August 2021, Type Digest

Twitter’s (not so) bespoke typeface, art nouveau revived, Commercial Type declassified, fresh new fonts, valuable historical sources

September 7, 2021

Typefaces of August, as chosen by TypeCache

Every day, Akira Yoshino, Shohei Itoh, Taro Yumiba inform the subscribers of about new types. Here’s their list of essential font releases this August:


Adapt or preserve? The story of two rivalling Unicode proposals

According to UNESCO, India speaks 197 languages — with most of them using non-Latin scripts, of which there is also a plenty. Unicode covers 29 Indian scripts — but that is not all there is. Rest Of The World describes a painful process of agreeing the standard for the Tigalari script — historically, it was used to represent Sanskrit, Kannada and Tulu, but the colonial government gave preference to other scripts. Unicode received two submissions with proposals to digitize Tigalari script — authors of one are attempting to simplify the script and capture how the language of Tulu is spoken today (it is now spoken by approximately 1.8 million people, and those mostly write Tulu using the script for Kannada), while the other proposal is trying to preserve all the details and nuances of the ancient Tigalari (two symbols in which can have up to four alternative combinations — a technically complicated, albeit not a unique case). Valuable reading for those who take interest in unification and sistematisation of life — that is, for designers.


Grid Fraktur: shimmery, geometrical, variable

Zurich-based designer Marlon Ilg discovered an album printed in 1909 with alphabet lettering by Klaas Van Leeuwen — the flickering blackletters drawn on a grid using a compass were intended for reproduction in architecture. The modular letters turned out to be best fit for designing a variable font: styles of different width are created through changing the grid’s width. Ilg also thinks of designing slanted and back-slanted styles of Grid Fraktur.


Jugendstil (yet another name for today’s typography)

In the last few years, the pendulum of graphic trends seems to swing towards maximalism: we see lots of serifs, wild visual effects, and exaggerated calligraphic details. The author of an article on Eye On Design believes this trend to have a lot in common with Jugendstil, Art Nouveau, and Viennese Secession — all three of these European styles emerged at the very end of the 19th century are festively decorative, enthusiastic about nature and tend to combine sharp and round forms. The Neo-Jugendstil is most notable in typography: the huge amount of ornamental display fonts released are starting to leak into mainstream design — and they are already widely used in graphic design for music (for example, on Lorde’s new album each track has a specifically designed nameplate).


New Zloy

Daria Petrova released an update of her Zloy typeface on Future Fonts. The main news is the Vey style with a sophisticated inner outline that screams to be used on the cover of The Rite Of The Spring’s libretto (or for initials in a book of stories by Edgar Poe). As Petrova normally does, she offers a free license — but only for death-related designs, e. g. gravestones.


Vaults of Commercial Type

Commercial Type have opened a previously private archive of font projects started (and some finished) during the 17 years of their existence. The Vault offers early prototypes, custom fonts as well as suspended and pending retail projects. Everything presented can be licensed — or even asked to be finalised, in case you need additional glyphs or features.


TypeTogether award the annual Gerard Unger Scholarship

This year Unger Scholarship was awarded to Nina Faulhaber, working on her Aeroplan typeface — a dynamic serif that would never ever bore your eye. TypeTogether has also awarded merits to eight other designers, including Fer Cozzi with her Aimé, embracing the details of Argentinian phonetics, and Seryozha Rasskazov with his Didonist — a stencil static serif designed during his studies at ECAL. Check Tomasa, another typeface authored by Fer Cozzi on Tomorrow.


DJR Forma got Cyrillic

Serbia-based Jovana Jocić has added Cyrillic to DJR Forma font — a digital variant of ‘Italian Helvetica’, designed by Aldo Novarese. Compared to the Latin version, DJR Forma Cyrillic stills lacks the thinnest and the boldest styles — though it comes in all five optical sizes. If you need a typeface about post-war Europe, peace, elegance, and warmth, that is one of the best options (and certainly not an overused one — especially, in Cyrillic). The last argument in favour of DJR Forma are package licences (just like we have on our Tomorrow storefront) and a ‘discounted mini license’ to those for whom a full license would cause financial hardship.


Twitter switches typeface, many disapprove

Twitter now uses the custom typeface Chirp for their app and website, but only with Latin scripts. The fonts for messages in other scripts (such as Cyrillic and Arabic) have also been replaced — apparently, for those to match the Latin in terms of x-height. Meticulous users have discovered that the font (officially presented as a bespoke one) is actually the version of GT America with very few differences. GT America offers Cyrillic and Greek, but Chirp doesn’t have them yet — besides, many are unhappy about poor hinting. Judging by their like on this tweet, Grilli Type intends to solve these two issues.


Movie Title Stills Collection

Designer and visual historian Christian Annyas has been compiling his online collection of movie titles since 2009; today it features titles from over 5,000 movies, from 1902 to 2020 — that is an immense source of knowledge, references, and inspiration. The collection needs a new, modern website and a more advanced tag system, which is why Annyas asks all interested to support his work on Patreon.


British Newspaper Archive

Every day, The British Museum updates its online archive of newspapers from all over the UK — currently it has almost 45 million pages printed from 1700 to 2021. A part of this collection is now made available for free, the rest can be accessed and downloaded through subscription. The website offers search by year, region, keywords and country (other than England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, one can enjoy newspapers from colonies and oversea territories).


BoldItalic’s graduates

BoldItalic carried out an online presentation of its most recent graduate projects — this course is one of the few places where one can get a basic training in type design in Russian language. Video of presentations is available on the course web page, and they have also started to upload the works of graduates.


Aaron Burns: Till We Meet Again

Maxim Zhukov describes reading International Type Corporation’s journals in the Brezhnev era’s Moscow — and some years later meeting its co-founder Aaron Burns, and working on cyrillics for the most significant ITC’ typefaces.


Denis Masharov, 1973–2021

Designer and teacher, typography enthusiast, bright, deep and passionate speaker, Denis Masharov died suddenly on September 1st. Denis was an integral part of Russian typographic community. We are deeply saddened by his death.

In August, our Instagram was taken by Dmitry Kavka who fooled around all he liked. Thank you, Dima, that was really cool!

See all the posts of the month at #typetoday082021. In September, our account’s host is Yury Ostromentsky.