New Additions: November 2014
3rd December 2014
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 additions from November.
A new kind of informal, contemporary script has caught fire amid today’s “handcrafted” craze. Emily Conners’ Jacques & Gilles is one of the more well-rendered examples of this style, mimicking a pointed pen ambling casually across craft paper. An ample supply of alternates and ligatures keep connections smooth and repeating letterforms fairly minimal. Conners intends this font to be used in all lowercase, standard mixed case, or even in all uppercase where it performs surprisingly well and evokes a remarkably different personality. Fans of the genre represented by Jacques & Gilles might also dig the other stuff in the Emily Lime library, or in the similarly styled Magpie Paper Works.
In a very crowded land of plain gothics, Brix Sans has an individuality that may not have been achieved if it was conceived from scratch. Instead, it is derived from its slab seriffed brother that came two years previous. Somehow, removing the serifs from Brix Slab yielded something more than just the serifless shell of its forebear. Brix Sans straddles a friendly line between Humanist and Grotesque classifications, offering a welcome option when other “neutral” sanses are too cold or mechanical.
Like Brix Sans, Foro Sans is the descendant of a serif. In this case, however, the follow-up doesn’t hold as much interest as the first installment. Humanist slab serifs are not nearly as common as Humanist sans serifs, so Foro seems more useful to me than Foro Sans. Of course, as there is often a call for a superfamily one can’t blame Dieter Hofrichter for adding the sans to the clan. There just isn’t much to say about this anonymous face, except that it is clean and well made, like any Hoftype product. If I was to pick something like this from the foundry I’m partial to the square-jawed Qubo, which is quite similar, but more dynamic overall.
Speaking of square, FS Hackney is what you’d get if took Frutiger and forced its round shapes into a boxier frame. “Forced” is probably too harsh a term — the execution is good, breaking new ground on what we might otherwise assume was fully trodden terrain. Despite some minor missteps (like an unnecessary angled sheer on the stem of the ‘q’ and an overly mannered ‘3’), the experiment was worthwhile, resulting in a very sturdy and legible face somewhere between Frutiger and Eurostile.
Kilburn plays the part of 19th-century workhorse grots, like those from Stephenson Blake, Ludlow, and Monotype. Unfortunately, in an effort to update the role, it stumbles off the stage in various ways. Stroke weights are imbalanced, details like the ‘g’ ear are irrationally exaggerated, and some shapes are modernized and simplified while others are left in their antique, wobbly state. Watch Bureau Grot to see a revival of this style done right, and Tablet Gothic for a successful contemporization.
Travis Kochel says his Analog “embodies the spirit of the solid state electronics revolution”. I’ll buy that. I’m immediately reminded of mid-century hi-fi chrome emblems and record cover “STEREO” labelling. What places Analog firmly in the 21st century are its simplified shapes (see ‘r’) and angled terminals on diagonal strokes. In fact, the latter may be too overwhelming in the Bold — I prefer its subtle effect on the lighter weights. Also, the radical placement of the ‘R’ leg calls too much attention to itself. Still, it’s an appealing set of wide fonts, and Analog Light is one of the more plainly attractive sets of glyphs I’ve seen in a while.
GT Sectra carves out a new category of serif by replacing the gentle curves of oldstyle shoulders with sharp, angular lines. It’s a concept that sounds deceptively simple (and has been done in a different way in designs like Vendetta), but it takes a deft hand to pull it off without shaving down the alphabet into nothing more than a conspicuous display face. No, Sectra is much more than a showman: its five weights and italics are designed and proven to set readable text. There are three options in this suite: the scalpel cuts much more evident in the sparkling Display family, with Fine (I’d have chosen a less ambiguous name) offering a level of contrast in the middle. GT Sectra is an exciting new release and a contender for my favorite of 2014.