New Additions: July 2021
31st July 2021
From the hundreds of fonts we add to the Identifont database every month we chose a selection of the most interesting recent additions, and interviewed the designers about their approach to each design:
Did you design Kisba Nova for a particular project, and were you designing it with any particular applications in mind?
Kisba Nova’s predecessor, the original Kisba, came to life in 2019. Back then, I had the aim of expanding my type library. What I was looking for was a flamboyant display typeface that was versatile enough for a range of purposes. This typeface turned out to be quite popular, so I decided to revisit and expand the concept.
When I finished Kisba Nova last month, I decided to revamp the Identity Letters website, too. This gave me the opportunity to make use of the reworked typeface right away. Since the foundry uses my own Compiler as its corporate typeface, which is rather technical, the warm-blooded and elegant Kisba Nova will now provide a nice counterpoint in headlines and titles. The two of them make for a great pair – with quite some contrast and tension! In a little while the new site will be live. Check back in a few weeks!
The most distinctive features of Kisba are the wedge serifs, and the ball terminals on characters such as the ‘C’, ‘G’, ‘a’, and ‘c’. Were these inspired by any other fonts?
On the one hand, there are plenty of typefaces that pair ball terminals with straight serifs on letters such as ‘C’, ‘G’, ‘S’ and ‘s’. On the other hand, there are a lot of wedge-serif typefaces that don’t contain any ball terminals whatsoever. You hardly ever see them combined.
I’m a huge fan of ball terminals, and decided that Kisba was to sport some of these from the get-go. To then achieve the desired dramatic effect, contrasting these round shapes with a healthy dose of sharp and pointy wedge serifs was a given (well, kind of).
Take a look at ‘C’ and ‘c’: on the top end, they have the soft ball terminal. The lower half, in contrast, is dominated by the sharp outgoing stroke. This dual character lets Kisba Nova find the sweet spot between soft/playful and edgy/cool – in my opinion, at least.
Kisba Nova is an update of your 2019 font Kisba, with Text and Headline optical sizes. The most obvious detailed changes are the shapes of the ‘P’ and ‘3’: compare Kisba and Kisba Nova. Are there any other significant changes?
If you look at the details, there are definitely a few changes. Take the ‘X’ and ‘x’: they’ve got serifs on the outside now. Or take the question mark: it’s got a new skeleton with a vertical stroke.
However, you can find the most significant differences in the general appearance and construction of Kisba Nova. The first incarnation of Kisba was strictly display oriented, with wide proportions and high contrast. For the redesign, I wanted to create a subfamily for body text, as well, to add some versatility.
This Text version comes with reduced contrast but keeps the existing width. Texts fonts in general are well advised to be a bit wider, after all.
The new Headline version, on the other hand, sports even more contrast than the original Kisba but is significantly narrower to match the requirements for headline Fonts.
Keep that in mind if you want to search and replace the old Kisba fonts in your documents with the Kisba Nova Headline ones. With the changed proportions, your headlines and titles might reflow. But trust me, it’s worth that bit of extra work.
Redonda – Carlos Mignot (Plau)
What did you set out to achieve with Redonda, and how does it compare to other popular humanist sans-serif fonts?
Born out of the desire to have a custom font for our own branding at Plau, at some point we decided Redonda was too big to keep just for ourselves. Our starting point was historical research, but we had the greater concern of making it contemporary. Because of that, we describe Redonda by saying that we imagine it being the result of the Frutiger font coming to Rio for a vacation, having some caipirinhas on the beach, and dancing samba.
An interesting feature of Redonda is the low centre of gravity of the ‘P’, ‘R’, and ‘4’, typical of Art Deco style fonts like Broadway. What inspired you with this aspect of the design?
Redonda started out as an exclusively display face. Its main theme back then was filling the greatest amount possible of white space. For that to work, letters like ‘R’ and ‘P’ had to have a lower centre of gravity. Aside from the art deco approach, it gives the font a friendly feel – which was exactly what I was looking for.
In your description of Redonda you said that it’s designed for setting headlines with tight leading. What features of its design help achieve this?
In Portuguese we have to deal with a lot of diacritics when formatting texts. This makes it difficult for us designers to set text using tight line spacing – which usually makes for a beautiful display look. At least with most fonts. Redonda has low diacritics (even stuck to the letterform on heavier weights) to create the coolest titles. “Acentos baixinhos”, as we named them in Portuguese, just became a design trend in Brazil.
What applications do you envisage Redonda being used for?
The font design came from a search for a lot of impact. In the early stages of Redonda’s development, I went for a geometric approach to its design and gave it only a black weight and capitals. Later on the project, the font gained several weights, lowercase letters, and went from geometric to humanist. It has kept the impact aspect that inspired it, but also offers good performance on flowing interfaces and texts. Five weights and true cursive italics make it a good toolkit for graphic designers. From eye-catching logotypes to complex text settings, Redonda works well when you need familiar curves with a friendly touch.
Munchies is a reverse-contrast slab-serif font, reminiscent of wild-west wood type fonts like Westside. Was it designed for a particular project, and were there any particular fonts that influenced its design?
Munchies started as an experiment combining inverted contrast with brush-style endings, as can be seen in the lower case. Little by little, by adding more weight to the serifs and increasing the contrast between the vertical and horizontal strokes, it began to resemble some wood-type fonts, which led to a more formal project.
A presentation by David Jonathan Ross on inverted contrast was one of the first references I saw when I decided to take the project more seriously. Among the examples of inverted contrast Manicotti was one of my favorites and I wanted to take the essence of the Wild West that it conveys, in addition to its hypnotizing texture between counterforms and spacing. From that point on I began to look at all kinds of slab and inverted contrast fonts, including Estro, Chimera, and Atahualpa. Finally, the project ended up being a mixture of several features that I liked from other fonts, and I adapted them into something new.
Munchies has two subfamilies, Normal and Display, with the display styles having a much higher reverse contrast between the strokes. Do you envisage the display styles being used at larger point sizes, such as for headline and poster use?
It was a rather aesthetic decision, Munchies Normal was finished months before its release. Its main purpose is for the designer to have a wide range of combinations for text and headlines, and it also has small caps and old numbers. Before I finished it, I experimented with increasing the contrast in the strokes, I was fascinated when I saw it, although it increased the work. I think that gave the whole family a much more display-like character, displacing the lighter variants
In most other reverse-constrast typefaces the verticals have the same weight, but an unusual feature of Munchies, particularly noticeable in Munchies Heavy Display, is the contrast between the verticals of some characters; for example the ‘A’, ‘M’, ‘V’, ‘W’, and ‘Y’. What inspired this aspect of the design?
While working on the Display style I saw Caslon Italian, and also Maelstrom, where the diagonals gave an inverted weight. During the months of work I had done some tests of inverted diagonals, but they never convinced me. A week before it was released I made one last attempt that managed to satisfy me. This enabled me to give a new expressiveness to the diagonals that until then were the same weight. The original equal-weight versions are available as OpenType alternates.
What was the inspiration for creating the Vast family? Was it originally designed for a particular application?
Vast was inspired by the environment, both natural and graphic. I would like to see more friendly typefaces around. The goal wasn’t to make a font for a specific application, rather that I wanted to achieve a certain versatility.
As well as the regular width, Vast provides a series of four increasing wide variants: L, XL, XXL, and XXXL. What does the L stand for, and why did you decide to include wide variants but not compressed or narrow variants?
Vast L's proportions are slightly wider than normal ones. Because of the width, the letters seem larger, so that in a large size, the width and squarish ovals will convey confidence to the text, and in a small one it will be much easier to read.
Vast is a fairly humanist typeface, I wanted not to drive it into the narrow styles only, but on the contrary, give it more freedom. Narrow styles are more familiar, wide ones are less common, fresher looking.
Squareness and open forms will certainly work well on the web and in apps, but signage and pointers need the same attributes. Most of all I would like to see Vast in public spaces, and secondly, in dynamic typography on the web, when the typeface suddenly becomes so very wide.
Like the typefaces AG Schoolbook and Helvetica Textbook, Vast adopts the schoolbook style ‘a’ and ‘g’, rather than the more formal typesetting versions of these characters used by Open Sans and Droid Sans. Was that a design decision made for readability?
These are nice and friendly character forms for legibility too. It also makes the typeface more recognisable and gives the set a different texture.