Our latest pick of new type designs, projects and events includes a guide to combining typefaces from Thames & Hudson, punk inspired lettering from Montreal studio Feed and new releases from Fontsmith and Hoefler & Co. First up, though, is a new style blog with some striking headlines…
Kod & Form/Christopher West – Space Matters
Style blog Space Matters is described as a digital moodboard “where creative minds share their ideas and processes” – edited by Lisa Corneliusson and Nike Felldin, it features a series of image galleries curated by designers, photographers and creatives working in fashion.
“Space Matters is the product of a long collaboration with the editors,” explain West and Kod & Form’s Edvard Scott. “There was no initial brief, other than an idea to create a new take on the daily fashion blog, as we have come to know it…[with moodboards], visitors can dig into the material: explore images, read shorter texts, watch video and listen to songs, just as if they where visiting the studios of the artists.”
“We’ve also tried to bring “editorial design” to your browser,” add the pair. “One of our main design influences was an old German magazine called Twen, published in the 70’s. It is filled with iconic photography and even more iconic typography. When Commercial Type released their font family Druk in mid 2014, the same time we started the project, we knew instantly that it was a perfect match. In a time when online typography is developing in a very fast rate, our goal as designers was … ‘how far can we intertwine the expression of the material into the design?'”
Studio Feed – Post/Youth Grotesque
In September 2014, Montreal studio Feed designed a bespoke typeface, Youth Grotesque, for an exhibition showcasing work by seven Canadian artists inspired by punk aesthetics and ideology.
After designing an identity for the exhibition, the studio was asked to contribute a series of posters using the typeface, which it plans to release commercially later this year
“Youth Grotesque is my take on what a post-punk typeface could be,” explains Feed co-founder Anouk Pennel. “The installation was a set of five posters that show each weight of the font, in the manner of a specimen sheet. It also served as a commentary on the art world by the choice of words used to display the typeface.”
As well as launching a touring exhibition in New York and Berlin, Feed says there are plans to publish a book art directed by artist Daniel Canty, exploring the idea and meaning of post-punk and punk’s influence on contemporary visual arts, as well as its links to the avant garde.
While the typeface is not yet complete, Pennel says the basic structure (letters and numbers) has so far been designed in 17 styles – more images are available at studiofeed.ca
Type Team: Perfect Typeface Combinations
As its name suggests, new book Type Team: Perfect Typeface Combinations aims to provide a guide to pairing different typefaces for creative projects.
Compiled by Tony Seddon and published by Thames & Hudson, it contains 149 examples of successful combinations, covering graphic scripts as well as serifs, sans serifs and hand drawn lettering. Combinations are grouped by mood, period or theme, from sci-fi and sporty to opulent, whimsical and postmodern.
While Seddon admits some pairings won’t be to everyone’s tastes – in his introduction, he notes that the art of combining typefaces “is ultimately as subjective as it is scientific” with no straight answer to what makes a great combination – it’s a handy resource, with useful suggestions and practical advice throughout.
Alongside visual examples, Seddon presents a series of principles and tricks – tricks offer tips such as how to gauge typographic colour or how to use ‘loud’ typefaces in a way that avoids being overpowering, while principles explain how technical features such as aperture and counter shapes and glyph widths might affect different combinations. The book is published on 16 March and costs £14.99 – for details or to order a copy, see thamesandhudson.com
Hoefler & Co – Obsidian
The latest release from Hoefler & Co, Obsidian is a beautifully crafted ornamental typeface inspired by 19th century engraved lettering.
The typeface was created using digital techniques which simulate light and shadow, resulting in 2D letterforms with a remarkably convincing 3D effect. Its design builds on Hoefler & Co’s Surveyor type family, which took inspiration from engraved maps.
Hoefler & Co says the aim was to create a decorative design which pays homage to tradition, while being relevant to designers today (it’s available in six styles including Roman, small caps and italic) – the result, it says, “is a type family that escapes the shackles of historical style, while honoring the best traditions of decorative typography from the industrial age.”
Fontsmith – FS Millbank
FS Millbank is a new typeface and icon set from Fontsmith, designed for use in signage and wayfinding systems.
Created by Stuart de Rozario, it is the result of significant research into current signage typefaces and how pace, volume of traffic and technological changes affect the way we take in information from signs and wayfinding today: as he explains in a blog post on its making, “my research findings…told me that in this fast-paced tech world we demand much more of fonts and how letterforms and words react to differing environment conditions – such as poor lighting, varying viewing perspectives and trying to decipher information in crowded spaces whilst on the move.”
“Considerations also had to be taken into account about how the type looks on-screen in various sizes for devices, apps, route finders and electronic displays as well as in print,” he adds.
To ensure Millbank would appear clearly legible in various conditions, de Rozario tested it in sizes ranging from 6 to 900 pt and created on-screen blur tests to identity how characters might be distorted in illuminated displays. He also added a range of features to eliminate ‘ambiguous characters’, including an extra serif on lower case ‘i’s to avoid confusion when reading at a distance, accentuated tails to aid reading at sharp angles and negative versions for use on brightly coloured or darker backgrounds.
It’s an impressive design, and de Rozario has developed an extensive icon set made up of 172 symbols to accompany FS Millbank. Icons range from popular information and transport symbols to no smoking signs and user interface options such as like and dislike buttons. To promote its release, Fontsmith has launched a microsite showing examples of it in use, and some of the typeface’s impressive features.
Formist – Serous
Serous is a four weight interlocking display typeface from Formist (founded by Mark Gowing), designed to “embody the feeling of liquid”.
Gowing says the typeface is based on a modular system with characters drawn on a geometric grid to ensure uniformity – each style features the same curve radius and stroke weight, with no right angles in sight. Mark Gowing studio has also used the typeface to produce a series of custom spreads for New Zealand magazine Threaded, using a verse from Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, pictured below.
More info and samples are available at formist.co
Image via Mark Gowing Studio
onlab – Blaise Cendrars: Au Couer des Arts
Images by Angélique Stehli, via onlab.ch
Swiss studio onlab has devised a typographic identity system for Au Couer des Arts, an exhibition at La Chaux-de-Fonds’ Museum of Fine Arts showcasing the work of Swiss-born French poet and novelist, Blaise Cendrars.
Open until March, the show is made up of 12 sections exploring different sections of Cedrars’ life and work, from drawings to lyrics, novels, collaborations with contemporary artists and his time serving in the French Foreign Legion during World War One.
The identity features a custom font, Regla, designed by Matthieu Huegi and inspired by stencil characters used by French painter and sculptor Fernand Léger, who designed several of Cedrars’ books:
Alternative characters (above) and the exhibition’s architecture take inspiration from expressionist shapes and characters found in Cedrars’ work – such as La Prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France, an experimental illustrated book created with artist Sonia Delaunay in 1913. The four-colour palette also references the book, which has been reproduced in large scale on the floor of the museum (see below).
For visitor details, see mbac.ch