September 2020, Type Digest

Kindergarten brutalism and Soviet capitalis monumentalis, wicked serifs and smart counters, the most humanlike script and the hugest bespoke family

October 8, 2020

Typefaces of September, as chosen by TypeCache

TypeCache team continues to closely follow releases of new typefaces. Akira Yoshino, Taro Yumiba, and Shohei Ito have selected eleven most exciting releases of September.


Clarendon can be wicked, too!

Philip Herman took a small-size cut of Ronaldson Clarendon typeface (1885) and created a fat, but wicked new serif. Eccentric serifs and modulation attract all the attention possible to Syncro in large sizes — but apart from character, they work for legibility, thus making it a great book typeface. Despite the trend for super families, here we only have a minimum of necessary styles — Book, Italic, Mono, Mono Italic, — soon those will be joined by a loud Bold Extended and a fancy Script.


The idea of building type families without resorting to interpolation gets relevant once again. And the engraving technique seemingly acts as a basis for the planned script’s aesthetics. All those things are a very rare and positive phenomenon.


Global type conference, organised by designers from all over the world

The inaugural TypeWknd has been organised by a large number of type professionals from all the continents — not only from generally recognized type capitals. As a result, 88 free online-access speeches were delivered. Records of all four days are available on TypeWknd’s YouTube channel.


Within these days, a huge number of young type designers from all over the world have spoken about completely different writing systems, their projects and research. It’s pretty hard to select the best from this vast amount of talks, so I recommend you to watch all four available videos, though I’d like to mention my personal favourites:

Day 1
1. 01:40:30 What Needs to Be in a Specimen, Ivo Gabrowitsch — an interesting analysis of digital specimen + announcement of
2. 06:40:35 Spektra, a multi-script typeface that celebrates the spectrum of human diversity, Alja Herlah & Krista Likar — the new typeface in our collection.
3. 07:10:25 EQX: a tool for visually evaluating font quality, Eben Sorkin — a tool for testing and evaluating a font project.
4. 07:40:40 Belgrade Street Signage — The urgency for two script, Jovana Jocić, 2020 TypeMedia graduate, tells about her project and love for Cyrillic.

Day 2
1. 02:27:45 From an unemployed graduate in Siberia to an independent designer in New York: a (somewhat) critical examination, Irina Koryagina — our compatriot who won over Pentagram.
2. 06:35:42 How to domesticate a wild typeface, Cristian Vargas — another beautiful project from another TypeMedia graduate.

Day 3
03:57:29 A Compassionate Approach to Font Enforcement, Phil Carey-Bergren of Monotype tells how they works with potential license violators.

Day 4
07:59:23 Intuitive Design for Variable Font Specimens, Rony Ginosar — an interesting attempt to look into the world of variable font specimens.


Very useful for inspiration and example. Like, when you’ve wasted all your energy on developing a typeface, and you’ve got nothing left for preparing a presentation.


A script typeface, indistinguishable from handwriting

LiebeHeide is perhaps the most remarkable project of Ulrike Rausch who specializes in handwritten scripts. It reproduces a ballpoint pen writing — authentically to such a degree that you can’t tell it from the real thing. Other than lots of alternates and ligatures, there are also doodles, underlines, and strikethroughs — all amazingly real. The lively texture of a ballpoint is expressed through the OpenType-SVG format: unlike ‘normal’ font files, this has colour and transparency.


Five free seats at TypeCooper, for BIPOC designers

Juan Villanueva (who this spring highlighted racial bias at Type Directors Club) has raised money to fund five seats in his Type Cooper’s Display Type class. Social scholarship will be granted to BIPOC designers. The winners have not yet been selected.


This is great that we live in a time when one person can do more than a professional association. In the age of visual overconsumption and universal information availability, it is exactly soft skills like this that make a leader.


New stuff at ABC Dinamo

ABC Dinamo rolled out a new website: even less expressive means, even more brilliance. Besides that, two new releases, including brutal and sweet Maxi — sort of Le Corbusier on a children’s playground. Plus, a new licensing policy: the smaller the company using a typeface is, the less it has to pay (just like on our Tomorrow storefront!)


Bespoke typeface and icon set for Austrian Post

TypeJockeys (recently we’ve released a Cyrillic for their Sauber Script) are boasting a new custom typeface for Austrian Post. It is a nice DIN-like sans serif: austere, but not boring; equipped with a set of 200 icons that are activated as context alternates (you simply have to type an icon name between two asterisks).


The history of ballot design in USA

America is focused on the presidential elections to take place on November 3rd. Alicia Cheng, the author of This Is What Democracy Looked Like, reports on how American voting ballots looked like in the past. As it turns out, the voting procedure wasn’t regulated on the federal level up until the 1880s, and the ballots were often produced by the parties and politicians themselves, serving as pieces of campaign propaganda, — thus colorful and flamboyant typography, aimed at attracting the attention of the voters. The first modern-format ballots, adopted by the US after Australia, look way more strict — yet also full of eye-catching details.


We should take that into account, in the future Belarus.


Paratype design 48 bespoke fonts for Russia’s Sber (former Sberbank)

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, announced that it wants to be a versatile digital service — and cast away the second part of its name. The rebranding was performed by the British agency Landor, while Paratype designed a huge custom type system — 48 typefaces for all intents and purposes.


A big, beautiful project. Can be used as a visual aid. Congratulations to our colleagues.


Proto-Times and post-Soviet display type: new releases from Lineto

Lineto delivers two entirely different new typefaces. Bradford (by Laurenz Brunner) refers to Römische Antiqua, a widely popular design dating back to a century and a half ago which served as a key inspiration for Times New Roman. Look at the specimen of Bradford family for seeing a peculiarity in the regular (and vice versa). Heymland (by Yevgeniy Anfalov) is based on an alphabet drawing by Solomon Telingater, Soviet type designer and calligraphist, which refers to Koch-Antiqua. Compared to the original typeface, Heymland gets rid of anything unnecessary and enhances all things expressive: it results in a reserved, yet arrowy; festive, yet modern all-caps display font (and yes, it does have a Cyrillic set).


Great detail in Bradford, that stroke dynamics in СSZacsz.


Maria Doreuli debunks the display type mythology

Display type is quick. Display type is easy to make. Display type is a single usage good. Co-founder of Contrast Foundry, Maria Doreuli gets away from trivial judgements and tells us what work it takes to produce a display typeface and what this sort of work offers to designers — utilising her Chimera project as an example.


Wow, that’s revolutional, thanks to Maria for the discourse. :) As recently as five years ago this opinion would have been seen as rather unpopular. Some of those myths are to be found in professional literature, accredited commentaries, and video reviews — and this created a disagreeable vacuum.


“On the appearance and development of Cyrillic letterforms”

Schrift (aka Type Journal) presents an extensive article recounting the past and the present of Cyrillic. A nice opportunity to get a refresher course — and learn something new.


Jonathan Barnbrook talks politics of design

The experienced and renowned British designer shares the story of how he started his career at the age of sixteen, what he learned while working with David Bowie and Damien Hirst, — and urges designers to be aware of how their work affects the world around them.


Graduate projects at TypeMedia

The graduates of TypeMedia — type master program at KABK, one of the most influential professional courses on our planet, — have defended their final projects. A designer from Russia, Olga Umpeleva, presented a typeface called Noordenwind — a contrast sans serif that can grow mad crazy deconstructive serifs, turning a text into the super-display ripples.


TDC 23rd Typeface Design Competition, winners

Type Directors Club, that earlier announced its reorganisation, presented the winners of their Typeface Design Competition — among them, Almost and Falling Script that we have mentioned in our digests last year.


I am genuinely glad for Falling Script! 
I would call it a typeface with hybrid identity — in a sense that they use this term speaking of culture. Both a deep research and simply beautiful.


Cooper-esque for MailChimp

The email marketing service MailChimp was given its own typeface: Greg Gazdowicz of Commercial Type designed a round, Cooper-like serif called Means for headlines in the app and on Web.


This is beautiful.


The Good, the Wicked, and the Variable: our new releases

In September we added a variable version to the geometric Nekst and released Cyrillic for the ultra-fancy serif called Apoc — you can find all this in our Tomorrow storefront. The main collection has welcomed Spektra, the dense display sans serif.


Action Text: Erik van Blokland masters the white

Action Text picks up where Action Condensed, a display grotesque released by Erik van Blokland and Commercial Type four years ago, left off. Unlike its predecessor, the typeface is much more concerned with its legibility, thus fine, elaborate compensation of the internal and external white. Check out the geometrically ‘incorrect’ letterforms, which look entirely natural and perfectly legible, even in small sizes. Plus, Action Text is fitted with the Grades variable axis, which helps you get the styles for light (thinner) and dark (bolder) backgrounds.


Timur Zima, the curator of Instagram, highlighted seven key trends (soon to be clichés) in today’s typography. The wicked serifs are our favourite, this term is to stay with us forever!


Wicked serif is ❤️. The article is my inspiration for either a typeface, or a tattoo.


The most reflective and meaningful collection of type specimens

Marc Boulton spent approximately hundred hours interviewing type designers, studio owners, and typeface users, to find out what a proper web presentation for a typeface should look like. He shares the insight of this research on his website, Type Specimens, — you will find an enormous, constantly updated list of links to the different type specimens there, too. Each item is equipped with a brief comment, with the author thoroughly investigating each design (not passing by the less interesting ones).

In September, our Instagram became a platform for Artem Matyushkin’s signature monochrome designs. Thank you, Artem!

In October, the shift’s taken over by Evgenia Nechaeva.