. Should FontStruct add IPA Extensions and Shavian to its supported ranges?
Comment by jimhv 31st May 2010
From your anti-diacritic rant I take it that you are a native speaker of English (or of another language, whose writing system doesn't contain diacritics). As a defence for the diacritic I think that there are in most cases minimal pairs, i.e. words that are spelt the same except for one letter (or sound).

In Danish (my native language) we have three additional letters - æ, ø and å - that we concider extra letters, and not simply letters with diacritics. And I agree with you that different shapes of letters are more interesting than diacritics (in Swedish they use ä and ö corresponding to the same sounds as our æ and ø).

We do have the occational diacritic in danish, but they are optional or for showing stressed words. For example the danish word for 'idea' may be spelt either 'idé' or 'ide', and if we want to stress that there is only 'one cow' instead of simply 'a cow' we can do so by writing 'én ko' instead of 'en ko' (where 'en' is the common indefinite article and 'ko' is 'cow').

What I am trying to say is that there is probably a reason for all the different diacritics, and the reason they are not entirely different shapes of letters is probably that it is easier to put diacritics on them. I also think the diacritics are what makes the latin (and for that matter cyrillic) such a versatile script for writing so many languages, no matter how many different sounds they have.

By the way: the font is great. 10/10
Comment by Christian Munk (CMunk) 31st May 2010
A great new stencil face. I very much like the glyphs with steep diagonals (e.g. A,M,N,V,W). For the curvy parts I'm still struggling to accept the limitations of FS, though they're vanishing fast. What I also like, fs Stencil 2.0 has it's own look and style, unlike the stencil fonts I've seen before. 10/10

On the use of diacritical marks. Part of the phenomenal success of the Latin alphabet stems from its simplicity. I can be adapted to almost any language to cover a wide range of phonemes, thanks to the help of diacritical marks, and other things. It takes one year in elementary school to learn how to read and write in Europe, compared to the lifetime achievement in some Asian cultures. To introduce new letters sounds like a very bad idea to me.

My native tongue, Hungarian, is heavily accented, and we don't have any problem with it. It is very logical system, and looks very natural in print, for us anyway. With and without the diacritical marks a particular word could have quite different meanings. At the dawn of the digital age, the time when the extended Latin set was not fully supported in word processors and URLs, we had quite a few funny cases.

From purely aesthetic point of view, accented characters look distinctly graceful, and decorated. The Tengwar script, invented by J.R.R. Tolkien, used them to great extent to achieve style and lasting elegance.
Comment by Frodo7 31st May 2010
Nice stencil thal .. ah, the joys of 2.0 :)
Comment by p2pnut 1st June 2010
Congratulations! FontStruct Staff have deemed your FontStruction worthy of special mention. “fs Stencil 2.0” is now a Top Pick.
Comment by afrojet 2nd June 2010

First of all, this is a great stencil font Bravo! original, the numbers are great

I'm a francophone from montreal, there is around 200 millions french speaking person around the world. French without diatrics is... impossible.

Diatrics are not only for dump who try to learn French ;)
Diatrics are use for different prononciation, different meaning, different tense of verb, etc.

"Tache" (Stain) and "Tâche" (task) are two differents word
another exemple: you have word like "élève" (student) witch "eleve" make no sense
"lecon" (lesson) is totaly weird without the "ç"
and we can continue until the end of time ;)

Do a test go to wikipedia take any topic read the text in French, and you'll find too many diatrics in a single paragraph.

I know many graphic designer who work in Advertising Agency.... they don't buy font without diatrics... at the limit they can add diatrics for a headline only if the font is totaly PERFECT for their work.

most common in french are à â é è ê ë î ï ô ù û ç œ
not common: æ

Comment by Michel Troy ~UrbanPixel~ (Upixel) 2nd June 2010
hi thalamic,
great job. a real thalamic-stencil with playful glyphs. i can feel the joy and the fun of you fontstructing.

muchos saludos
Comment by guentersen 8th June 2010

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