New Additions: May 2016
1st June 2016
We add hundreds of fonts to the Identifont database every month. Most of these are recent releases, and some are simply new acquisitions from foundries who were not yet represented on our site. Stephen Coles gives his take on the most interesting recent additions.
Founded in 2010 as a custom type and graphic design studio, Schick Toikka (Florian Schick and Lauri Toikka) have been building a retail library of unique and useful typefaces over the last 3–4 years. Their work is among the most consistently original in the field right now, and it manages to snag onto some loose thread of a trend without merely following fads. They are fashion with substance. Chap, their fifth release (if you count Schick’s Trio Grotesk which was issued by Bold Monday), is cut from the same forward-thinking cloth as their other type. It’s a high-contrast, broad-nib sans in which counters sometimes contradict outlines in a dynamic play of cut and curve. Like Noe Display Black and Dia Black, Chap really shows its character in its heaviest weight, but any style in the family will add some spark to the page. Despite its unusual look, all its novelties are carefully tailored into a readable text face. Chap is already on my shortlist for top type of 2016.
The penchant in mainstream graphic design for “raw” and “human” continues unabated, continually pushing the demand for type that looks handmade. And font makers continue to respond: publishing swashy serifs, sketchy sanses, and brushy scripts. Beaujolais is in that last category, a set of two loose, painterly scripts that toe the line between rough and readable. (See also: Redbird.) Like other Fenotype fonts, Beaujolais is a mixed bag. The uneven and irregular strokes can look like the product of either a well-meaning amateur, or a skilled letterer in a hurry. Which of those two interpretations is more accurate depends in some ways on the skill of the font user and in other ways on the glyphs that happen to be used. For many of today’s users – looking to embellish a cafe sign, or a package label, or blog header – that is exactly the kind of organic unpredictability they’re seeking.
There are no big surprises in Brando Sans. It is exactly the kind of straightforward, well-balanced, pleasant, humanist workhorse we have come to expect from the designer of FF Kievit and FF Milo. This release is a companion to Abbink’s slightly more characterful Brando from 2014. We should also not be surprised if we see this pair in a lot of corporate identity work in the coming years. Branding is, I assume, what the name suggests. Unfortunately, it’s a name that is quite close to the very popular Brandon family, highlighting the increasingly difficult task of finding unique monikers for new type. (At least Brando and Brandon have very little in common, but it does make me whince a bit.) Nevertheless, I can confidently recommend Brando Sans to anyone needing a clean, legible, and reliable standby with plenty of weights and a corresponding serif.
The large-lowercased geometric sans is having its heyday at the moment. To some extent, foundries are riding the coattails of Proxima and Gotham; but they are also filling gaps left by classic geometrics like Futura with their low x-height; and they are reponding to a nearly universal love of symmetry, perceived mathematical precision, and big, full, circular rounds. Unfortunately, a lot of these are me-too typefaces with very little perspective of their own. That’s why, despite its flaws, I admire Julie Soudanne’s Eileen. Its Art Deco uppercase masquerades as a display face, yet with the more reserved lowercase it can work for moderate stretches of text. I can’t quite get with the tiny left-facing spurs on a few of the caps, but at least this geometric sans has an individual point of view.
Also from Soudanne, along with Jérémie Hornus, is Spencerio. As its name reflects, it is based on the formal, thick-thin model of Spencerian calligraphy. This style has been adopted by type designers for over a hundered years – see Kuenstlerschreibschrift, Palace Script, Flemish Script, ITC Edwardian Script. But unlike these, Spencerio doesn’t have long, curved connections that flow like a wave into the top of straight stems (m, n, v, w); instead, all letters join directly into the stem, giving the face more of an italic look. Like Tangier, its large x-height also helps it work where other formal scripts would not. I do question some of the overly complicated choices for the capital forms (the S has a swash intersection that is particularly congested), and there are some unecessary embellishing strokes here and there, but overall Spencerio is an original and functional take on the copperplate script.