OH no Type Company.

Ohno Type School: Z

Z1

Z is last in the alphabet, and it’s also the letter I usually design last—perhaps because diagonals are tricky and annoying.

Z2

In some geometric and certain humanist designs, the Z can get pointy. It would probably match some other points, and we don’t usually see this in grotesque sans.

Z3

The serif Z has perfect pockets of negative space for the serifs to grow to extreme, dastardly lengths. These space-fillers help especially in bold designs.

Z4

But don’t let my bias towards hefty serifs sway your personal taste. Just look at these little chunkers by [Graham](http://roxaboxen.us/). They fit perfectly with the rest of the players, and are quite cute.

Z5

In sans designs, the lowercase z is just a scaled down version of the capital.

Z6

This part is crazy: the lowercase z occasionally takes an unexpected reverse contrast form. This is actually closer to what the pen creates naturally.

Z7

But the italic z for expansion serifs gets one of the most delightful forms in the entire alphabet. We can see how it relates to the bottom of 2.

Z8

Often I get the question, “What’s your favorite letter to design.” That’s tricky to answer. Roman or italic? Bold or light? Expansion or translation? At this point the person who asked is no longer remotely interested.

Z9

Next time, I’ll just say “lowercase italic z.” That’s probably a nerdy and verbose response, but it’s truly an awesome form, fun to draw, and challenging to solve. Uppercase still sucks tho. ✌

Review

  • Take your time when figuring out the weight of the diagonal of Z.
  • Lowercase z has many more interesting options than you might think.
  • I sharted on the first day of high school.

Congratulations!

You have survived about 26 letters, about 200 slides, and even more stupid jokes. I’ll get around to the numbers and punctuation (accented glyphs? dingbats?) someday, but for now maybe it’s nice to do a quick review on the hole thing.

  • Have some reference. With hundreds of years of type history to rely on, there is probably some typefaces that is both well drawn by a legit type designer, and similar enough to your design that you can steal some ideas in a healthy way.
  • Attempt multiple versions. For every successful glyph, there are at least a few iterations that weren't quite as successful. Testing out variations in context is the only way to declare a real winner.
  • Have a good time. If you’re ever hating the inititial sketching and drawing of a typeface, maybe a little soul-searching is in order. Do you have a solid concept? Or are there too many good ideas floating around? The beginning should be fun. If you’re hating the last 10-50 of finishing a typeface, good! You’re supposed to!