Black Slabbath

Ushered into the ring as
“The Heaviest Typeface in the World,” Stefán
Kjartansson’s Black Slabbath has earned its title. Kjartansson, an
Iceland-born designer who now runs an interactive agency in Atlanta,
admits that he bestowed the superlative on the font with a note of
hyperbolic humor: Some typefaces may use more ink, but none do so as
functionally. Released in February, the design began as an experiment to
push the maximum amount of black into white space, yet still carve each
character judiciously from its initial block. The letterforms fill
spaces with line weights that challenge expected boundaries, push
geometric potential, and get as thick as possible before the counters
close. When put together, letters become building blocks, modular toys.
But Kjartansson maintains that the font’s real success is the
rhythm it achieves within such geometric simplicity, its muscle balanced
with versatile footwork. The winking play on Ozzy’s metal band
wasn’t suggested until the end of the design process, and is
merely a happy coincidence: Black Slabbath reverberates with similar
intensity and volume. It’s heavy and will not equivocate. ANNA
MALSBERGER


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