New Additions: April 2018
28th May 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.
Lucas Sharp’s Sharp Grotesk is a very large family of 21 widths in 7 weights of roman & italic, for a total of 259 fonts. The sheer number of options begs for the new variable font format in which such ranges can be represented in a single font with which designers can select any weight or width, without scrolling through a long list of discrete styles. That said, Sharp Grotesk is a useful and well crafted design with lots of thoughtful details that reveal themselves in the extremes – the flattened sides in very narrow styles, for example, or the deep ink traps in extra heavy styles.
Also new from Sharp Type is Sharp Slab, the companion to Sharp Sans. The typeface was commissioned for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign to complement their custom version of Sharp Sans. The large-bodied geometric suite can be compared to ITC Avant Garde Gothic and ITC Lubalin Graph, but Sharp’s family is not so strict about its geometry, seeking instead to maintain readability at a broader range of sizes and optical balance with the Sans family. Lucas Sharp designed the family with newcomer Connor Davenport.
Doves Type is not new – the digital fonts were first released in 2013, with updates in 2014 and 2016. But the typeface itself goes back more than a hundred years when it was cut for the famed Doves Press in London. The story took a dramatic turn when one of the press’s disgruntled partners tossed the punches, matrices, and type into the Thames. Robert Green’s revival first used Doves Press publications as its source, but he updated the font significantly when metal sorts were miraculously recovered from the riverbed in 2014. The design itself is a rugged rethinking of the Venetian roman model (e.g. Jenson) which was common at the turn of the 20th century – see also ITC Golden Type and Monotype Italian Oldstyle.
On the other end of the oldstyle roman spectrum is Cormorant. Doves Type is sturdy and stout for text uses, whereas this face (aptly named after the long-necked bird) is clearly intended for display. Christian Thalmann began with the classic Garamond models, taking them to the delicate and graceful extremes. The family comes in five weights, each with italics, and offers many variants: Unicase, Upright (italic), Infant (“young reader” forms for ‘a’, ‘g’, and ‘y’), and a Garamond version with relaxed features, such as larger counters in ‘A’, ‘a’, and ‘e’. Cormorant is also an interesting example of how online forums can provide valuable feedback in a typeface’s creation; over 16 months of development, Thalmann received hundreds of responses from other type designers on Typophile and Typedrawers.
With flat tops and bottoms and sharp angles, Isotope has a very horizontal flow and engineered appearance. The inspiration was a style of German lettering found in logos such as Sennheiser, Liebherr, Soehnle and Leifheit and used “to convey the solidity, reliability, and practicality of products from kitchen appliances to bulldozers”. Though only distantly related to the similarly named Isonorm, Hoefler & Co.’s typeface feels like the perfect solution to those who wish they had Isonorm’s mechanical voice in a typographically advanced design.