Hubsch is a New Typeface Inspired by Childhood Scribblings

Posted inType Tuesday

Hubsch, a new typeface from UK foundry, The Northern Block, blends nostalgia, art history, and modernist font principles. 

Hubsch’s lead designer, Jonathan Hill, found inspiration from a favorite childhood show, Take Hart, in which the host drew with a chisel tip marker. Jonathan’s sensory memories of using marker pens—the smell and the sound of the marker tip moving across the paper—urged him to experiment with an organic, hand-drawn aesthetic. But, it’s not simply childhood fascinations that informed Jonathan’s creation of Hubsch. He also drew influence from street and graffiti artists who experimented with markers, specifically Keith Haring and Banksy. 

Hubsch may be experimental, but its underlying construction follows simple optical rules. Handwritten forms work in concert within the pixel grid. Hubsch’s curves retain a hand-crafted look rather than being completely rounded. Hubsch is a joy to read on a small scale, while headings pull attention without overwhelming.

The marks made from a chisel tip marker are unapologetic. There is nowhere to hide; you must accept its path and embrace the mistakes.

Jonathan Hill, Lead designer and founder of The Northern Block

The typeface gets its name from a 14th-century printmaker, Martin Schongauer. The master printmaker was known for the grace of his work, and his contemporaries nicknamed him Hübsch Martin (“pretty” Martin). Hubsch reflects that grace through the proportional relationship of the straight edges and curves.

The typeface includes seven weights with obliques, over 600 characters per style, and is available as a variable font. Language support covers Western, Southern, and Central Europe.