What characters are good to start with when designing a typeface?

Given many characters in a typeface build on others and even just a couple of characters can reveal a lot of the features of a given typeface, what characters are good to start with when designing a typeface?

Answer

I got interested in the question (I don’t design type, I just design with it), asked around folks that do, and did some research. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus — every designer works with his/her own natural creative process, and many start with a sketched idea that could be any letter or a combination.

Here are some interviews from ilovetypography.com (an excellent resource, btw) that will give you an idea of the diversity of approach: Ludwig Ubele, Nikola Djurek and Alice Savoie. Ubele says, in particular:

The nicest part is to start: sketching
randomly, finding an idea and a
general construction or
characteristic; drawing the first
letters and making the first words. As
I said before I don’t have a specific
letter which I usually start with, but
there are some key glyphs which show
the basic forms: n, b, o, v for
instance for lowercase, A, H, O for
uppercase.

I try in the begining not to
concentrate too much on single letters
but work on the whole alphabet and
balance the single letters in relation
to each other. That way I can set text
very early on, and see how the
typeface looks in small printed
text—that’s usually very different
from what you see on screen.

The best typographic resource I know of on the web is typophile.com. There is a terrific “How To” section in the wiki, and you can branch out from there. This site will take you as deep as you want to go into typeface design.

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : James Tauber , Answer Author : Community

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