New Additions: November 2016
7th December 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.
FF Carina is one of those designs with a long gestation period. The project began in 2007 and had many restarts until its release at FontFont last month. The slow-going is understandable: Alexandra Korolkova took on a complex set of twists and turns, reinterpreting the Didone style – which is traditionally more straight-stemmed and constructed – with strokes that bend and undulate. Despite her many years of experience, Korolkova said, “This is a typeface with the most complicated and time-consuming contours I’ve ever designed, even the serifs have specific shapes with a lot of curves.” it all makes FF Carina an intriguing option for those who seek a more fanciful Bodoni or Didot.
Rodger is a round-bodied and round-ended sans in the spirit of 1970s faces like Formula, Republic, and the very common VAG Rounded. Unlike VAG, Rodger has a bit more organic modeling in its outlines, and thus a more huggable character. The caps are curiously narrow compared to the lowercase. This contradiction works, though, allowing for compact all-caps headlines very much like another ’70s design, Alphabet Soup. Mark Butchko’s samples for Rodger give a good sense of the bold, retro graphic style he was going for.
The main conceit behind Urby is that every terminal points audaciously outward, generating the most open forms, the widest apertures possible. The concept is generally successful, resulting in a lively and playful option for short bits of branding or editorial work. Jakob Runge’s design has some other interesting things going on, too: the ‘g’ is particularly peculiar, but fits the look. The only shape that doesn’t work for me is the Black ‘y’ with its deep valley and tiny tail. Overall, it’s a unique design: On the retail market, only last April’s Operator is vaguely similar. Otherwise you’re veering into Greek-ish faces like Skia.
With a rigid skeleton and monoline strokes, the popular Geogrotesque (released in 2008) is exactly the sort of typeface that’s built for a basic serif adaptation, and the square-shouldered sans has a machined look that begs for slabs. So Geogrotesque Slab was a no-brainer, but Eduardo Manso is a respectable designer and didn’t cut corners by simply attaching little square feet to Geogrotesque’s legs. His release notes describe the necessary compensations to letter width, serif height, stroke weight, and ink traps. The Geogrotesque combo offers a new alternative to industrial sans/slab superfamilies like Hoefler & Co.’s Forza/Vitesse and Fort’s Industry/Factoria.
In the early 1930s nearly every foundry rushed to capitalize on the popularity of the newly invented geometric sans serif. Some mirrored the stark purity of Futura (1927), while others hitched a ride on the Kabel (1927) or Erbar (1926) bandwagon. One of these followers – Schelter & Giesecke’s Rhythmus (1932) – is unknown to most of today’s designers because it hasn’t been available digitally. Rhythmus borrowed something from all three of the prototypical geometrics, but most noticeably echoes the angled terminals of Kabel. Otherwise, it’s a highly unusual design, with sharp shoulders (‘h, m, n,’), unexpected flatness (‘u’), and a very low x-height. Ralph M. Unger’s two-weight Rhythmus revival smoothes out some these oddities, but drains much of its personality in the process. Adding insult to injury, there is also evidence that the drawing wasn’t as careful as it could be, with several straight lines replacing the refined curves of the original. Unfortunately, Peter Wiegel’s revival of the family’s heaviest weight is no better. Let’s hope these won’t be the last attempts to bring this forgotten eccentric back to life.
Over the last 15 years, Xavier Dupré has gained a reputation for translating historical models, from Rennaissance to Modernist, into his own very personal style. Most of that output is found on the FontFont label, but he’s since toured other reputable foundries including Font Bureau, Emigre, Typofonderie, and now TypeTogether. Garalda springs from the French Humanist genre – specifically a lesser-known Garamond of the early 1900s. Much like his FF Absara and FF Yoga, Dupré freshens up the oldstyle forms and converts bracketed serifs into rectangular slabs. Read more about the background story and see extras, like the swashy italics and ligature-filled glyph set, in the PDF specimen.