[Fonts] Feinen

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[Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:50 am

Now that we have access to the iconic OD&D/Mystara font, I thought I'd write an article about it, and introduce you to the new options I have for mapping.

Feinen

Feinen is a typeface consisting of three weights (light, regular, bold) and three styles (regular, inline, faux italic). Altogether there are eight separate fonts making up the typeface. Let's have a look at them, starting with the regular and inline styles.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Now let's take a look at the italic styles, including inline italic.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Note that Inline is essentially just a variation of the Bold weight.

Regarding faux italics: TSR typographers quite often used faux italics, including some cases when an italic version of the typeface in question did actually exist at the time. I noticed this with Baskerville, I think in the BECMI series. Generally speaking, real italic versions are designed in a more cursive style - not just tilted over to the right (or sometimes left). As I noted in the example images, this lazy tilting without designing a proper italic form is a typographical faux-pas - something that most typographers will avoid whenever possible.

Moving on, there is another interesting topic to address: which of these variants are we all familiar with, and from where?

Well, the answer is that we are used to seeing two of them very often, though we didn't realise it. They are Feinen Regular and Feinen Bold. Let's take a look at some scans of maps and see if we can identify some of the places Feinen Regular was used.

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

Compare the original map caption in the middle with the others, and I think we can clearly see that this is Feinen Bold. It's especially clear if you consider the overall height of the characters; for the same size or letters, Feinen Regular looks a little taller to me. Also look closely at the thick strokes of most of the letters.

This was a country label. Now let's look at some provincial labels.

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

Again, look at the thicker strokes - especially the R and the P - and the height of the characters. Don't they look taller than the Feinen Bold example?

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

The same again. I think we can conclude that on this map (the Dawn of the Emperors Thyatis map) the provinces are all marked in Feinen Regular.

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

Here's another province label. This one includes lower case, which makes it almost unique since they're usually all in upper case - and also very useful for identifying the style. Can you see the differences? Look at the bar of the N and the shape of the lower case D. It's clearly Feinen Regular.

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

Here's an example of a sea label using faux italic. Which do you think it is, Feinen Regular or Feinen Bold? Once again, the height of the characters gives it away. If you're not convinced, look at the R and the D.

Image
First example: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold
Second example: original caption, Feinen Bold, Feinen Regular


The second example is yet another provincial label in Feinen Regular. Let's look at the settlement label, though: can you see which font is used? The shorter characters, wider R and T and other strokes all show us that it's Feinen Bold. So the most common type of label - the settlement label - is indeed as we've always thought it to be, Feinen Bold.

Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

This last type of label is sometimes styled differently from settlement labels, but in this case it's just the same - Feinen Bold. Can you see the difference?

I will post some more examples later.
Last edited by Thorf on Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:26 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Fixed two images which were swapped by mistake.
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Gawain_VIII » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:31 pm

Very interesting! Amazing stuff!! I wonder if you could make a similar exercise to illustrate the differences & similarities between Feinen and Baldur?

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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Hugin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:40 pm

I'm not entirely sure way, but I am jealous. :mrgreen:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Andaire » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:47 pm

Will you now go back to all your previous maps and change the fonts to use your newly acquired Feinen, or will you use it only with newer maps? Maybe when you update older maps?
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:34 am

Andaire wrote:Will you now go back to all your previous maps and change the fonts to use your newly acquired Feinen, or will you use it only with newer maps? Maybe when you update older maps?


As you can imagine, changing the font for all my maps will take a long time - especially with the difference in size between Baldur and Feinen. As with all such changes (and there have been a lot of them over the years!), I will be doing it as I work through making corrections and changes to existing maps.

(Other changes I am currently making incrementally include palette changes; minor and major hex art upgrades; revisions to the way I mark rivers, roads and trails; adding in of borders to improve legibility; adding or fixing border art; etc., etc.)
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Chimpman » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:24 am

Thanks so much for this article Thorf! This is a great way to capture a piece of Mystaran history!
Thorf wrote:Image
Top to bottom: Feinen Regular, original caption, Feinen Bold

This last type of label is sometimes styled differently from settlement labels, but in this case it's just the same - Feinen Bold. Can you see the difference?

Ok, I went through all the examples and got most of them just by eyeballing it... and those that I missed, after a little closer inspection I agreed with your assessment. This one though keeps throwing me. I really think that the original label looks like Feinen Regular and not bold. The thickness of the O and As looks more like it matches the taller, thinner script.
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:55 am

Oops - it seems I had the last and third last examples the wrong way round! :oops: I've fixed the article, so please look at those two again. :geek:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Andaire » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:46 am

Thorf wrote:As you can imagine, changing the font for all my maps will take a long time - especially with the difference in size between Baldur and Feinen. As with all such changes (and there have been a lot of them over the years!), I will be doing it as I work through making corrections and changes to existing maps.
(Other changes I am currently making incrementally include palette changes; minor and major hex art upgrades; revisions to the way I mark rivers, roads and trails; adding in of borders to improve legibility; adding or fixing border art; etc., etc.)


Do you / will you list those incremental changes in the to-do list on every map's page?
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Big Mac » Fri Mar 13, 2009 9:58 pm

Wow. I wish I had your knowledge of typefaces, so that I could track down all the variations used for Spelljammer.

Thorf wrote:Regarding faux italics: TSR typographers quite often used faux italics, including some cases when an italic version of the typeface in question did actually exist at the time. I noticed this with Baskerville, I think in the BECMI series. Generally speaking, real italic versions are designed in a more cursive style - not just tilted over to the right (or sometimes left). As I noted in the example images, this lazy tilting without designing a proper italic form is a typographical faux-pas - something that most typographers will avoid whenever possible.


Hmm. The whole article interests me, but this really interests me.

I'm now wondering if your inner Mystara fan or your inner typographer fan will win out when you use italics. ;)

So which of the two do you think it is more important to be true to? (I don't suppose it matters, except to the tiny percentage of nerds who can spot the difference and also have the geek-fu to know what it means.) :ugeek:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:19 am

Andaire wrote:Do you / will you list those incremental changes in the to-do list on every map's page?


I sometimes mention them when I post a notice about updating a map, but not always. If you look through my maps right now, you will likely find different versions of hex art on different maps if you look closely. To give some examples: I recently redrew the hills hex (including forested hills), the grasslands hex, and the swamp hex. I also reconfigured the castle border to more closely match the official maps, and scaled it down a bit - and you can see some maps still have the old version.

Would it be useful to you for me to list all these things?

Big Mac wrote:Wow. I wish I had your knowledge of typefaces, so that I could track down all the variations used for Spelljammer.


I'd be quite happy to do it for you, if you send me some samples. There probably weren't that many fonts used in Spelljammer, and a lot of them will be standard AD&D fonts, so it shouldn't take that long to finish.

Hmm. The whole article interests me, but this really interests me.

I'm now wondering if your inner Mystara fan or your inner typographer fan will win out when you use italics. ;)

So which of the two do you think it is more important to be true to? (I don't suppose it matters, except to the tiny percentage of nerds who can spot the difference and also have the geek-fu to know what it means.) :ugeek:


In this case I have to bow to the work of cartographers past and use the faux italics. :geek: :P Moreover, since Illustrator doesn't allow you to set faux italics, I had to actually request separate font files from Datascan in order to use it. (And before that I did the same thing with Baldur.)

The fact is, even if it is a typographical faux-pas, my eyes are so used to seeing it that it doesn't look bad to me. Sure it would be nicer if Feinen had an actual italic version, but it doesn't. I suppose I could try and design one, but I don't really need yet another project to be working on! :lol:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Andaire » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:50 am

Thorf wrote:Would it be useful to you for me to list all these things?


Not really, as long as you don't lose track of them. You have a lot of maps, and more as time passes, but I imagine you already keep a list of to-do besides the one you publish for general notice.
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Mon Mar 16, 2009 1:21 pm

Andaire wrote:Not really, as long as you don't lose track of them. You have a lot of maps, and more as time passes, but I imagine you already keep a list of to-do besides the one you publish for general notice.


Not for this kind of thing. To me it's usually glaringly obvious when there are old elements in one of my maps, to the point that I find it almost embarrassing. It's probably because of that emotional reaction that I can easily remember what needs changing.

Besides, if it wasn't like that - if my new art wasn't so much better than the old stuff that you can easily see the difference - then maybe it wouldn't be worth worrying about anyway. :D

I'm going to make a thread detailing the history of Mystaran hex art at some point, and a companion thread detailing my own hex art. When I do, you'll see exactly what I mean: my oldest hex art looks like it was drawn by a little kid with crayons and no sense of style whatsoever! :lol:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Urieal » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:08 pm

For those who are looking for this font, OPTIFurst is as close as I could find (other than Baldur)...what's better is I found it online for free :D

http://www.fontpark.net/en/font/optifurst/
http://www.fontpark.net/en/font/optifurst-bold/

I have both of them and intend to keep them...forever ;D


Datascan.co.uk is no longer in existance. I wonder if the Feinen font could be distributed now that they are defunct?!?
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Dave L » Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:46 pm

You are a star sir! I have the Baldur font, but I was never able to find the beta version Thorf was given for sale, so no accents.
With the fonts you found, we not only have accents, but also bold type - yes!

Just a shame it's not available in italics. :)
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Seer of Yhog » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:42 pm

Way cool - downloaded!
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Chimpman » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:59 pm

Thanks! I'm going to grab these when I get home as well!

Oh, and welcome to the Piazza Urieal! That's a great first post :cool:
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Urieal » Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:00 am

Dave L wrote:You are a star sir!
Thanks! Nice to feel like my very first post was a valuable one :D

Dave L wrote:Just a shame it's not available in italics. :)
I might be able to fix this as well...given some time.

On a side note, I was wrong to assume that Datascan.co.uk is out of business. They are not. I was unable to pull up their site from work and, foolishly, thought that it was no longer available (archive.org has their latest update in 2008...which further fueled my erroneous assumption). I checked when I got home and...apparently they are certainly still in business.

That being said, it'd still be quite awesome of them to release Feinen for public use :D
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Hugin » Tue Feb 08, 2011 3:53 pm

Fantastic find, Urieal! And welcome to The Piazza!
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Thorf » Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:10 am

Interesting find... I have to wonder if OPTI has actually allowed their font to be posted for free download, or if they are simply unaware that someone else has. Given how closely font foundries tend to guard their rights, I somehow doubt that they have endorsed that site. Still, there's no way for us to know either way, so for now it's a great resource for Mystara fans.
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Urieal » Tue Jul 26, 2011 9:45 pm

Thorf wrote:Interesting find... I have to wonder if OPTI has actually allowed their font to be posted for free download, or if they are simply unaware that someone else has. Given how closely font foundries tend to guard their rights, I somehow doubt that they have endorsed that site. Still, there's no way for us to know either way, so for now it's a great resource for Mystara fans.

Castcraft, who makes the font, seems to be out of business. I pulled up an archived website and called the contact number, which linked me to a sign business in Chicago. After doing some research, Castcraft has gone out of business completely. I talked to a man who now inhabits the building where they were based and he has confirmed they are no longer in business.

I cannot find any record of anyone purchasing them OR transfer of copyright license. Either way, I think anyone who wants to use the OPTIFurst font, could do so without fear of liability (though...I'm no lawyer).
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Dave67 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:46 am

Hello Thorf, I was redirected here regarding a font question. For the various maps, for those who don't have Baldur or OPTIfurst - like me - would you recommend Copperplate Gothic Bold and Copperplate Gothic Light? I just did a quick test on one of my map worksheets in Paint, and it seems to be close Feinen.
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Re: [Fonts] Feinen

Postby Culture20 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:39 pm

Not sure what Thorf would suggest, but I would like to toot my own horn and suggest MyZtaraSmooth. It's a font with a Feinen/Baldur similar typeface, but with many additional characters.
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