New Additions: February 2018
14th March 2018
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.
Darden Studio’s Halyard is a 1800s-style grotesque that hearkens back to a time when each size of a type family had its own distinctive design. Here, optical sizes are distinguished not only by proportions and stroke contrast, but also lettershape. Halyard Display is nearly monolinear, with mostly horizontal terminals, not unlike Akzidenz-Grotesk. For Text, the apertures are opened up and contrast increases. All the stops are pulled out for Micro, which has a massive x-height, deep ink traps, and strokes that taper to nothingness before they reach the stem. The characteristics have meaningful functionality in tiny type, but they also make for a striking display option. This can also be said of Joshua Darden’s other small-size design, Freight Micro, that has seen myriad large-size uses since its release in 2004. I’m very pleased that Darden is back in action with another multi-pronged, feature-rich family. The foundry shows off Halyard to full effect in its specimen website.
Rosella follows a Victorian-era stationery model that is already found in digital typefaces like Monotype Engravers, Engravers #2, Orlando Caps, and Sackers Heavy Roman. But all of these are limited in some way. Sabina Chipară cleaned up the stuffy outlines of the old type for a crisper contemporary look. In this way, Rosella could be compared to Christian Schwartz’s and Dino Sanchez’s Luxury (House Industries, 2001), but Chipară’s family offers five decorative variants, as opposed to Luxury’s text and sans serif counterparts.
There is nothing quite like NSType, a kind of pictorial/patterned display face that comes in two base styles and two Mono styles. As Production Type explains, “NSType began as the typographic voice of the annual Nuit Sonores festival in Lyon, portraying both the sounds and the sights of an event that celebrates creative innovation in all its forms – from electronic music to forward-thinking design and architecture.” This is the kind of typeface that could only come from a very specific brief, demonstrating that some of the most inventive fonts are borne out of interesting client commissions rather than a type designer’s attempt to make something commercially successful on the retail market.
Speaking of origin stories, Hesse Antiqua’s might be more intriguing than the design itself. These letters come from Gudrun Zapf von Hesse, a designer who lived most of her life in the shadow of her husband, the much-celebrated Hermann Zapf. Gudrun was a master lettering artist and type designer in her own right, and this year, as she turned 100 years old, Ferdinand Ulrich helped bring her very first alphabet to life. Hesse Antiqua was originally created in 1947 for hand-stamping on leather book bindings, but these handsome caps were very much worth translating to font form. Ulrich and Monotype added small caps and accents to fill out the character set. Do not miss FontShop’s beautifully illustrated article on the project.
Protipo from TypeTogether is a flat-sided, utilitarian typeface intended for infographics, wayfinding, and user interfaces. It has an extensive range of weights and widths, including the tightly-packed Compact subfamily, but its full potential is found in the OpenType 1.8 (variable fonts) format. In fact, Protipo is one of the first commercial releases to support the new technology which lets users (or systems) dynamically select font styles on a sliding scale. If you’re using an OTFV-capable browser you can play with Protipo Variable right now on Laurence Penney’s Axis-Praxis or Nick Sherman’s Variable Fonts site.