New Typeface: Lyon

A contemporary book and publication serif that made it way from a KABK graduation project to the pages of New York Times Magazine

January 23, 2024

Kai Bernau originally designed Lyon Text in 2006 as his degree project for the Type + Media MA program at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, and later reworked the family for release by Commercial Type. In 2010 the family was expanded to include an elegant display size, further adding to its versatility.

Lyon takes a serious approach to history, working from punchcutter Robert Granjon’s 16th century masterworks, but views it through the lens of up-to-the-minute contemporary type design techniques, perfectly balancing tradition and innovation.

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Lyon Text

Lyon Text draws intelligently from the Renaissance forms retaining a contemporary feel. Its elegant looks are matched with an intelligent, anonymous nature, making it excellent for magazines, books and newspapers like New York Times Magazine where the family made its debut.

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Lyon Display

Lyon Display sharpens some aspects of Lyon Text, such as the serifs, while softening others, including the hard corners on the ball terminals and the lowercase g, and the incoming strokes in the italic lowercase. Lyon Display is a decidedly contemporary take on the Oldstyle tradition, with relatively high contrast and a wide weight range, while still remaining faithful to the genre’s conventions: the contrast still is far lower than what it would be in a display Modern, and the Black weight manages to avoid crossing over into self-parody. All styles of Lyon Display include fractions and both lining and oldstyle figures. Italic styles include a set of swash characters.

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Lyon’s author Kai Bernau came to The Hague to finish his studies in 2004 but has not managed to leave. Married to his business partner Susana Carvalho and started Atelier Carvalho Bernau. The atelier designs reading experiences, from typeface to graphic interface, for culture and commerce. Since 2011 Kai has been teaching at MATD in ÉCAL, he has also been a guest teacher at HFBK Hamburg.

Lyon Cyrillic was designed by Ilya Ruderman (CSTM Fonts).

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