Arlen’s Off-Kilter Magnetism Highlights the Charm of Imperfect Design

Posted inType Tuesday

I’m a massive fan of appreciating the off-kilter parts of life and find a particular charm in imperfect things. Take drive-in movies: it’s often hard to hear, either too hot or too cold, and I’m never able to get quite comfortable, but the fact that I’m watching a movie in my car, in a random parking lot, surrounded by strangers in their cars under the stars has a special je ne sais quoi about it. The unexpected allure. A flawed magnetism.

When I stumbled upon Anna Remm and Eugene Tantsurin’s typeface Arlen, I instantly felt the same sense of magic from drive-in movies. The offbeat chunkiness and unexpected curves radiating from each letter feel like they shouldn’t work together, but the combined effect creates a high-contrast, animated typeface. I could see Arlen finding its way to menu designs, fruit-scented candle packaging, or even the packaging for a flower delivery service.

Meet Arlen, a funky, variable and indescribably charming type family in 36 styles. Loosely inspired by 20th century hand-painted signs and the visual culture of the 80, Arlen adds a little extra to this already charismatic mix. Originally conceived as a much smaller family, Arlen slowly developed into a large type system with 6 widths (from Tight to Wide) and 6 weights (Light to Heavy). A variable font that encompasses all these weights and widths is also part of the Arlen family.

Arlen is a display sans serif that can, however, be freely used for larger bodies of text, especially when lighter styles are used. Among its most prominent visual features are high contrast, flaring stems and dynamic letterforms.

With 860 characters in each font, Arlen supports most Latin-based languages and offers a large number of extra characters, dingbats, alternate glyphs, ligatures, and punctuation marks. Some of the most useful OpenType features are included too, such as Case-Sensitive Punctuation, Stylistic Alternates, Tabular Figures and Currencies, Fractions, Localisation, and a lot more. Some letters and characters come in two versions: thin and bold, and you can easily alternate between the two using a corresponding stylistic set.

Arlen is a typeface that conveys kindness, good cheer, and only good vibes. It would feel at home both in digital and print mediums; it can be used in advertising, editorial design, social media, web design, or personal design projects. With versatility at its heart, Arlen would be a perfect typeface for large design systems that require multiple styles for typesetting.

Arlen is available for purchase as a full family or as individual fonts. Two fonts can be downloaded for free. Feel free to contact us if you need trial fonts or would like to customise Arlen for your brand.