New Additions: December 2016
9th January 2017
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.
At some point in the middle of the 19th century, printers began to imagine that sans serifs could be used for more than single, all-caps headlines. Foundries in Britain and America began to design small-size gothics with oldstyle roman proportions and non-lining numerals — in other words, text faces meant for brief passages of body copy. The types were issued under various names, such as Bruce’s Light-face Gothic, or as generic numbered gothics (as was common at the time). Despite their unique place in type history — preceding our most familar sans archetypes like Schelter & Giesecke’s Grotesk, and Stephenson Blake’s Grotesques by many years — these faces have been relatively forgotten by modern designers. Two exceptions are Shinntype’s Figgins Sans and Marr Sans, each inspired by different gothics from around this period, but not exactly the ones mentioned above.
LudwigType’s Aspen, while not intended to be a direct revival of these early gothics, comes as close to their spirit as any digital type I’ve seen. Like his Contemporary Sans, Ludwig Übele has produced a typeface that seems to come from a bygone era, yet has all the functional characteristics required by today’s user. Like the tree that gives it its name, Aspen’s bends have an organic flexibility, rather than the harsh rigidity of many other sans serifs. The italics also have a very particular sway.
Today, there isn’t exactly a shortage of Scotch Romans (Rational/Modern text serifs with moderate contrast, ball terminals, and sturdy, bracketed serifs). Miller, Chronicle, Ingeborg, and Trivia are all excellent options in this category. So, one could argue that Bressay is not exactly necessary. The relatively small family would need to sprout many more styles and weights to offer as comprehensive a toolkit as Miller or Chronicle. Still, its clipped terminal shapes and slightly flaring stems give it a unique liveliness and freshness. TDC judges also found it worthy of special mention, giving it a nod in the Typeface Design Competition this year. Bressay is a major departure for Stuart Brown, whose other designs include the very mechanical Neutraliser and Baksheesh.
After many years of expanding and revising the Linotype and Monotype libraries’ existing designs, Type Director Akira Kobayashi took a break in 2016 to create something new of his own. Between’s three typefaces explore different construction models. The forms range from square and mechanical (Between 1) to curvaceous and handwritten (Between 3), with the middle of the spectrum taking the shape of a neutral Humanist sans (Between 2). Because the three families share the same weight, contrast, and proportions the package offers the typographer some interesting combination opportunities for emphasis and hierarchy.
Lokal Script, by the prolific Czech designer František Štorm, is a spirited and unorthodox antidote to today’s countless scripts, most of which are as interesting and artful as the grocery store greeting cards they adorn. The family offers an uncommon number of weights and widths, upright and slanted. Though it just made its first appearance on Identifont, Lokal Script was released in 2009, after debuting as a custom design for a restaurant and brewery in Prague. Despite its age, it looks as new as it when it was born, and it is seldom seen in the wild.
Following the progression of an individual type designer’s output can be revealing. This is epecially the case for Salt Lake City-based Connary Fagen. In March 2015, I knocked his Quincy CF for being indecisive and amateurish. Addington CF demonstrates that Fagen has taken significant strides. It’s a much more mature and confident typeface. While Fagen describes Addington as “a trusty go-to serif. Excellent for text large and small,” it has all the hallmarks of a book face optimized for small sizes: a broad stance, wide open counters, stunted extenders, and atypically deep ink traps. That’s not to say the family isn’t versatile: the caption-style aspects don’t detract from the classical, authoritative personality associated with a Garalde, and the last sample image on Fagen’s online specimen shows how a tightly-spaced Extra Bold can perform as a display face as well. Unfortunately, the site doesn’t display a basic glyph set of each style so we can’t see much of the italic, which has some interesting ideas, like a closed-top ‘s’.