Building the Alphabet:
UPPERCASE part 6

Previously I did B, P, R and D—characters with a combination of verticals and curves. This time I’m working on Q, C, G—three of six curvey letters.

Uppercase Q

In my research for this font, I noticed that most uppercase Q’s were done with basic ball and stick construction. That is, the Q is made up of an O with a diagonal stroke (the tail) starting inside the counter on the lower right, moving down and right to the outside.


This font is a bit more condensed, making the ball and stick structure a bit more difficult. In order to not crowd the counter, the tail needs to not start too far inside the counter, but just enough to be recognized as the start of the stroke. It also needs to have a little bit of space on all three sides inside the counter so that it doesn’t just blend into the curved strokes of the O shape, making it into a heavy blob.

The next thing I needed to consider is the angle of the tail. Too far up and it encroaches on the space of whatever glyph might follow. Too far down and it doesn’t have the diagonal construction.

The last consideration was the length of the tail. This isn’t a swashy font. And the Q’s I’ve seen in my research tend to keep things pretty basic. So I made the tail short and functional. I tried to end the stroke with the midpoint of its terminal on the baseline. This gives it just enough length to be anatomically significant—no more, no less.

Uppercase C

The uppercase C is essentially the O with a chunk taken out of the right side. In sans serif letters, the main distinguishing characteristic of C is its terminals, their location in relation to the curve of O, and the angle at which they terminate.


I decided to make this C terminate just past the top and bottom, with the angle of the terminal perpendicular to the stroke angle. This is similar to most of the uppercase C’s I observed in my research of protest posters.

Uppercase G

The top of the G ends the same way as the C. The lower portion has a horizontal arm which can attach to either a vertical stem or the continued curve of the O form. If there’s a vertical stem which attaches to the curved stroke, then it usually has a spur on the bottom. When researching protest signs, the majority of G’s lacked a spur and vertical stem, and used the curved construction insted.


The arm of the G typically did not jut out to the right of the curved stroke beneath it, so I followed that trend as well. It also makes this character easier to space.

The only other major decision I had to make when constructing the G was how high to place the arm. I decided the best placement for this font is just below center. This is usual for constructing this character, and it gives the letter stability with a slightly lower visual center. (Plus it just seems to look right.)

Up Next

I’ll finish out the basic English uppercase alphabet with S, U, and J. In the post following I’ll move on to numbers.

2017-09-11T16:20:11+00:00 September 12th, 2017|Categories: How, Type|Tags: , , |