New Additions: April 2017
9th May 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.
Proxima Soft is Mark Simonson’s recent variation on his extremely popular Proxima Nova. The typeface already got the rounded treatment back in 2011 with Proxima Nova Soft, but this release is completely redrawn and rightfully replaces that first attempt. Comparing the bold weights of each design demonstrates the improvements: the ‘M’ apexes have a smooth radius, the ‘R, X, k, x’ widths are no longer stunted, and the stroke weights are more balanced throughout. But these are minor technical adjustments; what most users will appreciate is the 48 available styles (Proxima Nova Soft had only four).
Speaking of soft, at first glance one wonders if the new Torus truly has a place in the crowded field of round-ended geometric sans serifs (e.g. VAG Rounded, Bryant, Proxima Soft, Como). Making matters worse, a few bits of the typeface seem unresolved (e.g. the slightly awkward ‘Kk’ and the high-waisted ‘X’). It’s not until you dig into the alternate glyphs that Torus reveals its reason for being. The stencilesque shapes with open bowls and round forms (B, E, F, x) give it a unique flair, and some of them work better than the defaults.
Rounding out our trio of rounded sanses is JAF Domus, by the wife-husband team of Shoku Mugikura and Tim Ahrens. Like Proxima Soft, this is a revisting of an earlier design. Here, the classical Roman proportions of JAF Domus Titling (narrow ‘EFJS’, wide rounds) are slightly normalized for text use. JAF Domus manages to exhibit a friendliness (typical of soft-end typefaces) while maintaining its forebear’s quiet, sober, stately nature.
Brazilian designer Henrique Beier asked himself, “What would a typeface look like if it was made of stone?” Rocher looks like a reasonable answer to me – at least in a cartoonish way. It’s kind of like Rodolf Koch (and Othello) meets The Flintstones. The family’s main selling point is its nine stackable layers, which you can sample most effectively with the Harbor Type tester.
Bw Gradual is a peculiar thing – not because it straddles the line between Grotesk and Geometric classifications; that’s now quite common – but because of its acutely pinched joints. Wherever two strokes come together, at least one tapers until it’s almost gone. Despite its intensity, the effect is not too disturbing, and there are some other interesting decisions that make Bw Gradual more than a one-trick pony, such as the non-tapering diagonals. That said, that solution doesn’t work as well in the lowercase, where ‘m, v, w, z’ do distract wherever they appear. Overall, though, this is a typeface worth exploring, and a daring one from a designer whose output is generally benign.