Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Music notation symbols, fonts, font sources and font creation, SmuFL.
Dan Kreider
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Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by Dan Kreider »

The image below is from the Lutheran Book of Worship, which I generally find to be a beautifully-designed hymnal. The designers made the decision to design these clefs to match the descenders in the title font. The hymnal has done quite well, now in its 26th printing.

I would appreciate feedback on these clefs, as well as your thoughts on hand-drawn styles in “formal” publications like hymnals. I have an opportunity to suggest a similar direction for an upcoming hymnal project, and I would really appreciate the input of the skilled engravers here. We have a really stunning serif font for all text, and the designers want this hymnal to be immediately distinct without being cliché. What do you think about pursuing a similar approach to clefs? Do you feel we should stick with more conventional clefs?

I know I haven’t included any of the other text or musical elements, which I suppose would be helpful. I can include those if needed. Thank you!
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Schonbergian
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by Schonbergian »

It doesn't look hand-drawn to me - more like it's imitating the Novello clefs of the early 20th century.

That being said, it definitely doesn't match the flats.

I'm not opposed to that design on principle, as long as the remainder of the font matches it in weight and style. Definitely preferable to seeing yet another Maestro or Opus treble clef in a professional publication.

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OCTO
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by OCTO »

Schonbergian wrote:
01 Feb 2021, 04:22
That being said, it definitely doesn't match the flats.
Yes, definitely not the same style. The flats look like Sonata or Petrucci.

I would definitely not mix the styles at all. Having an old style clef plus a razor sharp accidental doesn't look well.

The Swedish Church has printed several times the Choral-book. Lately they started to mix the styles of Finale fonts, which was a bit bizarre, since they wanted everything to look customised, yet it looks very confusing.
With the earlier prints they used "plain" Maestro and it was very good in my opinion for that purpose. I think the text font is Caslon I believe.

I would make a pilot test with several versions of the same music printed out to see what is the best. Definitely the focus should be on clearness and easy reading.
It can be everything from line thickness, slurs, spacing, and of course - fonts. I would use one set, not mix. Maestro is fine, Engraver - why not? Or other types such as Vienna or Bravura or Sebastian. The music style should match approximately the text style and vv.

And please, do not use Opus (in my opinion the most ugly font ever).
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benwiggy
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by benwiggy »

I agree that if you do something like that to the clefs, then everything else should match in some way, otherwise it will look a bit random. And it does look a little casual for my tastes.

Personally, I have a strong aversion to handwritten fonts -- in music and text -- because very few of them look like a decent, artistic, calligraphic hand, but rather just a mechanical rendering of something vaguely similar.

Dan Kreider
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by Dan Kreider »

Thank you all. If (when) the project moves forward, I will definitely be soliciting feedback from the community here.

I’m working only in Dorico now, so I can’t use the Finale fonts until they become SMuFL (which I think is in the works). My preference would be to use Bravura for the majority of the music font, including the accidentals. We’ll see if we can design a treble and bass clef that are distinct, but that fit with that bolder look.

Ben, I’ve considered using Sebastian instead, actually. Really love what you and Florian have done with that.
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DatOrganistTho
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by DatOrganistTho »

I cannot stand the ELW hymnal, btw. It's like they kept everything from petrucci and designed clefs without looking.
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OCTO
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by OCTO »

Dan Kreider wrote:
01 Feb 2021, 16:49

I’m working only in Dorico now, so I can’t use the Finale fonts until they become SMuFL (which I think is in the works). My preference would be to use Bravura for the majority of the music font, including the accidentals. We’ll see if we can design a treble and bass clef that are distinct, but that fit with that bolder look.
What is important with the font for the publication? Is it needed to look "older"? There are some fonts that are already "older", see here: https://www.notationcentral.com/product ... sic-fonts/
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Dan Kreider
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by Dan Kreider »

The client literally just wants to design clefs that are different enough to be distinct.
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OCTO
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by OCTO »

Dan Kreider wrote:
04 Feb 2021, 01:49
The client literally just wants to design clefs that are different enough to be distinct.
Ouch! But the client doesn't know that designing brand new clefs requires designing brand new all other symbols, a complete font. :geek:
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benwiggy
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Re: Feedback and suggestions on hand-drawn clefs

Post by benwiggy »

Dan Kreider wrote:
01 Feb 2021, 16:49
I’m working only in Dorico now, so I can’t use the Finale fonts until they become SMuFL (which I think is in the works).
A SMuFL version of Maestro has been 'in the works' since 2015. There is of course no commercial point for MM to release it (for Dorico users to use!) until Finale itself is fully SMuFL-compliant. There are a handful of obstacles: time sig numerals are hard-wired to 0, 1, 2, 3, etc, with no option to change the glyphs used; the baseline for rests is in the wrong place; and a few other things need position adjusting. If it's not in the next version of Finale (isn't that due?) then... who knows.

Here's Bravura in Finale:
Screenshot.png
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Dan Kreider wrote:
01 Feb 2021, 16:49
Ben, I’ve considered using Sebastian instead, actually. Really love what you and Florian have done with that.
Thanks. Based on feedback to the 'beta', I've made a few adjustments: braces are nicer, time sig numerals 6 and 9 sit better against the staff lines, accidentals are a bit more consistent. There are now over 1000 glyphs, so it should be 'Dorico-complete' -- no gaps in the side-panels, etc.

I'll be posting about it once everyone stops posting about fonts. :lol:

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