Blazer of Trails

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by Goatmeal

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Inspired by the logo typeface currently on numerous Chevrolet vehicles, including the newer models of my beloved TrailBlazer. Now includes alternate characters and a few logos.
Info: Created on 31st October 2009 . Last edited on 16th May 2010.
License Creative Commons
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10 Comments

You must love your car as much as you love your old videogames to make an exception of the rule :D
Comment by cayo 1st November 2009
A classy bit of work.
Comment by p2pnut 1st November 2009
Cayo: Yes, my TrailBlazer just celebrated its 8th birthday with me just a few weeks ago (Oct 9). :^)


P2pnut: Ever since I saw the letterforms on my vehicle, I wanted a TTF font to match. It just has a nice, clean futuristic feel to it.

The typeface style has been condensed and expanded over the years; a narrow version for the "Chevrolet" logo comes to mind:

http://www.brandsoftheworld.com/search/110515115/46208.html

Most are oblique (including on my old TrailBlazer), and a few, like the Astro van and the Avalanche, even had alternate characters with extended ascenders/descenders. In fact, my Impala has a lowercase version(!). However, over the last few years, the letterforms appear to have been standardized: vertical/non-oblique with an almost square shape (roughly equal height & width).

I suggested this type style to a few font designers in the early 2000s, but none took me up on my request. Therefore, I finally created this one myself so others could enjoy as well!
Comment by Goatmeal 2nd November 2009
A nice sci-fi design. Very clean and simple. At least it looks simple, but there are many pitfalls until you get a consistent, smooth look. You are almost there, some letters need a bit of polish though. The M,X,Y,Z are ususally very difficult to get right, but you've made them perfect. The Q is also very nice. The only glyph I don't like is the &. You could do a lot better. The space is a bit too wide. Nice logos. 10/10
Comment by Frodo7 9th November 2009
Thanks, Frodo7! I always enjoy your thoughtful comments.

To be honest, the M,Q,X and Z were all from source material, as were many, many other letter forms. The Chevrolet website currently has a lot of nice pictures of the back ends of their vehicles, and you can blow them up to get great detail for the lettering.

If you look at the X, where the stems cross, they don't come to sharp points but are rather blunt and flat. I guess we'll need a new set of bricks (wink, wink), but for now, it's a fair approximation...

And you are right about the ampersand. I originally had a really nice glyph, but I stupidly realized too late that it was an Et (etc) glyph and not the & shape. So, the current & was quickly devised without much forethought -- and it shows, unfortunately. :^(

I will try to get back to designing a better &.

Oddly enough, the asterisk (*) and the ampersand (&) have been quite difficult for me to design for these non-pixel fonts. I feel that they are my weakest glyphs at the moment...

I have shortened the space width by half -- I guess if you want a full character width space, you now need to use 2 spaces(!).
Comment by Goatmeal 10th November 2009
GM: I couldn’t tell if those soft intersections were a feature of the original that you carried over or not. Glad you mentioned them!

As for “new” bricks, there is a dangerously addictive and useful hidden feature of FontStruct I dubbed “brickstacking” (a bug, really, that I isolated, refined, described, and released to the public back in August of ’08...though the original description has long since been deleted). You can find a useful description courtesy of djnippa here. At a given grid size, and for all such diagonal intersections that otherwise cannot be cleanly resolved, brickstacking is currently the only way to achieve sharp crotches and apexes. Otherwise, one must choose a solution such as you did or take the incredibly time consuming route of grid doubling, tripling, etc. Give it a shot, it could definitely come in handy.

And I must say that “Et” is in fact the origin of &! It’s a ligature of the Latin word for “and’. There are tons of lists of beautiful ampersands; here’s one. Enjoy : )
Comment by William Leverette (will.i.ૐ) 10th November 2009
@will.i.ૐ: So, it's you that we have to thank for brickstacking. You are now officially my hero :) It opens up such a vast world of opportunities, I couldn't work without it.
Comment by p2pnut 10th November 2009
will.i.ૐ: Thank you for the link on Brickstacking. I thought I saw an example many, many months ago concerning the technique when I first found FontStruct, but could not find it again.

I, too, considered doubling or tripling the grid size, but that presented its own problems with the curves on the outside of the characters.

I will definitely give Brickstacking a try, and hopefully get the two X's a lot closer to their actual design.

Thanks again for your wonderful technique; I look forward to experimenting with it in the future!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And by popular demand, my original ampersand (&) is now back!

[ Thanks, will.i.ૐ ! ]
Comment by Goatmeal 11th November 2009
Check out my brand-spanking new X, Y and alternate X, thanks to the assistance and tutorial on Brickstacking by will.i.ૐ and djnippa!

The crotches and apexes are now oh-so nice and sharp!
Comment by Goatmeal 11th November 2009
Welcome to the wonderful world of brickstacking GM, but beware of the darkside. It could lead you away from those amazing pixal fonts, that you do so well, into new and exciting possibilities ... still, there's plenty of room for both :-)
Comment by p2pnut 11th November 2009

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