Type News: Freebruary

Time flies; we’re almost half-way through February. We don’t buy you fleurons, but we’ll still bring you the news, new type, and other type-related arcana.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s get right to this week’s new type.

Maquette specimen

It’s been quite the week for ARS Type. Not only did they launch a new website, but they also released a significantly revamped and extended version of their neo-grotesque sans, ARS Maquette. The entire family has been redrawn, respaced, and rekerned. And if that wasn’t enough, designer Angus Shamal also added two new italic variations and pumped in a generous amount of OpenType features including unicase, display, and ending swash alternates.

But wait, there’s more …

Novelty specimen

Angus had yet another surprise up his sleeve this week. ARS Type is also giving away ARS Novelty, a delightful display face that mixes “the baroque with the geometric, the high contrast Serif with the monoline sans, the fun with the functional.” The reason this hodgepodge hybrid seems to work rather well is probably because it’s a blend of several ARS Type projects currently on the go.

Swagg specimen

Starting out as a small branding project, Miller Type Foundry’s Swagg eventually grew into a full type family. Five weights of strudy sans serif with true italics, a choice of figure styles, and extended language support. Designer Richard Miller was also kind enough to share some preliminary doodles of Swagg from his sketchbook.

Maven specimen

Under the direction of UK design agency Vissol, Joe Prince’s Maven Pro is another example of a small internal project leading to something bigger. This soft, single weight sans may still be a work in progress, but it’s solid … especially for a free font. Watch for updates to this family, as there’s a medium weight in the wings. Notice something missing? Just use the “Request a glyph” button at the bottom of the page.

Grumpy specimen

Tomi Haaparanta’s take on a classic serif display face is loosely based on ITC Grouch, an early 70s design by Tom Carnase. Grumpy sports six optical weights and meticulously adjusted kerning for “tight, not touching” headline treatments. If you’re feeling the need to reminisce about ITC Grouch, you might enjoy Rob Giampietro’s The Fonts of Summer article from a couple years back.

Periódico specimen

Originally commissioned by the Spanish daily newspaper ABC, EmType’s Periódico reaches back to the 18th century, taking inspiration from typographic engravings of that period. The extensive Periódico family consists of 30 styles ranging from thin through ultra black, for both text and display settings.

Tactical specimen

Boom, baby! Neil Summerour’s Tactical hits as hard as it looks. Four unapologetically angular faces, including a pair of military-inspired stencil variations.

Sequencia specimen

You know what you’ve been missing? A new monospaced font, that’s what. Distinguishing itself from other typewriter-esque faces, Matthew Burvill’s Sequencia is characterized by a distinctive lowercase ‘g’, ample character spacing, carefully condensed capitals, and specially tweaked ligatures. There are 12 styles in all, including proportional and monospaced varieties.

Lignette specimen

Looking for a lightweight, loopy, monoline script? Take a peek at FaceType’s Lignette, which Marcus Sterz has outfitted with a set of stylistically matching frames and other ornamental accoutrements.

Steelfish specimen

Dating back ten years, Typodermic’s recently “tuned up” Steelfish is a no nonsense, condensed grotesque sans that has a familiar feel to it. This new release covers fifteen styles, with fresh metrics, and expanded language support. Someone’s in a generous mood too, because seven weights of Steelfish are completely free for the taking.

While we prefer to show off completed typefaces, sometimes we can’t help but share a sneak preview. Judging from the glimpses of Abril that Veronika Burian and José Scaglione have shared, we’ll be delighted when they finally release it.

Coming in April is a new book by Carolina de Bartolo and Erik Spiekermann, Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting. But you don’t have to wait to explore some of the concepts and practices in the book; you can set some text on the site, using webfonts and some simple controls.

One of my passions is the field of textual studies, and some of this week’s news items made me especially happy. Anyone invested in textual studies is probably familiar with the work of Jerome McGann on “bibliographic codes,” material features of texts (including imagery, printing process, and type) that impact how the texts are interpreted. Nick Sherman offers up a beautiful example of bibliographic codes at work in his review of the Arion Press edition of Moby Dick for Fonts in Use. Laura June introduces us to tangible hyperlinks made from thread in Maria Fischer’s Thoughts on Dreams. And Craig Mod asks us to consider the nature of eBooks and how we might improve them. For a more technical discussion of bibliographic codes in electronic literature, be sure to check out Scott Rettberg’s “Letters in Space, at Play.”

Still with us? Wonderful! Here are even more worthy items for you:

The organizers of TypeCon2011: Surge are requesting panel and presentation proposals as well as speakers for the education forum.

If you’ve read the first two installments in Stephen Coles’ series on webfont alternates (you have, right?), then you’d probably be interested in joining Stephen, Tiffany Wardle, Frank Chimero, and Jason Santa Maria at South by Southwest on Sunday, March 13, for Cure for the Common Font. While you’re in Austin, consider joining in on a found type photowalk, still in its planning stages.

We close out this week’s news with a couple Valentine’s Day items:

  • Share your love for a typeface with the world through this year’s Valentype, and you might be able to call that type your own! The deadline for submissions is February 14.
  • Tell people you love them with these lovely letters made from LEGO.

That’s it from us this week. Did we miss anything? In any case, please whisper sweet nothings in the comments.

Grant Hutchinson, that gentleman, deserves our undying affection for bringing us this week’s lovely bouquet of new type.

Update: added a link to Coudal Partners. Here it is again, in case you missed it.

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