New typeface: Publico

One more newspaper-serif by Commercial Type (with a monospaced family inside)

January 23, 2024

Publico originated as one of many stops on the long road to The Guardian’s 2005 redesign and the Guardian family. It was later finished for Mark Porter and Simon Esterson’s redesign of Público in Lisbon. Because it shares the skeletal form of the Guardian typeface, Publico is a perfect companion.

The collection contains four families: Publico Нeadline, Publico Text, Publico Banner and Publico Text Mono.

Despite its long history, Publico still feels contemporary and appears not only in newspapers, but also in web-design and brand identity.

Aside from Commercial Type founders Christian Schwartz and Paul Barnes, Kai Bernau (Publico Headline), Ross Milne (Publico Headline, Publico Text, Publico Banner) and Greg Gazdowicz (Publico Text Mono) have contributed to the collection. Cyrillic for the collection was drawn by Ilya Ruderman (CSTM Fonts).

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Publico Headline

The balanced interplay between sharp serifs and soft ball terminals and lack of fussy details gives the face a clean, contemporary look and a quiet elegance, and the wide range of weights makes Publico Headline well-suited to any kind of publication design.

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Publico Text

The narrow proportion of Publico Text makes for a very efficient text typeface, but the squareness of the forms and overall openness keeps the text from looking squeezed. From Publico Headline to Publico Text, elegance gives way to sturdiness in the serifs and less pronounced ball terminals, making for an even, comfortable texture in text.

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Publico Banner

Publico Banner was initially designed to meet the needs of magazine designers who found that Publico Headline was not quite enough for enormous display type. Publico Banner offered its designers an opportunity to indulge their love of high-contrast, very tightly spaced late 1970s display type. The Ultra weight, in particular, is a loving homage to American lettering artists and type designers. This family was first seen in 2011 in Dagens Nyheter, Sweden’s largest-circulation morning newspaper, and in Mark Porter’s 2012 refresh of Portuguese daily Público.

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Publico Text Mono

When Bloomberg Businessweek was starting work on their election issue in 2012, Richard Turley commissioned a monospaced version of their sans. Commercial Type had moved into an office in Chinatown in New York earlier that year; Christian Schwartz had noticed monospaced serif type on many signs in the neighborhood. Inspired by these forms, he offered to draw a monospaced version of Publico Text as well, enabling data to look like data in Businessweek’s serif typeface as well. Though it was not space-efficient enough for this special issue, it appeared in infographics and in feature headlines in many subsequent issues. Greg Gadzowicz added the italics, which are optically corrected obliques in 2014.

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Mentioned fonts