Ghent is a cheeky stencil type family with an affinity for abstracted and rounded forms. Ghent Regular, Bold, and Bold Italic are intended for large-scale display editorial and branding applications. Ghent’s companion Book style is intended for text sizes in print or on screen.
As a child Sculpey connoisseur, my hands happily, quickly, and mindlessly created unique letterforms during James Edmondson’s experimental workshop as I opened my eyes to letter formation beyond the pen.
I took some photos of the results before smooshing them back into a ball of Sculpey. Looking at the photos later, I was surprised by how much I liked them and decided to translate them into digital forms.
I knew I could either keep moving in this fun freestyle direction where each letterform was given its own unique slant of a personality, or I could be responsible and put on my typography hat and apply some structure. I put on the metaphorical hat, and began to experiment with enhancing legibility and adding consistency, while maintaining the high contrast display. I decided to forgo the funky, organic shapes and instead focus on the juicy detached elements, creating a display stencil typeface.
Adding thin stroke endings to the bold letterforms both enhanced and refined the toothpaste-like personality given it would likely be used in large text sizes.
Perfect circles played well with Ghent Regular, but didn’t work for bolder styles. Instead of rigidly enforcing my rules, I optically swapped them out for oblong circles.
The imperfectness of the round shapes also contributed to the warmer, more welcoming aesthetic I was actively aiming to move towards.
I had been meticulous about maintaining consistent stroke ending measurements: exactly ten pixels, but it wasn’t until I took a step back that I recognized the optical differences made by the angle of each stroke ending.
The letterforms appeared much more cohesive after adjusting each stroke ending to terminate in a similar way, as if a chunk of silly putty had been pulled apart (the toothpaste effect, as I internally referred to time and time again).
I needed to make the Ghent Text font more crisp, as it would presumably be used in small optical sizes in long body copy. Adding more space between each glyph also helped each letter breathe more easily in small text sizes. Other tricks to crispen the letterforms in small optical sizes include: