Type News: 101

No time for an intro: this week is huge!

Not a week goes by without some news about webfonts. Jodi Vautrin has a recap of a May 24 panel discussion on designing with them. Fontdeck is offering a chance to win one of their impressive gift boxes, including a $50 credit for webfonts. Of course, you’ll need some text if you’re going to put webfonts to use. If you don’t have anything in mind but want something meaty, try some of the generated text from Bacon Ipsum. If you’re not carnivorous, you might consider Vegan Ipsum instead.

Those last couple links could also give you an excuse to play with all of this week’s new type. And what better way to kick off this overabundance than by revisiting an old friend?

Reviving the face that eventually morphed into the ubiquitous Helvetica, Christian Schwartz’s Neue Haas Grotesk finally purges the “one-size-fits-all” compromises and detritus leftover from the conversion of metal to digital. This meticulous revival also includes several alternate characters from Max Miedinger’s original design. Quite the impressive typographic resurrection, indeed.

When are two sans are better than one? How about right now? Linotype comes through yet again with the release of Christian Mengelt’s Sinova — an “unfussy” five weight humanist family.

Expanding a typeface by creating stencil variations is a common trick of the trade. But what if you add both stenciling and swashes at the same time? Say hello to Marlene Stencil. Industrial and yet still refined, these four new stencil weights provide a nice set of graphic alternatives for Typonine’s existing Marlene and Marlene Display families. The inclusion of the Bickham-esque swashes sends everything right over the top.

If you’re still searching for some swashiness, the latest from Alejandro Paul will have you waxing poetic. Poem Script features inversely stressed strokes common to the “Italian Alphabet” style of 19th century American penmanship. This typeface is complex, elegant, unquestionably fanciful, and packed with hundreds of alternates and calligraphic ornaments. Be sure to enjoy the accompanying “photo novel” type specimen featuring the imagery of Chilean photographer Sergio Recabarren, as well as the gorgeous, atmospheric video by Santiago Idelson.

Houston, we have a problem. And that problem is … the Lost Type Co-op has been launching way too much cool type lately. Need proof? Pull up your gantry next to Saturn V, a modular, unicase slab by “failed astronaut turned graphic designer” Eric Mortensen. Be warned, the countdown may have to be called off — this font doesn’t have any numerals.

Alda, the newest release from Emigre is a study in adaptation. Designer Berton Hasebe applied the characteristics of physical objects to each of the three weights in this serif family. Whereas the bold has attributes akin to a piece of bent steel, the light weight is looser and softer, like a rubber band. Hasebe says, “I was interested to find out how far this could be pushed before the letters became a parody of what they referenced.” When viewed at larger sizes, the structural details of each weight are quite striking.

Lightly inspired by brush lettering, Fontsmith’s Pimlico is a distinctively soft, personable sans. The regular, bold, and black weights come equipped with true italics, a larger than average complement of ligatures, and some tasty swash caps. And for pure “graphic headline goodness,” Pimlico also includes a subtly detailed “Glow” style based on the black weight.

Developed by Radim Peško several years ago for the visual identity of Vienna’s Secession art space, the single weight Larish Alte has been recently redrawn and revamped. This quirky serif, originally inspired by the design work of Rudolf von Larisch, sports a variety of stylistic alternates, lining and oldstyle figures, and the rather obscure interfinity mark.

In addition to recently remastering (and in many cases, redrawing) every typeface in their library, Australia’s Letterbox has just unleashed a pair of spiffy, new display faces.

First up is Brunswick Black by Lan Huang and Claire Ghyzel. Like a seriously sturdy cousin of Cooper Black, it sheds the cartoon puffiness while still yearning for some tight kerning. Tipping a hat to its headline heritage, Brunswick features both small caps and “petite” caps.

Gordon is the second titling face from the Letterbox folks. Lan Huang’s generous, “no-nonsense” sans includes an assortment of special word ornaments — which nearly make up for the lack of a lowercase.

The prolific PintassilgoPrints have again provided just enough wink and nod to the retro. Chock full of alternates, interlocking ligatures, and other OpenType-powered wonderfulness, Smashing is one heck of a hefty, hand-drawn headliner.

And now for the rest of this week’s news:

Enjoy your weekend! We’ll see you next week. If you have something on your mind, let us know in the comments. If you think really hard, you can make magic happen.

Thanks to Grant Hutchinson for traveling as far as the moon to write about this week’s new type!

  • 1. Grant Hutchinson’s avatar Grant Hutchinson Jun 12, 2011

    You’d also do well to put aside a twenty minutes or so and enjoy Yves Peters’ latest (and voluminous) edition of My Type of Music over on the FontFeed.

  • 2. cmengelt’s avatar cmengelt Jun 28, 2011

    A portrait of the new font family Sinova can be found on my website: http://www.mengelt-blauen.ch/Typefaces/SinovaPortrait.pdf

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