Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Design notes: The capital R and K

The last two letters to design are the ‘K’ and the ‘R’. The ‘K’ should be made first, since the tail of the ‘R’ inherits from it.


  • The capital ‘K’, like its lowercase version, is built from a stem (‘I’) and the letter ‘X’. The lowercase ‘k’ itself can also be helpful for modeling the tail. ‘K’ is about the same width as the ‘X’, sometimes slightly thinner.
  • Inner serifs, of course, are shortened, and the serif on the upper arm expanded, just like with the lowercase ‘k’.
  • Often times the arm is extended back past the vertex, so that it connects to the stem (covered in the lowercase ‘k’ tutorial). Here, I made a disjointed ‘K’, where the arm and leg meet at a point.
  • If you make a disjointed ‘K’, an optical correction may be in order to prevent the vertex from looking bent down. This involves adding a slight upturn to the vertex. Shown below is an uncorrected ‘K’ (left) and a corrected ‘K’ (right).


  •  The ‘R’ is a combination of the ‘P’ and the ‘K’. The bowl of the ‘R’ is smaller than that of the ‘P’, but slightly larger than the upper bowl of the ‘B’. As such; the bowl and the leg of the ‘R’ join at a point somewhere between the ‘H’s median (bottom of the upper ‘B’ bowl) and the bottom of the ‘P’s bowl.
  • The tail of the ‘R’ always extends out farther than its bowl. Otherwise the letter looks unbalanced.
  • Speaking of balance, shorten that ‘P’ foot serif—the letter is balanced, and so it doesn’t need a lengthened serif there. If anything it should be shorter than usual. (But you already knew that, didn’t you?)
  • If the bowl hasn’t become a hairline by the time it sprouts the tail, it should be made a hairline there, or else an ink trap is in order (just like in the ‘B’).
  • ‘R’, like ‘P’ and ‘K’, has a disjointed and a joined form. The ‘R’ above is the disjointed form. Below is the disjointed and joined (from Minion Pro) form shown alongside each other.