Touvlo Offers Designers a Simultaneously Modern and Timeless Aesthetic

Posted inType Tuesday

Font foundry Monotype recently released Touvlo, a new typeface designed by the studio’s Creative Type Director, Emilios Theofanous. While the sans serif typeface is minimalistic, modern, and straightforward, the details are wildly imaginative, particularly in the stems, loops, and brackets.

The sans serif typeface takes inspiration from early British grotesque typefaces, but the more contemporary interpretation allows creators to design with an effortlessly timeless style. There’s been a rise in neutral design throughout the past few years, and unadorned typefaces like Touvlo grant designers the opportunity to create flexible systems that are comfortable, genderless, and highly approachable to a massive demographic.

While Touvlo feels neutral in character, it has a total of 24 weights in three styles across three variable fonts. This range can either help establish a consistent personality for elaborate typographic layouts, or add some excitement to spontaneous design systems.

Monotype today introduced Touvlo™, a radiant, modern interpretation of a classic genre, skillfully capturing the spirit of early British grotesque typefaces through playful terminals and lively curves. Designed by Emilios Theofanous, Monotype Studio’s Creative Type Director, Touvlo means ‘brick’ in Theofanous’ native Greek language and is an homage to his current London home and the prominence of bricks in his city view. Suited for branding and publishing, Touvlo offers designers and creatives a new choice for a timeless and unique aesthetic.  

Touvlo started with inspiration from historical sources, but quickly transformed into a personal interpretation of early grotesque designs from British foundries. Its origins can be found in “Specimens of Book and Jobbing Types; Borders, Initials, Ornaments, etc,” by The Fann Street Foundry, Sir Charles Reed and Sons, Ltd., London: 1905. The grotesque italic designs in this book follow a more calligraphic style than the slanted versions we expect to see in contemporary sans serif designs. This inspired Theofanous, who extended the same design principles to the backslant styles of Touvlo. Theofanous took inspiration from the extraordinary archive of the St Bride Library, diving into more type specimens from other British foundries and exploring their graphic attitude and distinct qualities.  

While Touvlo is inspired by Theofanous’ research, it is not intended as a historical revival – rather Theofanous sees the typeface as a modern and playful interpretation of the early British grotesque style, and a lively conversation with that era’s lasting legacy.  

“Grotesque sans serifs have been a staple in printers’ toolboxes and designers’ font menus since their emergence,” says Theofanous. “In a sense, they defy time and have been used widely across regions for decades. For brands looking for a unique tone, Touvlo’s styles offer character, voice and energy that can perform across mediums and design genres, and span applications in contemporary publishing, packaging, fashion, tech, fintech and more.” 

With a total of 24 weights in three styles across three variable fonts, Touvlo’s variety can perform in long text environments, display settings and can withstand complex typographic layouts. Touvlo’s weights range from thin to black, giving it an expressive edge for headlines. It offers an array of styles, from clean uprights to characterful italics and exuberant backslants. Its lyrical drop caps are the finishing touch, featuring exquisite birds and creatures inspired from ornaments found in type specimen books.    

“Touvlo encapsulates the memories of my journey, from my Cypriot heritage to my life in France before moving to London,” says Theofanous. “Designed to be versatile and playful, it combines a variety of past experiences and archive influences, capturing a classic genre. Touvlo enables creatives to grasp the essence and cultural spirit of this classic genre reimagined for contemporary use.”   

Play with Touvlo here and download a free weight on Monotype Fonts.