Type Digest, November 2019

Typography of a steamroller, two super-variable fonts, a Netflix documentary on type design, and 13 more type news this November, commented by the authors of Tomorrow, our new font catalogue.

December 3, 2019

Typography of a steamroller, two super-variable fonts, a Netflix documentary on type design, and 13 more type news this November, commented by the authors of Tomorrow, our new font catalogue.


Beer Flight Of Type


Studio Darden go on with their ambitious Birra Family, which is set to be a type equivalent of a beer flight (a tasting menu in US craft breweries). This November they released Birra Bruin by Elena Schneider (inspired by oud bruin, a style of ale originating in Flanders). Birra Bruin “goes well beyond the familiar by delivering a vibrant and contemporary Blackletter with a passion for straight lines”. The license for Bruin (as well as Birra Stout, which was released back in 2008) is “basically free”.

Anna Seslavinskaya, tomorrow.type.today: Hot! A product like this, with type as its core value, deserves a slick landing page to showcase the font in a medium, e.g. package design. Birra Bruin can really open up in a contrasting aesthetic, which might be a far cry from gothic.

Nikita Kanarev, tomorrow.type.today: The font project is dedicated to Flanders brown ale: malty, sour flavor, fruity nose with raisin, plum, fig, or date overtones. Does the font style convey this description?

Ilya Bazhanov, tomorrow.type.today: I liked the ‘have fun’ part in the project description for type designers who want to participate. Great approach! “No stress, simply relax and enjoy your work”, I might add.


Factor A, Neat Sans With Exciting Superpowers


We updated our font catalogue with Factor A, a versatile sans with wild alternate glyph forms. Great option in case you are tired of classic geometric type.


Font Made Of Solar Eclipse


Letters from Sweden released Eklips, a geometric sans with smart stroke overlaps, exploring “how the appearance of a solar eclipse, just before the moon covers the sun, can inform letterforms”. In its thin styles, the stroke rhythm is barely noticeable, while in the heavier weights the texture becomes bold and expressive.


Relate, Alex Slobzheninov’s Multi-Genre Family


Alex Slobzheninov, who designed Grafier, the angular serif family from our Tomorrow collection, embarked on a new type project, available at Future Fonts. Relaate is a “multi-genre type family” with a sans, a slab, and three serif styles, all related through common anatomy. The Cyrillic set is yet to come.

Nikita Kanarev, tomorrow.type.today: The family is so rich and unique that it risks becoming a single-use tool, while any other piece set in Relaate would merely be a reference to the initial.

Ilya Bazhanov, tomorrow.type.today: Fun project with some food for thought on how to combine incongruous type. The case when one type family is not a classical set of weights, but rather a collection of opposites. Really gives you a fresh perspective at what a font family is. Oh, and I am tuned in for the release of the Cyrillics!

Swiss Typefaces’ New Website And Supernew Fonts


Our friends Swiss Typefaces updated their website and released three, very display, fonts. It’s little use describing Black Mamba, KOPYME, and Vogy Smog with words. Just look at them!

Anna Seslavinskaya, tomorrow.type.today: Swiss Typefaces’ Lab collection is like a wildlife sanctuary. This is the typography of splashed water, ant colonies, a steamroller, a duct tape.


Variable Type, Google-Commissioned


Stephen Nixon, TypeMedia’18 alumnus, got support from Google for his Recursive, initially a student project. The variable font has five axes: Proportion, Monospace, Weight, Slant, and Italic (the final one only has three values). Recursive is not yet published at Google Fonts, but there is a website with publicly available beta and impressive variability demonstrations: a Noordzij-inspired 3D cube and a 2D matrix of two parameters which you can draw on. The Cyrillics have not been announced.

Anna Seslavinskaya, tomorrow.type.today: Google Fonts really did lack a style like Recursive Mono Casual Normal Extra Black.

Alex Slobzheninov, tomorrow.type.today: A large and quality project like this is surely to not be unnoticed. Well-designed letterforms, well-developed interpolation, modern day’s aesthetics. Hope the design community will appreciate and put it into some great use.

Alexander Cherepanov, tomorrow.type.today: The main problem with variable fonts, it seems to me, is they are largely of no use for graphic and other non-type designers. Of all five axes in Recursive, just one is really handy, that is the weight. If the slant angle would alter between 0 and −45, that might have come in handy, while the intermediate values we have now are quite insignificant and unnecessary. The degree of casualness or monowidth, would much rather be just 0 or 1, the interims are also not that handy or intriguing. It seems like the type designers are fascinated like “wow, we have 5 axes and interpolation”, while graphic designers go like “wow, that’s cool, but why do we need that”.

Ilya Bazhanov, tomorrow.type.today: A great case of how a single font file can hold a whole bunch of fine tuning options. A script monospace makes a great texture, both mechanical and vivid, flexible. Plus, the variability demonstration is one of the most impressive I’ve seen yet.


All Curves And Edges Of Variable Type


Axis Praxis, the online variable type showcase, have released a new web app called Samsa, with which you can track the movement of every node in the letterform.

Ilya Bazhanov, tomorrow.type.today: Samsa really lets you dive deep into what interpolation and variability look like. The resulting abstract patterns and interlacing are simply fascinating, a real fun to watch. I wonder why the website looks so archaic, though.


New Font, Logo, and Layout For The Atlantic


The Atlantic, a 162-year old US magazine, unveiled its new identity system, including a concise new nameplate, a new layout with lots of white space, and a custom headline font, all taking inspiration from the era the publication was founded in.

Anna Seslavinskaya, tomorrow.type.today: Good one. The cover is now clear of headlines, the emphasis is now on the content, the layout says “we are a magazine to be read.”

Alex Slobzheninov, tomorrow.type.today: It’s curious to see classical typography work in our age. All is very handsome, but, subjectively, I would love to push it a bit forward, give it a new twist of some sort.


New Website And New Take On Akzidenz Grotesk From Klim Type Foundry


Klim Type Foundry updated their website and released a new collection of sans serif styles. Söhne is “the memory of Akzidenz-Grotesk framed through the reality of Helvetica”, capturing “the analogue materiality” of the font in NYC Subway’s wayfinding system. Apart from a large insight on the design process, Klim published an article on the origins of Akzidenz Grotesk, an iconic font whose author still remains anonymous. Promo videos of Söhne and Klim’s new website, were made by DIA Studio, the pioneers of kinetic type, using physical letterforms.


Roger Excoffon: type designer, graphic designer, painter, philosopher


Earlier this year typographer Bruce Kennet gave a talk at The Cooper Union about Roger Excoffon, iconic French graphic designer and painter, the author of Mistral and Banco, two of Europe’s best known display fonts of 20th Century. See the video on TypeCooper’s Vimeo channel.


Type Journal’s Selected Cyrillic Fonts Of 2018


Type Journal (aka Schrift) published their annual feature of ten remarkable Cyrillic fonts released last year. Two of type.today’s collection have made it to the list: CSTM Xprmntl 02 and Styrene.


Playful Type By Feixen


Lucerne-based Studio Feixen unveiled a type catalogue, consisting of an only, very variable, font.

Alex Slobzheninov, tomorrow.type.today: Launching a studio of one, ever-transforming, font is a bloody great idea! The super-variable fonts like this always make me wonder, though: what about the interim styles? Seems to be the reason why Feixen mainly put on sale the classic static styles, which still, I should say, are well worth their money.


Confusion In Greek Typography


Irene Vlachou (who designed the Greek glyph set for Parmigiano Collection) writes about the state of Greek type vocabulary. Surprisingly, Greek-speaking type designers, calligraphers, typographers and tutors are still to come to terms about type anatomy: e.g. there are no less than six ways to say ‘serif’ in Greek.


Hoefler Explains How Type Deceives


Jonathan Hoefler, co-founder of Hoefler&Co, recently starred in an episode of Abstract, a Netflix documentary series, being interviewed about type his design process and works for Apple and Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. In the complementary article on H&Co website, Hoefler explains ten graphic illusions that work in type.

Anna Seslavinskaya, tomorrow.type.today: If you have no idea what hamburgefontsiv is, the guide might come in handy. First and foremost, this is a promo material for Abstract, a series reporting on the fundamentals of today’s design industry in 45-minute episodes: architecture, costumes, toys, product, typography. You won’t likely need to take notes, so feel free to grab a bottle of wine. The same applies to the article. :)

New Version Of FontLab


Our friends FontLab Ltd. released a new version of their flagship product, FontLab 7. We are sure to test it and write about our impressions.


Tomorrow’s Type At Type.Today


We launched Tomorrow, our new storefront, a collection of experimental fonts which might become tomorrow’s mainstream. They also have different licensing conditions: the price depends on the scale of use, rather than its medium. Read more at the links above.

The great pictures you saw in our Instagram this November were designed by Karina Yazylyan. Thanks a lot, Karina!

December’s starring instagrammer is Asya Cherepanova.

Mentioned fonts