New Additions: February 2017
7th March 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.
Ed Benguiat’s extra heavy Caslon, issued by Photo-Lettering, Inc. as “Caslon Black Swash” in the late 1960s, is emblematic of the typographic fashions of that time: exaggerated stroke contrast, extremely tight spacing, and exuberant swashes. In the ensuing decade, it found its way onto countless posters, ads, book jackets, and record sleeves. When House Industries acquired Photo-Lettering in 2003, one of their first projects was Bengiat Caslon, digitized by Christian Schwartz. That initial version was accessible only via the revived brand’s online letterer, which makes it easy to apply fills, shadows, and alternates, but the result is only available as PDF output. House’s new Benguiat Caslon is the first in digital, downloadable font form. Putting it to work requires some skill: Not only are swashes not as easy to access in desktop apps and web code as they are on photo-lettering.com’s checkbox UI, but the Shadow style will only work properly when a second layer of the standard (fill) font is applied. Still, these burdens are minor for those who want this ’70s classic in a flexible OpenType file.
After years of contributing typefaces to the libraries of Adobe, Bitstream, and Font Bureau, Richard Lipton has hung his own shingle at Type Network, a collective of small, independent foundries including other Font Bureau vets. Lipton Letter Design celebrated its launch with three new releases: Delaney (below), a major expansion of 1994’s Meno, and the new Bennet, a crisp serif family in three optical sizes and many weights and widths. Bennet offers myriad features, both functional (like the four Text grades) and aesthetically interesting (like triangular serifs, pinched joins, and convex stems that swell in the middle). Read more about the details in the Type Network article.
Delaney is a script that straddles the line between casual and formal, and while there are many others that strike a similar tone, the design itself is wholly individual. In fact, it was difficult for me to find any typefaces truly worthy of filling Delany’s “Similar fonts” sidebar. But falling short in that task confirms that – like so many of Richard Lipton’s designs – Delaney is unique. With its steep angle, mild thick/thin contrast, and sober swashes, the only historical models I can muster come from advertising lettering of the 1930s–40s. The broad, sweeping brush strokes evoke effortless movement, much like some automobile logos of that era. In fact it was another vehicular mark – this one from an Italian racing bike – that sparked the concept.
Greg Lindy’s work flies below the radar of most type watchers. Village has carried the Lux Typo label since its beginning, but somehow the fonts never drew much attention, as they quietly and competently filled common typographic needs, from the cheerful to the techy. Like most of his other designs, Fabriga starts from a recognizable genre and takes it in some unusual directions. The overall effect is not unlike some mid-century neo-grotesks (like Neuzeit S and Unica), which is not new territory these days (see Graphik, San Francisco, Calibre, Fakt), but many of Fabriga’s details (a, g, j, r, t) give it a sculptural quality where other revivals of this style are more mechanical or calligraphic.
Fit is fun. But it’s more than that. David Jonathan Ross’s latest invention is also a great realization of the possibilities in a brand new font format. OpenType 1.8 variable fonts allow type designers to produce type with a range of weights, widths, or stylistic capabilities without needing to publish discrete styles along that spectrum. So, instead of issuing Narrow, Regular, and Wide fonts, the maker can issue just one font with a flexible “axis” from which the user can decide exactly what weight they want in any given situation. There is no better demonstration of this concept than Fit’s specimen page, where you can squeeze and stretch a line of type and watch the font adjust to the new dimensions.