New Additions: August 2016
9th September 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.
Indian Type Foundry has a self-evident name. Founded as a partnership between Satya Rajpurohit and Typotheque’s Peter Biľak in 2009, the goal was to produce fonts that support Indic writing systems, which, until recently, were severely underserved by type design – especially given the many millions of readers of scripts like Bengali, Devanagari, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu. The last year has seen an explosion of new ITF releases as the foundry supplements its own stock of Indian and other Asian designers with imports from all over Europe, including Germany (Alisa Nowak), The Netherlands and Romania (Diana Ovezea), Portugal (Joana Correia), and most notably, France (Julie Soudanne, Jean-Baptiste Morizot, and Jérémie Hornus).
The most prolific of these, by far, is Hornus who cut his teeth at Dalton Maag and pumped out dozens of typefaces at Fontyou before pointing his hose at ITF. With its high shoulders, slight contrast, and tapering strokes, I think Intercom is one of his more original and effective designs. This kind of ultra-open, condensed technical sans is not without precedent – see Nokia Sans and Modena – but there’s nothing quite like it on the retail market.
In the last decade, the forest of casual script fonts has gotten so dense, it’s difficult to get excited by the genre anymore. Chill Script stands out as an exception. What separates it from the crowd is that it’s not written with a pen, or painted with a brush, but drawn. This technique of molding the outlines of the shapes can be found in plenty of mid-century script lettering – Eubie Script is a revival of such a style – but Rowland’s design is not particularly retro. If it has any references, they may be cartoons and comics in which bouyant top-heavy letters were typical, but Chill Script is flexible enough to add life to a variety of projects such as branding and signage.
GT Eesti is a restoration of Zhurnalnaya Roublennaya designed by the Soviet Union’s state-owned foundry in 1947. While it essentially served as a Cold War replacement for the extremely popular Futura, Zhurnalnaya was more than a clone of that prototypical geometric sans. In fact, this design has as much to do with Futura’s contemporaries, like Erbar, than Futura itself, and it still has its own personality. GT Eesti is produced by Grilli Type, a foundry with the chops and sensitivity for a proper tribute, and they maintain the quirks and warmth that made Zhurnalnaya unique. Visit Grilli’s lovely specimen site to see more, including the Estonian material that introduced them to the face.
Bungee comes from the wonderfully inventive imagination of David Jonathan Ross, who was inspired by the stacked letters of urban signs to create a font that can be set vertically. Read more about that interesting challenge on his specimen site or in his delightful talk at TYPO Berlin. Beyond this rotational innovation, the multilayered, polychromatic family is also one of the first to take advantage of OpenType color fonts, a nascent technology that stores color information “inside the font itself, so it is possible to create chromatic effects even in the most basic typesetting environments”. Bungee is open source, and available for free use via Google Fonts. I’d argue it’s one of Google’s more interesting releases and is the kind of technically innovative and experimental font system that makes sense in the open source environment.
Drawing a classical serif with only straight lines (no curves) is a tantalizing task for many type designers. One of the first to do this successfully is the early 20th-century Czech artist Vojtěch Preissig, who Luzi Gantenbein credits as an influence for Koper. The typeface is intended to function in small, running text; it appears to do that fairly well for shorter stretches, but more so in the SemiBold and Bold weights than the Regular, which may be too light for anything below subhead sizes. There is also a Display style with higher contrast for showy headlines. The italics are quite interesting, too.