A slab-serif typeface inspired by hand–painted letters.

It’s named “Incipio” after the word “incipit,” which is the beginning of a larger work. Being my first serious exploration of type design, this title seemed appropriate.

Inspired By Hand… Again

In my project “Farari Typeface”, I started a typeface inspired by hand-painted lettering several years back. With this project, I revived that typeface and made some major changes.

Step 1: Redefine Proportions

One of the issues with Farari was the awkward proportions of the round forms. I chose to make the rounds more square. I shortened the ascenders by increasing the x-height relative to the cap height, and shortened the descenders. Optically, this helped the font look more geometric at small point sizes. I also decreased the serif sizes by about 50%.

Step 2: Autokern

After spending too much time manually setting glyph sidebearings, I decided to try Autokern by Typefacet, a script that automates sidebearing configuration. This step had several sub-steps, which I go into more detail in the article Using TypeFacetʼs Autokern Script.

  1. Export to UFO: I exported the typeface from Glyphs to a UFO file to be read into the script.
  2. Configure Script Parameters: I had to play with some parameters in the script to ensure proper sidebearing adjustments.
  3. Import Adjustments & Test: Last, I imported the adjustments back into Glyphs and saved the typeface. I tested the spacing in Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, and the Glyphs text preview feature.
  4. Manual Adjustments: Autokern isn’t perfect and isn’t meant to replace the designer’s intuition. It produced some problematic pairs that needed manual adjustment, like [ti] and [fa].

Step 3: Specimens

Once major adjustments were complete, I could start using the font in actual specimens. While I did this, I continued to make some adjustments to kerning so that the different applications were consistent.