ITC Tyfa Pro

Credits

Designer(s)
Frantisek Storm, Josef Tyfa
Foundry(ies)
International Typeface Corporation
Release Year
1959, 1995
Country of Origin
Czech Republic
Classification
Serif, Transitional
Original Format
Metal (Foundry)
Distributor(s)
Linotype
Tags
baroque, czech, high contrast, modern

Background

In 1960, a Czechoslovakian design competition was held to determine the best new Czech typeface for book composition. The winner was designed by Josef Tyfa, a respected advertising and exhibit designer who had embarked on a career change to concentrate on the typographic arts.

Tyfa’s winning design was made into fonts for the Linotype typecaster, and was also available as hand-set type by the Czech type foundry Grafotechna. Although the design found immediate and continued popularity in Czechoslovakia, it saw little use elsewhere.

Political delays
Eighteen years later, another Czech type designer, Jan Solpera, sent ITC a letter suggesting that it should consider releasing Tyfa as an ITC typeface, thus giving the rest of the world a chance to use the design.

Unfortunately, at the time Solpera’s letter was sent, the “Iron Curtain” was still firmly drawn. Cold War politics made communication between the U.S. and people in Communist countries difficult at best, and often impossible. It wasn’t until another twelve years had passed, in 1990, that ITC was able to correspond with Tyfa.

Tyfa was willing to license his design to ITC, but all he had to offer were the thirty-year-old original drawings on yellowing paper. At the time, ITC was not producing digital fonts. The design continued to languish.

Tyfa is taken by Storm
In 1995 another Czech type designer, Frantisek Storm, approached Tyfa and proposed digitizing the typeface under the elder designer’s direction. Tyfa agreed. To build Tyfa’s design into a family of digital fonts, Storm started with scanned images of the original drawings for metal type.

Maintaining the personality and basic characteristics of the metal original was a primary objective for the two designers. However, as the new digital typeface family was developed, a number of subtle changes were made. Curves were softened, serifs were modified, and other analog “noise” was removed without detracting from the distinctive character of the design.

Finally, ITC Tyfa
Structurally, ITC Tyfa is a neoclassical design, with a vertical axis, pronounced contrast between thick and thin strokes, and thin serifs with no bracketing joining them to the stems.

The curves and the variations of thick and thin show exuberance far beyond most neoclassical types. While it’s possible to see echoes of other Czech type designers, such as Oldrich Menhart, in Tyfa’s work, ITC Tyfa is not a “national” type design. It’s a typeface with a truly international appeal and a distinctive character all its own.

With the newly released ITC Tyfa Pro, graphic communicators can now work with this versatile design while taking advantage of OpenType’s capabilities, including the automatic insertion of old style figures, ligatures and small caps. The new ITC Tyfa Pro fonts offer an extended character set supporting most Central European and many Eastern European languages, in addition to English. (fonts.com)
———
The original metal face of Czech artist and designer Josef Tyfa’s eponymous design was cut for Linotype and was released in Czechoslovakia in 1959 by Grafotechna. It was inspired by the work of architect P.L. Nervi, whose courage and elegance Tyfa admired. “In the past,” says Tyfa, “type design was primarily based on the esthetic values of the faces; mine were inspired by the forms of modern architecture.” Frantisek Storm, who began digitizing the typeface under Tyfa’s direction in the autumn of 1995, feels the design shows “a little touch of baroque typography.” In structure it’s a modern-style typeface, with a vertical axis, a pronounced difference between thick and thin strokes, and thin serifs with no bracket joining them to the stems. But the curves and the variations of thick and thin show an exuberance far beyond most neoclassical “modern” types. The italic, especially, is almost elastic in its changing forms, with little round balls terminating some of the almost-swash thin strokes. While it’s certainly possible to see the influences and echoes of older Czech type designers, such as Oldrich Menhart, in Tyfa’s work, ITC Tyfa is not a “national” type design but an international one with a distinctive character all its own. (ITC website)
———-
ITC Tyfa is a joint effort of Frantisek Storm and Josef Tyfa. The original metal face of Czech artist and designer Tyfa was inspired by the work of architect P.L. Nervi. “In the past, type design was primarily based on the esthetic values of the faces. Mine were inspired by the forms of modern architecture,” says Tyfa. Storm began digitizing the typeface under Tyfa’s direction and feels the design shows “a little touch of baroque typography.” While it is possible to see the influences of older Czech designers, ITC Tyfa is a unique typeface with a distinctive character all its own. (Myfonts)

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Indra Kupferschmid’s avatar

Last edited by Indra Kupferschmid on August 25, 2009, 09:12pm EST

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