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What began nearly 8 years ago as an experiment in multi-stage, multi-resolution pixel serif type drafting (starting smallish then manually upscaling x4), took on the robust character you see here after countless edits and some tricky lessons learned along the way.

The initial weight was on the light side (cloned privately for posterity), so I took a leap into this bookish weight by fattening each glyph copy-pasted 1 pixel shifted both up and to the right. A rudimentary technique, by no means novel, yet almost wholly effective. I saw fit from here to only make a handful of corrections, keeping the slightly rounded and slanted serif shape that resulted as well as the subtle reenforcing of a pen-nib construction. 

More intriguing is the 1-bit “anti-aliasing” scheme I found myself  progressively guided toward while finding the lines of these curves developing the initial light weight. Implied diagonals and said curves – as well as refinement of contrast – are substantially more granular and specific than had I taken a black-and-white posterized, or stairstepped approach.

At half-resolution, the resulting smoothness is acceptible. This type of hinting will be useful in developing a substitution rule set consisting of subpixel slanted or curved bricks to produce a “vectorized” version.

Indeed, such a process could be purely automated by a proficient developer or properly trained neural network (this would be a really interesting future feature for fontstruct pro – rather than hinting a font after painstaking vector construction, why not reverse the process by way of en vogue ai-assisted upscaling?).

Basic accented charaters and numerals are being added as I churn through the extended character set...

34 Comments

Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 2nd august 2013
Gorgeous :)
(Also, there seems to be a stray pixel above your extra X)
Comment by Houlaiziaa 2nd august 2013
Eagle eyes, Umbreon126! That’s a spacing pixel to tune the vertical metrics. I’ll move it to another glyph, for now. :)
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 2nd august 2013
Maybe you should put it on the pipe, or turn it into a decorative asterisk? :P
Comment by Houlaiziaa 2nd august 2013
Just a rough draft of the most basic characters, for now. No decorative characters as of yet, though that’s a very practical solution! ;)

I’ll post images of my process, as I think the grid-doubling approach is worthy of further exploration. The next step before I move forward with more characters is to test out composites. :)

Thanks for your input!
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 2nd august 2013
Beee-yootiful! I'm looking forward to seeing more. :)
Comment by ETHproductions 3rd august 2013
Please finish this, it's amazing. 10/10,as is usual.
Comment by Jamie Place (FontBlast) 3rd august 2013
An absolute delight to the eyes Its elegance is jaw-droppingly wonderful. 10/10++++++++++
Comment by p2pnut 3rd august 2013
An fs user named j4s13 messaged me with a helpful critique: Revise those overshoots! While composites offer the most versatile solutions, he was also correct that I could get closer to my ideal with several whole pixels. So I adjusted them throughout and updated my sample.

The overshoots are now a bit overshot. But rest assured I will rein them back in during the compositing phase. It’s already an improvement.

@ETH, FontBlast: :) Thanks. I do have plans to flesh this out...if I can be a buzy buzy bee! The question is do I continue to build it first at half-resolution? It’s a more involved process with grid doubling, but not one without benefits.

@p2pnut: You make me blush! I’m glad you appreciate my work so much. The lessons I learned from polishing RM Uncialic will definitely instruct me when I get to that painstaking step. I wonder if for your high-res works ever begin as pixel fonts such as this?
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 3rd august 2013
Elegant shapes coupled with nuanced ink traps. 10.
Comment by demonics 3rd august 2013
This is fabulous.
Comment by sarreyn 3rd august 2013
How apropos, William. To choose the name "Fermat" deriving from Fermat's Last Theorem which was known as one of the "most difficult mathematical problems," you have delved into the development of the most difficult typographical and fonstructological endeavors - the creation of a readable serif typeface. It is not only the success of the attempt that is notable, but the effortlessness by which it seems to have been created. Open, airy, ethereal, balanced, stylistic, and regal are just a few words that easily come to mind. I'm left rapacious, even ravenous, for more of this. It was only through FS that I've come to respect text based serif and san serif type designs, with paragonal fontstructors such as yourself, Ray, beate, and especially Intaglio who fearlessly besieged his typographic experiments. I'm most comfortable with display faces, but readable type design always seemed so formal and serious. It's similar to how hip-hop dance comes natural to me, but I can still function in a ballroom setting.

Now by manually doubling the grid, are you saying you were going from the 1:1 to 2:2 filter space by displacing each row and column by one grid block, or are you remaining at the 1:1 ratio? Either way, it is a technical and tedious challenge indeed. This is probably why you suggested single row or column selection. Working with the double size should be fine. Larger sizes offer more spacing options, but there's always the challenge of finding the balance for efficient brick usage. Fermat is great in pixel form, but how did you achieve the manual anti-aliasing in the sample?
Comment by geneus1 4th august 2013
I believe it stays 1:1, just that the pixels are moved apart... kind of like the result of changing a font's filters from the original 2:2 to 1:1 :P
Comment by Houlaiziaa 4th august 2013
I think there's a stray pixel on the alternate X.
Comment by minidonut 4th august 2013
I have never gone from pixel to 'high-re', but have been wondering if was worth my while converting some of my faux fonts into pixel.

Is there a market for pixel fonts I wonder?
Comment by p2pnut 4th august 2013
Regardless of the steps you are still planning to undertake with this font, this is a very impressive achievement that works well at different sizes. It beautifully incorporates a lot of serif face qualities that few pixel fonts do, well worth the time consuming effort!
Comment by four 5th august 2013
@minidonut correction: it was on the alternate X (lol) (read my comment way above)
Comment by Houlaiziaa 5th august 2013
@Umbreon126 Do not have conversations here. If you want to have a conversation, clog up your own font.
Comment by Wonson (owowow) 4th november 2013
owowow — but it was actually a relevant topic!
Comment by demonics 4th november 2013
Brilliant. Sorry I was late to the party. Wondering about the 3:4 angle.
Comment by Evie S (j4s13) 9th november 2013
@demonics: I think owowow is either a troll or doesn't really understand what a relevant topic is.
Comment by Noah F. Ross (winty5) 22nd june 2014
Being patient is a hard thing. The only thing missing to make this a full faux-curves font is... the 3:4 angle.
Comment by Evie S (j4s13) 9th april 2015

This is not a bad modern font, but I put it 9/10. If I understand correctly, the construction of the characters of your font is based on writing with a broad nib. And this, along with horizontal serifs and drops peculiar to the fonts with the base in the pointed nib, looks too much eclectic. "С" "с" and "e" are too "crooked" in the bottom, and look narrow for the design of a wide-end pen. "g" falls to the left. I want to advise you to look at the Wermut font. It also does not strictly follow the rule, but looks cute (it also has Cyrillic, as it was made by Russian designers).

Do not forget that fonts can be based on a brush letter, there are not many such fonts, for example, Campan or Corda by Hoftype.

Comment by Dmitriy Sychiov (Sychoff) 29th october 2017

This must be your first take on the FS license.

Comment by Hensley Dodson (Hensilly) 16th september 2020

Cool! This must've taken you ages to create.

Comment by Nyxo8803 10th february 2021

Thanks, Nyxo8803! Yes, even though my construction technique with basic pixel blocks is elementary, this has been quite an involved one. There's a little bit of savvy and subtlety in the use of 1-bit “anti-aliasing”.

I think I am 99% there with the basic uc & lc sets. It has change a lot from the originally published draft. As you can see, numerals are still only completed through 5. It honestly still shocks me how much weight and curve control there is with the pixel resolution on display. I heartily stand by my assessment from 8 years ago that this is just large enough a grid to realize the letterforms I am attempting.

Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 10th february 2021

Also, want to say Sychoff pushed me to reassess some of my design choices. I had a hybrid approach to what is basically an oldstyle serif design with a “display” type contrast. I checked out the font you linked, and while it doesn't inform my additional work, it was cool to have an example of what you were talking about. I had gone back and forth about whether the beaks on uppercase characters would be oblique or vertical, and as well the terminal design for the lc used to be balls rather than beaks. I kept the curling terminals of certain glyphs (f, g, j, y, 3, 5) and went with a more beaked form for terminals within the x-height. It was good advice to create more unity within the design while maintaining the characteristic rule-breaking/defining moments that I think give this serif design it’s style. If I ever got around to rendering this with curves (yes, including via my vaunted and much-delayed release of the brick patching technique) those little curly terminals with their sharp interiors would be so challenging and fun, and I suppose even foxy ;)

Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 10th february 2021

❤️ Welcome back, Maestro! 

Comment by elmoyenique 10th february 2021

@elmoyenique: Hearty thank you, my friend! 💜

Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 10th march 2021
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 10th march 2021

An animated sample using this font…

Comment by Bryndan W Meyerholt (BWM) 11th march 2021

@BMW thanks for that fun animation. That background is positively relaxing ... Dreaming of a time when travel is a decently ethical endeavor 💜

Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 11th march 2021

THIS IS VERY COOL!! 11/10!!!!!

Comment by Logan2020 23rd october 2021

Wow, now this is an incredibly beautiful font, there is not even anything to add, it looks very professional (although I can, for example, I probably would have returned the oblique old-style serifs, which were in the first one, to this 3rd iteration). And it's very exciting to see three whole iterations of the font (I hope you kept them all anyway),
and the transition from an new-style (modern) type serif to an almost old-style one. In such a pixelated form, all the nuances of creating nodules and serifs are visible in the font, which makes the font practically an example, which is not a shame to print in a textbook on type design. I am very glad that I was able to somehow contribute to the creation of this font. Think, now the font more than deserves Top Pick, even though it was released a long time ago. This is a lot of work and it turned out very beautifully and clean.

Comment by Dmitriy Sychiov (Sychoff) 26th november 2021

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