New Additions: July 2016
9th August 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.
In the last few weeks two important foundries have joined the Identifont database: Klim Type Foundry and TextPref. Here are a couple of the latest designs from each label, as well as an eye-catching new release from the Swiss foundry Lineto.
Klim Type Foundry
Kris Sowersby’s solo shop from New Zealand is approaching its 10th anniversary and the font collection is already full of favorites among celebrated publication designers and brand agencies, while it has earned Sowersby multiple prestigious awards.
Sowersby skillfully revisits overlooked pre-digital typefaces, revitalizing them for practical contemporary use by cleaning up distracting quirks (while preserving the original’s particular flavor), and by adding weights and features (while often maintaining the size-specific design characteristics of metal). Examples: Founders Grotesk, inspired by early 20th-century Grotesques by foundries such as Miller & Richard; Metric, instigated by Berlin street signs; and Tiempos, with roots in Plantin and Times New Roman. These are not revivals in the strict sense of the word, but new designs with a deep sense of history.
In that sense, Financier Display and Financier Text are typical of Klim’s ouvre, breathing new life into three Eric Gill serif faces: Joanna, Perpetua, and the lesser known (and not digitally available) Solus. As is the case for all Klim releases, Sowersby publishes an informative blog post about his sources and design process. Financier was originally commissioned by the Financial Times for their 2014 redesign and is now available for public licensing.
Maelstrom is a playful departure from Klim’s more serious superfamily type systems. Exploring the rich and bizarre world of reversed-stress letters is like “perverse” catnip to type designers. It offers a chance to do everything wrong, to make put the weight on parts where the weight “should not” be. Of the many typefaces in this genre, Maelstrom is unusual in its extreme stroke contrast (very thin hairlines). Also, while most of its stress is completely inverse of the norm, Sowersby makes some unique decisions, interrupting the horizontal, top-and-bottom, railroad effect with odd and graphically striking inventions, like the ‘N’, ampersand, and figures (2, 5, 7). Obviously, Maelstrom is best used big.
London-based Miles Newlyn is a veteran type designer who first made a name for himself with multiple imaginative display designs from the Emigre heydays (Democratica, Missionary, and Sabbath Black). After a few years of releasing type under his self-titled label, Newlyn launched the TextPref foundry which focuses (as its name implies) on multi-weight, multi-purpose families that are optimized primarily for text.
All six families in the TextPref library are quite utilitarian and don’t stray too far from the current fashions. TP Hero is the best case in point: a basic geometric sans serif with a moderate x-height and contemporary, normalized proportions instead of the varying cap widths of classical designs (very narrow ‘PRT’, wide ‘OG’). TP Hero also sports terminals with a vertical cut, a feature that wasn’t common until the last three years or so – see Metric, Gerbera, Equip, Graphie, and most recently, Bruno Mello’s Objektiv, covered in the November 2015 edition of the Blog. Objektiv Mk2 is the design that has the most in common with TP Hero and it offers more flexibility with its range of alternates, but Newlyn and Olocco’s design (which arrived first) has a spareness and efficiency of form that makes it unique. If I was to name a Futura for the early 21st century, TP Hero would be on the shortlist.
Designed with Elena Schnieder, Newlyn’s TP Zen is TextPref’s most unconventional release. It is a soft-ended sans serif with a very subtle angled stress, enlivened by sharp corners in the counters. These features are most apparent in the heavy weights. TP Zen’s personality is also best seen in its italics, which have a gentle handwritten sway.
Our final noteworthy addition of the month is Lineto’s Prismaset, an ambitious expansion of Rudolf Koch’s Prisma. James Goggin, Mauro Paolozzi, and Rafael Koch expanded on the multiline idea, adding 1-line, 3-line, outline, and solid variations – all of which can be overlaid for color effects. This game had already been played many times in the phototype era with large, groovy families like Prismania, Bauhaus Prisma, Futura Prisma, and Churchard Design 70. Prismaset adds to the concept by including three “X” styles which allow the concentric lines to overlap, achieving a mesmerizing graphic dazzle.