New Additions: January 2017
7th February 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.
As I wrote when reviewing Mirador, “René Bieder’s designs tend to be utilitarian more than they are inventive — they stick to tried-and-true formulas already proven by previous successful typefaces.” The new Milliard is a case in point. It combines the open, familiar shapes and appealing, tempered geometry of faces like Gotham and Proxima Nova with the crisp, vertical terminals of faces like Frutiger and Azo Sans. Despite all this shared DNA, there is still a place in the design ecosystem for this new species of geometric grotesque. Milliard has just a tad more personality than its influences (note the slightly flaring terminals in the Black, for example). Like Proxima, Milliard’s rounds and straights join abruptly, whereas the counters of other geo-grots have smooth transitions. This creates a flat-sided, sharp-cornered interior that some may find less pleasing than the traditional construction. Still, others may deem it more contemporary. It’s a matter of taste, and Milliard offers yet another option to suit another set of preferences.
Over the last few years, Mika Melvas continued a steady drumbeat of new script releases, adding Kaleidos toward the end of 2016. The style – a classic signwriter’s casual script – is not particularly unique, but the typeface deserves mention because it is executed so well. Compared to most typographic attempts to mimic the painter’s brush, Kaleidos is consistent and readable, with just enough variation (and variants) to pay proper tribute to professional handmade lettering. The simulation extends further in the supplemental styles, Rough and Textured, which reveal brush bristles in two different ways.
Taiko is a lovingly and skillfully crafted revival of Arpke Antiqua, designed by Otto Arpke and originally published by Schriftguss in 1928. The face has taper and bounce found in the showcard lettering of both Europe and America at the time, like a narrower, top-heavy cousin of Metropolis. Despite the humor in its design, Taiko shows how seriously Andreas Seidel takes his work. The 650-glyph pro version of the display face has small caps, multiple figure sets, and support for CE languages.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, one of the most common styles of corporate identification was a bold, swashy script, often with a long, underlining swash to tie the mark together. This signature branding style could be found on any kind of product, from luxury automobiles to sugar water. Fabulous is a typeface that recalls that era. The nostalgic effect is immediately achieved, but closer examination reveals how difficult it can be to turn these traditionally hand-rendered scripts into fonts. The spacing is very uneven, and heavy strokes often come uncomfortably close, leaving blobs and gaps in what could otherwise be a classy, vintage wordmark. I give Måns Grebäck credit for including a variety of swash endings and a unique outline style, but those seeking this Victorian logo look will get better results from typefaces like Casey, LHF Ephemera, or Chicago Script.
Ligature Inc is the aptly named collaboration between German typemakers Felix Braden and Alex Rütten. There is evidence of both designers in their debut release, Tuna. It is a mature and useful face that demonstrates what they learned from their respective FontFont releases, FF Scuba and FF Suhmo. Tuna’s steep stress angle and wide stance comes from an unlikely source: the calligraphy of the Carolingian minuscule. Despite this medieval influence, Tuna is utterly contemporary, its freshness bolstered by the way it was designed specifically for on-screen reading. (The style and approach brings to mind David Jonathan Ross’s Fern, yet to be released.) Read the well-documented story on Tuna’s specimen site.
Also new to Identifont is Wacaksara Co, one of the few foundries hailing from Indonesia. Where Melvas’ script work is disciplined and reliable, the output from rookies Aliv Pandu and Hamam Jauhari is off-kilter and sometimes overly exuberant. The designers clearly have talent, but their fonts suffer from a common ailment: excessive swashiness. Symptoms are most apparent in Hastadaya, which is a flurry of inconsistent weight, direction changes, and extended swashes. Some folks might find this concoction tantalizing, but to me it’s like an oversweetened cocktail. Aerokids feels more successful, perhaps because it’s tighter with fewer whispy strokes, and holds its swashes closer to its body. As with other alternate-packed scripts (see Sudtipos, whose ouvre defined this genre) using Wacaksara’s fonts requires restrained and careful glyph selection.